UT Basketball Preseason Notebook

Credit: UT Athletics

ROSTER BREAKDOWN
• The Vols’ 2019-20 roster features 14 players (12 scholarship student-athletes) representing seven states as well as Finland, France and Serbia.
• There are four Vols who hail from the state of Tennessee, two from Texas and one each from Alabama, Delaware, North Carolina, New York and South Carolina.
• UT has two seniors, five juniors, two sophomores and five freshmen.
• Four Vols stand 6-5 or shorter, and 10 players are 6-6 or taller.
• Tennessee’s 12 scholarship players combine to boast 445 games played (34.2 per man) and 121 starts (9.3 per man).

TENNESSEE LOSES 70 PERCENT OF ITS SCORING, TOP THREE SCORERS
• After losing four of the five starters from last year’s squad and eight total players, the Vols have gone from one of the most experienced rosters in college basketball to one of the greenest.
• Of its 3,035 total points scored last season, Tennessee returns just 922—or 30 percent—of its total scoring.
• UT’s top three scorers from a year ago in Grant Williams (18.8 ppg), Admiral Schofield (16.5 ppg) and Jordan Bone (13.5 ppg) either graduated or elected to forgo their senior season to pursue a professional playing career.
• In addition to scoring, Tennessee also lost the majority of its production from last season in blocks (71.9%), assists (66.0%) and rebounding (65.1% ).

UT HAS BEEN A MAINSTAY IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
• Tennessee is riding a streak of 35 consecutive appearances in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. That ties a school record set March 1, 1999, through Feb. 19, 2001.
• Last season, for the first time in program history, the Volunteers spent the entire season—20 polls—in the AP top 10. Tennessee spent four straight weeks at No. 1 last season before finishing the year at No. 6.
• If UT appears in this year’s AP preseason poll, that will run the current streak to 36 straight appearances, marking a new program record.

TENNESSEE RIDING NATION’S LONGEST HOME WIN STREAK
• Tennessee enters the 2019-20 season riding a 26-game home win streak that is tied with Buffalo as the longest active streak among Division I teams.
• The streak dates to the 2017-18 season. The Vols won their final eight games at Thompson-Boling Arena that year before going 18-0 at home last season.
• Tennessee’s last loss in Knoxville was a 94-84 loss to Auburn on Jan. 2, 2018.
• The program record for consecutive home wins is 37 (2006-09). The current streak is tied as the fourth-longest in UT history. The Vols have also authored home win streaks of 33 games (1966-68) and 28 games (1935-37).

DIPLOMA CULTURE
• Lamonte Turner will play his entire senior season as a college graduate, as he earned his degree in Communication Studies last May.
• Redshirt junior Jalen Johnson will earn his degree in Communication Studies in December, while fellow redshirt juniors Jacob Fleschman (Business Finance) and John Fulkerson (Recreation and Sport Management) will graduate this May.

BOWDEN, TURNER APPROACHING 1,000-POINT MILESTONE
• The senior guard duo of Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner enters the season less than 100 points away from eclipsing the 1,000-point mark for their careers.
• A total of 50 Vols have accomplished that feat during their time on Rocky Top, with Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams being the most recent additions to the 1,000-Point Club last season.
• Turner (951 points) and Bowden (941 points) could both reach the milestone within the first month of the season. Last season, Schofield and Williams achieved the feat in the same game, surpassing the mark in UT’s win over Louisville in the NIT Season Tip-Off.
• Tennessee has reached the Sweet Sixteen each of the last two seasons in which two players joined the 1,000-Point Club. In 2014, Jordan McRae and Jarnell Stokes joined the club.
• All-time, UT has had 11 duos reach 1,000 points in the same season, including Ernie Grunfeld and Bernard King in 1975-76.

FOURTH LAST SEASON, VOLS LOOK TO REMAIN AMONG TOP 10 IN AVERAGE HOME ATTENDANCE
• Tennessee finished fourth nationally in average regular-season home attendance last year, drawing an average of 19,034 fans to 18 games at Thompson-Boling Arena.
• Last season’s average of 19,034 ranks seventh in program history for single-season average and was Tennessee’s highest attendance since 2009-10, during which it drew an average of 19,168 fans per game.
• The Vols have ranked among the top 20 in men’s college basketball attendance for 15 consecutive years, including seven seasons ranked in the top five nationally.

UT ROSTER FEATURES SIX LEFTIES
• While most studies estimate that 10 percent of the population is left-handed, lefties make up nearly half of this Tennessee basketball team. Six current Vols are “southpaws.”
• Tennessee’s left-handers include: Victor Bailey Jr.John FulkersonDavonte GainesJosiah-Jordan JamesJalen Johnson and Yves Pons.
• Tennessee has more left-handed players than any other team in the SEC this season. No other SEC team has more than four.

2019 SWEET SIXTEEN RUN PUT BARNES IN RARE COMPANY
• Rick Barnes last season became one of only a dozen head coaches ever to lead at least three different schools to an NCAA Tournament Round of 16 appearance (Clemson, Texas, Tennessee).
• The 12 coaches who have led at least three different schools to the Round of 16 are: Lon Kruger (has done it with four schools), Barnes, Gene Bartow, John Calipari, Frank McGuire, Ralph Miller, Rick Pitino, Bruce Pearl, Bill Self, Eddie Sutton, Tubby Smith and Bruce Weber.

VOLS WELL REPRESENTED IN THE NBA
• Multiple Tennessee alums will have a presence in the NBA in 2019-20—highlighted by a pair of veteran starters with the Philadelphia 76ers in forward Tobias Harris (2010-11) and guard Josh Richardson (2011-15).
• Three VFLs had their names called in June’s NBA Draft. Grant Williams was drafted in the first round (22nd overall) by the Boston Celtics. Admiral Schofield was selected 42nd overall, and Jordan Bone was taken with the 57th pick. Draft-day trades sent Schofield to the Washington Wizards and Bone to the Detroit Pistons.
• Tennessee was one of five schools to have three players selected in the NBA Draft, and UT was the first school to have three upperclassmen selected in the same draft since Vanderbilt in 2012.
• A fourth VFL is embarking on his rookie NBA season as well, as forward Kyle Alexander went undrafted but signed a free-agent deal with the Miami Heat after a strong showing with the club during the NBA Summer League.
• Harris is embarking on his ninth NBA season. He started all 82 regular-season games last year (55 with the Los Angeles Clippers and 27 with the 76ers). He averaged a career-best 20.0 points per game, and his 18.2 ppg with the Sixers ranked second on the team. For his career, Harris averages 15.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game while shooting .364 from 3-point range.
• Richardson enters his fifth NBA season—the previous four with Miami. The 26-year-old has started 154 games over the last two seasons and averages 12.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists during his NBA career. He also shoots at a .368 clip from 3-point range. His averages for points, rebounds and assists have improved every year as a pro.
• New York Knicks Assistant GM Allan Houston (1989-93) continues to play a key insider’s role with the franchise he once starred for. He also serves as GM of the NBA G-League’s Westchester Knicks.

ANNIVERSARIES
• The 2019-20 season marks the 10th anniversary of Tennessee’s Elite Eight run in 2009-10. That marks still stands as UT’s deepest run in the postseason ever. The squad finished with a 28-9 record. During the NCAA Tournament, the Vols defeated NBA All-Star Kawhi Leonard and San Diego State in the first round, 62-59. After cruising past Ohio in the second round, Tennessee finally advanced past the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in program history with a 76-73 win over Big Ten champion Ohio State, who was led by Evan Turner, the No. 2 pick of the 2010 NBA Draft. The run came to an end in the Elite Eight, where the Vols fell to Michigan State, 70-69.
• This season also marks the 20th anniversary of UT’s Sweet Sixteen run in 1999-2000. That was just the third time the Vols had reached the regional semifinals but was the first since the tournament had expanded to a 64-team format. That team also claimed an SEC Eastern Division title. The league abandoned divisional play following the 2010-11 season.
• Ten years ago (on Nov. 17, 2009), the Vols set single-game school records for points (124), assists (34) and 3-pointers (16) in a victory over UNC Asheville. Tennessee also recorded its second-most points in a half (66), its second-largest margin of victory ever (+75) and its fifth-most field goals in a single game (46).
• Thirty years ago, during the 1989-90 campaign, UT’s all-time leading scorer, Allan Houston, posted the Tennessee single-game record for points scored by a freshman with 43 against LSU (on Feb. 10, 1990). That mark ranks as the fifth-most points ever scored by a Vol in a game. Also in that game, Greg Bell chipped in 31 points, which is one of only five times ever when two Tennessee players scored 30 points in the same game.
• Twenty years ago (on Dec. 21, 1999), the Vols set a single-game school record with 22 steals during a 102-58 win over American-Puerto Rico. Ten years later, the 2009-10 squad posted the second-highest mark with 21 steals in a game against North Carolina A&T.
• On Feb. 6, 1980, All-American Reggie Johnson matched the program record for field goals made with 19 against Florida. He finished with 43 points in the outing.
• During the 1999-2000 season, C.J. Black improved his program-record in career blocks to 212. No other Vol has yet to eclipse the 200-block mark for their career. Black finished his career with an incredible 1.80 blocks per game average.

VOLS’ ROSTER BOASTS INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR
•Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes has vastly expanded the program’s recruiting pipelines since arriving on Rocky Top, including internationally. Since his hiring in 2015, Barnes has now signed four international players, including two in the 2019 class.
• Junior wing Yves Pons, from Fuveau, France, returns to the team this year after seeing an increased role during his sophomore season. He appeared in 35 games with 13 starts and shot .516 from the field. In just his third career start, he recorded seven points, six rebounds and a block in UT’s thrilling upset of No. 1 Gonzaga.
• Pons—who was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti—attended the INSEP (National Institute of Sport and Physical Education) Academy in Paris. Other notable INSEP basketball alums include Boris Diaw, Tony Parker and Ronny Turiaf.
• The Vols’ other international team members this season are forwards Olivier Nkamhoua, from Helsinki, Finland, and Ivanjica, Serbia, native Uros Plavsic.
• Nkamhoua competed for Finland (as a 6-4 point guard) in 2016 FIBA U16 European Championships divisional play. He is a true freshman this season.
• Plavsic, a redshirt freshman, has competed against fellow Serbian and NBA All-Star Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, as well as Croatian NBA center Ivica Zubac.
• All three players are the first from their respective countries to play for the Vols. Overall, Tennessee has signed 10 international players in its program history.

 

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