Tennessee’s basketball roster for the 2021-22 season has quickly taken shape, and the Volunteers received even more good news on Friday. John Fulkerson, fresh off of his fifth season in the program, announced that he will return for one more season in Knoxville. This, of course, was made possible by the NCAA freezing eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him and we will make straight your path. My path still points to Rocky Top. This opportunity is too special to walk away from.
“Vol Nation, I’m back,” Fulkerson said in the video.
Fulkerson will now rejoin a totally revamped roster, which now includes five-star power forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, who committed to Tennessee on Thursday. He joins Jonas Aidoo — a 6-11, four-star center, who committed to the Volunteers earlier this week.
Just like that, Tennessee has a legitimate frontcourt to pair with incoming five-star point guard Kennedy Chandler.
Fulkerson struggled last season, fighting through injuries in the second half of the season. As a junior, Fulkerson emerged as Tennessee’s go-to scorer in the post, filling the shoes of Grant Williams. Fulky was unable to build on that progress last season though as he faded out of the offense with Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer taking charge.
Just as Fulkerson appeared to be turning the corner, he took an elbow to the face in the SEC Tournament that ended his season. He was unable to play in the SEC semifinals against Alabama, and missed the first round game against Oregon State in the NCAA Tournament. You’ve got to wonder if that played into his decision, because on senior day at Thompson-Boling Arena, Fulkerson looked like a guy saying goodbye for good.
Now he’s got a chance to get healthy and give it one more go, and very suddenly, this Tennessee roster feels loaded once again.