Vanderbilt Basketball: Following injury, Aaron Nesmith’s season deserves more praise

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NASHVILLE, TN – JANUARY 23: Aaron Nesmith #24 of the Vanderbilt Commodores (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Aaron Nesmith from Vanderbilt Basketball was putting together one of the more impressive bodies of work in college basketball this season before a foot stress fracture ended his tenure.

A common remark from people who are first introduced to Vanderbilt Basketball’s Aaron Nesmith is “oh, well with that name, he better be good;” referencing the fact that his last name closely resembles the last name of the creator of basketball, James Naismith. That’s a tough first impression to live up to, but Nesmith has seemingly done just that his entire life.

He was a wanted commodity throughout high school; that is backed up by his high 4-star rating and 64th recruiting ranking. He also won South Carolina’s Gatorade Player of the Year award over none other than Zion Williamson. After joining the most stacked recruiting class in Vanderbilt Basketball history the 6-foot-6, 213-pound wing would only continue to improve.

Nesmith’s freshman year development was one of the few bright spots to an otherwise abysmal 2018-19 Vanderbilt Basketball season. Despite an injury to star recruit Darius Garland and a poor 9-23 record, Nesmith gave fans a reason to be excited for this next year.

Nesmith’s 2018-19

  • 11 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.4 APG

Improvement was the goal for the Vanderbilt Commodores in 2019-20. Thus far they have seen exactly that; they’re already one win away from matching their win total last season at 8-7. A lot of that early improvement can be credited to Nesmith, who had risen as a go-to scoring building block for the team this year.

Nesmith’s 2019-20 

  • 23 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 0.9 APG

Nesmith had stepped up his game almost to an unimaginable degree this season. His historic rise was on pace to be one for the record books, but a recent foot stress fracture (he was first ruled out for January 11th’s matchup against Texas A&M) has likely cut his season – and unfortunately also likely, his college career – short.

It’s very unfortunate for Vanderbilt; losing their best player for the second season in a row. It’s also (obviously) unfortunate for Nesmith, who was putting together one of the better individual seasons in college basketball this year.

It’s even further unfortunate considering just how quiet his awesome season had been. His output has never quite been mimicked by any past player since the “other” Naismith created the sport. he had been a superb outlier before falling to injury; the fact he was never the national conversation for that is a mistake. Here is a look at just how great Nesmith had been performing (which will hopefully enlighten the narrative around his name); starting with his historic shooting ability.

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