Three Vols Projected to be Drafted in ESPN 2021 NBA Mock Draft

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    (Photo via @MarkGriffinVOL on Twitter)

    Two Tennessee basketball signees and one current Vol are projected to be drafted in ESPN’s latest 2021 NBA mock draft.

    Though the ’21 NBA Draft is 17 months away, Jonathan Givony projects Tennessee’s two five-star guard signees Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer to be drafted in the first round. Givony has Johnson being selected No. 14 overall to the Portland Trail Blazers and Springer going No. 28 overall to the Los Angeles Clippers.

    Givony also has current junior forward Yves Pons being drafted, going in the second round. The ESPN Draft Analyst has Pons being taken No. 52 overall in the second round to the Philadelphia 76ers.

    Springer, who was named to the McDonald’s All-American Game on Thursday afternoon, is ranked the No. 17 overall player in the class of 2020 according to 247Sports. The No. 4 ranked shooting guard hails from Charlotte, North Carolina, but he’s playing his final season of high school basketball at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

    Tennessee fans in the Knoxville area will have the opportunity to watch Springer play in person on Saturday afternoon when his IMG team plays Knoxville Catholic at 2:00 PM Eastern.

    Johnson is considered the No. 1 overall player in the state of Tennessee in the 2020 class and is viewed as the biggest snub from the McDonald’s All-American Game, though he was nominated for the game. The Bell Buckle, Tennessee native who stars at The Webb School is ranked as the 22nd-ranked overall prospect. Johnson is ranked as the No. 5 overall shooting guard.

    Pons has drastically improved his offensive game this season. After totaling 94 points in 59 games during his first two seasons, he scored 101 points through his first eight games this year and currently has 193 points, the third-highest total on the team. Pons currently stands as Tennessee’s third-leading scorer at 10.7 points per game and is third on the team in rebounding at 4.8 per game. He’s shooting 48.1 percent from the field.

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    While his offense has drastically improved, Pons’ defense will be the biggest attribute that gets him drafted. Pons is currently the leading shot-blocker in the SEC, having blocked at least one shot in every single game this season. He’s averaging 2.67 blocks per game and has totaled 48 blocks in 18 games this season.

    The 2021 NBA Draft is scheduled to be held on June 21, 2020.



    Ben McKee
    Ben McKee is a graduate from the University of Tennessee and has a degree in Journalism and Electronic Media. He grew up an Army brat and lived in Alabama for a bit, but he bleeds orange. He covers Tennessee football, basketball, baseball, and the Lady Vols for RTI, and he's also a co-host on the RTI Live Show and RTI Podcast. You can also hear Ben on the morning sports radio show "The Swain Event." He's the producer and co-host along with former Vol wide receiver Jayson Swain.