Tennessee senior guard Kevin Punter will be honored for Senior Day on Saturday against Ole Miss (noon ET, SEC Network), but won’t be playing in the game – or any others this year.
Coach Rick Barnes confirmed on Friday afternoon to the local media that Punter’s UT playing career is officially over. He has been dealing with with a stress fracture in his right foot over the past few weeks that held him out of the last four games. He is scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday.
“He tried,” Barnes said of Punter, who considered trying to return to the court this year. “He could do a little bit moving forward, and he thought he could deal with that. But once he started moving (laterally), he just couldn’t do it. He realized the last couple days that there was just no way he could get on the court. He just can’t do it.”
Punter finishes the season sitting second in the SEC in average points per game (22.2), behind only Ole Miss guard Stefan Moody (23.4), who the Vols will face on Saturday. Tennessee, which needs beat Ole Miss on Saturday to avoid the first-round No. 12 vs. No. 13 game in the SEC Tournament, is 1-3 without Punter in this lineup this season.
He did, however, get a chance on Friday to catch up with another Kevin who played for Barnes – Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant.
Appreciate talking to @KDTrey5 really enlightened me.. Thank You!
— Kevin Punter Jr (@KPJunior_) March 4, 2016