Tennessee basketball is rolling right now. Rick Barnes has this program peaking right now, thanks to years of development throughout his roster. That development has Tennessee ranked third in the country right now, but it’s also potentially created a few careers in the NBA.
In the latest mock draft from Bleacher Report, not one, but two Volunteers were projected to be selected in the first round. Both Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield popped up, which is something we really haven’t seen to this point.
Williams, a junior, has always been knocked for his 6-7 frame and lack of elite athletic ability. However, it’s tough to deny the results he’s consistency produced for the past two years. Here’s the analysis on the pick.
21. Boston Celtics: Grant Williams
Williams never popped as a prospect without positional height or athleticism. But he’s turned into a potential outlier given how strong the rest of his game has become. Averaging 19.6 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists, now seven of 17 from three, the 6’7”, 236-pound forward is remarkably well-rounded in terms of skill, feel for the game and defensive IQ. One team is bound to look past his obvious limitations.
If Williams can continue to hit that long range shot, his value in the NBA could skyrocket. There’s no reason he couldn’t man the four spot in the league. The only question is, would he want to leave Knoxville early? That remains to be seen. At the very least, Williams could test the waters without signing an agent and return if he doesn’t get the answer he’s looking for.
28. Brooklyn Nets: Admiral Schofield
Schofield has taken a significant leap forward, now averaging 18.4 points on 41.7 percent from three. He’ll draw looks for his massive 6’6”, 241-pound frame, shot-making versatility and defensive potential.
Schofield did test the NBA Draft waters last year, but opted to return. The development of his game has been really fun to track. He’s turned into a guy that can take over any game at the college level, as you saw against Gonzaga. Schofield’s outside and mid-range jumper have become deadly. His massive frame only adds to that value as a guard at the next level.
Don’t forget about Kyle Alexander either, who is a senior. At 6’11, Alexander offers legit size and a ton of defensive ability. His offensive game is still developing, but he’s flashed a jumpshot this year, which could be an added bonus for NBA scouts.
Jordan Bone has also gotten a little attention this year, though he’s just a junior. Bone’s more consistent and aggressive play has made him the third offensive option on the team and it’s elevated the play of the entire team. Bone will have a chance to be more of a primary option next year with Schofield out of the picture, potentially with Williams leaving early as well.
Yves Pons and 2019 five-star signee Josiah James will also likely have NBA futures. All of this is a testament to Barnes and his staff, who have really sold themselves on the recruiting trail as a place that you can come and develop.