Kevin Stallings and Vanderbilt received the first commit in the Class of 2014. St. Joseph’s High (N.J.) senior shooting guard Wade Baldwin announced that he had verbally committed to the Commodores on Sunday morning.
Baldwin had been on an official visit to the Nashville campus, and used his Twitter account to break the news. In early August, the 6-foot-3 shooting guard cut his list of offers to five: Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech.
It appears that Vanderbilt’s hiring of former Harvard assistant coach Yanni Hufnagel is paying dividends. The Crimson had offered the New Jersey native in July 2012, and some recruiting insiders believe he helped sway Baldwin to the Commodores.
This addition should bring optimism to a Vandy program that was looking for some this summer. Once sophomore guard Kevin Bright elected to turn pro in July, Stallings’ entire 2012 recruiting class had left the program. Vanderbilt has a two-man class beginning this season, which includes four-star center Damian Jones.
Baldwin, ranked No. 177 overall in the Class of 2014, is high school teammates with Kentucky commit Karl Towns.
Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.
The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.
It wasn’t pretty.
And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.
The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.
But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.
Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: