Jerry Stackhouse reflects on loss and postgame comments on ESPN 94.9

Head coach Jerry Stackhouse appeared on ESPN 94.9’s The Commodore Hour with a much different tone than his postgame press conference on Saturday.

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Jerry Stackhouse coaches on the sidelines against Mississippi State. (Hustler Multimedia/Truman McDaniel)

Simon Gibbs, Sports Editor

Vanderbilt head coach Jerry Stackhouse on Monday joined The Commodore Hour with Kevin Ingram bearing a much different tone than his last media appearance.

“I’ve got to push [the student-athletes], and I want to hold them accountable,” Stackhouse said on the ESPN 94.9 radio show, “but at the same time, I’ve got to realize that they could be dealing with a little more than what they’re letting on.”

His demeanor stood in stark contrast than that of his postgame Zoom press conference on Saturday. The Commodores had just come off their fifth loss in as many Southeastern Conference (SEC) games—this one, a 21-point home blowout at the hands of Arkansas—prompting Stackhouse to make some critical comments of his last-place team.

“We’ve got to find some guys that want to play basketball. Right now, we’ve got some guys that don’t want to play no damn basketball,” Stackhouse said, in part. “I haven’t had any teams that I’ve [coached] before that I continue to tell the same things as much as I’ve told this team, [only] for them to still come out and do the same shit.”

Stackhouse was visibly frustrated by Vanderbilt’s performance on Saturday afternoon, and even went so far as to cite individual players who struggled.

“I’d rather go with just young guys like [freshman] Akeem [Odusipe], give them a chance, when we’ve got guys who have been here four or five years, play 20 minutes and get one offensive rebound and one defensive rebound. We can’t win any games like that,” Stackhouse said, presumably of senior Clevon Brown, a fifth-year player who played 22 minutes and logged just two rebounds against Arkansas. 

“You hate to point to one thing, one guy, but it’s just—today, it was literally [freshman forward] Myles Stute. I couldn’t even keep him in the game,” he continued on Saturday.

Monday, however, was different. Stackhouse seemed to have cooled down after Vanderbilt’s fifth loss dropped their SEC record to 0-5 and overall record to 4-7.

“There’s always a positive to take out of things,” he said. “At the end of the battle, there’s always emotional times there. But when you’re able to really go back and digest and look at everything, you can see there were some improvements.”

According to Stackhouse, one of the improvements Saturday was a Vanderbilt career-best performance from D.J. Harvey. After transferring from Notre Dame, the six-foot-six guard had not yet made as big an impact as many expected. But in his ninth game donning the black and gold, Harvey shot an efficient six of ten from the field, scoring 16 points and adding four rebounds in 30 minutes of burn.

“[Harvey] got in a nice little rhythm there offensively, seeing the ball go in the hole. We’ve said this from the beginning, he’s a guy that we need to play well,” Stackhouse said. “When you’re trying to build some things and get guys confident, it was a great opportunity to step up.”

Stackhouse continued to commend Harvey’s performance in lieu of the team’s second-leading scorer, forward Dylan Disu. Disu, along with fellow big men Quentin Millora-Brown and Akeem Odusipe, missed Saturday’s contest due to COVID-19 complications, but Stackhouse said on Monday he expects Disu and Odusipe back for their next contest at Florida on Wednesday.

“In the absence of Dylan [Disu], it’s like ‘Wow, look what we can do without him.’ When he gets back, now we’re really rich,” Stackhouse said.

The Commodores will have Disu back for their upcoming contest against the Florida Gators. Jan. 27 marks their second meeting with the Gators, with the first—Vanderbilt’s SEC season-opener—ending in a 91-72 loss.

“For us, [we’ve got to] focus in on starting games off better. That’s the key for us,” Stackhouse said. “I thought we guarded those guys really well [the first game]. … Hopefully, we end up with a better outcome. That wound up with the end score a 19-point game, but [it should have been] a six [to] eight point game. We barely got the bounce.”