#3 Festus Ezeli
Nigeria native who was a late signee for Vanderbilt in the summer of 2007… Redshirted in 2007-08… Added bulk to his frame during his redshirt season and dramatically improved his feel for the game during practice… Named Most Improved Player by Vanderbilt players at the end-of-the-year banquet in 2008… Changed his number from one to three for his redshirt freshman season…One of the nation[apos]s most improved players in 2010-11 – averaged 13.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per contest, and was named to the All-SEC second team by the league[apos]s coaches and was an honorable mention selection by the Associated Press…Named the nation[apos]s most improved player by Yahoo Sports.
Drafted 30th by the Golden State Warriors in the 2012 NBA Draft.
2011-12 (Redshirt Senior):
Averaged 10.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game in 26 games in his senior season…Departed Vanderbilt as the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots with 204 career blocks…Was a preseason All-SEC Second-Team selection…Missed the first 10 games of the season with a knee injury…Tallied 15 double-figure scoring games, including a season-high 21 points on two occasions – vs. MTSU and LSU…Had three double-doubles in 2011-12, including a 12-point, and a career-high 14 rebounds against Mississippi State…Had three or more blocked shots on three occasions in his senior year, with a season-high of five coming against Mississippi State and at home against South Carolina.
2010-11 (Redshirt Junior):
Played and started in all 34 games in 2010-11…One of nation[apos]s most improved big men…averaged 3.8 points and 3.2 rebounds last year – this season, he[apos]s pushed his averages to 13.0 and 6.3, respectively…Became a strong presence around the basket, especially on the defensive end, where he set the new Commodore single season record for blocks in a season with 87 and a 2.6 average…Now has 152 career blocks, five short of the all-time career mark held by Will Perdue (157)…Finished Second in the SEC in FG% at 58.8% (151-257)…Had 25 double-digit scoring games, five double-doubles, and 15 games with three blocks or more…Tallied 17 points and 9 rebounds vs. Florida (3/12)…Scored 16 points vs. Florida (3/5); was 8-of-9 from free-throw line…Paced the Vanderbilt effort against UK (3/1) with his fifth double-double of the season with 22 points and 13 rebounds in a career-high 36 minutes. The 22 points was his second 20-point effort of the season and his career – the 22 points was two points shy of a career high (24 vs. Belmont)…Had four blocks against Florida (3/5)…Had six blocks at LSU (2/26)…Posted five blocks at Auburn (2/19)…Posted his fourth career double-double at Georgia (2/16); had 10 points, 12 rebounds, and a career-high seven block shots. The seven blocks was the most by a VU player since Dec. 28, 1987, when Will Perdue had seven against East Carolina…Had 14 points and 7 rebounds against Kentucky (2/12)…Scored 11 points, was 5-of-6 from free-throw line vs. Alabama (2/10)…Scored 17 points and had 8 rebounds vs. South Carolina (2/6)…Tallied 18 points and was 6-for-6 from the charity stripe against Arkansas (1/29)…Was 5-of-5 from the floor, scored 14 points at Mississippi State (1/27)…Scored 16 points and was 10-for-12 from free throw line vs. Ole Miss (1/19); the 10 free throws made tied a career high…Had his third career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds against Georgia (1/12)…Had then career-high six blocks vs. Missouri (12/8) and at Tennessee (1/17), most by a Commodore in seven years (last was Julian Terrell vs. Appalachian State on December 22, 2003.); ..Had career-high 24 points and 10 rebounds vs. Belmont (12/4), the first 20-10 game of his career and second career double-double; also made a career-high 10 free throws (10-14) – named SEC Player of the Week for his play against Belmont and WKU…Was 7-of-7 from the floor vs. WKU (12/1)…Scored career-high 18 points vs. App. State…Tallied his first double-double with 11 points and a career-high and 13 rebounds vs. Grambling; had career-best nine offensive rebounds…Scored a then-career-high 15 points vs. North Carolina – was one rebound short of a double-double (9)…Grabbed a then-career-best 11 rebounds vs. West Virginia (11/19).
2009-10 (Redshirt Sophomore):
Played in 32 games, made five starts, and averaged 12.7 minutes per game…Primarily served as A.J. Ogilvy[apos]s backup at center, where he averaged 3.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game…His 43 blocks is the sixth-best single season total in the history of the program…Had three or more blocks seven times, including a career-best four block performance against Manhattan on 12/30…Scored in double figures on two occasions – vs. Tennessee State (12/19) and Middle Tennessee State (1/4), when he scored a career-high 10 points in each of the games…Grabbed a career-high seven rebounds against Mississippi State on 2/3…Led the team in field goal percentage at 54.4% (49-90)…Tallied two points, three rebounds and a blocked shot in 14 minutes of action in season opener against Lipscomb (11/16)… Went 1-for-1 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from the line to finish with five points and four boards in win over DePaul (12/5)… Scored seven points while pulling down four boards in second start of the season against Western Kentucky (12/11)… Tied a season-high in points (10) and had a season best five FG made (5) against Tennessee State.. Blocked a career-high four shots vs. Manhattan (12/30)… Chipped in eight points on 4-of-6 shooting while blocking three shots in 15 minutes vs. Southern Miss (1/2)… Tied or set season high in points (10), field goals (5) and minutes (21) against MTSU (1/4)… Recorded five points and two blocks in 14 minutes vs. South Carolina (1/16)… Tallied four points, five rebounds and a block shot in 16 minutes of action against Tennessee (1/27)… Posted five points (2-3 FG) and seven rebounds in win over Mississippi State (2/3)… Scored four points and pulled down five rebounds in seven minutes of action in win over Ole Miss (2/18)… Scored four points (2-of-2 FG) and pulled down six rebounds in 15 minutes vs. Georgia (2/25)… Scored two points on (1-of-1) FG in win at Arkansas (2/27)… Saw eight minutes of action in win at Florida (3/2)… Scored two points in 11 minutes off the bench in final regular season game vs. South Carolina (3/6)… Provided a big boost off the bench in SEC semifinal game against Mississippi State, recording eight points, six rebounds and two blocks in 19 minutes.
2008-09 (Redshirt Freshman):
Played in 29 games and made six starts…Averaged 3.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks per game in 12.4 minutes of action…Recorded first career points and first career rebounds in first career start against Morehead State…Tallied first blocked shots against Morehead St…Posted seven points and five rebounds in 16 minutes against Illinois…Scored career-best 11 points vs. C. Arkansas (11/26)… Tallied career highs in rebounds (6) and blocks (3) in reserve role against Ga. Tech (12/6)… Posted eight points and two rebounds in win over Alabama A&M… Scored five points in four minutes against Furman (12/22)… Posted a six-point and five rebound effort in third career start against St. Francis (12/31)… Tied his season-high for blocked shots with three in win over UMass (1/3)… Tallied two points and four rebounds in season-high 24 minutes vs. Kentucky… Notched seven points in 11 minutes off the bench vs. Auburn. The 7 pts vs. Auburn is the most vs. an SEC team this year…Started sixth game of his career vs. Alabama (2/5)… Tallied four points on 2-of-2 shooting vs. Kentucky (2/17)… Recorded four points on 2-of-3 shooting in 8 minutes vs. LSU (3/4)… Scored second-highest point total of career with 10 points in 17 minutes vs. Arkansas… Tied a career-high with three blocked shots against the Razorbacks (3/8).
Has never played traditional organized basketball…caught the eye of college recruiters playing AAU basketball for the Sacramento Pharoahs in summer of 2007 when he averaged ten points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks per game.
Ifeanyi Festus Ezeli-Ndelue… Born October 21, 1989…Son of Festus, Sr., and Patricia… Has three brothers, Ik, Chucky, and Kenny, and one sister, Oby… Majoring in Economics… Graduated from Igbinedion Secondary School in Nigeria at the age of 14…Moved to the United States in 2004… Advice to youngsters: ‘Enjoy being young’… Chose Vanderbilt over Florida, Connecticut, West Virginia, Minnesota, Pacific, UC-Santa Barbara, Nevada, Reno, Creighton, South Florida, and UNLV.