Schofield No. 49 on Sports Illustrated’s Top 60 2019 NBA Prospects

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    Photo credit: Anne Newman/RTI

    Nobody on Tennessee’s men’s basketball team last season saw a bigger improvement from one season to the next quite like Admiral Schofield did last year. And his breakout year has put him on the NBA’s radar.

    Schofield emerged as a versatile scorer and rebounder for the Vols as a junior last season, and he declared for the 2018 NBA Draft after the season ended. He didn’t sign an agent, however, and he ultimately decided to come back to Tennessee for his senior season rather than take his chances in this year’s draft.

    But he’ll be graduating after this upcoming season, and his time working out with NBA scouts and teams along with his solid junior campaign has helped him grab attention in the NBA world.

    Sports Illustrated released their preliminary big board of the top 60 NBA prospects for the 2019 NBA Draft, and Schofield came in at No. 49 on the list.

    “There aren’t many wings built as functionally strong as Schofield, whose husky football-player frame (his older brother played linebacker in the NFL) gives him a chance to defend bigger opponents and provide a unique level of versatility,” the article states. “He has a solid feel for the game, shot 39% from three last season, can finish in the paint and take smaller opponents in the post, and also impacts the game on the glass. As far as returning seniors go, Schofield is one to track as the leader of a Tennessee team that returns all its key pieces.”

    Schofield turned it on late in the season for Tennessee, averaging 19 points per game over the Vols’ last eight games of the season, including their SEC and NCAA Tournament runs. The Vols only lost two games in that stretch.

    As a junior, Schofield saw drastic improvement across the board from his sophomore season. His points per game total increased by 69.5 percent, his rebounds per game increased 45.5 percent, his assist per game increased 87.5 percent, and his steals per game more than tripled.

    All in all, Schofield averaged 13.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and one steal per game while shooting 44.7 percent overall and 39.5 percent from three. He started 34 of the Vols’ 35 games and averaged the second-most minutes on the team with 28.1 minutes per game. He was voted as a First Team All-SEC player after the season.

    The only player on Tennessee’s roster who scored more points per game and played more minutes was SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams.

    Tennessee hasn’t had a player drafted into the NBA since Josh Richardson was taken with the No. 40 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. But barring any sort of injury or major regression, Schofield should end that drought for the Vols with next year’s draft.

    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.