Vanderbilt Head Coach Jerry Stackhouse Comments Aaron Nesmith Decision
Nashville, Tn.- Earlier Thursday morning it was reported that Vanderbilt Commodores sophomore basketball player Aaron Nesmith would forgo his remaining two years of eligibility and enter the NBA Draft.
In a story first reported by Evan Daniels of 247 Sports, Nesmith shared that he intended to sign with an agent which would end his college eligibility.
Vanderbilt head basketball coach Jerry Stackhouse issued a statement Thursday afternoon on his star players' decision.
“I’m super excited for him,” Stackhouse said. “I think he’s absolutely the best shooter in the draft. There are things that he’s going to continue to work on and I’m going to be here to support him going forward as well. I know he’ll find his way back to Nashville, and we really appreciate what he meant to us.
“We’re just happy for him and hope he gets as high in the draft as he possibly can.”
The sophomore displayed his scoring prowess throughout the season in his limited time on the court. He scored 34 points in a game at Richmond, the most points by a Vanderbilt player since Shan Foster vs. Mississippi State (March 5, 2008) and the most points by a Vanderbilt player on the road since Billy McCaffrey at Georgia (35 on Feb. 24, 1993), and 34 in a game vs. UNC Wilmington.
He tallied 20 or more points in seven other games and made seven or more 3s in four games -- Southeast Missouri State, Richmond, UNC Wilmington and SMU, with a career-high eight 3-pointers coming against SMU.
Nesmith was second in the nation in 3s made per game (4.28) and led the SEC in 3s per game, 3-point field goal percentage (.522) and scoring (23) at the time of his injury. He was fifth nationally in points per game. He also ranked eighth in free-throw percentage (.825) and field-goal percentage (.512) in the SEC prior to his injury.
At the time of his injury, he was one of two players in the nation to make seven or more 3s in a game four times (Dru Kuxhausen, McNeese State) and his 23 points per game scoring average would have ranked second all-time for a Vanderbilt student-athlete in a single season behind Tom Hagan’s 23.4 scoring average in 1968-69.
“He’s an unbelievable person, so I think that’s the most important thing when you talk about him,” Stackhouse said. “Through the whole process of everything he’s just been great. A kid that has the potential that he has of being able to be a draft pick, and once he got hurt he could have easily splintered and started focusing on his own thing and preparing for what he needed to prepare for. But he was always right there with these guys on the road. He didn’t have to travel, but he made sure he stayed with those guys.
“He was always in their ear. Even though he wasn’t on the court he was still the most vocal of anyone in that locker room. And they fed off of him. Even though he wasn’t able to do it on the floor, they fed off of his energy with him being the leader that he is. We’re going to miss that tremendously.”
Nesmith is aiming to be the sixth Commodore first-round NBA Draft pick since 2012, the second-most in the SEC in that time span. Nesmith would join Darius Garland (5th, Cleveland Cavaliers), Wade Baldwin IV (17th, Memphis Grizzlies), Damian Jones (30th, Golden State Warriors), John Jenkins (23rd, Atlanta) and Festus Ezeli (30th, Golden State) as former first-round selections. Garland, Jones and former standout Luke Kornet (Chicago Bulls) are all active players in the NBA.