In his first season of eligibility after sitting out the entire 2012-13 campaign per NCAA transfer rules, Vanderbilt guard Eric McClellan was a pivotal figure in Kevin Stallings’ rotation. Through 12 games McClellan averaged a team-high 14.2 points per game to go along with 4.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game for the Commodores, but he did not accompany the team to Tuscaloosa on Tuesday night for their SEC opener at Alabama.
On Wednesday it was reported by Jeff Lockridge of The Tennessean that a “violation of university athletic policy” has ruled out McClellan for the remainder of the 2013-14 season. According to a statement released by the school, McClellan is expected to be reinstated this summer. Unfortunately for Vanderbilt, McClellan’s suspension drops them down to just seven scholarship players.
“I want to apologize to my family, coaches, teammates, and the entire Vanderbilt community for my actions that have led to this suspension,” McClellan said in the statement according to The Tennessean. “I take full responsibility for what has happened. I look forward to returning to school this summer and of continuing my goal of earning a degree at Vanderbilt and playing basketball for this coaching staff and with these players.”
McClellan’s suspension leaves the Commodores with three double-digit scorers: senior forward Rod Odom (13.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg), freshman forward Damian Jones (10.7, 4.6) and senior guard Kyle Fuller (10.0, 3.9, 3.7 apg). That triumvirate scored 51 of Vanderbilt’s 63 points in their 68-63 loss at Alabama on Tuesday night, but it was the turnover count (16, compared to eight for Alabama) that made the difference.
Vanderbilt (8-5, 0-1 SEC) plays three of its next four games at home but it is a difficult stretch, beginning with Kentucky on Saturday. The other two home games are against Missouri (January 16) and Ole Miss (January 22), with a game at LSU (January 18) in between.