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June 28, 2012John Jenkins won't have to travel too far to realize his NBA dreams as the Vanderbilt junior was selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the 23rd pick of the NBA Draft on Thursday night.
The 6-foot-4 two-guard became the first Commodore to be chosen in the first round of the NBA Draft since Will Perdue in 1988.
Considered the best pure shooter in the field, Jenkins led the SEC in scoring as both a sophomore and junior, and was one of the nation's top overall scorers in 2012.
An outstanding long-range scorer, Jenkins finished his college career with 306 career triples and amassed 1,660 total points in 98 games. He also finished among the school's leaders in free throw percentage and three-point shooting percentage.
A native of Gallatin, Tennessee, Jenkins has been one of the state's most popular basketball players since his sophomore season. The first five-star recruit to ever sign with the Commodores, Jenkins averaged over 40 points a game during his senior year at nearby Station Camp High.
His improvement from his freshman year at Vanderbilt to this past season was well documented. Jenkins shot nearly 50-percent from the outside for much of the season, but it was his defensive effectiveness against point guards and his willingness to attack the basket more that saw Jenkins rise from maybe a mid second round pick to a late first round pick.
It also paid dividends in some of the Commodores biggest wins of the season, including the Commodores historic run to the SEC Tournament Championship and victory over eventual National Champion Kentucky.
Jenkins joins a Hawks franchise that has made the playoffs in each of the last five years and feature some of the league's most exciting players in Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford.
He worked out with the Hawks on two separate occasions during the draft evaluation process and he should give the Hawks a much needed boost in its perimeter scoring.
Jenkins is the first middle Tennessee native to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft since 2007 when Brentwood Academy graduate and one-time University of North Carolina standout Brandan Wright was chosen with the 8th overall pick by the Charlotte Bobcats.
Jenkins plans to wear the No.12 jersey when he joins the Hawks later this week.
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