John Jenkins is split on returning to Vanderbilt for his senior season or declaring early for the NBA draft.
The junior shooting guard told The City Paper on Monday through a text message, “I’m still 50-50.” He plans to talk to head coach Kevin Stallings later this week and announce his decision by “probably” releasing a statement “this week most likely.”
The NCAA deadline to declare for the NBA draft is next Tuesday, April 10.
Draft projections for Jenkins, a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder from Hendersonville, vary from a late first-round selection to an early second-round pick.
He led the Southeastern Conference in scoring the last two seasons and as a junior he averaged 19.9 points. Named a third-team All-American by the Associated Press, he helped the Commodores win the SEC Tournament championship and reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
He currently ranks ninth in school history with 1,660 points. He scored 696 last year and just missed breaking Billy McCaffrey’s single-season record of 699, which was set in 1992-93.
Jenkins did tie Shan Foster (2007-08) for the most 3-pointers in a single season with 134, which was the most of any Division I player in 2011-12.
Believed to be Vanderbilt’s most decorated recruit, Jenkins scored 3,192 points in four years at Station Camp High School. He also led the nation in scoring as senior, averaging 42.3 points.
Replacing his production would be a tall order.
The Commodores already are losing five scholarship seniors — including four starters and NBA hopefuls Jeffery Taylor and Festus Ezeli — and two walk-ons.
If Jenkins left, the team’s top returning scorer would be Kedren Johnson, who averaged 3.1 points as a freshman. The point guard from Lewisburg also logged the most minutes (14.5 per game) of any of Vanderbilt’s seven retuning underclassmen.
The Commodores will have at least two incoming freshmen — small forward Kevin Bright and shooting guard A.J. Astroth.