Vanderbilt guard Aaron Nesmith, the SEC’s leading scorer, is expected to miss time with a foot injury, the school announced on Saturday.
Nesmith missed Saturday’s Vanderbilt loss to Texas A&M. Before the game, Nesmith was in a boot as teammates went through warmups. According to the Vanderbilt Hustler, Nesmith sustained a stress fracture in his right foot. That injury could cost Nesmith several weeks — if not the rest of the season.
The 6-foot-6 sophomore flourished under first-year head coach Jerry Stackhouse before the injury. Nesmith produced at a high level, averaging 23.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals per contest. Shooting 51 percent from the floor and 52 percent from three-point range, Nesmith became a premier perimeter shooting threat. Nesmith’s strong play has led him to become an NBA Draft prospect as early as this summer.
Injuries have crushed the Commodores over the past two seasons. Senior forward Clevon Brown is already out indefinitely with a knee injury. Vanderbilt lost lottery pick point guard Darius Garland last season just weeks into the season. The team eventually went winless in the SEC and moved on from previous head coach Bryce Drew.
Things were looking positive for Vanderbilt with a five-point loss to unbeaten Auburn earlier this week. But the loss to Texas A&M on Saturday extends an agonizingly long SEC losing streak to 22 games.
Without Nesmith and Brown, Vanderbilt will have to rely on junior guard Saben Lee and freshman guard Scotty Pippen Jr. When Vanderbilt was very depleted last season, Lee played heavy minutes. Pippen, on the other hand, is unproven in league play as a newcomer.
Down to only eight scholarship players, Vanderbilt needs to get healthy sooner than later. Stackhouse will have to handle a depleted roster lacking star power during at least the next several weeks. The goal for the Commodores will be to pick up its first SEC win since 2018.