After an up-and-down season, the Vols snuck into the First Four of the NCAA tournament last year and went on to win games against Iowa, UMass and Mercer to advance to the Sweet 16, where they fell to No. 2 seed Michigan 73-71 in Indianapolis.
The program has been overhauled since then. Former coach Cuonzo Martin accepted a job at California and took his staff with him. Only six players from that team remain at UT – guard Josh Richardson, forward Armani Moore, forward Derek Reese, guard Robert Hubbs III (who was injured), guard Brandon Lopez and guard Galen Campbell.
Despite the turnover, AD Dave Hart wanted the Vols to have a chance to be recognized for their deep run in the tournament.
“I wanted them to have a tangible memento of what was a remarkable run through the NCAA Tournament and a terrific run through the end of the season to get to the NCAA Tournament,” Hart said in an interview with UTSports.com’s Brian Rice. “This is a way for them to have a lifetime reminder of what they accomplished.”
Players and coaches no longer on campus will have rings shipped directly to them, according to the story on UT’s official website.