With three players set to get picked in the NBA Draft next week, you may be asking yourself how did the Vanderbilt Commodores not win more NCAA Tournament games the past couple years? Why weren’t they ranked higher? What was their coaching staff doing? John Jenkins, Festus Ezeli and Jeffrey Taylor are all in the same projected draft range.
“I think we’re all in the same boat, in that late first round, early second, we’re all different positions,” said Jenkins at the NBA combine a couple weeks ago.
Here’s where we have Jenkins going in our mock draft
25. Memphis- John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt, 6-4, Jr.
The Griz could use improved depth at just about every position but specifically in the backcourt. John Jenkins is a sharpshooter who provides a back-up plan in case restricted free agent O.J. Mayo leaves this off-season.
Go here for a full scouting report on Jenkins, who is probably the best shooter in the draft, a great scorer who needs to get better on defense to make it at the next level.
Vanderbilt may not be known as a college basketball powerhouse program, but each of these individuals benefit from having each other to lean on in this process.
“It’s kind of incredible because we play hard together, practice together, we’re good friends.” said Jenkins. “We’re not just guys that tolerate each other, we’re always around each other.”
Jenkins has worked out with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls. He’s also met with the Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies.
Festus Ezeli talked about what his biggest strength is as a player at the NBA Combine.
“I’m a defensive minded player so I’ve been watching a lot of tape on guys, and I see similarities between me and Serge Ibaka, I like help side defense a lot, I play for my teammates.” i
He also mentioned another player for which he’s likely to draw comparisons.
“I see a lot of similarities with Nene, and a number of players.”
Ezeli graduated from high school in Nigeria at age 14, but didn’t start playing basketball until later in life, he was even cut from his high school team. He came back and did high school again in America.
“When I went back to high school it was actually remedial for me, because it was accelerated over there,” he said of the experience.
Here’s a synopsis of Ezeli from our detailed scouting report
Ezeli will be drafted solely due to his size alone. He isn’t a stiff by any means inside, but does not possess a ton of skill, which projects him as a backup at the next level. Ezeli battled injury early in his senior season which sort of stunted his growth some, but because NBA teams are always in need of some size inside, he will get drafted possibly as high as late in the first round. More than likely, he’ll fall into the second round.
And where we have him going in our latest mock draft:
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Fox Sports, MSN, Walter Football and Yardbarker
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should tooPowered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks