Hitting the Hardwood

Vandy men's, women's basketball teams officially start practice this week

by Chad Bishop

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Both Vanderbilt basketball programs begin the march toward the 2022-23 season this week with the official start of their respective practices.

Fourth-year head coach Jerry Stackhouse and the men’s team will hit the hardwood at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Commodores are coming off a 19-win season and trip to the quarterfinals of the NIT.

Seven student-athletes from that team are back with the program, including seniors Jordan Wright, Liam Robbins and Quentin Millora-Brown and juniors Tyrin Lawrence, Myles Stute and Trey Thomas. Stackhouse also added seven freshmen, Wisconsin Green Bay transfer Emmanuel Ansong and California Davis transfer Ezra Manjon.

“I think our talent pool is at a level now where you really have to come in and focus and work every day,” Stackhouse said. “We’re excited about what that will bring.”

Vandy got a head start of sorts toward this season with a trip to Europe. The Dores played three games over a 10-day span as they toured France, Monaco and Italy in early August.

Stackhouse’s team won all three of those matchups.

“I think from what we saw there’s another level of speed that we haven’t had in the past,” he said. “We like to be opportunistic with our running. You’ll hear me in the past yelling, ‘push it, push it, push it,’ trying to get some easy opportunities, but I think we’ve really got the personnel to do more of that now. Even our bigs are running.”

Vanderbilt is a little more than a month away from making its debut when it welcomes Memphis into Memorial Gymnasium on Nov. 7. The Tigers and Commodores last met in 2005.

Vandy also has nonconference matchups with Temple, Virginia Commonwealth, Saint Mary’s, Fresno State or Washington, Wofford, Pittsburgh and North Carolina State before beginning SEC play Jan. 3.

“It’s great to have gaudy numbers going into SEC play, but we’d rather have quality games to make sure that we’re prepared for what’s ahead of us in the SEC,” Stackhouse said.

On Monday morning, the Vanderbilt women’s team held its first official practice inside Memorial Gymnasium. Head coach Shea Ralph goes into her second season after winning 16 games in 2021-22 and taking her squad to the third round of the WNIT.

Six student-athletes from that team return, led by super sophomores Sacha Washington and Iyana Moore. Ralph also brought in Saint Louis transfer Ciara Harbison and Boston College transfer Marnelle Garraud along with three freshmen.

The Commodores play a nonconference schedule that includes matchups with North Carolina State, Louisiana Tech, USC Upstate, Northern Iowa, Austin Peay and Columbia. Vanderbilt opens the 2022-23 season at Western Kentucky.