The hype surrounding the Tennessee Basketball team is nearing an all-time high, and that hype just continues to grow. News broke yesterday that Admiral Schofield announced his decision to return to Tennessee for his senior season.
— Admiral Schofield 🐺 (@admiralelite15) May 29, 2018
Around two months ago Schofield declared for the NBA Draft, but he did not hire an agent. This meant that he had until 11:59 p.m. tonight to withdraw his name from draft consideration to keep his college eligibility. He has done just that, and will now look to make more history on Rocky Top.
Schofield was a second-team All-SEC selection last season, but he means so much more than that to this team. He is the heart and soul of Tennessee Basketball, and his leadership is just as valuable as his skill on the court. Admiral will be one of four seniors on the roster, and his leadership will be paramount to the Vols’ success.
Still, where Admiral made a name for himself was on the court. Down the stretch of last season, he became Tennessee’s most reliable scorer. If the Vols were in need of a basket, you wanted the ball in Schofield’s hands. Case in point, this moment from the Georgia game to help clinch a share of the SEC Regular Season Championship:
— Marshall Hughes (@marshallhughes) March 4, 2018
Schofield’s return is more than enough to get you excited for next season. Nevertheless, there are plenty of other reasons to get energized.
For one, the reigning SEC Player of the Year will be returning for his junior year. Grant Williams, who led the team in scoring, will hope to improve on a fantastic sophomore campaign. He averaged 15.2 points and 6 rebounds, and if he manages to keep out of foul trouble, Williams could be in for one of the best seasons fans have seen in recent memory.
In addition to the tandem of Schofield and Williams, opponents will have another big man to be wary of. That man is Kyle Alexander, and he really came into his own last year. He boasted the highest field-goal percentage at .681 and led the team in blocks with 57. His presence on the court is huge, as evident by his absence against Loyola-Chicago in the NCAA Tournament.
Rounding out the starters for the Vols are the small guys, but more specifically Lamonte Turner. Turner will be a redshirt junior next year, and much like everyone else, will look to expand on a great 2017-18 season. While he did not start a single game, he was Tennessee’s third leading scorer with 10.9 PPG. Due to his role of coming off the bench he was able to earn the honor of SEC Co-Sixth Man of the Year. It will be interesting to see whether Rick Barnes decides to keep him as a non-starter, but regardless, Turner, like so many others, will be due for a remarkable year.
As you can see, all the pieces are there for Tennessee for the 2018-19 season. Obviously, last season did not finish the way everyone would have liked and the BasketVols will be looking for retribution. And many from the national media believe they will.
There have been quite a few way-to-early Top-25 rankings and the Vols have been top 10 in nearly all of them. However, after Admiral made his announcement yesterday CBS updated their rankings and the Vols are now ranked third on that list. There are a ton of expectations for this Tennessee team, and that is a good thing.
November cannot get here fast enough.