Jerry Stackhouse ready to bring his own approach to Vanderbilt’s Xs and Os

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Jerry Stackhouse ready to bring his own approach to Vanderbilt’s Xs and Os

Jerry Stackhouse is introduced as Vanderbilt's head basketball coach on April 8, 2019. Photo by Hunter Long

Jerry Stackhouse is introduced as Vanderbilt's head basketball coach on April 8, 2019. Photo by Hunter Long

Jerry Stackhouse is introduced as Vanderbilt's head basketball coach on April 8, 2019. Photo by Hunter Long

Jerry Stackhouse is introduced as Vanderbilt's head basketball coach on April 8, 2019. Photo by Hunter Long

Betsy Goodfriend, Senior Writer

Jerry Stackhouse was introduced as the Vanderbilt Men’s Basketball Head Coach Monday morning after his hiring was announced by the program this past Friday. Stackhouse, who played 18 seasons in the NBA, was most recently an assistant with the Memphis Grizzlies. His coaching career includes an assistant stint with the Toronto Raptors, two years as as a NBA G-League head coach for the Raptors’ G-League franchise, and a year with Memphis as an assistant.

In his introductory press conference, Stackhouse emphasized that he will use lessons from his college career playing at North Carolina under the legendary coach Dean Smith as well as his professional playing and coaching careers to develop Vanderbilt’s basketball philosophy.

Stackhouse said, “I played for and coached against a lot of great coaches. From those coaches I’ve taken things that I like, some things that I didn’t like to try to formulate my own system of how I feel the game should be played. That’s what I’m going to try to do with these kids.”

One aspect of the game that he wants to incorporate into his game plans is tempo. Vanderbilt ranked 193rd among all Division I teams in possessions per game with 70.8. Playing at a high tempo is not necessarily a requirement to be successful; reigning national champion Virginia notably is last in Division I in possessions per game. However, having more offensive possessions gives the offense more chances to score and create good shots all over the floor.

“No one wants to play at a quicker pace than me,” said Stackhouse. “We want to get out, run, rebound the ball.”

Stackhouse also discussed the importance of keeping a fluid offensive philosophy, especially in college when rosters change every year with incoming freshmen, transfers, and early NBA Draft entrants.

He said, “I’m not coming in necessarily with an offensive philosophy. I think a lot of that is based on your personnel. So if I got a guy that I can throw the ball to, I know everybody wants to shoot a ton of threes, if I have a guy efficient on the block, we want to take advantage of that. If we have shooter, we want to take advantage of that.”

Stackhouse’s defensive philosophy is more simple and is based on the principle that toughness challenges shooters and can help win basketball games even if the offense is not having its best night.

“What you can do is give yourself an opportunity to win by being real staunch on the defensive end. That’s where my teams have been in the past,” said Stackhouse.

“I pretty much got the identity as a scorer, I figured out what I didn’t like to see as an offensive player, kind of incorporated those things into a defensive philosophy that had bode well for me and my teams.”

Toughness was one of Stackhouse’s hallmarks as an NBA player, and bringing that toughness to Vanderbilt will be an essential step towards building a brand of Vanderbilt basketball.

Stackhouse plans to use man-to-man defense as his base defensive package. Man-to-man is the most common defense used in the NBA, and coaching to prepare players for a changing NBA game is an important selling point of Stackhouse’s Vanderbilt program.

“Our base would be on man-to-man defense,” he said. “Will we play a little zone? Absolutely. Will we try to disrupt teams out of their timeouts, ATO’s, a little full court press from time to time? If we are not making shots, may get down big, try to get back in the game certain ways. We’re going to try to cover the gamut and schemes we need to have success.”

Stackhouse will spend the summer implementing his philosophies and training his team to be ready to play tough in the SEC. Before then, he will get to know his new team, try to convince players who have entered the transfer portal or NBA Draft to come back to Vanderbilt, and build relationships with recruits.

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