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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Press Conference Notes: Jerry Stackhouse talks defensive struggles, returning players

The Vanderbilt Commodores are off to an 0-6 start in SEC play, but Jerry Stackhouse is still optimistic about the direction his team is trending.
Truman McDaniel
Jerry Stackhouse addresses his team during a timeout in Vanderbilt’s 84-81 loss to Mississippi State on Jan. 29. (Hustler Multimedia/Truman McDaniel)

Head men’s basketball coach Jerry Stackhouse addressed the media on Friday morning ahead of Vanderbilt’s Jan. 30 matchup with the South Carolina Gamecocks. 

As he’s noted multiple times this season, Stackhouse is still looking for his defense to force opposing teams into tougher shots, leading to lower shooting percentages. 

“I think that the ideal number for three-point defense is somewhere probably around 32-33 percent, so we’ve got a ways to go to get back there,” Stackhouse said. “And our field goal defense, ideally, we want to be around 42-43 percent. We have had our moments of struggling to score sometimes, so it’s imperative that we defend.”

Coming off a close loss to Florida that saw the Commodores erase a 22-point deficit and claw back within four points, Stackhouse was overly disappointed with his team’s defense, despite the Gators shooting 52 percent. Instead, he chalked much of it up to easy transition points for Florida as well as some fortunate threes dropping. 

“I thought we defended really well; it was our offense and turnovers that got us in trouble against Florida,” Stackhouse said. “Like in sixty percent of our possessions, the half court defense was good. Where they hurt us were some opportunities they got in transition.” 

Even so, Stackhouse is still looking for better focus and attention to detail from his team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. 

“When I go back and watch the games, I feel like there’s probably five or six plays a game where you look at it and say ‘OK, well that was just a more talented player, they were longer they were more athletic, they were quicker’,” Stackhouse said. “But more times than not, it’s a lack of execution on our part of things that we know how to do and need to get accomplished.”

Despite some of the defensive struggles, Stackhouse has no plans to switch to a more pressing and trapping style scheme with his current personnel. Instead, he wants to focus on sharpening up Vanderbilt’s half-court defense. 

One key contributor to Vanderbilt’s impressive comeback attempt against the Gators was seldom-used freshman Akeem Odusipe, who provided an energy spark and grabbed a couple of boards in just six minutes of play. Look for him to get more minutes again this week as Stackhouse searches for a reliable answer at center. 

“He just has an energy to offensive rebound and run the floor that we just don’t have at that spot, so [during] that kind of late run that we had, he was out there part of that,” Stackhouse said of Odusipe. “If we continue not to get enough from our older guys, it wasn’t wasn’t just lip service, I’m gonna play our younger guys to get them more reps and get them a little bit better, ready to help serve us as we go down the road.”

Stackhouse also provided a few updates on the Commodores getting back to full strength in terms of roster numbers. Both Quentin Millora-Brown and Drew Weikert are on the path to return soon once they clear all health and safety protocols. Braelee Albert, who has missed the last few weeks with an injury, has also been cleared to return and is starting to ramp up his on-court work. 

Finally, Stackhouse gave some insight into possible scheduling decisions for the future. In particular, he discussed previous conversations centering around annual tournaments featuring five teams with Black head coaches—Vanderbilt, Memphis, Temple, Georgetown and Michigan. 

“We’ve talked about trying to organize that with possibly everybody coming to different places each year, starting here at Vanderbilt,” Stackhouse said. “That’s something that we really want to do once we get fans back though. That could bring a lot of excitement. And we would go to Michigan [one year] and go to Georgetown the next year. So I think it’s definitely something that we’ve thrown out there.” 

Vanderbilt will host South Carolina tomorrow at 7:30 pm CST. 


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About the Contributors
Alyssa Muir
Alyssa Muir, Former Deputy Sports Editor
Alyssa Muir ('21) was Deputy Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. She majored in economics with minors in business and sociology. When she has free time, she can usually be found binge-watching Grey's Anatomy or rooting on her hometown teams, the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning. For tips and comments, feel free to reach out to: [email protected].    
Truman McDaniel
Truman McDaniel, Former Multimedia Sports Specialist
Truman McDaniel (2023) is a student in the College of Arts & Science majoring in Environmental and Ecological Biology and Political Science. In his free time, he enjoys taking pictures, drinking coffee and watching movies. He can be reached at [email protected].    
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