Pons declared for the draft back in April, doing exactly what Admiral Schofield did as a junior — gathering information, getting feedback from NBA teams and working towards a senior season that will set the stage for his pro career.
As a junior, Pons experienced a breakout season. We all knew that the talent was there for the explosive forward, but he had yet to put the pieces together. You could argue that we still haven’t seen his ceiling as a player, though the flashes have been brilliant.
Pons was forced into more of a frontcourt role last year, immediately delivering on the defensive end. He was named the SEC’s defensive player of the year for his efforts, which saw him average 2.4 blocks per contest. Pons was also a spark plug at times on the offensive end as his three-point shooting improved to nearly 35 percent.
Pons returns to Tennessee’s starting five alongside of John Fulkerson. Sacred Heart transfer E.J. Anosike joins them in the post, giving the Volunteers much needed depth at the position. Former five-star guard Josiah-Jordan James is back, along with point guard Santiago Vescovi. Five-star guards Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer will join the team, along with four-star forward Corey Walker Jr. Former Oregon guard Victor Bailey Jr. is also eligible after sitting out a season, creating even more depth for Rick Barnes this season.
With the Pons news, Tennessee should be a consensus top ten team entering the preseason once again.