Perhaps one of the most bizarre stories you will read today will be about a Vanderbilt University basketball player turning pro in late July. I know the NBA Draft has come and gone, but sophomore guard Kevin Bright has decided to sign with the Fraport Skyliners of Frankfurt, Germany. Bright’s decision to leave Vanderbilt is nothing less than shocking, and a blow to head coach Kevin Stallings and the basketball team. As a freshman, Bright averaged 6.9 points and 5.5 rebounds for Vanderbilt a season ago, and made 40.6% of his three-pointers.
Kevin Bright grew up in Germany, and recently returned to be with his mother who suffered a mental breakdown. Without Bright on the roster, Kevin Stallings does not have a single player remaining from his 2012 recruiting class. Both A.J. Asthroth and Sheldon Jeter have both announced plans to transfer. Jeter wanted a transfer to Pittsburgh, but has been blocked by Stallings.
Adding insult to injury, Vanderbilt’s leading scorer Kendren Johnson has been suspended for the year due to a “student conduct” matter. Johnson has publicly announced he is no longer enrolled at Vanderbilt University, and will not be playing basketball next season. He also describes the incident as occurring during the end of the school year, and describes it as a violation of the good conduct expected of Vanderbilt students.
In Kevin Bright’s case, I could see where there may be some extenuating circumstances regarding his decision to turn pro. His mother specifically may need financial support, and he feels the need to provide. I won’t question the young man’s decision because I don’t know the full details surrounding his departure. I hope for his success and wish his mother the best of health.
Kedren Johnson was a young, on-the-court leader for Kevin Stallings, and his point production will be sorely missed. His 13.5 points per game and 3.6 assists lead the team last season. The departures of both Bright and Johnson leave Vanderbilt with only nine scholarship players. The Commodores season ended at 16-17 with a loss to Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament Semifinals. The question is, how far will they fall?