How Grad Transfers Have Fared with the Vols

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    Photo credit: Anne Newman/RTI

    On Friday of last week, Tennessee picked up a grad transfer in men’s basketball. Sacred Heart forward EJ Anosike announced on Friday that he would use his final year of eligibility to play for the Vols in the 2020-21 season, giving UT a high-level rebounder and another option down in the post.

    Anosike averaged a double-double in his junior year with the Pioneers, averaging 15.7 points and 11.6 rebounds a game in 33 starts. In 95 career games at Sacred Heart, Anosike averaged 11.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists while shooting 48.3 percent overall, 28.3 percent from three, and 73.8 percent from the free throw line.

    Since grad transfers became more commonplace in men’s basketball about a decade ago, the Vols have welcomed in a number of graduate transfers in men’s hoops. Anosike will be the fourth grad transfer Rick Barnes has added during his time as UT’s head coach, and Anosike will be the seventh overall grad transfer Tennessee has signed on in men’s basketball.

    So, how have the other grad transfers performed once they arrived at Tennessee? We take a look here.

    Players are arranged in alphabetical order

    Antonio Barton, PG (2013-14)

    Previous School: Memphis
    Stats Prior to Joining Vols: 6.9 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.5 APG, 45.3% FG, 41.7% 3FG, 21.4 MPG
    Season at Tennessee: 7.5 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 2.1 APG, 37.3% FG, 34.0% 3FG, 25.1 MPG

    The younger brother of Memphis standout and current NBA player Will Barton, Antonio Barton joined the Vols after spending three seasons with the Tigers himself. He was expected to come in and start as UT’s primary point guard under Cuonzo Martin, and he did that for most of the season. Though his efficiency was worse with the Vols than with Memphis, he still finished second on the team in assists per game and started 28 of the 37 games Tennessee played. He was crucial for the Vols down the stretch as they made an NCAA Tournament run to the Sweet Sixteen, averaging 9.4 points, 2.3 assists, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.2 steals over UT’s final nine games of the season, all while shooting 41.7 percent from three in that stretch.

    Ian Chiles, PG (2014-15)

    Previous School: IUPUI
    Stats Prior to Joining Vols: 12.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 42.1% FG, 34.9% 3FG, 31.1 MPG
    Season at Tennessee: Appeared in 3 games before season-ending surgery

    One of the biggest “what ifs” for a transfer in Tennessee’s men’s basketball program, Ian Chiles was brought in by Rick Barnes in his first season as head coach to provide a veteran presence at point guard and give UT a true point guard option. Instead, injuries plagued Chiles even before he set foot on the court for the 2014-15 season, and after appearing in three games, he had season-ending shoulder surgery. In the previous season at IUPUI, Chiles led the team in scoring at 15.8 points a game and averaged 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

    James Daniel, PG (2017-18)

    Previous School: Howard
    Stats Prior to Joining Vols: 21.5 PPG, 2.4 APG, 2.3 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 36.6% FG, 33.5% 3FG, 33.9 MPG
    Season at Tennessee: 5.6 PPG, 2.8 APG, 1.4 RPG, 36.6% FG, 37.2% 3FG, 19.7 MPG

    Two seasons before joining Tennessee, James Daniel was the top scorer in Division I college basketball. His 27.1 points per game in the 2015-16 season led all scorers in college basketball, and he was named the MEAC Player of the Year. But an injury ended his senior campaign early, and he appeared in only two games.

    It was evident that Daniel was never the same after his injury during his time at Tennessee, but Barnes brought in the veteran point guard to provide an older presence for sophomore point guards Jordan Bone and Lamonte Turner. Unfortunately for Daniel, he was never quite as effective as hoped, though he was a good three-point shooter and gave the Vols some key minutes in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments. Daniel appeared in all 35 games for UT and made three starts.

    Lew Evans, F (2016-17)

    Previous School: Utah State
    Stats Prior to Joining Vols: 8.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 41.2% FG, 35.6% 3FG, 21.4 MPG
    Season at Tennessee: 3.4 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 34.5% FG, 29.5% 3FG, 14.8 MPG

    Lew Evans went from Tulsa to Utah State to Tennessee, and although he didn’t have the biggest impact in the world while on the court, Evans was a fan favorite in his one season at Tennessee. The 6-foot-8 forward had a role off the bench, especially after then-freshman John Fulkerson suffered a season-ending injury. He appeared in all 32 games the Vols played and made four starts. Evans saved his best for last, scoring a season-high 13 points and totaling five rebounds and two blocks in Tennessee’s regular season finale against Alabama, a 59-54 win for the Vols.

    John Fields, F (2010-11)

    Previous School: UNC Wilmington
    Stats Prior to Joining Vols: 10.2 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 2.3 BPG, 53.2% FG, 24.0 MPG
    Season at Tennessee: 2.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 58.7% FG, 11.6 MPG

    Though never a big scoring threat, John Fields had a role on Bruce Pearl’s final Tennessee squad. Fields started out at Eastern Carolina, transferred to UNC Wilmington, then left the state of North Carolina to join the Vols as a grad transfer. After coming off the bench in Tennessee’s first 15 games of the season, Fields started 18 of the Vols’ final 19 games of the season and was a strong defender. Fields blocked at least two shots in 15 of the 34 games he played as a Vol, including five blocks in 19 minutes in Tennessee’s win over LSU on January 26, 2011. The 6-foot-9 forward grabbed four or more rebounds in 12 games with UT.