Vols senior forward intends to return for another season

    by -

    Tennessee graduate transfer E.J. Anosike only expected to play one season on Rocky Top when he announced his intentions to transfer from Sacred Heart over the offseason. Now, with this season being deemed a free year of eligibility by the NCAA because of COVID-19, Anosike will be able to play two years with the Vols.

    Rick Barnes stated during his Monday press conference that Anosike intends to take advantage of the free year and return in 2021-22.

    “I don’t think there’s any question he will (return),” Barnes said. “He’s got a great future.. I think it’s going to be good for him. I actually told him the day that they made that announcement, I went to him and told him that we had just got a call from the NCAA that he wasn’t eligible this year and he has to come back next year. He looked at me and said, that’s OK, but I’d like to play this year to. I told him and he had a big smile on his face. He is excited about it.”

    Anosike has played in all 10 of Tennessee’s games this season. He is averaging 11.8 minutes per game, is shooting 38.5% from the field and 3.2 points per game. More importantly, Anosike is averaging 3.1 rebounds coming off of the bench.

    More than half of his rebounds (17-of-30) this season have come on the offensive glass. Anosike made his Tennessee debut in the season-opening win over Colorado. He scored four points, grabbed four offensive rebounds, tallied an assist and blocked a shot in 14 minutes off the bench. He then scored a season-high nine points and ripped down five rebounds in Tennessee’s 38-point win over Saint Joseph’s.

    The 6-foot-6, 245-pound forward from East Orange, New Jersey announced his decision to transfer away from Sacred Heart after a stellar junior campaign that saw him average a double-double for the season. Anosike earned First Team All-Northeast Conference honors after averaging 15.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 33.2 minutes a game, starting all 33 games he played. He 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. He led the NEC in rebounds per game as a junior and finished third in field goal percentage and seventh in points per game. He also attempted the second-most free throws in the conference and tied for the third-most makes from the free throw line.

    Throughout his career at Sacred Heart, Anosike played in 95 games and made 63 starts, totaling 1,100 points and 757 rebounds while shooting 48.3 percent overall.