Vols are Finalists for Grad Transfer Forward

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    (Photo via Sports Illustrated)

    Tennessee’s men’s basketball team is a finalist for a highly-sought after grad transfer from the mid-major ranks.

    E.J. Anosike, a 6-foot-6 forward from East Orange, New Jersey, announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he’s down to his final seven schools and plans to make an announcement on where he’ll be transferring for his final year of eligibility on Friday, March 27th. Anosike was a standout forward for Sacred Heart University the last two seasons and spent three years with the Pioneers. Tennessee, Louisville, Gonzaga, Georgetown, Georgia, Wake Forest, and Boston College make up his finalists.

    The talented forward has a unique tie to Tennessee that he doesn’t share with any other schools in his list of finalists. His sister, Nicky, was a standout under Pat Summitt with the Lady Vols from 2004-08 and helped Tennessee win two national titles. She finished her UT career with over 1,000 points and averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds in four years. She also helped the USA Women’s U19 team win the gold medal in 2005 and won a gold medal in 2007 as well.

    As for E.J., he’s a very talented player himself.

    Anosike earned First Team All-Northeast Conference honors after averaging a double-double for Sacred Heart in the 2019-20 season. The 6-foot-6 forward averaged 15.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 33.2 minutes a game, starting all 33 games he played. Anosike was a Second Team All-NEC player as a sophomore in 2018-19 after averaging 14.3 points and 8.1 rebounds a game in 32 games, including 30 starts.

    As a junior, Anosike shot 48.4 percent overall and 25 percent from three. He totaled 19 double-doubles this past season, including a 26-point, 22-rebound performance against LIU. Anosike has amassed 27 double-doubles in his three years of college basketball.

    Earlier this season, Anosike caught national attention by grabbing the No. 1 spot on SportCenter’s Top 10 plays for a put-back slam.

    Tennessee has room to add Anosike to their roster after redshirt junior wing Jalen Johnson put his name in the NCAA transfer portal on Monday. Johnson, a 6-foot-6 wing, averaged 3.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists a game in 31 games for the Vols this past season, making two starts.

    Anosike would give the Vols a huge boost in the post, something they desperately need heading into the 2020-21 season. Tennessee returns Second Team All-SEC forward John Fulkerson and SEC Defensive Player of the Year Yves Pons as their main frontcourt options, and rising sophomore Olivier Nkamhoua and rising redshirt sophomore seven-footer Uros Plavsic add some depth on the bench.

    Other than those four, UT doesn’t have much else in the way of frontcourt depth.

    Coming out of Paramus Catholic High School, Anosike only had offers from programs like Sacred Heart, Dartmouth, Robert Morris, and Vermont among other mid-majors. He scored over 1,000 points in high school and averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks, and three steals in his senior season. He spent a grad year at St. Thomas More Academy before joining Sacred Heart.