Vanderbilt guard Scotty Pippen Jr. announced Saturday that he is declaring for the NBA Draft while retaining his collegiate eligibility. Pippen Jr. averaged 20.8 points for the Commodores as a sophomore. His announcement comes 34 years after his father, Scottie Pippen, was taken fifth overall in 1987.
Though Pippen Jr. has outplayed his modest three-star prospect rating from the class of 2019, he's not listed on the 2021 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings by CBS Sports. The 6-foot-1 guard played the role of lead scorer this season for Vanderbilt while also averaging 4.9 assists per game.
His savvy as a distributor will likely be essential to his hopes of playing in the NBA. At just 6-foot-1, Pippen would be undersized as an off-ball guard unless paired with a larger point guard. He's shown promise as an outside shooter, though, and may project as a combo guard in the right professional system.
Of course, returning to college is still an option, and choosing that route would be helpful for a Vanderbilt program searching for its footing as coach Jerry Stackhouse enters his third season with just a 20-37 record. However, the wording of Pippen's announcement suggested he may be leaning towards keeping his name in the draft.
"First off, I want to thank God for everything He has done in my life and for His continual blessings," Pippen wrote. "I would also like to thank my family for being with me every step of the way. Your support, guidance, and love have meant the world to me, and you've always pushed me to be my best.
"To my friends, teammates, coaches, and everyone else who has been part of my journey, I appreciate you more than you know and none of this would be possible without ya'll. I was blessed to have the opportunity to come to Vanderbilt University and throughout the highs and lows, the Commodore community has been amazing. I'll never forget that."