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Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield Projected as First-Round Picks

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We may be in the thick of the NBA Playoffs, but for college basketball fans, it’s mock draft season as they track where their favorite players may be drafted.

Tennessee has three players who could potentially be selected in the 2019 NBA Draft. Admiral Schofield ran out of eligibility and is sure to be a draft pick while Jordan Bone and Grant Williams both declared for the draft as juniors. Both Bone and Williams can still return to Tennessee for their senior seasons, but they’re going to go through the entire process first before they make that decision.

While Bone hasn’t surfaced on many mock drafts, Schofield has been projected everywhere from a late first-round pick to anywhere in the second round. Williams, on the other hand, has been projected as a first-round pick on nearly every mock draft.

Now there’s even an updated mock draft that has Williams as a lottery pick.

In Kyle Boone’s latest mock draft on CBS Sports, Williams is projected to go No. 13 overall to the Miami Heat. The first 14 picks of the draft are considered lottery picks because they’re spots held by the 14 teams that don’t make it to the playoffs, and they’re involved in the draft lottery process.

“A decade ago, Williams would have been seen as a tweener,” Boone writes. “In a bad way. Now, he’s seen his stock rise in large part because he is, in fact, a tweener. But, you know, the good kind.

“Williams is physical and heady enough to have played significant minutes at both forward spots at Tennessee, but his perimeter skills and 3-point shooting, while not featured prominently in college, could unlock a tremendous small forward/power forward combo in the NBA. That versatility would serve the Heat well, and with Justice Winslow as a recent example, versatility is a trait they clearly place high value on.”

Tennessee hasn’t had a player selected in the first 15 picks of the NBA Draft since Marcus Haislip was taken with the 13th overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2002 draft. In fact, the Vols haven’t had a player drafted in the first round into the NBA since Tobias Harris was picked 19th overall in the 2011 draft by the Charlotte Hornets (and was traded to Milwaukee).

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As for Schofield, Boone has the 6-foot-6 small forward being selected No. 25 overall by the Portland Trail Blazers, giving the Vols two first-round picks in the 2019 draft.

“Schofield has done wonders for his stock at Tennessee, transforming from an under-the-radar recruit to a first-round draft prospect,” Boone writes. “Schofield has an ideal frame for an NBA forward at 6-6 and has the skills to complement it, illustrated by his 41.8 percent 3-point numbers last season.

“He could be a plug-and-play forward, too, after a productive four-year college career.”

The last time Tennessee had two players taken in the same NBA Draft was in 2014 when both Jarnell Stokes and Jordan McRae were selected in the second round. It’s been much, much longer since the Vols have had two players taken in the first round, though. The last time that happened was in 1977 when Bernard King was taken No. 7 overall and Ernie Grunfeld was selected with the 11th overall pick.

Over the weekend, it was announced that Bone, Williams, and Schofield received invites to the NBA Combine. The 2019 combine will begin on May 14th — the same day as the NBA Draft Lottery — and will run through May 19th in Chicago.

This past season, Williams averaged 18.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.5 blocks and won SEC Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. Williams was also a consensus First-Team All-American and First-Team All-SEC member.

Schofield averaged 16.5 points and 6.1 rebounds and shot 41.9 percent from three as he earned First-Team All-SEC honors.

Both Bone and Williams have until May 29th to withdraw their names from the draft pool if they wish to return to Tennessee for their senior seasons. If both stay in, they could both still technically return. If either player goes undrafted, they can return to UT for their senior season as long as they terminate all agreements with their agent they signed on with. Any undrafted player with eligibility remaining must notify their Athletics Director by 5 PM the Monday after the draft if they wish to return to school.

The NBA Draft will be held on Thursday, June 20th at the Barclays Center in New York.

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