– Vanderbilt basketball's footprint in the NBA has grown over the last few years, with recent Commodores like Damian Jones (Golden State Warriors) and Luke Kornet (New York Knicks) forging careers in the pro ranks.
Vanderbilt head coach Bryce Drew
wants future Dores to have the same opportunity. That's one reason Drew and his staff are hosting Vanderbilt's first Pro Day on Tuesday, an opportunity for NBA franchises to get an early peek at the talent on the Commodores' roster.
"In the last couple of years, it's been a trend for college basketball programs with potential NBA prospects to put on a Pro Day," Drew said. "This gives NBA teams a closer look at our players, as opposed to a regular game environment."
Drew will lead a new-look roster in 2018-19 that includes the highest-rated signing class in program history, featuring five-star point guard Darius Garland
(of Nashville's Brentwood Academy), five-star forward Simisola Shittu
and four-star guard Aaron Nesmith
. Returnees include sophomore guard Saben Lee
, sophomore center Ejike Obinna
and senior guard/forward Joe Toye
. The Dores also add sharpshooting forward Matt Ryan
and center Yanni Wetzell
, both of whom are eligible after sitting out the 2017-18 season.
Vanderbilt extended an invitation to all 30 NBA teams to attend its Pro Day. Drew said he expects all of the Commodores to participate in what will mirror a regular practice, but with specific drills and scenarios tailored to NBA scouts.
Drew said he expects several Dores to follow in the footsteps of Kornet, who landed with the Knicks as an undrafted free agent, and Jones, who has already won two NBA Championships with the Warriors.
"For our team, we feel like we have several guys in our locker room who'll have the chance to play in the NBA," Drew said. "Vanderbilt's Pro Day will give them a chance to perform in front of those scouts. All of our guys will participate, and we'll treat it like any other practice. We'll just have a different audience."
Vanderbilt Pro Day will be closed to the public, but check out @VandyMBB on Twitter and Instagram to follow all the action.