Vanderbilt is ranked seventh in the preseason ESPN/USA Today men's basketball coaches poll, which was released on Thursday.
It is the highest preseason ranking for the Commodores since 1965, when they were ranked fifth by the Associated Press prior to All-American Clyde Lee’s senior season. The year before, Lee and Vanderbilt were No. 6 in the preseason then reached the school’s only Elite Eight appearance (out of 23 teams).
It also marks the first time in Kevin Stallings' 13 years as head coach that the Commodores have garnered a preseason ranking, and it is the first time since the 1993-94 team that any Vanderbilt team has appeared in the preseason polls.
Vanderbilt returns all five starters and its top three reserves after a 23-11 season that ended in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.
Offensive trio John Jenkins, Jeffery Taylor and Festus Ezeli all passed on the NBA Draft to come back for this season. But the Commodores will be without the 6-foot-11 Ezeli for the first six games after the NCAA suspended him for accepting a meal and hotel room from a Vanderbilt alum during an out-of-town trip this summer.
Vanderbilt opens its season at home on Nov. 11 against Oregon.