New summer workout rule comes at right time for VU hoops

Monday, June 25, 2012 at 2:02pm

With a “huge year of transition” on the horizon, time is of the essence for Vanderbilt basketball coach Kevin Stallings.

Fortunately, there’s time remaining this summer.

Starting on June 15, Stallings and men’s basketball coaches around the country could work with their players. NCAA rules allow for up to eight hours a week of supervised workouts and weight-training sessions.

In the past, coaches couldn’t supervise weight training and could only conduct individual workouts, which was a group of four or less. This summer there is no limit.

“I think how it benefits us is it keeps us closer to our players,” Stallings said on Monday’s SEC coaches summer teleconference call. “It gives us an opportunity to work with them and, yet, not in an overextended way. It just sort of allows us to keep more of a relationship with them. It will impact their game. It will impact their ability to play.

“When they’re getting good instruction then they can only stand to benefit from that.”

The Commodores lost their entire starting five and their top reserve from a team that went 25-11, won the SEC Tournament and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament during the 2011-12 season.

There are no seniors on the roster and, of the seven returning players, rising sophomore guard Kedren Johnson averaged the most points (3.1 ppg) and minutes (14.5 mpg). 

Incoming freshmen A.J. Astroth and Sheldon Jeter are on campus for summer school, as is Tulsa transfer Eric McClellan, who must sit out the upcoming season. The third freshman of the 2012 class, Kevin Bright, is expected to arrive on campus from his home country of Germany in July.

The new rule, which was approved by the NCAA in January, requires all incoming freshmen to be in summer school in order to be eligible to receive instruction from coaches. Sophomores and older must have completed at least 30 credit hours and have a 2.2 GPA or be in summer school. 

“I think that this comes at a great time for us,” Stallings said. “It does give us an opportunity to be with them and maybe get a little bit of a head start — not a head start on our competitors but just a head start on things from the season. I certainly think that will, in a small way, benefit us because of the newness of the roles being played by the individual players this year and the fact that none of these guys have been in impactful roles to this point in their careers.”