Posted: 12:25 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, 2013
By Christian D'Andrea
Vanderbilt basketball got a big commitment on Monday when three-star recruit Luke Kornet signed his official letter of intent to play for the Commodores in 2013. Kornet, a 6'10" power forward out of Argyle, chose to play for Kevin Stallings despite scholarship offers from Kansas State and TCU, according to Rivals.com.
Kornet will instantly add size and length to a Vanderbilt team that was severely lacking big men. The Commodores used a small ball lineup throughout 2012-2013 with only Josh Henderson and Shelby Moats available to play center and protect the rim. Kornet's signature, along with Damian Jones's previous commitment, will give the 'Dores two newcomers this fall that can play around the basket, block shots, and provide offense in the paint.
While Jones is more of a traditional big man, Kornet is built more like the kind of stretch forward that Stallings has been able to get mileage out of in the past. The Texan's ability to shoot three-pointers will allow him to fill a Ross Neltner/Steve Tchiengang role in the offense. However, at just 195 pounds the spindly forward will have plenty of weight training ahead of him before he'll be ready for SEC play.
Vanderbilt had an extra scholarship slot available after Darius Thompson de-committed and chose to attend Tennessee earlier this spring. The departure of freshman wing A.J. Astroth, who has decided to transfer, will also open up space for the rangy big man. Conventional wisdom suggests that he'll redshirt as a freshman in order to gain weight and learn to deal with NCAA forwards, but he could be pressed into action early thanks to the team's limited supply of fresh bodies in the frontcourt.
The Commodores are primed for an improvement after last year's 16-17 finished. Vanderbilt ended the season on a high note and are only losing Astroth from 2013's young squad. Kornet will eventually add length and shooting to the team's frontcourt, and his height and ability to play weakside defense could make him invaluable to this team in the future. Though he's not a high-profile prospect, he fits well into Stallings's system and should be able to have a significant impact with this team as seasons go by.