Former Commodore star returns to campus as pro

Former Commodore star returns to campus as pro (Image 1)

Former Vanderbilt basketball standout Derrick Byars is back on campus this week.  This time, however, he's wearing the logo of the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies are holding the first portion of training camp at Vanderbilt.

For Byars, it is a chance to return to the gym where his career took off.

“It's very surreal being back out here in my familiar surroundings and everything,” he said. “But it's good, I'm a pro now and I'm back trying to get a job. I'm working as hard as I can out here to do so.”

Byars spent last season in Germany with ALBA Berlin.  He also had stints in France, Greece and with multiple NBA teams.

So far, his new coaches like what they see.

“I've watched him for quite a while,” stated Grizzlies Head Coach David Joerger. “He's gotten better, his shot selection is better, his shot making is better, his range is better, his knowledge of the game is better. He's just kind of grown up and I like him a lot.”

The Memphis native joined the Commodores as a junior in 2005 and started all 30 games.  In 2007, his senior year, he was named SEC Player of the Year.

The Grizzlies have five more closed practices at Vanderbilt this week before opening up to the public at Ensworth High School on Saturday.

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