Vols fans will soon know if Admiral Schofield plans to return to school for the 2018-2019 season or proceed to the NBA. The sentiment behind his entry into the NBA draft is that he’s simply gauging interest from team executives. Barring huge jumps in his field goal and 3-point percentages during his upcoming senior season, Schofield’s NBA stock is currently at its peak.
Marcus Smart is presently dominating the headlines in the NBA with his play in the Eastern Conference Finals. He is defined by grit, determination, and a will to do anything necessary to help the Boston Celtics win. P.J. Tucker is a defensive stalwart for the Houston Rockets with the ability to knock down corner 3’s. Both players are invaluable to their respective teams.
Admiral Schofield lacks the mean streak that resides inside Marcus Smart, as do most players, and is inferior to P.J. Tucker in ball handling and shooting. With focused time in the gym, his shot can improve. Recently, we have seen many NBA players who once lived within seven feet of the basket develop reliable jump-shots.
Smart, Tucker, and Schofield are all comparable in size with Admiral standing 6’5” tall and weighing around 235 pounds. Schofield is more explosive than Smart and Tucker with the ability to play man-to-man against big guards and stretch forwards.
Schofield was a big contributor offensively last season when Grant Williams was less effective during a stretch where he dealt with nagging injuries. Schofield also upped his play considerably against SEC and ranked opponents; showing his propensity to bring his best at big moments.
Schofield has worked out for multiple NBA teams and has yet to hire and agent; a sign that he hasn’t committed to the draft. He has consistently shown his desire to play for Tennessee next season, but his ultimate goal is to play in the NBA. Schofield stated shortly after the Vols loss to Loyola of Chicago, ”I haven’t thought one bit about the NBA other than that’s my dream and my goal.”
If Marcus Smart and P.J. Tucker keep up their spirited play for the remainder of the playoffs and possibly into the Finals, NBA executives will place a premium on getting a player of that quality on their teams. Schofield has an NBA ready body and developing a fairly reliable outside shot would make him invaluable to teams hoping to contend in the future.
If Tennessee hopes to improve on its results from last season, Admiral Schofield has to be on the roster. If that same value is placed on him by NBA teams, we may have already witnessed his last game in Thompson-Boling arena.