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.