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VOL. 132 | NO. 15 | Friday, January 20, 2017

Freshman Bone Gives Vols Hope for Quicker Rebuild

BY DAVE LINK, Knoxville Sports Correspondent

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Tennessee coach Rick Barnes isn’t ready to proclaim Jordan Bone a rising star in SEC basketball, but he sure saw promising signs from his freshman point guard last Saturday night in Nashville.

Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield celebrates as he walks down the court during a game between his Vols and South Carolina.

(Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

It was quite the homecoming for Bone, who missed nine non-conference games earlier this season with a stress fracture in his foot.

The Nashville native and Ensworth High graduate had 23 points, five assists, and one turnover as the Vols posted an 87-75 victory over Vanderbilt and broke a three-game SEC losing streak.

Barnes hopes it was a springboard game for Bone. 

“Again, you hope so, but I don’t know,” Barnes said Monday at his weekly press conference. “I really don’t. I think his teammates really helped him a lot Saturday.”

But as freshmen sometimes do, Bone followed a great performance at Vanderbilt with a two-point, 14-minute effort Tuesday night in an 80-69 loss at Ole Miss, a game in which UT (9-9, 2-4 SEC) let a 13-point lead slip away.

Bone hit one of nine shots attempted.

“I can tell you, he’s going to do his part,” Barnes said of Bone. “I think Jordan’s tough-minded. I’m hard on him in practice. I’m hard on him a lot, and he’s pretty hard on himself too, to be quite frank. He really wants to get this done.”

Bone credited his teammates for his game in Nashville.

“We needed that win going on the road,” Bone said Monday. “My teammates gave me confidence, and that’s just what we do as a team.”

Bone said he played through a sprain in his foot early in the season, and that may have led to the stress fracture.

After starting the first three games, Bone played 7 minutes in a 72-64 loss to Wisconsin in the Maui Invitational.

Bone sat out the next nine games, and while he was out, the Vols also lost starting forward John Fulkerson to a dislocated elbow.

Bone returned and played 8 minutes in the Vols’ win at Texas A&M. The game against Vanderbilt was Bone’s fifth since returning from injury, and it was his third start since being out.

“He obviously shot the ball really well (8-of-12), made some terrific passes, and still has a long way to go defensively, and he knows it, but he’s young,” Barnes said. “That’s where those nine games that he missed (are costly). Those games come at  a time of the year when you really hope guys can figure out a lot of this, and he missed that. But to say it’s going to be like this every night (like Vanderbilt), I don’t think that right now. I would say that about any player.”

Bone said he still needs work on his conditioning, and his defense isn’t there. He’s reminded of defense by his older brother, Josh, an outstanding perimeter defender for UT in 2009-11.

“My brother tells me I should play better defense,” Bone said. “My coaches tell me I should play better defense, so I’m going to work on it every single day.”

Not making turnovers is also a focus. After committing a combined 41 turnovers in the losses to Florida and South Carolina, the Vols had six at Vanderbilt.

“There’s a sense of expectations from our coaches,” Bone explained. “They want us to protect the ball. That just goes to show the confidence they have in us. We shouldn’t turn the ball over 41 times in two games. It should be around six turnovers. It should be like that every day. We should value the ball on every possession.”

Here’s a look at UT’s roster with statistics through the Vanderbilt game:

Starters

Jordan Bone

G, 6-1, 173, freshman, Nashville/The Ensworth School

Freshman, 2016-17: Averaging 8.8 points, 0.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 assists in eight games (five starts); started season opener against Chattanooga; had 21 points and one assist, and had seven points and eight assists against Appalachian State; played 7 minutes and didn’t score in loss to Wisconsin in Maui Invitational; missed nine non-conference games with a stress fracture in left foot; returned to action for SEC opener against Texas A&M and didn’t score; made his first start since return from injury in loss at Florida and had six points; after scoring seven in loss to South Carolina, scored season-high 23 with five assists and one turnover in win over Vanderbilt.

High school/personal: Helped Ensworth win consecutive Division II-AA state titles in 2013 and ’14, reached a semifinal berth in 2015 and a finals appearance in 2016; averaged 20 points and five assists as senior and was Division II-AA Mr. Basketball finalist; older brother, Josh Bone, lettered for UT’s basketball team from 2009-11, and played overseas; father, Joshua Sr., is a sheriff’s deputy in Davidson County and played basketball at Berry College in Rome, Georgia.

247Sports Composite ranking: three-star, No. 171 nation, No. 32 point guard, No. 4 state

Jordan Bowden

G, 6-3, 180, freshman, Knoxville/Carter High/22 Feet Academy

Freshman, 2016-17: Averaging 7.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in 17 games with 16 starts; has scored in double figures in five games; scored a season-high 21 points and five rebounds in win over Presbyterian, followed by 12-point, five-rebound game in loss at North Carolina; had 15 points in loss at Florida, four against South Carolina and four against Vanderbilt; has made 20 of 21 free throws this season.

Prep school, 2015-16: Attended 22 Feet Academy of Shannon Forest Christian in Greenville, South Carolina, and averaged 17 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists.

High school/personal: Knoxville News Sentinel’s PrepXtra player of the year after averaging 26.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists as Carter reached Class AA state quarterfinals; scored 30 or more points 14 times and had school-record 54 against Gibbs in 2015; stood 5-foot-4 as seventh-grader, grew to 5-10 as sophomore and 6-2 before senior year.

247Sports Composite Ranking: three-star, No. 310 nation, No. 62 point guard, No. 3 state

Robert Hubbs III

G, 6-5, 207, senior, Newbern, Tennessee/Dyer County High

Senior, 2016-17: Averaging the team-high 14.4 points and 31.1 minutes and has started all 17 games; also averaging 4.8 rebounds and shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 85.5 percent from the foul line; has scored in double figures in all but three games and has scored 21 or more in five games; had a season-high 28 points in win over Chaminade in Maui Invitational.

Junior, 2015-16: Team’s third-leading scorer (10.6 points), started 16 of 30 games and averaged 26.7 minutes.

Sophomore, 2014-15: Started 20 of 32 games (16 of 18 SEC games) under former coach Donnie Tyndall and was team’s fourth-leading scorer (7.2).

Freshman, 2013-14: Played in 12 games and averaged five points and 18.3 minutes under former coach Cuonzo Martin before having season ending shoulder surgery from an injury dating back to senior year of high school.

High School/personal: Averaged 25 points and seven rebounds as Dyer County went 31-4 and reached the Class AAA state championship game; school’s career-leading scorer (2,464 points); 2013 McDonald’s All-American nominee; invited to USA Basketball U17 National Team trials in June of 2012.

247Sports Composite Ranking: five-star, No. 20 nation, No. 4 shooting guard, No. 1 state

Grant Williams

F, 6-5, 234, freshman, Charlotte, North Carolina/Providence Day School

Freshman, 2016-17: Averaging 10.8 points (second on team) and team-high 5.8 rebounds; has started 14 of 17 games and averaging 24.2 minutes; scored a season-high 30 in win over Lipscomb; bounced back from six-point, one-rebound game at Florida by scoring 15 with six rebounds in loss to South Carolina; had 12 points and nine rebounds at Vanderbilt.

High School/personal: Averaged 15.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and three blocks as Providence Day went 30-4 and won the 2016 North Carolina Independent Schools Class 3A state championship; as a junior, averaged 18 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 2.7 assists; mother, Teresa Johnson, is a NASA engineer in Houston; Grant excels academically and considered attending Ivy League schools including Harvard and Yale.

247Sports Composite Ranking: three-star, No. 191 nation, No. 47 power forward, No. 7 state

Kyle Alexander

F, 6-10, 218, sophomore, Milton, Ontario/Athlete Institute, Orangeville, Ontario

Sophomore, 2016-17: Averaging 3.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 14.2 minutes in 17 games with 10 starts; had a season-high 13 points and two rebounds in win over Appalachian State but hasn’t hit double-figure scoring in any other game; had three points and four rebounds in loss to South Carolina and no points and one rebounds in 6 minutes at Vanderbilt.

Freshman, 2015-16: Played in 32 games with 11 starts and averaged 12.2 minutes, 1.7 points and 3.2 rebounds.

High school/personal: Graduated from Athlete Institute, a prep school. Played primarily soccer and volleyball before switching to basketball as a high school junior; father, Joseph, played college basketball at Niagara, and sister, 6-4 center Kayla, played at Syracuse (2009-13), was two-time All-Big East first-team player and plays for WNBA San Antonio Stars.

247Sports Composite ranking: three-star, No. 316 nation (U.S), No. 33 center, No. 2 state

Lamonte’ Turner

G, 6-1, 187, redshirt freshman, Florence, Alabama/Sparkman High/IMG Academy

Freshman, 2016-17: Averaging 9.4 points (fourth on team), 2.1 rebounds and 21.8 minutes in 17 games with four starts at point guard; averaging team-high 2.82 assists; averaging 1.64 turnovers; had a season-high 24 points in win over Presbyterian; has scored in double-figures in seven games, including a 12-point, four-assist game off the bench at Vanderbilt; second on the team in 3-pointers (25-of-67, 37.3 percent) and shooting 85 percent from the foul line.

Redshirt freshman, 2015-16: Denied eligibility by the NCAA and was unable to compete or travel with the team, but practiced with team during redshirt season.

Prep School, 2014-15: Graduated from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

High School/personal: As junior in 2012-13, averaged 13 points, 5.5 rebounds and four assists as Sparkman High in Harvest, Alabama, reached Class 6A state championship game; transferred to Arlington Country Day School in Jacksonville, Florida, for 2013-14 school year, but enrolled at IMG Academy later in the fall; was rated No. 56 overall prospect in nation by Rivals.com in Class of 2016 before officially being reclassified to original 2015 class; cousin of former LSU and North Carolina State guard Ralston Turner.

247Sports Composite ranking: three-star, No. 144 nation, No. 26 point guard, No. 16 state

Shembari Phillips

G, 6-3, 192, sophomore, Atlanta/Wheeler High

Sophomore, 2016-17: Averaging 7.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 21.4 minutes in 17 games with 10 starts; had a season-high 16 points against Wisconsin; has scored in double figures only once since scoring 14 in win over Georgia Tech; had 10 points at Texas A&M, but didn’t score the next three games against Arkansas, Florida (didn’t play), and South Carolina; had five points and three rebounds in 19 minutes at Vanderbilt.

Freshman, 2015-16: Played in 33 games with 11 starts and averaged 5.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 16.2 minutes; led SEC freshmen in 3-point percentage (.459) for players with at least 30 attempts.

High school/personal: Played a key role as Wheeler High went 30-2 and won the 2015 Class 6A state championship; a McDonald’s All-American nominee; was a teammate of 2015 National High School Player of the Year and 2016 NBA Lottery Pick (Boston Celtics) Jaylen Brown; attended Tucker High in 2013-14 and averaged 18 points, six rebounds and four assists; rated by Hoopseen.com as a top-10 prospect in Georgia’s Class of 2015.

247Sports Composite ranking: three-star, No. 309 nation, No. 76 shooting guard, No. 19 state

John Fulkerson

F, 6-7, 203, freshman, Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett High/The Christ School, North Carolina

Freshman, 2016-17: Averaging 4.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 16 minutes in 10 games with six starts; scored in double-digits three times this season; started sixth consecutive game against Lipscomb, but played only 4 minutes due to dislocated right elbow; had surgery Dec. 21; timetable set to return was six weeks.

High school/personal: graduated at Christ School in Arden, North Carolina, where he blocked 113 shots as a senior and broke the school’s single-season record held by former Duke star Marshall Plumlee; averaged 14.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game; played for Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett as a freshman and sophomore.

247Sports Composite ranking: three-star, No. 238 nation, No. 61 power forward, No. 10 state

Off the bench

Admiral Schofield

F, 6-4, 238, sophomore, Zion, Illinois/Zion-Benton Township High

Sophomore, 2016-17: Averaging 5.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 14 minutes in 13 games with one start; served three-game suspension for violation of team rules and missed games against Oregon, Chaminade and Georgia Tech; had first career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds in loss at Florida; had five points and four rebounds against South Carolina and 15 points, three rebounds, and three assists in win at Vanderbilt.

Freshman, 2015-16: Played in 32 games with 22 starts and averaged 7.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 18.7 minutes per game; led the team in free-throw percentage (.897); his 8.5-point average in SEC games was 12th among freshmen in the league; averaged 11.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in three SEC tournament games.

High school/personal: Was a McDonald’s All-American nominee as a senior at Zion-Benton Township High and averaged 16 points, eight rebounds, and two assists as a junior; played AAU ball with Dickey Simpkins’ Chicago-based Team NLP programs (Simpkins played for coach Rick Barnes at Providence); Schofield’s father, Anthony, is a retired senior chief with the U.S. Navy; older brother, O’Brien, played football for Wisconsin and just finished his eighth season as a defensive end in the NFL.

247Sports Composite ranking: three-star, No. 293 nation, No. 58 small forward, No. 17 state

Lew Evans

F, 6-7, 235, graduate transfer, Salt Lake City, Utah/Utah State/Tulsa, Oklahoma/Highland High, Salt Lake City

Graduate Senior, 2016-17: Averaging 2.6 points, 2.0 rebounds and 11.8 minutes in 17 games with one start; didn’t score in six of first seven games; had a season-high nine points in win over Lipscomb; had four points and two rebounds in 16 minutes at Vanderbilt.

Junior, 2015-16: graduated June 2016 from Utah State; averaged 8.4 points and 5.6 rebounds (second on team) in 30 games with 16 starts.

Redshirt, 2014-15: Sat out season under NCAA transfer rules.

Sophomore, 2013-14: Played in 34 games with 22 starts at Tulsa, which won the Conference USA tournament and went to the NCAA’s second round; averaged 5.3 points and 4.1 rebounds.

Freshman, 2012-13: Played in 30 games at Casper (Wyoming) College and averaged 10 points and seven rebounds.

Prep school, 2011-12: Played at New Hampton (New Hampshire) School and averaged 10 points and six rebounds.

High school/personal: Earned first-team Class 4A all-state honors as Highland High won a state championship; averaged 15 points and nine rebounds as senior in 2010-11; averaged 10 points and six rebounds as a junior when Highland finished third at state; also lettered three years in baseball as a first baseman and right-handed pitcher; first Utah native ever to play for Tennessee’s basketball team.

247Sports Composite ranking: N/A.

Kwe Parker

PG, 6-0, 181, freshman, Fayetteville, North Carolina/Wesleyan Christian Academy, High Point, North Carolina

Freshman, 2016-17: Averaging 1.4 points, 1.1 rebounds and 9.6 minutes in 14 games; had a season-high five points in win at East Tennessee State University; after scoring four in loss to Arkansas, didn’t score against Florida, South Carolina, or Vanderbilt (played 2 minutes).

High school/personal: Teammate with current UT freshman Jalen Johnson at Wesleyan Christian Academy (Johnson is redshirting); has 45-inch vertical leap and posted four perfect scores to win the Edison National Bank Slam Dunk title in Fort Myers, Florida, in Dec. of 2015; also played safety for Trinity Christian football team. 

247Sports Composite ranking: three-star, No. 173 nation, No. 33 point guard, No. 5 state

Dave Link is a freelance journalist living in Knoxville.

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