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Dalton Knecht Named Winner of Riley Wallace Award

Dalton Knecht
Tennessee guard Dalton Knecht. Photo via Tennessee Athletics.

Tennessee guard Dalton Knecht was named the Riley Wallace Award winner on Thursday, as announced by College Insider and UT Athletics.

Named after the impactful former Hawaii coach, the Riley Wallace Award is given to the nation’s top transfer player each season. Wallace brought in several transfer players during his extended career as a head coach, which led to Wallace becoming the winningest coach in Hawaii program history.

“In the age of the transfer portal the Riley Wallace Award for the most impactful transfer has become highly competitive,” said James Wilhelmi, Executive member of and Senior Analyst, via the Wallace Award website. “Dalton Knecht of the University of Tennessee stood out amongst the crowd. The son of Corey and Carrie Knecht took the SEC by storm leading the league in scoring and finishing in the top ten in several other categories for a team that won the regular season SEC Title.”

On Tuesday, Knecht was named one of the five finalists for the Wooden Award, given annually to the nation’s top player. Knecht was also tagged as the SEC Player of the Year and a unanimous First Team All-American after his lone season on Rocky Top.

While Knecht’s season stat line of 21.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game is already impressive on its own, the former Northern Colorado transfer bumped up his conference scoring average to 25.5 PPG and 48 percent shooting from the floor.

More from RTI: Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht Named Finalist For Wooden Award

“He’s a young, 22-year-old kid that’s really just getting started,” head coach Rick Barnes said of Knecht during the NCAA Tournament. “He loves the game. He works at it. It’s going to be fun going forward to watch how much he improves.”

ESPN’s Jeff Borzello also named Knecht the Transfer of the Year on March 7. Knecht was the runner-up for Zach Edey’s Player of the Year nod according to Borzello.

Knecht was a true professional during his one year in Knoxville after four prior years in the college basketball world. With a mature veteran presence, Knecht engrained himself in the Tennessee culture with his attitude and work ethic. Knecht was as respectful and welcoming behind the scenes as he was dominant on the court, which really stood out in a world that has some bad apples in the bunch.

Knecht’s resume in Knoxville ends with multiple 35-point performances, a 40-point showing against Kentucky, and an Elite Eight appearance. Knecht’s legacy, though, will go further than the record books. The kids who were changed by an autograph and a picture from Knecht, 65 minutes after the end of a game on a random Tuesday night – that’s the legacy Dalton Knecht leaves.

Knecht is more than worthy of the 2024 Riley Wallace Award.

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