Vanderbilt big man Damian Jones has decided to return to Vanderbilt for a junior season rather than enter this year’s NBA draft, sources tell Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The 6’10” 19-year-old was in line to become a second-round pick. He’s listed as the 43rd-best prospect on Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress board while Chad Ford of ESPN.com has him 54th.
Jones showed improvement this year, notching 14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 29.1 minutes per game for the Commodores. He was his team’s leading scorer, but Vanderbilt went .500 in SEC play and failed to make the NCAA Tournament, and he put up just eight points in the team’s season-ending loss to Stanford in the NIT quarterfinals last week.
The school and coach Kevin Stallings have produced Festus Ezeli, John Jenkins and Jeff Taylor in recent years, and each of them was drafted from the 23rd through 31st overall picks. Jones has improved his stock since he left high school in 2013, when he was just 82nd in the Recruiting Services Consensus Index.