The 2010 NBA Draft came and went without so much as a mention of AJ Ogilvy and Jermaine Beal on the night of the festivities. I like to call this moment "Deja VU" [yes, that is an intentional pun]. Every so often when Vanderbilt does have a player seemingly of NBA-caliber, expectations and hopes are traditionally dashed or severely stunted.
Freije? 53rd overall, despite an impressive scoring pedigree, knack for hitting big shots (see NC State), and a strong perimeter game for such a tall player. Byars? A potential first round pick in the projections, Derrick slipped into the second round went 42nd overall. Shan Foster? Also a second rounder. 51st overall pick.
The worst part, from the Commodore fan's perspective, is watching our beloved players partially realize their NBA dream. It's nice to hear your name called in the draft, but as soon as they announce that 30th pick, it's a let down. Second rounders struggle to make NBA rosters. The chips are stacked against them.
Think about this: over the past 50 years, the Vanderbilt basketball team has been the most consistently successful between the three main men's sports. Yet, it's the sport that has so far produced the fewest number of top-league stars, particularly recently.
Vanderbilt hasn't had a sure thing in basketball since Clyde Lee.
Barring some catastrophe that will forever haunt Memorial Gym, Jeffery Taylor is a sure-fire first rounder with a great chance to be a lottery pick. And it could be the start of a trend toward more hoops first rounders for the Dores.
Don't believe me?
8. Jeff Taylor, Vanderbilt, Junior
6-6, 200 lbs.
Taylor boasts notable athleticism and is one of the best defenders in college basketball. But he is still raw offensively, especially as a perimeter shooter. The Vandy stud has big upside, but must show he can step up and be productive on a consistent basis.
Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt: A.J. Ogilvy's decision to stay in the draft took away the Commodores' go-to post player. That means even more pressure will be on the versatile Taylor to produce. If he does, he'll be high on draft boards and the Dores will be a factor in the SEC East.
Chad Ford of ESPN.com rates Jeff as 15th overall for 2011 and the 3rd best small forward (behind incoming Freshmen Harrison Barnes of UNC and Terrence Jones of Kentucky - can't wait for that matchup next season).