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ESPN’s Fraschilla: Yves Pons should return to Tennessee

A return does seem to be the plan.

Tennessee v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

After a breakout junior season, it wasn’t too much of a shock to see Yves Pons declare for the NBA Draft. Pons has been on the NBA’s radar for some time due to his incredible athletic ability, but last year was the first time we saw Pons really put a full season of minutes and production together.

Now armed with the ability to declare for the draft and return to school if you don’t like what you hear, this was a no-brainer for Pons. Like Admiral Schofield did two years ago, most expect Pons to take in the process and receive feedback from teams in hopes of improving his stock for next season.

ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla believes that’s exactly what Pons should do. In a radio appearance last week, Fraschilla — a noted international recruiting analyst — provided his thoughts on the situation.

“I think if he doesn’t go back to Tennessee, he’s going to be playing in France next year,” Fraschilla told WNML-FM in Knoxville. “I think he ought to stay at Tennessee. I don’t hear any buzz. He could be a late second-round pick.”

Pons went from struggling to find a role in his first two seasons, to growing into an entirely new position as a junior. He manned a power forward role, helping Tennessee protect the rim after the loss of Kyle Alexander the season before. The 6-6 forward blocked a staggering 2.4 shots per game, while finding a little bit of offense as well. Pons scored 10.8 points per game, while shooting nearly 35 percent from three-point range.

His offense is where growth is needed — more specifically, consistency. Pons had several games where he exploded for 15+ points, but also had several instances where he wasn’t able to help at all on the offensive end. Luckily for Tennessee, they won’t have to put so much on his plate this coming year with the addition of three top 50 prospects in the 2020 class.

The new deadline to withdraw your name from the draft has been set for August 3rd, or ten days after the NBA Combine — whichever happens first. The NBA Draft is currently set for October 15th.