Tennessee’s men’s basketball team is full of gym rats, and there aren’t many players around college basketball who spend more time in the gym working on their craft than Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield. And his head coach acknowledged that after the senior’s career performance against No. 1 Gonzaga on Sunday.
Schofield totaled a career-high 30 points in Tennessee’s 76-73 upset win over No. 1 Gonzaga on Sunday, and he hit the game-winning three with 22 seconds remaining in the game. Schofield was clutch down the stretch and carried the team on his back in the second half, scoring 25 of his 30 points in the second half. He finished the game 6-of-10 from three and 12-of-22 from the field.
After the game, head coach Rick Barnes shared an emotional moment with his senior, telling him he knew the game-winning shot was going to to go in because of all the hard work he’d put in prior to that moment.
“When that shot went in, all I could imagine was all the time you put in the gym.”
Hard work pays off. pic.twitter.com/sfhkgxbflZ
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) December 9, 2018
Schofield is known for taking 1,000 shots every time he was in the gym last year to improve his shooting touch, and it’s paid off for him. His career day showed that, but his growth was evident even before his scoring outburst on Sunday.
Earlier in his career, Schofield and Rick Barnes didn’t have the greatest relationship. In fact, Schofield even served a short suspension handed down by Barnes, and many wondered if the guard/forward would work out at Tennessee.
Needless to say, those worries have been quashed.
Schofield has improved every season he’s been at Tennessee both on the court and off, and he’s on his way to posting career-highs this season if he keeps up his current pace. He went from averaging 7.6 points as a freshman to 8.2 points as a sophomore before breaking out last year and averaging 13.9 points a game. Through eight games this season, Schofield is averaging 17.9 points, six rebounds, and 3.1 assists. He’s shooting 47.5 percent from the floor, including 41.3 percent from three.
Tennessee needed Schofield to step up on Sunday with Lamonte Turner out and Grant Williams in foul trouble before eventually fouling out. The senior did just that, and it was made possible by all the hard work he put in during the offseason the past few years.