It’s been approximately 7,549 days without Tennessee football or basketball, and frankly, I’m going crazy. That number might be a bit high, but you get the point, it’s been forever.
Thank God for golf. Although, not many people enjoy watching the PGA Tour as I do. NASCAR is back as well, but back-to-back races at Pocono Raceway is worse than watching Jarrett Guarantano read zone coverage.
We wanted to do something different and hopefully entertaining. So, we came up with the idea of holding a Tennessee basketball draft. Over the years there’s been some amazing come through Rocky Top. Bernard King, Allan Houston, Dale Ellis, Ernie Grunfeld are some of the all-time greats in program history.
However, if you cut the sample size to the past 20 years, there still has been a lot of talent. Some of you will be surprised if you look back on the rosters.
With all that talent, we had to have a fantasy draft, especially with limited live sports.
The rules were simple:
- 70 former and current Tennessee basketball players in the draft pool from the “KenPom era” (2001-Present)
- Snake Draft
- 7-man roster
So how did the players come off the board? Did any of the “GMs” use strategies to construct their rosters?
Teams will receive a point ranking based on a version of the BillWill Model that I used to bet on college basketball games last season. Here’s how it all shook out.
Round 1 (1): Grant Williams
Round 2 (20): J.P. Prince
Round 3 (21): John Fulkerson
Round 4 (40): Thaydeus Holden
Round 5 (41): Antonio Barton
Round 6 (60): Yemi Makanjuola
Round 7 (61): Josh Tabb
No surprise here, Will Stevens to the back-to-back SEC Players of the Year, Grant Williams, with the first overall pick. Williams averaged 15.7 points per game with the Vols and was the leader of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in his sophomore and junior seasons.
Prince in the second round isn’t terrible, especially with his defensive ability. One of the best defensive plays in Tennessee history was when Prince blocked Evan Turner.
I don’t know what to think with Will’s third-round selection, John Fulkerson. Big Fulky guy here, and it was evident by the end of the season, Fulkerson was the best player on last year’s squad. However, I would have gone with a point guard or even a shooter.
BillWill score: 423.93
Round 1 (2): Chris Lofton
Round 2 (19): Scooter McFadgon
Round 3 (22): Brandon Crump
Round 4 (39): Major Wingate
Round 5 (42): James Daniel
Round 6 (59): Stanley Asumnu
Round 7 (62): Olivier Nkamhoua
With Williams off the board, Stetson Marlin had to take the best shooter in Tennessee history, Chris Lofton. The three-point assassin from Maysville Kentucky was a 2nd-Team All-American in 2006 and 2007. Lofton also received SEC Player of the Year in 2007.
We all know how great Lofton was, but McFadgon scored 16 points per game with the Vols. The Memphis transfer shot 35.9 percent from the three-point line and 88 percent from the free-throw line.
Brandon Crump and Major Wingate in the third and fourth rounds hurt Stetson’s chances of being a good team. However, I will say Crump was sneaky good.
BillWill score: 413.46
Round 1 (3): Kevin Punter
Round 2 (18): Robert Hubbs
Round 3 (23): Armani Moore
Round 4 (38): Duke Crews
Round 5 (43): Uros Plavsic
Round 6 (58): Drew Pember
Round 7 (63): Jordan Howell
It was obvious that Williams and Lofton were going first and second overall. With the third pick, Austin Sanders pulled the trigger on Punter.
No knock on Punter, the dude was incredible at scoring the basketball. However, he averaged as many shots per game as Kobe did in the last game of his career.
In Punter’s final season with the Vols, he averaged 22 points per contest while shooting nearly 37 percent from deep.
Austin took Hubbs with his second pick. I like Hubbs. Solid player. He never lived up to the 5-star talent. Many people view him as a bust, which isn’t fair. I wanted to draft him, just not that early. I was thinking more around the 27-35 range.
There are a couple of “steals” in the draft; Armani Moore at 23 is one of them. Moore averaged around seven points per game with the Vols as well as five rebounds per game, two assists, one block, and one steal.
He was everywhere.
Plavsic at 43 is laughable. The guy had just as many turnovers + fouls as he did points.
BillWill score: 402.39
Round 1 (4): Ron Slay
Round 2 (17): Jerrone Maymon
Round 3 (24): Santiago Vescovi
Round 4 (37): Trae Golden
Round 5 (44): Detrick Mostella
Round 6 (57): Davonte Gaines
Round 7 (66): Derrick Walker
Ron Slay in the top-5 makes a lot of sense to me. There are still some studs on the board, but I didn’t mind Jake grabbing Slay at number four. Slay was the 2003 SEC Player of the Year.
He averaged 14.4 points per game while grabbing 5.9 boards. For awhile Slay was the only bright spot for Buzz Ball.
Jake Lester took Jarrone Maymon in the second round. Maymon is and was an absolute beast. I will never forget the day Maymon owed Memphis in the Maui Invitational with a 32-point, 20 rebound performance.
“My guy” Santiago Vescovi came off the board before I was able to select him. We saw the immediate impact he made on the court once he joined last year’s squad. He’s the type of guard to make any team better.
BillWill score: 411.43
Round 1 (5): Jarnell Stokes
Round 2 (16): Scotty Hopson
Round 3 (25): Lamonte Turner
Round 4 (36): Andre Patterson
Round 5 (45): Melvin Goins
Round 6 (56): Derek Reese
Round 7 (65): Jalen Johnson
I loved AJ Cook’s draft until he pulled the trigger on Turner in the third round. I know I know, if you ask Lamonte, he is the best player ever to put on a Tennessee jersey.
I’ll die on the hill that if Lamonte wasn’t on the team two seasons ago, the Vols would have been National Champs. He took too many shots away from Williams and Schofield.
I do love the duo of Jarnell Stokes and Scotty Hopson. Both guys made SEC All-Freshman teams. Combined both players averaged around 27 points per game.
AJ pulled a sneaky pick in the fourth round grabbing Andre Patterson. Patterson was apart of those Buzz Ball teams that weren’t very good. However, Patterson averaged 8.4 points per game and grabbed 6.4 rebounds.
BillWill score: 426.79
Round 1 (6): Tobias Harris
Round 2 (15): Jordan Bone
Round 3 (26): Brian Williams
Round 4 (35): Yves Pons
Round 5 (46): Dane Bradshaw
Round 6 (55): Steven Pearl
Round 7 (66): Josh Bone
I feel like I’ve said this before, but Hayden Wallen’s first two picks of Harris and Bone are strong. The duo matches up with every other duo in the draft. I even like how their games benefit each other.
Harris only played on Rocky Top one season but he carried the team in 2011.
However, after that, Hayden’s team doesn’t have much at all. Brian Williams holds the record for most missed layups in Tennessee history.
Pons is getting better, but without studs around him, he isn’t a game-changer. Not sure how he fits in with this team.
Bradshaw will hustle. He will be important to the success of the team, but he doesn’t help with putting points on the board.
Hayden probably should have spent his last two picks on players from a local middle school. Steven Pearl? LMFAO.
BillWill score: 412.82
Round 1 (7): Tyler Smith
Round 2 (14): JaJuan Smith
Round 3 (27): Marcus Haislip
Round 4 (34): Josiah-Jordan James
Round 5 (47): Shembari Phillips
Round 6 (54): Devon Baulkman
Round 7 (67): Ryan Childress
I know I drafted this team, but if you’ve paid any attention to Tennessee basketball over the years, you know I had the best draft.
I had the seventh overall pick, so getting Williams or Lofton was always off the table. But, Tyler Smith fell to me at seven. Smith was the first player in Tennessee history to registered a triple-double.
The 2008 and 2009 All-SEC First-Teamer averaged 14.9 points per game and 6.0 rebounds.
I selected one of the most unrated shooters in Tennessee history, JaJuan Smith, in the second round. Smith was deadly behind the arc, but he spent most of his time with Lofton, who overshadowed him. By his senior season, Smith shot nearly 38 percent from beyond the arc.
My next two picks are what sets my team apart. Most of these young guys have no clue who Marcus Haislip is. And, I got a 5-star, Josiah-Jordan James, in the fourth round.
BillWill score: 420.20
Round 1 (8): Josh Richardson
Round 2 (13): Vincent Yarbrough
Round 3 (28): Bobby Maze
Round 4 (33): Jon Higgins
Round 5 (48): Kenny Hall
Round 6 (53): Darius Thompson
Round 7 (68): Del Baker
Logan Quinton took Richardson with the eighth overall pick in the draft. I’m a huge Richardson fan; his defensive passion was unmatched. By his senior season, he was a go-to scorer.
However, I think at number eight, it was a reach.
I like Logan’s next three picks, and I think his team will measure well when the BillWill rankings come out.
If anything, Logan has the best rapper in the draft in Maze. He put on.
BillWill score: 409.76
Round 1 (9): Admiral Schofield
Round 2 (12): CJ Watson
Round 3 (29): Kyle Alexander
Round 4 (32): Ramar Smith
Round 5 (49): Jemere Hendrix
Round 6 (52): Jenis Grindstaff
Round 7 (69): John Fields
Tanner Carson took Schofield with his first pick in the draft. Schofield was a hard-working player that always gave his all. By his senior season, he was knocking down clutch three’s like Lofton.
Watson is the best point guard to play for the Vols in my lifetime. You could argue he is the best point guard in program history.
Questionable decisions followed with the selections of Alexander who can’t score the basketball and Ramar Smith, another point guard.
Did you know Smith missed like twelve straight free throws in one game?
BillWill score: 421.78
Round 1 (10): Wayne Chism
Round 2 (11): Jordan McRae
Round 3 (30): Cameron Tatum
Round 4 (31): Jordan Bowden
Round 5 (50): Skylar McBee
Round 6 (51): Renaldo Woolridge
Round 7 (70): Quinton Chievous
Ric Butler’s squad is going to shoot three after three after three. Ric’s third and fourth round draft picks, Tatum and Bowden, are basically the same player.
McBee and Woolridge will hurt more than they could ever help. Some of the best moments from these two players were lucky bank shots.
I do love the first round and second round picks of Chism and McRae. McRae had trouble fitting in with Bruce Pearl, but by the end of his career, he was one of the best scorers in college basketball.
Chism was hands down a fan favorite and could stroke. I would always have a spot for him on my squad.
BillWill score: 399.89