Fulkerson Named A Preseason All-SEC First Team Selection

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    Photo by Tennessee Athletics

    The Southeastern Conference’s basketball coaches selected redshirt-senior power forward a Preseason All-SEC First Team selection, the conference announced Tuesday.

    Fulkerson is returning for a sixth and final season at Tennessee, taking advantage of NCAA COVID-19 eligibility relief. After a disappointing 2020-21 season, Fulkerson landed on the eight-player All-SEC First Team.

    “That’s the first time I heard that,” Fulkerson told RTI. “It’s good but when I think of preseason stuff I think of that year we were picked, I think second to last in the SEC and we won the SEC regular season. Preseason awards can be good and bad. I think it’s all off of how they think you’re going to do so you have to live up to people’s expectations or beat them.”

    Fulkerson was the breakout star of the Vols’ 2019-20 season, averaging 13.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. The Kingsport native was even better in SEC play, averaging over 15 points per game and becoming the Vols’ go to scorer.

    The strong play— particularly down the stretch of the season— led to Fulkerson earning Second Team All-SEC honors.

    Last season, Fulkerson took a step back struggling with consistency and his stamina after contracting COVID-19 before the 2020-21 season.

    The left-handed big man averaged 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.

    This offseason hasn’t been without drama either for Fulkerson. After announcing his decision to return for one final season, Fulkerson broke his wrist in mid June.

    The veteran big man was able to return before the start of preseason practice but then broke his thumb, Rick Barnes announced Tuesday.

    “John Fulkerson is going to miss the exhibition game,” Barnes said. “He broke his thumb a couple weeks ago and is in a cast. We fully expect him to be ready for the opener but he won’t play Saturday.”

    Tennessee’s season opener is two weeks away as the Vols will welcome UT-Martin to Thompson-Boling Arena.

    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.