Freshman puts himself in Vanderbilt record books, on pace for more

It’s not that it hadn’t been done. It’s just that it hadn’t been done by one so young.

Freshman Damian Jones tied a Vanderbilt single-game record with seven blocked shots Thursday in the Commodores’ 65-59 loss at South Carolina.

The only others to do so were Festus Ezeli and Will Perdue. Ezeli did it Feb. 16, 2011 at Georgia and Perdue did it Dec. 28, 1987 against East Carolina. Ezeli was a fourth-year junior and Perdue was a senior.

Jones has played just 23 games in his college career. He’s also listed at 6-foot-10, one inch shorter than Ezeli and two inches shorter than Perdue during their Vanderbilt days.

“I know a lot of SEC coaches just like me that are going to lose sleep knowing that their center is a freshman and he is going to be in this league for a while,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said.

Jones now has 33 blocked shots for the season, one behind team leader James Siakim. With seven more he will become the 10th player in school history (or perhaps the 11th, depending on what Siakim does) with at least 40 in a season.

Only three players, Ezeli, Perdue and A.J. Ogilvy, averaged more than one block per game for their careers.

Jones’ current average is 1.45 per game, just ahead of Ogilvy’s 1.44 in 2007-08, which is the highest ever by a Commodores freshman and the sixth-best single-season average in program history.

While his big game (he also had 16 points and 10 rebounds) moved him into the SEC’s top 10, he still was third among conference freshmen. Through Wednesday night, LSU freshman Jordan Mickey was the SEC leader with 82 blocks (3.6 per game) and Arkansas’ Moses Kingsley was fifth with 36 (1.6 per contest).