Vols trio awaits NBA Draft

Yves Pons, Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer hope to hear their names called
Vols and NBA Draft
Vols and NBA Draft(Tennessee Athletic Communications)
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 9:44 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A trio of Tennessee Vols are anxiously awaiting the start of the 2021 NBA Draft tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Senior wing Yves Pons along with SEC All-Freshman Team performers Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer are hoping to hear their names called when the Draft tips off Thursday night.

A two-time SEC All-Defensive Team selection and the 2020 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Pons was one of 10 finalists for the 2021 Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year Award. The Fuveau, France, native appeared in 116 games during his four years as a Vol, making 70 starts. Over his final two seasons at Tennessee, Pons blossomed offensively, averaging 9.9 points per game. His defensive prowess never wavered, however, evidenced by his school-record nine-block performance against Florida in the quarterfinals of the 2021 SEC Tournament.

Johnson was Tennessee’s team leader in field goals made (111) and attempted (247) and ranked second on the squad in scoring with 11.3 points per game. His scoring average increased to 12.1 points against SEC opposition. The Shelbyville, Tennessee, product got to the foul line with regularity, attempting a team-high 101 free throws in 27 games played. Johnson scored in double figures 15 times on the season and dropped a season-high 27 points during the Vols’ win at Kentucky.

Fellow freshman Springer led the Volunteers in scoring overall (12.5 ppg) and during SEC play (12.7 ppg). His .435 mark from 3-point range also led the team, while his .810 free-throw percentage ranked ninth among all SEC players and stands as the best ever by a Tennessee freshman with at least 100 attempts. A talented playmaker, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native ranked seventh in the SEC in assists with 3.4 per game during league play. Springer’s six 20-point performances were the most on the squad, and his top scoring effort was a 30-point outburst in UT’s home win over Georgia.

Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes has produced 27 NBA Draft picks, including 15 first-rounders during his head coaching career. Through the 2020-21 season, those 27 draft picks boasted combined basketball earnings in excess of $1.065 billion (does not include endorsement income).

The 2021 NBA Draft takes place this evening beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN will have the coverage.

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