Vanderbilt freshman Simi Shittu declares for NBA draft

Vanderbilt freshman Simi Shittu has decided to declare for the 2019 NBA draft.

"After discussing with my family and coaching staff, I have decided to declare for the 2019 NBA draft," Shittu told ESPN in a text message. "I will test the waters and hire an agent. I fully intend on keeping my name in the draft. For as long as I can remember, my dream was to someday play in the NBA. I've been blessed beyond words to be able to pursue that dream with my time here at Vanderbilt. But, now it is time for me to take the next step in that pursuit."

Considered a top-10 prospect by recruiting services coming out of high school and named a McDonald's All-American, the 6-foot-10 Canadian forward averaged 11 points and seven rebounds in 27 minutes per game for Vanderbilt.

After losing potential top-five draft pick Darius Garland to a season-ending knee injury just five games into the season, the wheels came off for the Commodores. The team finished SEC play 0-18 and ended up firing head coach Bryce Drew. Shittu, who tore his ACL in late January 2018, started off the season in impressive fashion, but never truly found his footing at the collegiate level. He will enter the pre-draft process with much to prove to NBA decision-makers.

He is ranked No. 81 among ESPN's top 100 prospects for the June draft. Now that he's further removed from his knee surgery, rediscovering the explosiveness that made him one of the most highly regarded prospects in America could help his stock. Private workouts and one of the NBA combines in Chicago should provide that opportunity.