The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

‘Dores in the Pros: Men’s Basketball

Many talented players have sported the Black and Gold over the last few years, and it’s time to check in with the Commodores who were talented enough to shine at the next level.
Emily Gonçalves
Saben Lee dribbles up the floor in Vanderbilt’s loss to Tennessee in 2019. (Hustler Multimedia/Emily Gonçalves)

If you’ve ever fallen down the YouTube rabbit hole watching Vanderbilt basketball highlights from as far back as 2010 and wondering where some of those guys ended up, this is the article for you. Though not the most decorated program, the Vanderbilt Commodores have produced an impressive number of professional hoopers that compete in leagues around the world. So, we here at the Vanderbilt Hustler decided to give our Commodore pros their much deserved flowers.

Wade Baldwin IV (2014-16): Saski Baskonia (Euroleague)

Baldwin IV played point guard for two seasons at Vanderbilt, averaging 14.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game during his sophomore season. His impressive performance for the Commodores earned him a spot in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft, where he was selected with the 17th pick by the Memphis Grizzlies. Baldwin IV played three seasons in the NBA, one for the Grizzlies and two for the Blazers, averaging a career 3.1 points and 1.4 assists per game in only 56 total games played. After jumping around the Euroleague for the last three years, Baldwin IV now plays for Saski Baskonia, where he’s averaging 9.8 points and 2.4 assists per game 16 games into the season.

Kyle Fuller (2010-14): Corinthians (Brazilian NBB)

Fuller was a four-year point guard for the Commodores, averaging 11 points and 4.2 assists per game in his senior season. After jumping around international teams for a few years, Fuller found a home for the Brazilian NBB team Corinthians in 2018. In only four games this season, Fuller is averaging 15.8 points and 2.8 assists per game. 

Darius Garland (2018-19): Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)

A five-star prospect out of high school, Darius Garland was a one-and-done point guard for the Commodores in the 2018-19 season. Garland only played five games in college due to a meniscus tear in his left knee, but in that span he averaged 16.2 points on 54 percent shooting from the field and 48 percent from 3 while leading the Commodores to a 4-1 record. Garland was drafted fifth by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2019 NBA Draft, and is now a member of one of the youngest starting lineups in the league. Garland boasts a career 14.9 points and 5.1 assists per game for the Cavaliers. He’ll be a player to keep your eye on this year, especially since his partner-in-crime Colin Sexton was recently ruled out for the season with the same injury that plagued Garland at Vanderbilt. 

John Jenkins (2009-12): BCM Gravelines (French Jeep Elite)

Nashville native John Jenkins played three years at shooting guard for Vanderbilt, including back-to-back 19-point seasons in his sophomore and junior years. He was also an efficient shooter for the Commodores, never dropping below 40 percent from behind the arc in any of his seasons. Jenkins was drafted with the 23rd pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft, a pick that belonged to the Atlanta Hawks. He played six years in the NBA, starting in only eight of his 171 games played and never averaging over seven points per game. He also played 56 games in the D-League over those six years, averaging around 22 points in 34 minutes per game. After jumping around internationally for the last three years, Jenkins now calls the BCM Gravelines in France his home, where he’s averaging 14 points per game on 45/37/89 splits in his first eight games of the season.

Damian Jones (2013-16): Sacramento Kings (NBA)

A seven-foot power forward out of Louisiana, Damian Jones played three years at Vanderbilt. A career 13-point, 6-rebound player, Jones was the last pick in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft to the Golden State Warriors. Jones spent his first two years in the G-League, averaging 13 points and 7 rebounds for the Santa Cruz Warriors, before being brought up to play with the Warriors in the 2018 season. After being tossed around the NBA for a few years, Jones was traded to the Sacramento Kings midway through last year. In his 17 games in Sactown, he had a productive 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds in 20 minutes per game. Jones secured a multi-year contract with the Kings last year, earning himself about $1.9 million to play for them this season, a season in which he has only played seven minutes per game over six games. 

Luke Kornet (2013-17): Maine Celtics (G-League)

Kornet played four years for the Commodores, averaging 13 points and six rebounds in his senior season. Kornet entered the 2017 draft but went undrafted before being signed by the New York Knicks in the offseason as a free agent. He spent half of his rookie season in Westchester, where he played for the Knicks D-League affiliate, the Westchester Knicks. He averaged 16 points and six rebounds per game in his 36 games in upstate New York to go with the 6.3 points per game he averaged in his 20 games in Manhattan. After another year with the Knicks and a year with the Bulls, Kornet is now a part of the Celtics organization, suiting up for their G-League affiliate in Maine. On top of the G-League, Kornet is currently playing on Team USA’s 2023 World Cup Qualifiers team, who won their first game against Cuba on Nov. 28. He joins other former NBA pros such as Isaiah Thomas and Frank Mason III as members of Team USA. 

Riley LaChance (2014-18): Birmingham Squadron (G-League)

Another four-year Commodore, LaChance averaged around 10 points and three assists per game, including a 14.4 point-per-game season in his senior year. Since his time at Vanderbilt, LaChance played two years internationally, including a near 17-point-per-game season in the 2019-20 season for Okapi Alastar in Belgium. After three years abroad, LaChance is back in the states once again, currently on the roster for the Birmingham Squadron, the newly-rebranded G-League affiliate of the New Orleans Pelicans. Though only four games into the season, LaChance is playing 18 minutes a game for the Squadron, averaging about 7 points and 2 assists per contest.

Saben Lee (2017-20): Detroit Pistons (NBA)

You may know Saben Lee as the guy who stepped up as the high-flying team leader when sophomore star Aaron Nesmith went down with a foot injury in January of 2020 (more on Nesmith later). In that 2019-20 season—his junior year—Lee averaged 18.6 points and 4.2 assists per game on 48 percent shooting on the field. His impressive play in that junior season was enough to sway the Utah Jazz to select him as the eighth pick of the second round of the 2020 NBA Draft. On draft night, Lee was traded to the Detroit Pistons where he became an electric role player for the team. He made a plethora of highlight plays in his rookie season and his spark-plug contributions awarded him a multi-year deal in Detroit. Since the beginning of the 2021-22 season, Lee has been up and down the G-League three times, but is currently on the official Pistons roster as of Nov. 15.

Aaron Nesmith (2018-20): Boston Celtics (NBA)

After scoring only 11 points per game in his freshman year, Aaron Nesmith took a monstrous jump in his sophomore season for the Commodores, averaging an unheard of 23 points and 4.9 rebounds per game on over 50 percent shooting from the field and from 3. What appeared to be an ultra-special season for Nesmith was cut short after only 14 games due to an injury in his right foot, marking the second straight year a Vanderbilt star suffered a season-ending injury (Garland in 2019). Even with the injury, the sharpshooting Nesmith just slid into the lottery, getting selected 14th overall by the Celtics in the 2020 NBA Draft. Nesmith has struggled to find his footing in Boston amongst a team with tons of scorers and not enough playmakers, averaging only 4.7 points with less than one made 3 per game in his rookie season. This season, the struggles have continued for not just Nesmith, but the entire Boston Celtics team. Nesmith, in particular, is shooting just 17 percent from three and the Celtics as a whole are currently the ninth seed in the East, their worst ranking since 2014. But at just 22 years old, Nesmith is sure to continue developing and find a niche as an elite 3-point marksman in the NBA.

A.J. Ogilvy (2007-10): Illawarra Hawks (Australian NBL)

A 6’11” center for the Commodores, Ogilvy averaged a career 15.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in his three years at Vanderbilt. Since leaving the program after his junior season, Ogilvy has played for four international programs in his 12-year career, including his five-year stint with the Illawarra Hawks, where he still plays today. The Hawks may sound familiar to you because Ogilvy played alongside Charlotte Hornets sophomore LaMelo Ball in the 2018-19 season, as Ball declared to go overseas instead of enrolling in college for his pre-draft season. In that year, Ogilvy only averaged 9.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. His best year came in the 2015-16 season, his first year with the Hawks, where he averaged 16.4 points and 8.5 rebounds on 55-percent shooting from the field. At the age of 33, Father Time is catching up with Ogilvy, but he has had an incredible career overseas thus far and represented the Vanderbilt program proudly.

Jeff Roberson (2014-18): BG Goettingen (German BBL)

A four-year forward for the Commodores, Roberson averaged 16.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game while shooting 48 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3 in his senior season. Though he went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics took a chance on him, signing him to their G-League team, the Maine Red Claws. After playing for the Red Claws, Trefl Sopot in Poland and then the Greensboro Swarm (Hornets G-League affiliate), Roberson now plays for BG Goettingen in the German BBL, who currently sport an undefeated 8-0 record to start their season. Roberson is averaging three points and 3.2 rebounds in 15 minutes a game over those eight games.

Simi Shittu (2018-19): Ironi Nes Ziona (Israeli BSL)

A one-and-done big man for the Commodores, Shittu averaged 10.9 points and 6.7 rebounds in his sole season on West End. After declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft, Shittu went undrafted, signing with the Bulls as a free agent shortly after. Though never playing in the NBA, Shittu played two years in the G-League, the first for the Windy City Bulls and the second for the Westchester Knicks. He averaged a career 12.8 points and 7.3 rebounds a game over his two-year G-League stint, connecting on 57-percent of his shot attempts during that time. On Nov. 24, Shittu signed a contract to play for Ironi Nes Ziona in Israel this season, though he has yet to suit up for the team.

Jeffery Taylor (2008-12): Real Madrid (Spanish ACB)

An instant contributor for the Commodores, Taylor averaged 12.2 points and 6.2 rebounds in his freshman year. For the next three seasons, he continuously progressed in the points column, capping out at 16.1 points per game in his senior season. Taylor was selected by the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) with the first pick in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft, where he averaged 6.1 points in 19.4 minutes a game over three seasons. Taylor then left the states and signed with Real Madrid, playing a few seasons with a young NBA hopeful by the name of Luka Doncic. Taylor is currently in his seventh season with Real Madrid, averaging 3.8 points and 1.4 rebounds in 14.7 minutes a game.

Brad Tinsley (2008-12): FC Porto Ferpinta (Portuguese LPB)

A consistent four-year point guard, Tinsley averaged a career 9.4 points and 3.6 assists for the Commodores. Tinsley would then spend the next nine years overseas, jumping around various teams. His best year came in 2014-15, where he put up 16.8 points, 3.5 assists and 3.8 rebounds a game on 51-percent shooting for the MLP Academics Heidelberg in Germany. Tinsley has spent the last four years with FC Porto Ferpinta and is currently averaging 6.6 points and 3.8 assists per game through 18 games.

Leave a comment
About the Contributors
Connor Campbell
Connor Campbell, Senior Staff Writer
Connor Campbell ('25) is a human and organizational development and cinema and media arts major from Staten Island, N.Y. Connor shares a strong love for both sports and film, leading to his interest in "The Ringer" and, consequently, his casual and quippy style of writing. Outside of The Hustler, Connor does freelance photography, runs the social media accounts for Vanderbilt Club Hockey and is the president of Vanderbilt Tap That. You can reach him at [email protected].
Emily Gonçalves
Emily Gonçalves, Former Multimedia Director
Emily Gonçalves (‘20) was the Multimedia Director of the Vanderbilt Hustler. She majored in Mathematics and Economics and minored in Latin American Studies. When she’s not taking photos, you can catch this Jersey girl making puns, singing, advocating for girls’ education and drinking lots of chocolate milk and espresso!
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
All The Vanderbilt Hustler picks Reader picks Sort: Newest
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments