Where Vols Ended Up in Tennessee’s Record Books

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    (Photo via Tennessee Athletics)

    The 2019-20 college basketball season ended sooner than expected thanks to the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Just about 90 minutes before the Vols were set to tip-off in front of a basically empty arena in Nashville to start the second day of the 2020 SEC Tournament, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey announced that the remainder of the tournament was canceled, and every other conference across the country soon followed.

    Shortly after that, the NCAA Tournament and all other postseason play was also canceled.

    And with that, the 2019-20 college basketball season suddenly came to an end, marking the first time since the NCAA Tournament was created in 1939 that a college basketball season ended without it being played.

    With that unceremonious end to the season, it’s time to take a look back at the year-that-was for Tennessee and see where a handful of Vol players — and the 2019-20 team themselves — finished in UT’s men’s basketball record books.

    Here’s a look at where Vol players and this year’s team finished in school history.

    Jordan Bowden

    As of right now, Jordan Bowden’s Tennessee career is over. There’s a possibility the NCAA will extend an extra year of eligibility to athletes who participate in winter sports like they did with athletes in spring sports, so Bowden may be able to return for next season if that’s the case and if he so chooses to take advantage of that additional year. But assuming his career as a Vol is truly over, he finishes scattered across UT’s record books.

    Bowden finishes his Tennessee career with 1,365 points. That’s good for 24th all-time in school history, placing him just behind JaJuan Smith (1,384). He’s one of four Vols from the 2018-19 roster who finished their UT careers with at least 1,000 career points so far, and John Fulkerson has a chance to become the fifth next season.

    Though he struggled from three as a senior, Bowden’s 186 made three-pointers in his career place him seventh all-time in program history. His 546 attempted three-pointers are the sixth-most in a career in school history.

    Not only was Bowden a good three-point shooter, but he did a solid job at taking care of the ball and distributing it, too. Bowden finishes with the ninth-best assist-to-turnover ratio in a UT career at 1.78 in his four years.

    Bowden’s 132 games played as a Vol are tied with his former teammate Admiral Schofield for the fifth-most in school history. His 99 career starts are tied with Tony White for the 14th-most as a Vol, and his 3,730 minutes played are the 12th-most in school history.

    Lamonte Turner

    Though his season and Tennessee career got cut short in December thanks to a shoulder issue that had bothered him for years, Lamonte Turner’s name still finds its way into several places in UT’s record books.

    Turner’s 1,086 points scored places him 47th all-time in school history, finishing just ahead of Cameron Tatum (1,083) and a little behind Terry Crosby (1,096). His 171 career made three-pointers are tied with Greg Bell for the 11th-most in a career in school history, and his 502 attempted threes are the 10th-most in a Vol career.

    Though he played off the ball earlier in his career, Turner excelled as a point guard in his final year and a half as a Vol. He finishes his career with the 12th-most assists in school history with 347, and his 3.3 assists per game in a career ranks 14th. Turner also did a good job of not turning the ball over, as his 2.91 assist/turnover ratio is the fifth-best in a career in school history.

    Yves Pons

    The “Flying Frenchman” was oh-so-close to holding multiple outright records after his junior season at Tennessee. But because the Vols’ season got cut short before the postseason, Pons didn’t have a chance to sit atop Tennessee’s season block list.

    Pons finished the 2019-20 campaign with 73 blocks, tying CJ Black’s 1997-98 mark for the most in a single season in school history. Pons’ 2.35 blocks per game this season are second only to Black’s 2.52 a game in that same ’97-98 season.

    It’s believed that Pons does hold one school record, though. Pons blocked a shot in every single game Tennessee played this season, giving him at least one block in 31-straight games. By UT’s own research, that’s a program record dating back to at least the 1980s.

    John Fulkerson

    Kingsport, Tennessee native John Fulkerson showed massive improvement in his redshirt junior season, and he had one of the most efficient shooting seasons of any Vol in school history. Fulkerson’s field goal percentage of 61.2 percent is the fourth-best in a single season in program history. The only players to don the orange and white to finish with better shooting percentages in a season are Vol legends Dale Ellis, Reggie Johnson, and Bernard King.

    As of right now, Fulkerson’s career shooting percentage of 58.4 percent would rank him fourth behind those same three UT players.

    Team

    Last year, Tennessee set several school records as a team and finished in the top 10 and top five in program history in many categories. This year’s team wasn’t quite as accomplished overall, but they’ll still cement their place in school history in one impressive aspect.

    Tennessee’s 174 blocked shots as a team this season finish tied with the 1997-98 squad for the fifth-most in a season in school history. Yves Pons led the way with 73 swatted shots, and both John Fulkerson (27) and Josiah-Jordan James (23) tallied over 20 blocks on the season as well.

    Nathanael Rutherford
    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.