Tennessee’s senior duo of forward John Fulkerson and forward Yves Pons were named to the Preseason All-SEC Coaches First Team on Thursday, the SEC announced.
It is the latest of a long list of preseason accolades for Fulkerson and Pons. Fulkerson appeared on the watch list for the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award, while Pons is a candidate for the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award and the Naismith Trophy for College Player of the Year.
The Vols return nine scholarship players from last year’s team that went 17-14 in the regular season and 9-9 in SEC play. Jordan Bowden, Lamonte Turner and Jalen Johnson are the only departures. Bowden and Turner graduated, while Johnson ultimately transferred to Wake Forest as a graduate transfer.
Tennessee returns 67.7 percent of its scoring from a season ago with Pons back in the mix, according to UT basketball SID Tom Satkowiak. The Vols also return 69.7 percent of their rebounding production, 85.6 percent of their blocked shots, 66.1 percent of their steals, 68.7 percent of their minutes played and 71.6 percent of their starts.
Five-star combo-guard signee Jaden Springer and fellow five-star guard signee Keon Johnson are expected to have a significant impact on the Vols this season. Four-star power forward signee Corey Walker has also impressed since stepping foot on campus.
Tennessee is scheduled to begin its season on Nov. 25 against Charlotte as part of a three-team event it’ll host in Knoxville. The Vols will then play VCU on Nov. 27.