Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kentucky no longer home to Vanderbilt players

When I first started following Vanderbilt basketball in 1986, the thing that made our rivalry with Kentucky so exciting was the fact that many of our players were from the Bluegrass State. Barry Goheen, a guy too goofy to play in his home state, became one of the greatest clutch shooters in college basketball history, not to mention my favorite Commodore hoopster. Other Kentucky guys to don black and gold included Scott Draud, Frank Kornet and Derrick Wilcox.

Ever since then, it seems like at least one go-to guy for the Commodores is from Kentucky, at least he becomes the go-to guy when he faces the vaunted boys in blue from his home state. Remember Ross Nelter, who single-handedly outscored the Cats during the first half in Nashville last season, prompting the crowd to chant "Nelter's winning."

Not this year. Nobody in Vanderbilt's 10-deep playing rotation is from Kentucky. We've got two walk-ons from KY, Aaron Noll and Jordan Smart. Smart, a freshman from Lexington, has received a scholarship "for 2008-2009," according to the media guide, implying that the scholarship may not be good beyond 2009.

Meanwhile, four Commodores who'll be on the court tonight are from foreign countries — starters A.J. Ogilvy of Australia, Jeffery Taylor of Sweden and Steve Tcheingang of Cameroon and backup Festus Ezeli of Nigeria.

In fact, Kentucky doesn't have any Bluegrass starters, only backups Jared Carter, a senior, and Darius Miller, a freshman.

When both teams tip off tonight, seven different states and three different countries will be represented in the starting lineups.

The world is flat indeed.

Anyway, tipoff's at 9 pm Eastern Time on ESPN.

1 comment:

Anything but Gatorade said...

Thank God, that's all I have to say about that. See you in the aftermath.