Vanderbilt hoops to face St. John's at Maui Invitational

The 2015 Maui Jim Maui Invitational championship round bracket was set Tuesday and Vanderbilt, which will play in the tournament for the fifth time, was matched up with St. John’s.

The Commodores and Red Storm will kick off the three days of play at Maui, 1:30 p.m. Nov. 23. The second game will be the next day against either Wake Forest or Indiana.

The teams that compete in the championship round, which also includes Kansas, UCLA, UNLV and host Chaminade, are guaranteed three games.

Prior to their trip to Maui, the Commodores will host Austin Peay in an opening-round game, Nov. 13. Austin Peay will then compete in the tournament’s region round with Northern Colorado, Cal Poly and Maryland-Baltimore County.

Vanderbilt has yet to release its 2015-16 schedule. The complete non-conference portion is expected in the next several days.

Jul 28, 2015 12:36 PM

Swanson says he was all ears during three seasons at Vanderbilt

Dansby Swanson says that one of the most important lessons he learned during his three years as a Vanderbilt baseball player was to listen.

In particular, the first pick in the 2015 MLB draft wrote in an entry Friday on The Players Tribune, it is best to heed the advice of those who experiences exceed yours. The program established by coach Tim Corbin not only makes it easy to understand the benefits of doing so, it provides easy access to those exact types of resources.

What do you say when Sonny Gray, David Price and Pedro Alvarez are behind the batting cage watching you hit?

Not much. You just listen to their advice.

That was how Swanson started his piece on the website, founded by New York Yankees great Derek Jeter that allows athletes to provide first-person accounts of their lives and careers. Swanson talked at length about a preseason workout in Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Pedro Alvarez offered extensive advice on how to study pitchers and approach at-bats. Alvarez, of course, was an All-American third baseman with the Commodores.

Swanson also said Price, currently a pitcher with the Detroit Tigers, is “like a big brother to me” as he talked about the enduring connection to the program for former Vanderbilt players.

At Vandy, we always had Major Leaguers stopping by, saying hello to Coach Corbin, lifting at the gym and getting to know the current team. Once people leave, they always come back. It says something about the love that everyone has for this place.

Swanson’s story provides a clear sense of his appreciation for the Vanderbilt baseball program – and makes it seem highly likely he’ll be back to help future members.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Jul 24, 2015 1:17 PM

Former Vanderbilt receiver picks second school for second chance

Jordan Cunningham has found a place to continue his college football career.

Again.

Wednesday, the former Vanderbilt wide receiver posted on his Twitter and Instagram accounts that he would transfer to North Carolina. That, course, came a little more than two months after he announced via social media that he planned to play at Cincinnati.

It was not clear what happened with Cincinnati or what prompted this latest change of heart. His excitement over the move was obvious, though, in a series of tweets.

• I will be transferring to the University of North Carolina to finish my college career and continue to execute my career plans. #TarHeels

• UNC is a prestigious academic institution that provides an exceptional opportunity at the Kenan Flagler School of Business

• UNC- elite quality football program management and coaching stability, exceptional Strength & Conditioning Program, and A Superior Offense!

• Thank you @CoachFedora @CoachBrewerUNC @SethLittrell & the entire football staff, & UNC admissions for this amazing opportunity. God Bless!

Cunningham, a wide receiver from Fort Lauderdale, was one of the top recruits in Vanderbilt’s 2013 signing class, the last for former coach James Franklin and his staff. He was one of seven players in that year’s group rated a four-star prospect by multiple recruiting sites (Rivals, ESPN).

As a true freshman, he finished fifth on the team with 15 receptions for 123 yards. Last fall he caught just four passes in three games before he left the team for personal reasons. He never got back to playing football for the Commodores.

(Photo: Getty Images)


 

Jul 23, 2015 9:40 AM

Record-setting Vanderbilt running back Frank Mordica dies

Frank Mordica, one of the greatest running backs in Vanderbilt history, died of a heart attack Saturday in his hometown, Tallahassee, Fla. He was exercising at the time of his passing.

He was 57.

Vanderbilt’s athletics department announced the passing of the one-time Commodores’ career rushing leader Wednesday.

Mordica was the first player in program history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season when had 1,065 (with eight touchdowns) as a junior in 1978. He finished his career with 2,632 yards, a record that stood until Zac Stacy broke it 2012.

His 321 rushing yards in a single game (against Air Force, Nov. 18, 1978) remains a Vanderbilt record, 107 more than any other player in program history. Arkansas’ Darren McFadden rushed for 321 in a game in 2007 but no SEC player has rushed for more.

The New Orleans Saints drafted Mordica in the ninth round in 1980 but a knee injury forced him out of football prior to his rookie season.

Mordica completed his degree at Vanderbilt in 1981 and then entered the Navy. He remained on active duty until 2011, when he retired having achieved the rank of master chief petty officer.

(Photo: Vanderbilt University)
 

Jul 23, 2015 6:10 AM

Local defensive lineman accepts offer to play for Vanderbilt

Brandon Adams did not want to have to go far from home to play college football.

Mission accomplished for the Brentwood Academy defensive tackle.

Adams accepted a weekend offer from Vanderbilt and became the 10th recruit in the Class of 2016 to say he planned to sign with the Commodores. According to Donovan Stewart of Examiner.com, the offer was made Saturday and Adams closed the book on his recruiting the next day.

Stewart reported that the 6-foot-2, 300-pound Adams also had offers from Kansas, Western Kentucky, Navy, Furman and Samford. Rivals.com rates him a two-star prospect.

“I'm just giving back to the community that has given me so much, it’s great to be able and stay close to home and play at a great university,” Adams told the website.

He is the first local prospect and second in-state prospect to say he will sign with the Commodores next year. Sevier County quarterback Deuce Wallace already had pledged to do the same.

Adams finished the 2014 season with 39 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

“Vanderbilt is getting a stopper on the defensive line and they are getting a good student who has aspirations professionally that fit the ideals of Vanderbilt University,” BA coach Cody White said, according to Examiner.com.

(Photo: Rivals.com)

Jul 20, 2015 9:40 PM

Commodores' first-round picks get down to business of pro baseball

It was a big weekend for Vanderbilt baseball’s three 2015 first-round draft picks.

Shortstop Dansby Swanson and pitcher Walker Buehler each signed with their respective teams shortly before Friday’s deadline to do so. The next night pitcher Carson Fulmer made his professional debut.

In the case of Swanson, the first overall pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks, the deal was done just in the nick of time.

According to an MLB.com report, “the two sides didn't come to terms until 10 minutes before the deadline, although both parties had been in communication over the past several days.”

Swanson received a signing bonus of $6.5 million, under the assigned slot value of $8,616,900.

“We felt we made a competitive offer," D-backs senior vice president of baseball operations De Jon Watson said. "There's definitely some relief because we were picking No. 1; we were able to sign our first-round pick and get him in the fold. Now, it's about getting him prepared to achieve some of his goals and dreams."

The report said Swanson likely would be assigned to Class A (advanced) Visalia.

Buehler, the 24th pick, also got less than his slotted value to sign with Los Angeles. Rather than join any of the Dodgers farm teams, though, he will undergo Tommy John surgery and spend roughly a year or so in rehab.

From MLB.com:

Buehler's bonus is for less than his slot value of $2,094,400, and CBSSports.com reported that he will need to undergo Tommy John surgery. Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi declined to comment on Walker's health or say when he might begin pitching for the organization.

"We're obviously excited to have him on board," Zaidi said. "He finished the college season strong, obviously pitched in the College World Series. So beyond that, we don't have any comment for the time being."

Fulmer, the eighth overall selection, signed with the Chicago White Sox two weeks earlier and finally got his chance Saturday with that team’s Arizona League affiliate. He was the starter but pitched only the first inning. He struck out the first batter he faced, allowed a single to the second but then picked him off first base, and then got a fly ball to end the inning.

From ChicagoNow.com:

An impressive debut, on a handful of pitches - which included a few mid-upper 90's fastballs (94-96), and a few curveballs in the mid 80's. Even more impressive: 2 of the 3 Angels he faced were rehabbing top prospects.
 

Jul 20, 2015 5:15 AM

Vanderbilt sets date, time for men's basketball alumni game

The sun already has set on their college careers but former Vanderbilt basketball players.

A group of former Commodores will take the floor at Memorial Gymnasium not long after sunrise next month for a chance to revisit their past.

The university announced Friday that the men’s basketball alumni game will begin 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 8. Admission is free and doors will open at 10 a.m. A post-game autograph session will begin at roughly noon.

This is the second year the program has staged an alumni game. This year’s event will feature a highlight video of former players, raffle prizes and 1,000 commemorative posters.

“I'm excited and honored for everyone in the Vanderbilt basketball family to come back to Nashville and celebrate Commodore basketball," Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings said in a release from the athletics department. “We are going to have a great time, and I hope that our fans will come and celebrate the event with me and our players, both past and present."

Jul 10, 2015 12:15 PM

Vanderbilt graduate shares early lead at U.S. Women's Open

Marina Alex first made it into the U.S. Women’s Open field when she was still in college.

Now a professional, she made it to the top of the leaderboard Thursday in her first time back at the event.

Alex shot 4-under (66) at the Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club and was one of three players tied for first place when play was suspended because of weather with seven groups still on the course. One of the others at 4-under, Jane Park, still had three holes to finish.

Alex twice made back-to-back birdies (Nos. 7 and 8 and Nos. 14 and 15) and had only one bogey, at No. 18 (her ninth hole), on the day.

“It’s hard to go into the Open with any expectations, so I was just going out there to put my best game together, and this is what I got,” Alex said, via Vanderbilt’s athletics department.  “I was very pleased with it.”

Alex was a two-time SEC Player of the Year (2010 and 2012) and a two-time All-American (2010-2012) at Vanderbilt. She was the SEC individual champion in 2010 and the runner-up at the conference tournament in 2012.

She was an individual qualifier for the NCAA Championship in 2009 as a freshman and later that year played her way into the U.S. Women’s Open as an amateur.

Jul 10, 2015 6:40 AM

Terrell leaves Vanderbilt basketball staff to be assistant coach at APSU

Julian Terrell’s playing career took him around the world.

He got his coaching career moving forward this week by moving just up the road.

Austin Peay hired Terrell, a former Vanderbilt player and staff member, as an assistant coach. The two-time Commodores captain spent the last two seasons as Vanderbilt’s director of video operations.

Interestingly, his first game in his new job will be against Vanderbilt, Nov. 13 at Memorial Gymnasium.

“I am happy where I am at – I am looking forward to taking that next step in my coaching career – and I will embrace that,” Terrell said in a release from the Austin Peay athletics department. "I have walked into (Memorial Gym) many times for games but to walk in there as an opponent, to be on the opposite sideline will be different – it will be an exciting experience.

“I met with all the players (Tuesday) night. They said to me 'this will be interesting.' I told them 'I hope I have the Vanderbilt scout because I have things about them they don't want other people to know.'”

Terrell was Vanderbilt’s leading rebounder in 2005 and 2006 and a team captain both of those seasons.

He graduated in 2006 and then had a seven-year professional career during which he played in Germany, Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, Belgium, Finland and Kosovo.

He retired as a player in 2013 and joined Vanderbilt’s staff that year.

“Julian is a very bright young man with a solid basketball background," Austin Peay coach Dave Loos said. "The fact he played for and worked for Kevin Stallings and his staff at Vanderbilt was very attractive to me. He comes highly recommended.

“His background certainly indicates he will have an immediate impact with our post players but Julian will be involved in all aspects for us.”

Jul 10, 2015 6:20 AM

Three more Vanderbilt baseball players sign professional contracts

Half of the Vanderbilt players selected in this year’s Major League Baseball draft have now taken the money and moved on.

Pitchers Philip Pfeifer and Tyler Ferguson and outfielder Rhett Wiseman all signed professional contracts Thursday. In so doing, all three gave up their final year of college eligibility and brought to four (of eight) the number of drafted players who have signed this year.

Eighth overall selection Carson Fulmer signed with the Chicago White Sox last week.

Pfeifer, a fourth-year junior, was a third-round pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The winningest pitcher in Tennessee high school history, he became a weekend starter this year after having sat out the 2014 season for personal reasons. Pfeifer was 10-6 in his Vanderbilt career, including 6-5 with a win over TCU at the College World Series this year. According to MLB.com, his signing bonus was $722,500.

Wiseman, a junior, also was a third-round draft pick. He went to the Washington Nationals three picks after Pfeifer was selected. He tied for the team lead with 15 home runs un 2015.

Ferguson, a 6-foot-5 right-hander, signed with the Texas Rangers, who selected him in the sixth round. He never fully realized his potential with the Commodores and appeared in just 15 games this season. Ferguson finished with an 11-6 record in 40 career appearances.

The deadline for drafted college players to sign professional contracts is July 17.

First-round picks Dansby Swanson (Arizona) and Walker Buehler (Los Angeles), 12th-round choice Zander Wiel (Minnesota) and 39th-round selection John Kilichowski (Chicago Cubs) remain unsigned.
 

Jul 9, 2015 3:27 PM