It has been 24 years since Will Perdue was selected with the 11th pick overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1988. In the years since there have been six Olympic Games, CDs have gone from new to dominant to redundant, and the dot com bubble ruined millions. But not one Vandy player had been deemed good enough to warrant a first round draft choice.
That all changed this year.
For the first time in school history Vanderbilt had two players selected in the opening round of the draft. With the 23rd pick the Atlanta Hawks took John Jenkins, the two time SEC scoring champion who adds an immediate three point threat (he was 44% from behind the arc last year). Jenkins will be expected to contribute from day one and will be an exciting addition to an improving Hawks squad.
If Jenkins was drafted for immediate impact then the Golden State Warriors were looking distinctly long term when they used the 30th pick on Festus Ezeli. The giant Nigerian has played just six years of competitive basketball, but has the size (6-11, 264) and athleticism mix that NBA scouts just drool over. Ezeli will be expected to be nothing more than a developmental player at first, but can grow into an outstanding shot blocker and rebounder. If he develops an offensive go to move or two he could be a steal.
The Commodores almost had three first round picks as the first choice of the second round was also a Vanderbilt player. The Charlotte Bobcats used the 31st pick to take Swedish native Jeffery Taylor who is seen as a consistent scorer with an ever improving three point game. The steady Taylor is now a second generation NBA player as his father Jeff suited up for both Houston and Detroit.
To give a little bit of perspective on how this haul of Vanderbilt players ranks historically consider this. Only once before have the Commodores had three players selected in the same draft, 1974, when the selection process lasted for 10 long rounds.
Talent begets talent, and though Vandy lost a lot of scoring from the 2011 class the Commodores recruiting pitch just got a whole lot more desirable to high schoolers with lofty NBA dreams.