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June 28, 2012
Three Commodores await NBA Draft
The 2012 NBA Draft promises to be an eventful night for the Vanderbilt basketball program.
Three of the program's most successful standouts, seniors Jeffery Taylor and Festus Ezeli and junior John Jenkins, are among the 60 players are expected to taken on Thursday night.
Taylor, the school's second-leading all-time scorer and one of the SEC's most talented players throughout his career, is expected to be the first taken among the group.
The 6-foot-7 athletic forward has participated in several team workouts since the NBA Draft Combine and he's consistently appeared as a first round pick by many NBA draft analysts and mock draft handicappers.
Taylor has spent time in front of Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Golden State, Indiana and several other teams in the last month. As of Wednesday, several reports had surfaced about possible first round interest from Atlanta, Chicago, Indiana and Miami.
Some rumors have Taylor going to the Indiana Pacers with the 26th pick. A wildcard could be Boston as the Celtics hold back-to-back picks at No.21 and No.22.
Ezeli, the school's all-time leading shot blocker, has been pegged as a late first or early second round pick. The 6-foot-11 center has worked out for several teams since the NBA Draft Combine, as many are intrigued by his potential upside and defensive skill set.
Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Denver, Miami, Portland and Sacramento are among the many teams that have shown interest.
Lots of rumors on Wednesday have Ezeli going to either Miami at the 27th overall pick or possibly to Cleveland, which has the 24th, 33rd and 34th picks. A darkhorse might be Boston or Washington.
Jenkins, a two-time leading scorer in the SEC and 2012 All-American, has received much pre-draft attention due to his supreme shooting ability. Considered one of the nation's best overall shooters, Jenkins has worked out or been linked to over half the league since the NBA Draft Combine.
The Gallatin native has visited Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Golden State, Memphis and several others in the last month or so. Like Ezeli, Jenkins has been projected to late first round or early second round by analysts since the combine.
Some believe Jenkins may go to Atlanta at the 23rd pick, some project him to go at No.25 to Memphis, and others have him going to Chicago at the 29th pick. A few sources have stated that if he falls into the second round, he won't get past Charlotte at No.31. A wildcard might be Denver as the Nuggets have shown the most interest throughout the process.
Regardless of where the three might go in the draft, it will mark just the second time in Vanderbilt history that three Commodores have been selected in the NBA Draft. 1974 SEC Player of the Year Jan van Breda Kolff, Terry Compton and Bill Ligon went in the 10-round NBA Draft in 1974.
Vanderbilt has never had two players taken in the draft's first two rounds, so Thursday night figures to be a major moment for Commodore basketball.
Kentucky All-American Anthony Davis is expected to be the No.1 overall pick by the New Orleans Hornets.
The NBA Draft starts at 6 p.m. CT and will air live on ESPN and online at ESPN3.com.