Men’s Basketball Preseason Notes: Jerry Stackhouse gears up for fourth season as Vanderbilt’s head coach

Jerry Stackhouse and members of the Vanderbilt basketball team addressed the media on Thursday, 39 days before Vanderbilt’s season-opener.


Narenkumar Thirmiya

Jerry Stackhouse coaches Vanderbilt to a 75-36 win against Mississippi State on Nov. 29 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Narenkumar Thirmiya)

Andrew Wilf, Deputy Sports Editor

On Thursday–39 days before Vanderbilt’s first game of the season–Jerry Stackhouse, Jordan Wright and Quentin Millora-Brown addressed the media after practice. Stackhouse touched on Ezra Manjon’s smooth transition to Vanderbilt this offseason.

“Ezra is an unbelievable human being,” Stackhouse said. “He’s one of those guys that kind of gravitates toward everybody.”

Manjon comes to Vanderbilt from UC Davis, where he averaged 15 points per game and was a part of the first team All-Big West list in 2022. Manjon adds a level of speed to Vanderbilt’s backcourt that is tough to defend.

“With Ezra, we have a level of speed that we just haven’t had on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively,” Stackhouse said. “He’s really able to pull triggers and make defenses react. Defensively he really gets into the ball and creates a lot of havoc.”

Stackhouse later talked about all-time Vanderbilt scoring leader, Scotty Pippen Jr.’s transition to the professional level. Pippen Jr. signed with the Los Angeles Lakers as an undrafted free agent this summer.

“I think they’re [Los Angeles Lakers] looking for someone to inject some energy,” Stackhouse said. “I know that he is going to play in the [NBA] G League quite a bit…I think there’s room for him to come in and learn from all the experience in that locker room.” 

As a teammate of Pippen Jr. last season, senior Jordan Wright averaged 12.3 points per contest and started in all 36 of Vanderbilt’s games. Wright spoke highly of Vanderbilt’s freshman class, including Colin Smith. Smith scored 1,525 points and notched 700 rebounds in his high school career. 

“He’s really been impressive in these practices,” Wright said. “He can do a little bit of everything. He can handle the ball, shoot the ball, rebound and defend. Versatility is the key to the game right now.”

This year, the Commodores will showcase the 28th-ranked recruiting class of 2022 on West End. Leading the class is four-star center Lee Dort. Dort was ranked as No. 48 in his class, according to Rivals. Dort has already caught the eyes of Vanderbilt’s veterans, including Millora-Brown.

“Lee is a big, strong guy on the inside,” Millora-Brown said. “A lot of his development that I’ve watched this summer has been picking up the defense.” 

Vanderbilt’s first game of the 2022-23 season will be played in nearly one month, on Nov. 7. The Commodores will host the Memphis Tigers, who are coached by NBA legend Penny Hardaway. Through four seasons as head coach for Memphis, Hardaway holds an impressive 85-43 record.

The Commodores last played Memphis in 2005. In that matchup, the Commodores fell to the Tigers 81-68. The first game between the schools came nearly 100 years ago, during the 1925-26 season. Although Vanderbilt lost to Memphis in their last meeting, the Commodores are 5-2 when hosting Memphis.