October 9, 2007

VU hoops recruiting sees ''180 degree turnaround''

After recruiting coach Jeff Jackson departed for the head coaching position at Furman, things were eerily quiet in the recruiting world for Vanderbilt basketball. A full month passed before VU had replaced Jackson with King Rice, who had not held a college coaching job for three years.

With an unheard-of six scholarships available to offer, the future of the program seemed to hang in the balance. As the all-important summer AAU camp circuit rolled into last fall, the silence "on the street" was deafening.

The first good news came in August, when blue chip Alabama point guard Keegan Bell switched his verbal commitment from Georgia to Vanderbilt. Bell turned down offers from Louisiana State, Mississippi State, Auburn and Alabama, finally giving Vandy fans reason for some optimism.

Just before the beginning of the fall signing period, Vandy also received a verbal from 6-7 prep school attendee Andre Walker. But in the mind of the recruiting gurus, Walker's commitment came with an "asterisk", as had played sparingly over the past year while rehabbing a serious ankle injury.

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