Less than two weeks before the first practice, the Vanderbilt men’s basketball team is beginning to garner national attention.
Festus Ezeli, Jeffery Taylor and John Jenkins were named Monday to the Wooden Award preseason watch list, which is comprised of the 50 players in the country. Only two other teams — Ohio State and North Carolina — had at least three players on the list.
Ezeli, a 6-foot-11 center, returned for his senior year after averaging a career-high 13 points and blocking a school-record 87 shots. The 6-foot-7 Taylor also passed on leaving early for the NBA. He averaged 14.7 points as a junior in 2010-11.
Jenkins, fresh off playing for Team USA in the World University Games, is back for his junior season. The shooting guard from Hendersonville led the Southeastern Conference with 19.5 points a game.
Vanderbilt begins practice on Oct. 14 with Memorial Madness at Memorial Gymnasium. The free event begins at 8 p.m. and includes both the men’s and women’s basketball teams. After team autograph sessions, the festivities will continue with introductions of both teams, a scrimmage and 3-point and slam dunk contests.