Tennessee junior wing Yves Pons will be spending his summer away from Knoxville this offseason, participating with the U20 French national team. FIBA’s 5th-ranked French squad is set to take part in the European championships next month.
France will be taking part in Group A, which features Great Britain, Montenegro and Turkey. There are four groups in the tournament, bringing the total to 16 teams.
Pons will begin work immediately, taking part in a couple of scrimmages against Turkey this weekend. He is one of two players from the NCAA ranked in the tournament.
Pons just finished up his second season in Knoxville, where he spent some of the year in the starting five for head coach Rick Barnes. The athletic wing had his moments early in the year, but he was eventually replaced by Lamonte Turner in the lineup. Once falling out of the starting five, Pons’ role on the team greatly diminished.
He ended up averaging just 2.2 points per game and 1.8 rebounds per game. Pons had a career high ten points against Eastern Kentucky last season.
While Pons isn’t a likely starter next season, he’s one of a few guys that could really benefit Tennessee by taking that next step forward. The Volunteers saw Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield, Kyle Alexander and Jordan Bone walk out the door after last season. Tennessee is going to usher in a new starting five, as well as some new key depth players.
Barnes will need the now veteran Pons to log productive minutes off of the bench right away, along with Jalen Johnson, D.J. Burns and Zach Kent.