Victory laps are becoming more and more popular amongst college students. Grad transfer EJ Anosike intends to follow this trend and play an additional season under Rick Barnes. Anosike transferred to Tennessee this past offseason from Sacred Heart with only one year of eligibility remaining. However, due to the NCAA’s covid protocols of eligibility not being effected this season, he will get the opportunity to play a second season on Rocky Top.
Last season with Sacred Heart, Anosike averaged 16 points and 12 rebounds a game. Unfortunately, that same production has yet to carry over to his new team. In Anosike’s defense, he is playing a much different role with Tennessee. He is not relied on to score, but he is still only averaging three rebounds so far in Barnes’ system that just won’t cut it. As such, Anosike’s minutes have dropped significantly in his last two games. Moving forward, he should have no problem getting things turned around, and another year under Barne’s tutelage should do wonders for his overall game.
With Barnes revealing Anosike will take advantage of the extra year of eligibility, this leaves two other seniors in a similar situation: Yves Pons and John Fulkerson. I think most of us agree that it is a forgone conclusion that Pons will not be returning next season. He is already widely considered the best defender in college basketball. His offense could use some tuning, but there is still plenty for an NBA team to want him.
What About Fulkerson
Last year, Fulkerson had to be relied on as a main scorer for the team. Now, just like Anosike, his role has changed. Since he isn’t scoring at the same rate he did last season; there is this misconception floating around that he has regressed. This couldn’t be further from the truth. He is averaging more rebounds and assists this season. On top of that, he is only averaging 1.4 fouls per game while still playing pretty stellar defense.
With all of that being said, I am not too confident his game will translate to the NBA level. It will all come down to what the scouts say once they evaluate him, but as a betting man, I would put my money on Fulky returning for a sixth year.