Pons Expected To Sign Undrafted Free Agent Deal With Memphis

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    Photo Credit: Knoxville News Sentinel

    Former Tennessee basketball forward Yves Pons is expected to sign an undrafted free agent contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarwoski first reported Thursday night.

    The four-year contributor and two-season starter went undrafted in the 60-pick NBA Draft Thursday.

    The Fuveau, France native averaged 8.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in his senior season after averaging 10.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks as a junior in 2020.

    From the time he touched Tennessee’s campus in 2017, Pons was one of the best athletes in college basketball. However, the left hander was not a polished basketball player, particularly on the offensive end.

    After averaging five and 11 minutes per game his first two seasons in Knoxville, the 6-foot-6 forward transitioned from a wing player to a post player, changing his collegiate career.

    While Pons was undersized in the post, he easily made up for it with his freak athleticism. In his junior season, Pons developed into one of the nation’s best defenders, leading the SEC in blocked shots.

    Pons’ strong play earned him SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2020 and landed him on the SEC All-Defensive Team in 2021.

    As much as the soft speaking renaissance man grew on the defensive end, he grew just as much offensively. 

    Pons averaged just 2.2 points per game his sophomore season before adding a turnaround jump shot and an improved three-point jumper that made him a more formidable scorer.

    Pons made the jump from a 28% three-point shooter in 2019 to a 35% three-point shooter in 2020. In his senior season the lefty once again struggled from deep, shooting just 27%.

    The athlete’s inconsistencies as an offensive player led to him going undrafted in this year’s NBA Draft.

    Pons will have a chance to earn a roster spot in a Memphis franchise known for its defensive and toughness. If not, Pons could play in the G-League or return to Europe to play professionally.

    Like his former Tennessee teammates Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer, Pons is likely to play in the NBA Summer League in the coming weeks.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.