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The Monarch Returns - Jeffery Taylor is Staying at Vandy

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Residents of Vandyville got good news Thursday - the reign of the Monarch would continue. Jeffery Taylor told the Tennessean that he planned to stay at Vanderbilt for at least one more season, passing up the temptations of the NBA to season his game at Memorial Gym. Despite projecting as a possible first round draft pick in 2010, Taylor wasn't happy enough with his progression as a player to make the leap.

"I put some thought into it. But listening to Coach (Kevin) Stallings and my dad, I feel like it’s a better decision to stay in school and work on my game." - Jeffery "The Monarch" Taylor

Taylor's decision could end up paying off dividends for the young player. If he declared in 2010 and failed to crack the first round, he'd be looking at an uphill battle to secure a NBA contract. If he can build on his sophomore season, especially the expansion of his shooting range, then he could play his way into the lottery and into a fat guaranteed contract. Currently, Taylor is projected anywhere from between the fifth and 21st picks in the 2011 draft according to top draft prognosticators.

Let's break down The Monarch's decision from a financial view. According to projections, he averages out to be the 13th overall pick in 2011. Should he have declared in 2010, he likely would have ended up in the beginning of the second round due to the recent influx of underclassmen to the draft in recent weeks (though a late first round pick would also be possible). His likelihood of getting a guaranteed contract as a player picked between the 30th and 40th picks, based on the trends of the past three years (excluding overseas players), would have been about 96%. While that's a solid rate, most of these contracts are low level one or two year deals with little stability. However, as a 2011 lottery pick, Taylor would have been locked in to two guaranteed years and two additional years with team options. The total package? $3.4 million over the first two years, with a team option for approximately $1.9m in 2013 and an option for $2.7m in 2014.

That compensation is just if Taylor plays his way into the middle of the draft, and he's shown the talent and work ethic to expand his game into a top ten spot or higher. Even if he remains static it's unlikely that he'll be able to drop himself out of the second round, where he'll still have a chance to impress a team in camp to pick up a smaller, possibly non-guaranteed contract. Given his physical gifts, Taylor should be able to impress scouts in workouts well enough to justify a late pick regardless of his play.

For the sake of comparison, let's compare Taylor's potential guaranteed lottery pick contract with the contracts of similar players selected early in the second round over the past three years.

Year One Year Two Year Three Year Four
2011 Lottery Pick (#13 Jeffery Taylor) $1.65m $1.77m $1.9m (team option) $2.7m (TO)
2007 Early 2nd Rounder (Marcus Williams) $12,890* n/a n/a n/a
2008 Early 2nd (Luc Mbah a Moute) $757,000 $736,420 $854,389 n/a
2009 Early 2nd (Sam Young) $824,200 $886,000 $947,800 n/a

Williams, Mbah a Moute, and Young were all talented small forwards who were projected to be late first/early second rounders - with Williams and Mbah a Moute both being underclassmen. While Mbah a Moute and Young have both carved out roles in the NBA, Williams was not as fortunate, being released from his non-guaranteed contract and relegated to the D-League. Though he has picked up other temporary contracts, he has yet to find a permanent - or even season-long - home. Taylor would stand to make twice as much money - without the stress of playing his way onto a team - over the first two years of his career alone. Even if he flamed out, he would still be in line to make over $5 million.

The chance to get second round money will remain for a talented athlete like Taylor. Even a mediocre 2010-2011 season will keep him near the top of scouts' lists. His current basement is as a flier pick late in the draft. However, as he progresses, the odds that he'll be in line for a guaranteed contract will increase by the day. Staying at Vanderbilt was the right choice for the high flier, both financially and for his career. Another year at Nashville is an investment in his future, and in Commodore hoops.