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Tennessee Sophomore Power Forward Enters Transfer Portal

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee basketball forward Tobe Awaka entered the transfer portal after two seasons in Knoxville, as first reported by an Instagram post from Awaka and On3’s Joseph Tipton on Tuesday.

“Dear Vol nation,” Awaka said in an Instagram post. “The past two years have been some of the most influential of my life. The relationships gained and the experience I’ve had will be forever life-changing. I want to start by thanking Coach Barnes, all of the assistant coaches, and the rest of the basketball staff, for welcoming me with open arms and supporting me during my time at Rocky Top. I also want to thank my teammates — my brothers for life.

It was a pleasure getting to know and going to war with you all these past two years. Last but not least, thank you Vol nation for being one of the best fan bases in the country. Your hospitality and support has truly been a blessing.”

Awaka was Tennessee’s second big man last season, playing 13.1 minutes per game where he averaged 5.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. The sophomore had an up-and-down season but played better down the home stretch of the regular season.

He totaled 18 points and 10 rebounds against Missouri and 12 points and six rebounds against Texas A&M in February. Awaka was strong in the NCAA Tournament, scoring 10 points and grabbing five rebounds against Texas.

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The 6-foot-9 power forward took Tennessee to the finish line against Creighton, playing elite defense on Ryan Kalkbrenner, scoring on the dagger three-point play and making the offensive rebound that sealed the game. He also did a strong job battling Zach Edey in the Elite Eight.

But consistency was an issue for Awaka over the course of the season, especially his ability to play major minutes without fouling.

While Tennessee could end up playing more lineups with two true big men next season being able to return all three talented big men —Awaka, Jonas Aidoo and JP Estrella— seemed unlikely with only so many minutes to go around for all three.

Awaka’s departure is a tough loss due to his solid touch around the rim and elite physicality. He’s one of the best offensive rebounders in the country and despite being slightly undersized, he’s well equipped to handle physical big men.

Tobe Awaka is the third Tennessee player to enter the transfer portal this offseason following Freddie Dilione and D.J. Jefferson. Tennessee now has five scholarships to work with moving forward.

Stay tuned to Rocky Top Insider for more news on the Tennessee basketball offseason.

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