Just after noon, Wasserman, a sports marketing and talent management company, announced via Twitter that Saben Lee had signed with them. Signing with an agent is not a problem by itself as the NCAA amended its rules, effective following 2018-19 season, to allow NBA draft prospects to return to school even after signing an agent IF the agent was certified by the NCAA. The idea is that those certified agents would be trusted not to do anything untoward during the process. The problem is that, as first reported by Robbie Weinstein of 247sports, none of the listed NCAA Certified Agents work for Wasserman.
Unless the directory is not up to date, Head Coach Jerry Stackhouse will now definitely be without his most effective scorers from the 2019-20 season. Due to Aaron Nesmith’s injury, life without him should be a somewhat smoother adjustment. It was also much more expected with the smooth shooter’s draft projections mostly falling in the first half of the first round. The projections for Saben Lee are much more murky. However, none of them have Lee higher than the middle of the second round. One would hope the advice Lee received prior to signing with Wasserman has not led him to make a poor decision.
It seemed as if Lee had lost his chance to show off his incredible athleticism and any potential improvements to the only question about his offensive skillset, his jumpshot, with the NBA Draft Combine in doubt due to COVID-19. This afternoon, the NBA announced the postponement, not cancellation, of the draft lottery and combine. Saben’s quickness and ability with the ball will almost certainly stand out at the draft combine. A good shooting performance could also boost his stock.
For Vanderbilt, life without Lee and Nesmith means the leading returning scorer is Scotty Pippen Jr, who averaged 12.0 points per game last season. Notre Dame tansfer DJ Harvey and freshman Tyrin Lawrence will be expected to shoulder some of the load while Pippen and Maxwell Evans will have to increase their own production for Vanderbilt to continue to improve during Stackhouse’s second season.