SEC basketball, Vanderbilt Commodores. Does Jerry Stackhouse have a shot?
When you think of Jerry Stackhouse, you probably think of his NBA career. He played in two all-star games and played on seven NBA teams over an 18-year career. He also dominated at the college basketball level in North Carolina.
You would have to get pretty far down his resume before you got to him being the head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores. Stackhouse has been the head coach for two seasons now, and the ‘Dores have been atrocious in each of the two years. Despite recruiting NBA-caliber players, Vandy hasn’t been competitive in the SEC.
Even at a lesser program, there is only so much failure a team can handle without switching coaches. Vandy has low standards, but they don’t want to be seen as an absolute afterthought, and they need hope for the future. With +30000 odds to win a national title this year, hope is in short supply in Nashville.
How much pressure is Jerry Stackhouse under this season? Can he turn things around this year? Let’s start by looking at what Vandy fans expect.
The Vanderbilt Standard
If we’re being honest, the only reason Stackhouse still has his job is that Vandy has low standards. They only have 15 NCAA Tournament appearances in their program’s history, and their last trip past the first round was in 2012.
Their highest seeding was when they were a 3-seed in 1994. Needless to say, Vandy’s standard has slipped since then. In fact, their last coach went 0-18 in the SEC in his final season.
Vanderbilt knows they are going to have to rebuild this program from scratch. They don’t have a winning culture, and there isn’t much to encourage recruits to come to their school. The few NBA prospects to play for the Commodores in recent years struggled to improve during their time with the school, and they had better options outside of Vanderbilt.
Right now, Vandy fans just want something to be excited about. They want a sign that the future is brighter than the past. Stackhouse’s hiring brought that, but his production since has not. It’s exacerbated by the fact that other former players are doing great as head coaches.
Here’s a breakdown of what Vanderbilt wanted from Stackhouse.
Former Players as Head Coaches
A new trend has begun in basketball as a whole. Former stars are becoming some of the best head coaches at both levels of the sport. Penny Hardaway keeps landing some of the biggest recruits at Memphis. Juwan Howard vaulted Michigan into the top tier of college basketball teams last season. In the NBA, Steve Nash is in charge of the Brooklyn Nets. It’s made its way into the college football realm with “Coach Prime.”
What is so attractive about former stars being head coaches? It does a few things. The biggest thing is that it gives the coach a unique relationship with the players. They can relate to what they are going through since they recently handled similar circumstances. This also helps with strategy in the actual games.
It’s essentially the same concept as promoting an employee to be the boss as opposed to someone whose only job is to boss people around. The dynamic is easier.
Also, it provides a recruiting boost. Players want to play for coaches who know what it’s like to get through college and make it to the pros. As far as inexperienced coaches go, former players are the best risk to take.
How Much Pressure Is Stackhouse Under?
The problem with Jerry Stackhouse is that he hasn’t lived up to similar hype. He’s just a name, and his coaching skills have not backed up his play on the court.
The only hope for Stackhouse is if he can land some big recruits to reinvigorate the program. He has a solid start to the 2022 class, but he needs to finish by signing them and landing some transfers.
At this point, Stackhouse has had plenty of time to bring in his own recruits. If he can’t get it done this year, he will be firmly on the hot season. The only thing that might save him would be a top-ranked recruiting class.