Tennessee Volunteers News, Rumors, Injuries & Recruiting
Rocky Top Talk: Kerry Blackshear Update: Virginia Tech back in the mix, Tennessee still a player
We have never seen a recruitment like we are witnessing right now. Kerry Blackshear Jr. is the focus of the Tennessee Basketball program, as the Volunteers look to add the most highly coveted player in the transfer portal. One thing is clear, Kerry Blackshear has to make a decision soon, as he will have to make a choice before the July 1st deadline.
First, let's tackle the obvious question. "What's the hold up with Blackshear?" Well, in order to answer that question, you'd have to put yourself in Blackshear's shoes. Imagine that you have to make a decision by July 1st that will be the difference between being drafted into the NBA, and achieving your childhood dream, or simply not.
Rocky Top Talk: Grant Williams talks about his decision to declare for the NBA Draft
Grant Williams' decision to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft paid off last Thursday night. The former Tennessee star went 22nd overall to the Boston Celtics after putting together a legendary career in Knoxville.
His decision was expected at the end of the year, but analysts and fans were split on whether or not Williams should keep his name in after the process. Clearly the information and feedback that he received was spot on.
"Honestly I went into the process open minded," Williams told the Boston media. "That's how I took it every year.
Fansided: Tennessee basketball: 2020 NBA draft could be another big one for Vols
The Tennessee basketball program is coming off a historic NBA draft. For the first time since 1977 when Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld went in the first round. Mike Jackson was the third Vol drafted in that class with the No.133 pick in the 7th round.
It happened the first time back in 1950 when Art Burris went in the third round. Both Ed Jones and Ed Montgomery were drafted in the seventh and twelveth rounds.
As you can see, it hasn't happened since the NBA went to the two round model that is currently what we are accustomed to today.
Fansided: Tennessee basketball: Ranking Vols by landing spots following 2019 NBA Draft
Coming off it's best NBA Draft of the modern era, we can look at Tennessee basketball and say the program is heading on the right track under Rick Barnes. One thing that could certainly help it is the success of those former Vols in the pros.
After all, NBA success helps coaches recruit top-notch talent. With all four key contributors from last year who entered the draft inking deals with teams, three of whom were drafted and one of whom went in the first round, there are lots of opportunities to showcase that.
But who's in the best position to succeed?
Rocky Top Talk: Tennessee Basketball: A Look at the 2020 NBA Draft
Draft day was bittersweet for Tennessee basketball fans. On one hand, seeing three players get drafted from Tennessee's Sweet 16 squad is a reason to celebrate. It validates what many were saying about the talent Rick Barnes assembled and developed, and how the perception of Tennessee basketball was changing.
On the other hand, having three of your best players leave also means that the team will look radically different in the 2019 season. Multiple players will need to step up and reach the potential they've flashed in the previous years.
If that happens, we will likely see more NBA draft selections, which should never be viewed as a bad thing.
Fansided: Tennessee basketball: Kerry Blackshear could make his decision on Sunday
Tennessee basketball fans haven't had much luck with good news this offseason. Rick Barnes was going to head to UCLA to take their head coaching job. Grant Williams and Jordan Bone both announced they were keeping their names in the NBA Draft.
Former players succeeding in the draft isn't bad news. However, it means they aren't coming back to school, which hurts the Vols.
Tennessee missed out on a couple of recruits, one being guard Jalen Cone who reclassified to the 2019 class and signed with Virginia Tech.
But, the Kerry Blackshear news has been rather good for Vol nation.
Fansided: Tennessee basketball: Ranking all Vols NBA Draft classes this decade
Coming off a bang in the 2019 NBA Draft, Tennessee basketball saw four different coaches put out pro talent throughout this past decade. Despite many of the rough years, the Vols had plenty of success on that front.
All four coaches deserve credit for getting NBA talent into Rocky Top and developing them, and three of them had some form of success with that talent. Donnie Tyndall just inherited a player who had already been developed, but he still gets credit for helping that player get to the next level.
In fact, Tennessee basketball's success in the pros was far more impressive than what happened in the 2000s.
Rocky Top Talk: Kyle Alexander will play with the Miami Heat in the summer league
Tennessee sent three players to the NBA on Thursday night, marking just the third time in school history that three Vols had been taken in the same draft. The player that got left out of that equation was Kyle Alexander, who found plenty of NBA interest in the pre-draft process.
On Friday, the Canada native found a summer league opportunity with the Miami Heat. ESPN's Jonathan Givony had the news.
Canada update: Simi Shittu will play summer league with the Memphis Grizzlies. Lindell Wigginton will play summer league with the Toronto Raptors.
Fansided: Watch former Vols Grant Williams, Jordan Bone have epic NBA Draft reactions
The NBA Draft can bring a range of emotions. Even guys like Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett, who knew they'd be top 5 picks, couldn't help but break down when the news broke. It gets even more emotional for guys down the line.
Such was the case for a couple of Tennessee basketball players on the night. Former Vols Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield and Jordan Bone all were selected. But Williams and Bone had reactions to remember.
Williams was taken in the first round by the Boston Celtics with the 22nd pick of the NBA Draft.
Fansided: Tennessee basketball: Kyle Alexander joins Miami Heat Summer League team
He was not among the three former Tennessee basketball players not selected in Thursday night's 2019 NBA Draft. However, Kyle Alexander did get lots of pre-draft workouts, and that resulted in him getting a chance in the NBA Summer League.
A defensive specialist from Canada who stands at 6'11", the Vols starting big man over the last two years will play for the Miami Heat in Las Vegas. The summer league lasts from July 5 through July 15.
Alexander joins a number of players who did not get drafted but will get looks from different teams all over the league.
Fansided: NBA Draft: Vols making history is Rick Barnes's greatest accomplishment
Rick Barnes has over 600 wins, has made a Final Four, coached two National Players of the Years and an eventual NBA MVP and champion, and taken two different teams to a No. 1 ranking and four different teams to the NCAA Tournament. But the 2019 NBA Draft was his most impressive accomplishment ever.
Tennessee basketball made history with three players taken in the draft. The Vols have not had that many players taken in one draft since 1950, when the draft was 12 rounds. So by any realistic standard, this is the greatest draft ever for the Vols.
Rocky Top Talk: Watch: Draft party erupts after Jordan Bone gets selected 57th overall
Late Thursday night at Jordan Bone's draft party, the scene couldn't get more depressing. Bone took a leap of faith to get to the NBA after one true season of big time production. But as the picks clicked by, Bone and his draft party began to lose hope.
After the 56th selection, his brother, another former Tennessee basketball player, Josh Bone grabbed the microphone and addressed the crowd.
"I gotta put my two cents in," older brother Josh began. "I'm hurt right now -- probably more hurt than he is. Well, I doubt it.
Rocky Top Talk: Boston Celtics Draft Grant Williams With 22nd Overall Pick
Grant Williams' wait is over. As of Thursday night, he is now a member of the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics spent their second pick in the first round - the 22nd overall pick - on the two-time SEC Player of the Year.
The now-former Tennessee Volunteer joins head coach Brad Stephens and will play alongside the likes of Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and others.
The undersized 6-7 power forward was under-recruited out of high school. As a three-star prospect, Williams ended up choosing Tennessee over a couple of Ivy League offers.
Fansided: NBA Draft: Admiral Schofield in perfect position to start with Washington Wizards
Admiral Schofield is one of the most unique players in the NBA Draft. The Tennessee basketball star and anchor for Rick Barnes's teams the last two years plays like a power forward at 241 pounds but is only 6'6''.
However, Schofield makes up for it by shooting well from the outside. He shot over 40 percent last year with the Vols. As a result, he could be a role who operates as a three or a four off the bench depending on team needs.
Washington provides him a chance to start immediately at the three, though.
Fansided: NBA Draft: Boston Celtics fans will fall in love with Grant Williams
With the 22nd pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics select the back-to-back SEC Player of the Year, Grant Williams. There is a 100 percent chance Boston fans will fall in love with arguably the best Tennessee basketball player of all time.
In our post of the three best landing spots, we rank Boston at No1. There couldn't be a better situation for Williams then being paired with Brad Stevens, only one of the best coaches in the league.
Williams was doubted in high school, AAU, and college. Do you know what he did? Williams worked harder than any other player.