Vanderbilt’s all-time starting 5 features three guards, plenty of scoring
Editor’s note: SDS selected an all-time starting 5 for every SEC program, all part of our expanded coverage of March Madness.
Though this season was a tough one in Nashville, the Vanderbilt men’s basketball program has undergone a sort of renaissance since 2004.
Since that time, the Commodores have made it to eight NCAA Tournaments (including 2016 and 2017), advancing as far as the Sweet 16 (in 2004 and 2007). They still haven’t reached the Final Four, only making it as far as the Elite Eight once, back in 1965.
Following Kevin Stallings’ long tenure as head coach, Bryce Drew hit a speed bump this year (his second), falling all the way to the bottom of the SEC standings. However, the Commodores are bringing in the nation’s No. 7 recruiting class in 2018, so help could be on the way.
Whether any of them become all-time Vandy greats remains to be seen, but they’ll have their work cut out for them if they want to join the Commodores’ all-time starting five.
As you can see below, these five players are all talented scorers and can space the floor with any team in the SEC:
Guard: Drew Maddux (1995-98)
Maddux was an all-around player, finishing No. 8 on Vanderbilt’s all-time scoring list (1,689), No. 9 on the 3-point list (226), and No. 8 in assists (394). His 214 steals tie him for first place in the Vandy record books.
Maddux wasn’t flashy, but by putting him on the court with the rest of the players on this list, he would simply serve as a facilitator, making everyone else around him better. And if he had played with shooters like the ones below, who knows how good he could have been.
As a senior in 1997-98, Maddux averaged an impressive 16.8 points, to go with 4.1 assists and 2.1 steals per game. He only made the NCAA Tournament once, losing in the first round as a junior.
Guard: Shan Foster (2005-08)
Foster was one of the best 3-point shooters in the SEC, knocking down a team-record 367 long-range attempts. He made 42.1 percent of his treys, and ended his career with 2,011 points — good for No. 1 on Vandy’s all-time list.
At 6-6, he’s a bigger guard for this lineup, but there’s no denying how talented of an all-around scorer he was. Though he did most of his damage from 3-point range, he could also score inside.
The Commodores made it to the NCAA Tournament during his junior and senior seasons, advancing to the Sweet 16 during his junior year. During his senior season, when he averaged 20.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, Foster was named the SEC’s Player of the Year.
Guard: John Jenkins (2010-12)
If Jenkins had played at Vanderbilt for four years instead of three, he might have topped both of Foster’s records (see above). However, he left the Commodores a year early to test the NBA waters, becoming a first-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
With 1,660 points and 306 threes, Jenkins ranks No. 10 and No. 2 in school history, respectively. With Jenkins leading the way, the Commodores made the NCAA Tournament all three years, but never advanced past the Sweet 16.
Jenkins and Foster didn’t overlap at all, which is unfortunate timing for Vanderbilt fans, as they would have been quite the dynamic duo. At least the next guy on the list, Jeffery Taylor, played with Jenkins all three years Jenkins was in Nashville…
Forward: Jeffery Taylor (2009-12)
Taylor and Jenkins were an incredible tandem in the SEC, lighting up scoreboards all three years they spent together. As mentioned above, they made the NCAA Tournament all three of those seasons.
Taylor played four years for the Commodores, though, so his overall career numbers are a bit better than Jenkins’s. In fact, Taylor’s 1,897 points ranks second on Vandy’s all-time scoring list, behind only Foster. He’s No. 3 in free throws made (452) and No. 6 in rebounds (752).
With Jenkins knocking down long-range shots, Taylor was a force inside the arc, doing most of his damage near the hoop. At 6-7, he wasn’t the biggest guy on the floor, but he knew how to use his body to create space and get easy looks for himself.
Center: Clyde Lee (1964-66)
Lee played at a time when players only had three years of varsity eligibility after spending a year on the freshman team. Still, he managed to dominate, winning the SEC Player of the Year award as both a junior and a senior.
Incredibly, he averaged 21.4 points and 15.5 rebounds per game, utterly dominating the competition. He ranks seventh on Vandy’s all-time scoring list with 1,691 points, but still holds the top spot in rebounds, pulling down an impressive 1,223 in his three years — more than 300 ahead of the No. 2 player on the list.
Vanderbilt made the NCAA Tournament in 1964-65 under Lee’s leadership, losing in the regional final. The Commodores reached as high as No. 2 in the AP Poll during Lee’s career, which was a very successful one indeed.