On Monday, the Miami Heat announced they have officially signed former Vol starting center Kyle Alexander.
Alexander went undrafted after the 2019 NBA Draft, but the Heat signed him to their Summer League roster. Alexander had a solid showing with Miami over the summer, playing with the Heat both in the California Classic in Sacramento and in Las Vegas in the NBA Summer League. In his eight total games with the Heat, he averaged 4.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks a game in 15.9 minutes per contest. He started two of his eight games he played in, and he shot 43.8 percent overall and 75 percent from the free throw line.
UPDATE (7-15-19): According to Anthony Chang of The Miami Herald, Miami has signed Alexander to an Exhibit 10 contract. That style of contract includes an invitation to the Heat’s training camp. According to Chang, that deal is “limited to a $50,000 guarantee and leaves the option open for Alexander to eventually play for Miami’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, after training camp.”
With the Heat signing Alexander, Tennessee now has seven players under contract for the upcoming 2019-20 NBA season. Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield, and Jordan Bone all signed with the teams that drafted them in the 2019 NBA Draft. Williams signed a four-year deal with the Boston Celtics while Schofield inked a three-year deal with the Washington Wizards. Jordan Bone signed a two-way contract with the Detroit Pistons, meaning he’ll likely spend more time with Detroit’s G League team rather than on the Pistons’ active NBA roster.
Former Vol Tobias Harris signed a max contract with the Philadelphia 76ers worth $180 million over five years as a free agent earlier this month. Josh Richardson was traded from the Miami Heat to the 76ers in a trade involving Jimmy Butler, so now Harris and Richardson are teammates. Jordan McRae is also under contract with the Washington Wizards after signing a remainder-of-the-season contract in April. His deal runs through the 2019-20 season.
The only former Vol left unsigned in the NBA as of right now is Jarnell Stokes. The former Vol power forward played with the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA Summer League this summer.
When Tennessee signed Alexander, he was a scrawny 6-foot-9 forward out of Milton, Ontario in Canada who had only played basketball for a couple years. By the time he finished his four years of basketball with the Vols, he was a 6-foot-11 center who finished high up in Tennessee’s record books in both blocks and rebounding.
Alexander was forced into action as a true freshman in Rick Barnes’ first year as head coach because of the Vols’ utter lack of frontcourt depth. Alexander could’ve used a redshirt year, but Tennessee couldn’t afford that luxury. Instead, the Canadian big man appeared in 32 games and made 11 starts, averaging 1.7 points and 3.2 rebounds in 12.2 minutes per game.
Alexander’s minutes and production steadily increased over the next couple years, and it culminated in him starting the final 71 games he played as a Vol. In his last season with UT, Alexander averaged 7.3 points and 6.6 rebounds a game while shooting 61.4 percent from the floor in 23.8 minutes a game while starting all 37 games during the season.
The 64 blocks Alexander totaled as a senior are the second-most in a single season in school history, trailing only CJ Black’s 73 rejections he had in the 1997-98 season. Alexander finished his UT career with 185 career blocks, the second-most in a career in program history. He, again, trailed only Black in that category. Black finished with 212 career blocks. Alexander’s 1.37 blocks per game in a career were also second all-time in UT history, trailing Black’s mark of 1.80 swatted shots a game.
Not only that, but Alexander finished fifth all-time in school history in career offensive rebounds (287), and his 2.12 offensive rebounds per game in a career are 10th all-time in Tennessee history.
Alexander’s 135 career games with the Vols places him fourth all-time in most games played at Tennessee. In those 135 contests, Alexander averaged 4.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.37 blocks, and shot 58.5 percent from the floor in 17.8 minutes per game.