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Scouting Report: Vanderbilt Commodores

Vanderbilt enters tonight’s game with a record of 9-14, 1-9 in the Southeastern Conference.  The Commodores ended their SEC losing streak in the most unlikely of fashion after defeating LSU last week by a score of 99-90.  After giving Kentucky a big scare in Lexington a couple of weeks ago, Vandy has continued to play pretty well with close losses to both Florida and Mississippi State along with their upset victory over LSU.  Saben Lee has stayed hot in the last couple weeks after his 21-point performance in Rupp Arena.  The Junior Guard was held to 11 points against Florida before exploding for 33 in their win over LSU and then another 20-point game against Mississippi State.  The ‘Cats will need to do a much better job on him than they did in their first matchup.  It hasn’t been that long since our last game against the Commodores, but let’s go over the updated game plan for defeating Coach Jerry Stackhouse’s Vanderbilt squad.



#0 Saben Lee:  6’2″ 183 lbs, Junior Guard

16.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.5 apg

Athletic guard.  Driver.  NO RIGHT HAND DRIVES!!!  Closeout short to guard against the right hand drive.  He is 24/83 from 3 this season, but he is MUCH better from 2 than 3.  ABSOLUTELY NO LAYUPS!!!  Have to closeout short to stay between him and the basket.  Make him take 5+ 3-point attempts.  If he makes a couple that is okay.  He handles the ball a lot and will bring it hard in transition.  Always looking to attack the basket.  Have to get back and get the ball stopped.  You can hop under the ballscreens when they are set for him.  Do not guard him outside of the 3-point line!!!  By far their most aggressive offensive player.  He is looking to make plays off the dribble.  Really wants to get to the rim and finish with his right hand.  If he drives it left he is looking to spin back to his right.  Just back up and keep him in front of you.  No layups!!!  Force him to shoot jump shots.  Stay down on the shot fakes around the basket.  He really likes to finish his drives with a shot fake around the basket.

#2 Scottie Pippen Jr.:  6’1” 170 lbs, Freshman Guard

11.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.7 apg

Combo Guard.  Aggressive offensive player.  Play him straight up.  No catch-and-shoot 3’s.  No right hand drives.  More of a driver than a shooter, but will knock them down when he has his hands and feet ready.  We want to take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s.  Really wants to drive it right and finish with his right hand.  Get over the ballscreens.  Chase him off downscreens and get over the flares.  No help off of him when he doesn’t have it.  When he has the ball you need to pressure him as much as you can without getting beat to his right.  He dribbles a lot and can be a little loose with it.  Make him uncomfortable when he has the ball.  Don’t over help when he drives it.  Not a very good finisher and he likes to kick out to shooters the deeper he drives it.  Stay between him and the basket and make him finish over you.  He is right at 40% from 2 this season.  Just play with your hands up and contest everything.  No layups!  

#3 Maxwell Evans:  6’2″ 190 lbs, Junior Guard

8.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg

Lefty.  Shooter.  No catch-and-shoot 3’s!!!  93 of 157 shots have been 3’s.  Be there to take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s.  Tighten up as the ball comes towards you.  Chase him off downscreens and get over the flares.  Once you take away the 3 he is looking to drive it left.  No left hand drives!  Not really thinking about passing as he drives it.  Wants to finish with his left hand.  No help off of him when he doesn’t have it.  Focusing more about taking away the 3-point attempts than we were a couple of weeks ago.  Treat him as a shooter.  No 3’s.

#4 Jordan Wright:  6’5″ 226 lbs, Freshman Guard/Forward

4.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg

Strong, athletic wing.  Non-shooter.  Driver.  No right hand drives.  He is 5/41 from 3 this season.  Closeout short and make him shoot.  If he makes a couple that is okay.  Do not get beat off the dribble.  He is well over 50% from 2.  Stay between him and the basket and make him score over you.  Do not guard him outside of the 3-point line.  Closeout several feet short and tell him to shoot it.  Not thinking about passing when he drives it.  Good offensive rebounder.  Box out!  No layups!  

#1 Dylan Disu:  6’9″ 220 lbs, Freshman Forward

6.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg

Stretch forward.  SHOOTER!!!  No 3’s!  117 of 157 shots have been 3’s.  Have to be there to take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s.  Be tight on him.  If he isn’t dribbling you aren’t close enough.  He will drive it right once you take away the 3, but you want to make him drive it.  Get out to him as he is trailing in transition.  Really likes the trail spot 3’s.  No help off of him.  Looking to pick and pop when he sets ballscreens.  Switch the ballscreens when he sets them and switch when he hands off.  Need to error on the side of switching unless we are hoping under the ballscreen to begin with.  Get over the flare screens when they are set for him.  Chase him off downscreens.  His whole game is facing up and looking for catch-and-shoot 3’s.  Contest everything.  Box out.


#50 Ejike Obinna:  6’10” 243 lbs, Redshirt Sophomore Forward/Center

3.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg

Post player.  Right hand, left shoulder in the post.  Wants to score around the basket.  Sets ballscreens and rolls to the rim.  Will look for opportunities to duck you in.  The deeper he catches it the more likely he is to make a move and score.  His percentages go down the further off the block he catches it.  Bad free throw shooter.  Foul if you are beat.  No And-1s.  Be physical with him.  BOX OUT!!!  Very good offensive rebounder.  Just make him score with you between between him and the basket.  No dunks, no layups.

#13 Matthew Moyer:  6’8” 229 lbs, Redshirt Junior Forward

1.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg

Stretch 4.  Willing shooter.  28 of 54 shots have been 3’s.  Only 5/28 on the season.  Be there to give a good contest on the catch-and-shoot 3’s because that is what he wants to do.  Looking to pick-and-pop.  Will drive it right once you take away the catch-and-shoot 3.  You can help off of him when he doesn’t have it, but closeout and contest the 3.  Pressure him when he has the ball.  Make him uncomfortable.  If he catches the ball around the basket he will use the shot fake to try and score around you.  Stay down.

#11 Braelee Albert:  6’5″ 220 lbs, Freshman Guard/Forward 

1.6 ppg, 1.3 rpg

Strong wing.  Play him straight up.  16 of 21 shots have been 3’s.  Contest the obvious catch-and-shoot 3’s.  Stay between him and the basket.  No right hand drives.  No layups.  Box him out!


Coach Stackhouse does a good job of spacing the floor and trying to create 1-on-1 opportunities for his playmakers.  They do a lot of creative stuff to get their guards into middle ball screening actions and a lot of their offense is playing off of that.  They begin a lot possessions with some screening actions or early ballscreens.  Regardless of what they are in, the name of the game is just staying between them and the basket.  Recently they have started doing a lot more stuff involving handoffs whether it be off of a staggered double into a handoff or a simple wing dribble handoff.  We have to do a MUCH better job on Saben Lee than we did a couple of weeks ago.  Do not guard him outside of the 3-point line!  If you can limit their easy baskets they simply won’t be able to score enough to win.  Here are some of their favorite offensive actions that you will see this evening.

Diagonal to Staggered Double:  When the ball gets moved to the wing the Point Guard will cut down to the ball side block and wait for the ball to be reversed.  As the ball gets reversed they set the diagonal back screen and then set a staggered double for the screener.  Just like with most of their actions, they will finish with a middle ballscreen if they don’t have a scoring opportunity directly off of their screening.

Staggered Double to Handoff:  They hit the wing and the Point Guard cuts to the opposite corner as Pippen cuts towards the rim.  The ball is reversed back to the top of the key and they set a staggered double for Pippen as they dribble into a handoff.  We did a pretty good job of guarding this and ended up switching the handoff which is fine.  Nate was in perfect defensive position guarding Pippen on the perimeter and did a good job until allowing him to get his shoulder by him off the dribble.  Then, Nate leaves his feet and gets out of position and gives up a layup.

Horns-Flex:  From a Horns alignment the Point Guard hits an elbow and cuts to the front of the rim as the ball is reversed and sets a Flex screen.  From there they will just turn over flex cuts on both sides of the floor.

Staggered Ballscreen to Staggered Double:  Possession begins with a staggered ballscreen as the Point Guard comes down the court.  After they set the ballscreen the same screeners will set a staggered double for the guard in the corner.  After that initial action you see another screening action they like to use a lot in the half court.  Anytime they ballscreen they like to immediately go set a downscreen off of it as well as they do here for Saben Lee in the first clip.  We want to go “up-through” that screen so that he can’t curl it to the basket.  Stay down at the end of his drives.  Loves the shot fake.  No layups!  In the second clip, they curl the first screen of the staggered double so Disu comes off a single.  Again, they set a downscreen after a middle ballscreen which gets Disu open for an easy 3.  EJ just has to stay tighter on Disu as he moves to the perimeter. He wants to catch-and-shoot!!!

Elevator Doors:  As the Point Guard dribbles over to a wing they will set a little downscreen for a guard to cut up to the top of the key for a catch.  From there, they will run what appears to be just a typical over/under action as the ball handler dribbles to his right.  As the low guard cuts across the two forwards will come together to “shut the elevator doors” on the defender.  This was a play they ran successfully against us in Lexington.  We just need more “show” from the top screener’s defender to disrupt the pass and/or switch out to the shooter if we get caught up in the screen.

Ballside Double Iverson Cut:  The Point Guard dribbles to the right wing as they set a staggered double for the guard in the corner to run an Iverson cut to the top of the key for a catch.  Once he gets the catch the second screener from the staggered double will long-run into a side ballscreen.  Here they “twist” the ballscreen to get Saben Lee going downhill.


They are primarily a man-to-man defensive team.  They really try to keep you on a side when the ball is on the wings and will look to force you baseline.  They will “ICE” the ball screens as well.  They have mixed in some possessions of 2-3 Zone, but for the most part they are going to be an aggressive on-ball, half-court man-to-man team.

Keys to the Game

  1. Stay between them and the basket.  We didn’t do a good job of this two weeks ago.  We have to stay between Saben Lee and the basket!  Back up and make them score over you.
  2. No Layups.  This is very similar to the above point, but it is such a key in this game that it deserves another mention.  If we can limit their easy baskets they won’t be able to score enough points to be in the game.
  3. Dominate the boards.  We out rebounded them 10-8 on the offensive glass last game and we need to stretch that margin even more tonight.  This is a game we have to dominate on the glass.
  4. Be ready to catch-and-shoot.  The way Vandy guards leaves them susceptible to baseline drives and drive-and-kicks.  We only attempted 10 3’s in our first meeting.  We should shoot at least 15 3’s tonight.


Article written by Brandon Ramsey

Basketball X's & O's for KSR. Follow me on Twitter: @BRamseyKSR

2 Comments for Scouting Report: Vanderbilt Commodores

  1. Rixter
    2:12 pm February 11, 2020 Permalink

    I submit that the scouting report for every player at every level is NO LAYUPS! That tends to be a high percentage shot.

    • Brandon Ramsey
      3:01 pm February 11, 2020 Permalink

      Haha very fair. It is more about their tendencies and how you guard them though. For example, you wouldn’t want to closeout to take away a Saben Lee 3-point attempt and give up a layup. However, if that was someone John Petty at Alabama or even Immanuel Quickley you would want to fly at them and “run them off” the 3-point line. If you give up a layup or two you trade that for giving up open 3’s. For some players you would concede a jump-shot in order to keep them from driving it. For other players you may concede them driving it to take away a 3. In college it is really hard to just guard everyone “straight up.”