By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — After a stellar season, Vanderbilt junior guard Saben Lee’s decision to declare for the NBA draft last week wasn’t really a surprise. But the possibility remains that Lee could return if he isn’t fully sure he’ll be a first round pick. Lee hasn’t yet signed with an agent. That gives him the opportunity to get an evaluation from the draft committee without losing his eligibility. He has until June 3 to withdraw from the draft pool. He was the Commodores’ leading scorer for the 2019-20 season, averaging 18.6 points per game and playing 32 games. He was a second team All-SEC coaches selection. He had four 30-point games, a mark that tied for second most in a Vanderbilt season. His 594 points were the 10th best for a second season in school history, and fourth best among juniors.
Lee finished fourth in the SEC in scoring, while placing sixth in assists at 4.2, eighth in field goal percentage (48.3), second in free throw attempts (206) and free throws made (155), and seventh in steals (1.53). He twice won SEC Player of the Week honors. He released a lengthy statement last week, which read in part:
“After prayer and reflection and talking with my family, Coach (Jerry) Stackhouse, and the Vanderbilt coaching staff, I have decided that it is in my best interest to declare for the 2020 draft,” Lee said. “I want to thank Coach Stackhouse and the entire Vanderbilt coaching staff for providing me endless opportunities for me to be successful this season.” Lee also thanked his previous coaches, teammates and Vanderbilt fans for their support, and said he would be a Commodore for life.
He becomes the second Vanderbilt player to declare for the draft, joining Aaron Nesmith.