Admiral Schofield Likely Returning to Vols

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    Photo credit: Anne Newman/RTI

    Back in late March, Tennessee junior forward/guard Admiral Schofield announced that he was declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft. Only he wasn’t hiring an agent, so he could return to the Vols for his senior season if he chose to.

    And it appears that’s the decision he’s leaning towards.

    According to 247Sports, Schofield told reporters after a workout in Denver that unless he’s assured he’s a first-round pick in this year’s draft, he’ll likely head back to school for his fourth and final season of college basketball.

    “Honestly, everyone wants to be a first-round draft pick,” Schofield said in Denver. “For me, that would be it — first-round draft pick — but I don’t think I’m that yet, which is fine. I haven’t had a team tell me that, which is fine, but I’ve still got plenty more workouts to do. I’m gonna keep competing, and hopefully I’ll get an opportunity. If not, I’ll go back to school and get better.”

    Schofield had a workout with the Denver Nuggets on Monday, and he’s also worked out with the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Milwaukee Bucks and Oklahoma City Thunder. The 6-foot-5, 240 pound forward has other workouts scheduled for this week as well, but so far no team has given him a first-round evaluation.

    And if he no team tells him they think he’s worth a first-round pick, the Vols will have his services again for the 2018-19 season.

    Because Schofield didn’t hire an agent, he can return to school as long as he withdraws his name for consideration from the draft before the end of this month. So Schofield can return to Tennessee by May 30th and prepare for the Vols’ hyped up 2018-19 season as long as he doesn’t want to take his chances in the NBA Draft. But despite not getting a first-round grade yet, Schofield has put his workouts to good use.

    “I want to be an even better shooter, so I’m gonna amp it up even more,” Schofield said. “Understanding the different schemes in the NBA, I think it’ll really help me, especially with the spacing and everything like that. But really it’s just about getting better. It’s, ‘How can I improve?’ I shot, I think, 39 percent last year, but I know I’m an even better shooter.

    “So now it’s still going in the gym and trying to become a great shooter, not just a good shooter.”

    Schofield drastically improved his game in every area from his sophomore season to his junior season except for his overall shooting percentage. Schofield’s field goal percentage actually dropped from 45.3 percent to 44.7 percent last season, and his free throw percentage fell to 75.6 percent after he made 77.9 percent of his free throws the previous season.

    Everywhere else, though? Schofield made massive improvements.

    From his sophomore to his junior season, Schofield increased his points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game, and steals per game by considerable amounts. Schofield played the second-most minutes on the team and scored the second-most points for the entire season. And he was the catalyst for the Vols down the stretch to end the regular season and to help propel them to the SEC Tournament Finals.

    If Schofield can show that same improvement and consistently shoot better this next season — assuming he comes back to Tennessee — then he may find himself higher up on team’s draft boards this time next year.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.