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‘More comfortable’ Yves Pons adding another layer to Tennessee’s bench

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Pons is an interesting piece of Tennessee’s puzzle.

NCAA Basketball: Florida at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Yves Pons was touted as a high-flying, explosive swing man from Paris, France. He was one of the biggest recruits that Rick Barnes has pulled at Tennessee to date. However, it’s taken the 6-5, 200 pounder a while to settle into the college basketball scene.

After rarely seeing the court for the first two months of the season, Pons has been a consistent — although still small — part of the Vols’ rotation. Pons logged 11 minutes against Mississippi State last night and his energy was apparent. He didn’t do much in the box score, but you can tell there’s a high level of athleticism there.

After the game, Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes praised his budding freshman wing.

“He’s getting more comfortable offensively,” Barnes said. “We’ve always believed that he could rebound, and he had some rebounds. He had some big rebounds today. What did he come up with? Two? Three? It seemed like had more than that, but he was flying around and defending.”

Pons finished the game with three points and three rebounds.

On a couple of different occasions, you saw Pons go at the rim. You saw him moving around on offense and making hard cuts. He’s flashed on outside jumper, too. Nobody is arguing that he’s close to a finished product, but he’s a raw, high-energy guy that might be able to provide a spark down the stretch for Tennessee.

The Tennessee bench has been pretty volatile in SEC play. I don’t expect Pons to be any different, but I am interested to see if Barnes gives him more opportunities — even with tournament season looming.