Citing philosophical differences with Coach Kevin Stallings, guard Keegan Bell said he plans to leave the Vanderbilt basketball team after the spring semester and transfer to another school.
As a freshman, Bell played in every game as a backup point guard during the 2007-08 season and averaged 13.5 minutes, 2.7 points and 2.8 assists per game.
“Coach and I just didn’t see eye to eye on certain things,” Bell said. “Sometimes players just don’t fit into certain strategies. I just didn’t feel this was the right place for me.
“It’s nothing against the coaches, the players or the university. For me to be the player I need to be, I needed to be somewhere else.”
Bell said he doesn’t know to which school he will transfer.
”We’ll see who calls and who’s interested,” he said.
Bell informed Stallings on Sunday of his decision to transfer. In a release issued by Vanderbilt on Monday, Stallings said, “We support that decision 100 percent and we wish him well.”
Stallings declined further comment Monday when contacted by The City Paper.
Bell, a native of Hazel Green, Ala., originally committed to Georgia before signing with Vanderbilt. He expressed regret Monday in feeling the need to transfer after only one season.
“I’m disappointed because I love the university,” he said. “I was glad to have the opportunity to be here for one year. It’s hard to leave because I really felt I was going to have a long career here.”
Bell’s departure means Vanderbilt will enter the 2008-09 season with junior-to-be Jermaine Beal as the only true point guard on the roster among scholarship players.
In addition, the Commodores losing departing senior Alex Gordon, who started all season at shooting guard.
Stallings said the situation might not be as dire as it seems.
“That depends on what happens recruiting-wise,” he said. “We’ll just continue to recruit the people we’re recruiting. This doesn’t change anything we’re doing.”
Among Vanderbilt’s top recruiting targets is 6-foot-3 guard Brad Tinsley of Oregon City, Ore., who is scheduled make an official visit to the VU campus in April.
Jeff Taylor, a 6-foot-7 swingman from Hobbs, N.M., has already visited Vanderbilt and is also considering Texas and Gonzaga.
Tinsley and Taylor will sign with their colleges of choice during the April signing period.