5 Tennessee Vols Basketball Players Now In The NBA

Posted on February 26, 2022 - Last Updated on February 28, 2022

The Tennessee Volunteers men’s basketball program has given rise to a number of monumental talents throughout the years. Some of the greats include NBA Hall of Famer Bernard King, Olympic gold medalist Ernie Grunfeld and NBA All-Stars Dale Ellis and Allan Houston.

This year, Tennessee’s lineup includes potential future stars like Kennedy Chandler, Santiago Vescovi and John Fulkerson.

But what about the talents on the Vol rosters that came before them? Let’s take a look at five recent Tennessee Volunteers that currently have successful careers in the NBA.

1. Grant Williams – F, Boston Celtics

Grant Williams

Only two years into his NBA career, forward Grant Williams is already making major waves as a leading member of the Boston Celtics.

He was drafted 22nd overall in 2019 after playing only three seasons with the Vols. During his time at Tennessee, Williams appeared in 104 games, logging an average of 15.7 PPG (points per game).

Williams has now played 55 games during his short professional career, resulting in an average of 7.45 PPG, 3.22 RPG (rebounds per game) and 1.11 APG (assists per game).

During his rookie year, Williams logged an entire 20 minutes of extended Playoff action in Game 2 of the Celtics’ first round series, scoring a substantial nine points.

2. Admiral Schofield – F, Orlando Magic

Admiral Schofield

Admiral Schofield, a 6-foot-5 small forward, was drafted 42nd overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2019. He was then quickly transferred to the Washington Wizards via a draft-day trade. Schofield made eight court appearances his rookie year, with 5.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game in his first year.

Since then, he’s averaged 3.5 PPG in 24 career NBA games.

The Wizards traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder in late 2020. Then at the start of 2022, Schofield entered a two-way contract with the Orlando Magic. This agreement allowed him to be eligible for the NBA G League, where he was subsequently selected as the top overall pick by the Greensboro Swarm.

During the 132 games he played as a Volunteer, Schofield averaged 11.9 PPG.

3. Keon Johnson – G, Portland Trail Blazers

Keon Johnson

The NBA welcomed not one but two new Volunteer rookies into the league in 2021. This was the first time since 1977 that a duo of Tennessee Volunteers were selected as first-round NBA draft picks. Legends Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld were chosen as the No. 7 and No. 11 overall picks that year.

The first Vol to have his name called was freshman guard Keon Johnson, who was drafted by the New York Knicks, who then traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, in Round 1 as the 21st overall pick. As a Clipper, he played 15 games his rookie season and logged 3.5 PPG.

After LAC made a multi-member trade in early February, Johnson landed a spot with the Portland Trail Blazers. Since then, he’s hit the court for only one game, in which he posted four points in 17.5 minutes.

4. Jaden Springer – SG, Philadelphia 76ers

Jaden Springer

Following quickly behind Johnson, freshman shooting guard Jaden Springer was selected as the overall 28th pick in Round 1. Springer joined the Philadelphia 76ers as a guard, entering into a dual contract with the G League’s Delaware Blue Coats.

Springer’s ongoing knee injury has played a key role in diminishing his NBA playing time. Of the two NBA games he’s played so far, he’s averaged one point and one rebound. His success in the G League, however, has been far more prevalent. His 11 appearances have earned him 15.2 PPG.

Springer isn’t the only player from the Tennessee Volunteers the Sixers have called up into the NBA, though. Forward Tobias Harris became the OG Volunteer to represent the Sixers in 2011 when the team selected him Round 1, Pick 19. Harris has averaged 18.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 3.7 APG in the 49 NBA games he’s played since then.

5. Yves Pons – SF, Memphis Grizzlies

Yves Pons

Frenchman Yves Pons stayed true to his newfound Tennessee heritage by signing with the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2021 NBA Summer League. His two-way contract with the team also granted him playing time with the G League’s Memphis Hustle.

His seven NBA game appearances have awarded him 22 minutes of playing time and an average 0.4 PPG and 0.7 RPG.

The 2020-21 SEC Player of the Year has missed several games with both the Grizzlies and the Hustle this season due to a thigh injury. The one G League game he’s appeared in this season, however, left him with a five-point contribution after 14.4 minutes in the game.

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Alec Cunningham

As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. She then returned to her love of written word in 2000 after working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer. As a journalist, she's covered a variety of topics and currently specializes in Tennessee online sports betting and Virginia casino news. She served as a panelist at this year's All American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry.

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