UPDATE: IT'S OFFICIAL!
You may have seen this FanShot from Doredarling. It is indeed the case that FoxSports.com's Jeff Goodman is reporting that according to multiple sources, Jeffery Taylor, John Jenkins and Festus Ezeli are all returning to Vanderbilt and will not declare for the 2011 NBA Draft.
His money quote: "this makes Kevin Stallings' team a legitimate Top 10 club entering next season."
Agreed. Most analysts and experts have pegged Vanderbilt in the top ten range for the 2011-2012 season. CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish is the most bullish of those I've seen, slotting the Dores 5th overall.
The lofty praise is legit. The team figures to lose only Andre Walker, who graduates this semester and may or may not decide to return despite having an additional year of eligibility remaining, while adding redshirt freshmen in Josh Henderson and James Siakam and Top 100 newcomers (depending on recruiting service) Dai-Jon Parker, Kedren Johnson, and Shelby Moats (yes, even Moats is ranked in the top 100, thanks to MaxPreps.com (affiliated with CBS)).
Festus Ezeli -
"We're going to be a better team next year, and we still have a lot of unfinished business. After the loss in the tournament, I can't leave on that note. There's no rush for me to want to leave. I want to play here with these guys, I enjoy playing for Coach Stallings and this staff, and I look forward to earning my degree."
John Jenkins -
"I'm not too happy with the way the season ended in March. I think we all have a sour taste in our mouths from that experience in Denver. I love playing here, I want to get my education first, and I look forward to being a part of a great team next year."
Jeffery Taylor -
"While playing in the NBA is a dream of mine, I feel like Vanderbilt is the best place for me right now. As a team, we have unfinished business on the court, and personally, I am focused on my work in the classroom and getting a degree. I love representing Vanderbilt University, and I have a lot of fun with my teammates and coaching staff and playing for the great fans at Memorial Gym. Hopefully, there will be a time when I can fulfill my dream, but right now, I'm focusing on getting better on and off the court here at Vanderbilt."
Kevin Stallings -
"Obviously, we are very excited that those three guys have all decided to return to our program next season. All three carefully, thoughtfully, and diligently acquired information, with my help, about their draft status for the upcoming NBA Draft. After receiving the information, all three decided individually that it was their desire to return to Vanderbilt. I commend and applaud them for the intelligent and diligent way they approached this process in making their decision. Their return certainly positions our team for an exciting season next year."
If the squad lives up to its billing, we could be looking at the greatest single season Commodore team, ever.