Tennessee may have a couple players join the NBA next season through the NBA Draft if one expert’s predictions come true.
In ESPN’s most recent mock draft projections, Jonathan Givony, one of ESPN’s lead NBA draft analysts, has senior forwards Admiral Schofield and Kyle Alexander getting taken in the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft. Givony has Schofield going No. 37 overall to the Brooklyn Nets and Alexander getting selected No. 51 overall by the Atlanta Hawks.
Earlier this year, Givony had Alexander as a potential first-round pick, placing him at No. 29 overall to the Houston Rockets.
“Alexander’s body has taken a while to fill out, and at 222 pounds he is still a ways away,” Givony wrote then, “but the fact that he stands 6-11½, with a 7-5½ wingspan and a massive 9-2 standing reach obviously helps.
“For now, Alexander is an elite screen-setter, diver, offensive rebounder and finisher — all coveted traits in the NBA. His defense is what will get him on the map, though. He shows terrific timing as a shot-blocker and gets out to hedge or switch screens on the perimeter.”
Both Alexander and Schofield saw massive improvements as players this season compared to last season. Schofield went from averaging 8.2 points and 4.4 rebounds a game as a sophomore to 13.9 points and 6.4 rebounds last season as a junior. That includes the Vols’ last eight games of the year in which Schofield led the team by averaging 19 points a contest over those eight games. He also averaged 7.1 rebounds per game during that stretch.
Alexander was solid on defense even in his first two years on campus for the Vols, but his offensive game saw the biggest growth from one year to the next during this season. The lanky big man went from averaging just 3.3 points and four rebounds while shooting 46.6 percent from the field as a sophomore to averaging 5.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game while shooting 68.1 percent from the floor. He also upped his blocks per game from one per contest in 2016-17 to 1.7 per game last season.
Tennessee hasn’t had a player drafted into the NBA since Josh Richardson was taken with the 40th overall pick in the second round by the Miami Heat in the 2015 draft. Since 1993, the Vols have had only eight players drafted into the NBA, and they’ve only had two or more players taken in the same draft 11 times since 1948.