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Rick Barnes details new role for Yves Pons

Pons will be playing a different spot this year.

Missouri v Tennessee Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images

Yves Pons has had an interesting career at Tennessee to this point. He came in as a well-regarded recruit with upside, thanks to his elite athletic ability. Pons found the floor early on, but was too raw to really contribute anything consistently. Unfortunately for Tennessee, that last sentence remained true throughout his sophomore season.

Pons actually started a stretch of games for the Volunteers in the first half of the year, but didn’t offer much on the floor. He’s a guy that can jump out of the gym and defend, but he just hasn’t found his offensive game to this point.

With a new-look roster this season and a need down low, Rick Barnes is set to try Pons in a bit of a different role.

“At this point in time, we’ll be playing through our guards to our post guys,” Barnes said on Wednesday. “That’s not to say we’re not working every day to develop the post play. Just like we did with Grant and Admiral as a post player, new to the perimeter. Yves Pons, we’ve treated him the opposite because there wasn’t much space on the front line. We’re going to move him to the front line a little bit. We think that will help him. Also playing on the perimeter the last couple years has helped him.”

With Grant Williams, Kyle Alexander, D.J. Burns and Derrick Walker all gone, Tennessee is going to have to reinvent its frontcourt. Uros Plavsic, John Fulkerson, Zach Kent and Olivier Nkamhoua are next in line, but Pons could bring some versatility and athleticism to the table.

The 6-6 forward obviously would lack some length, but he would likely be able to make up for that with his vertical ability. While Pons hasn’t been able to find his way on offense, his ability to rebound and defend should allow him to find consistent minutes as a junior.

Tennessee played Pons in a perimeter role during the first two years of his career. Without much development there, trying him in more of a post role makes a lot of sense.