State Colleges

Vandiver settles in with Emporia State

Emporia State men's basketball coach Shaun Vandiver favors a simple approach.

In his first year with the Hornets after 10 years as a Division I assistant, his aim is to leave little room for interpretation about how things need to be done.

"It's a very simplistic approach in that I'm not going to try and have 518 different plays or anything like that," Vandiver said. "We want to be one of the hardest-playing teams in the league. We want to be one of the toughest teams in the league.

"And as far as rules, there's just one: Don't do anything that might embarrass the program. That's as simple as it gets."

Vandiver, who came to Emporia State after helping Boise State win 22 games last season, won't be the only new face on the sideline for the Hornets, who went 16-14 overall and 12-10 in MIAA play last season.

Five Division I transfers — all seniors — join the Hornets this season.

"The good thing is that it's a fresh start, everybody gets to begin brand new," Vandiver said. "We're all out there trying to get better every day."

Emporia native and Butler Community College product Troy Pierce, a 6-foot-6 forward, comes to Emporia State from Charleston Southern, where he was fourth on the team in blocked shots last season.

Guards Chris Sights (Prairie View A&M) Tola Lawal (Morgan State) and Derrell Conner (Nevada) will also play their last year in Emporia. Another 6-6 forward, Antonio DiMaria (Utah) should help provide size with Pierce.

Junior guard Taylor Euler (5.3 points) is the Hornets' biggest contributor back from last season.

"A lot of these guys have experience playing in big-time college arenas," Vandiver said. "We want to try to tap into that age, that knowledge."

Vandiver's knowledge of the area has already helped him make a quick splash into the recruiting arena, picking up a commitment from Heights guard Terrence Moore in September.

As a player, Vandiver won a national championship at Hutchinson Community College in 1988 before playing three seasons at Colorado, where he was the Big Eight (or 8?) newcomer of the year his first season and a two-time All-Big Eight pick in his final two seasons.

His wife, Danielle, is from Newton and his oldest daughter, Aubrey, was born in Kansas.

"Since day one, there's been a lot of questions and people wanting to talk to me about the season," said Vandiver, a first-round pick of the Golden State Warriors in 1991. "I've got a lot of family and friends around here so I've got that to kind of motivate me. You go somewhere you don't know anybody and you might be kind of lost at first. That's not the case here."