On Thursday night, Vanderbilt showed the nation why everyone in the country is so tantalized by their talent.
The Commodores scored 53 first half points, hitting 70.8% from the field and knocking down 10-12 — seriously, 10-12 — from beyond the arc as they built a 25 point lead at the break. By the time it was all said and down, Vandy had gotten 28 points from Jeff Taylor and 26 from John Jenkins as they knocked off Ole Miss 102-76 on the road. The 102 points? It was seven more than Florida State and Virginia Tech scored combined.
Taylor scored 23 of his 28 points in the first half and added nine rebounds. Jenkins? He scored his 26 points on 5-5 shooting from the floor. There’s not a soul that has said Vanderbilt’s issue is a lack of talent, not when they have three first round picks on their roster.
The talk post game, however, had nothing to do with the game itself. Jelan Kendick and Reginald Buckner had some kind of confrontation in the locker room in front of media covering the game. As Neal McCready of the Clarion Ledger tells it:
It apparently spilled out from something that happened on the bench, and Kendrick was yelling at the locker room doors as the media (and dance team/cheerleaders/assorted others) walked by. Buckner came out and the two were separated. Kendrick was held out of the locker room and was being talked to by various people, including Andy Kennedy at one point.
Among the comments made? Kendrick asked Buckner why he wanted to fight him and not Festus Ezeli.
An altercation between teammates after an embarrassing, 26 point home loss is not the worst thing that can happen on a basketball team. As a coach, you want competitors, guys that get upset when they get taken to the woodshed. But this incident becomes all the more concerning since it a) happened in front of the watching eyes of media members on the tweet machine and b) involved Jelan Kendrick. If you’ve forgotten, Kendrick was a McDonald’s All-American that got run out of Memphis before he even played a game due to multiple altercations with teammates.
“You guys would be amazed at what happens on a day-to-day basis,” Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said after the game. “You got a little taste of it tonight.”
“I’ve been doing this 16 years and when you’re in practice there’s competition and guys are going to get emotional at times,” Kennedy said. “Obviously there’s a line that can’t be crossed. … I know emotions were real high and guys made comments or actions that obviously we can’t have between teammates.”