Fresh Faces of the SEC: Vanderbilt’s A.J. Ogilvy
By now, most college basketball fans are aware that A.J. Ogilvy is a native of Sydney, Australia.
The freshman center has been instrumental in Vanderbilt’s continued success this year, and has come as somewhat of a surprise to coaches in the league.
While Ogilvy also had offers from UNLV, New Mexico, Wake Forest, Indiana and Georgia Tech, nobody expected Ogilvy to post the numbers his is netting—currently at 17.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt, no stranger to Australian big men (Luke Schenscher, another Australian center, led Georgia Tech to the national championship game in 2004) even commented that Ogilvy was “better than advertised” after the Commodores put a beat-down on the Yellow Jackets, 92-79.
Ogilvy’s experience, though, should never have been doubted. Ogilvy has been a part of several International tournaments, posting big numbers in all of them.
Most recently, in the FIBA Under-19 World Championship in July 2007, Ogilvy averaged 22.3 points and 9.8 rebounds.
In 2006, Ogilvy was named to the Oceania Under-19 Championship All-Star team after averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
And in 2005, the big man was named the New South Wales Junior Basketball Player of the Year.
At 6-foot-11 and 250 pounds, Ogilvy is a legit center and NBA prospect—a guy who can post up, shoot from the outside, and pass well. His impact on Vanderbilt has been immediate, as the Commodores streaked out to a 15-0 non-conference record to begin this season.
Since then, however, Vanderbilt has struggled in SEC play, mainly due to the fact that Ogilvy’s point production has dropped in those conference matchups.
Vanderbilt drew some tough opening conference opponents—and got caught in transition games it simply couldn’t keep up in. The Commodores' conference record should improve as they face an easier schedule and get their tougher opponents back home in Nashville.
Other than Tennessee, who is the clear leader in the East, the rest of the conference is wide open, so Vanderbilt should compete for the second spot. For that to happen, though, Ogilvy will have to regain his former production.
The SEC has quite a few exciting freshmen this season—and the race for SEC Freshman of the Year should be hotly contested.
One thing’s for sure—A.J. Ogilvy’s name will be near the top of the list.
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