It’s summer, but winter can’t come soon enough for basketball fans in Knoxville. After receiving confirmation that Admiral Schofield will wear orange and white one more year, Tennessee fans should be excited about this coming season.
The Vols will most likely be ranked in the top 5 nationally and heavy favorites to retain their title as SEC champions when the 2018-2019 season tips off. An over-achieving, veteran Tennessee team that returns the same roster from last year, minus two role players, should compete for a spot in next year’s Final Four as well. Especially now that its most important player is back.
Admiral Schofield used the NBA draft process to assess where he stands in regards to his future in basketball. He was not invited to the draft combine and worked out for only a handful of teams. His chances of being drafted appeared slim at best. Returning to school and playing top prospects should give him the opportunity to grow as a player before the 2019 NBA draft.
First and foremost, Admiral Schofield has to be consistent this year, especially on the offensive end. His shooting number jumped as the season went on, but he only averaged 28 minutes a game. He has to prove to NBA scouts that he can maintain his shooting numbers (39% on three-pointers and 44% on two-pointers) over the course of 30 plus minutes a game while maintaining his energy on the boards (6+ rebounds a game).
Ball-handling is a required skill all players must have in today’s fast-paced NBA. Big men must be able to push the ball up the court on defensive rebounds to start the break. Gone are the days of guards slowly dribbling the ball up the court. Admiral must become a floor general with the ball in his hands and be able to initiate a faster pace.
Defensively, Admiral must show that he can guard all five positions. NBA offenses have placed great emphasis on running the pick-and-roll to get the worst defender on the best offensive player. Showing that he can switch onto any player, regardless of size or speed, will raise his draft stock considerably.
Tennessee men’s basketball is on the verge of having its best season in the history of the program. The Vols are now the favorites and must live up to expectations. For Admiral Schofield, his 2019 draft stock depends on it. If he fails to improve this coming season, so will the Volunteers.