An old college basketball rivalry has been rekindled thanks to one team being led by a former NBA all-star turned head coach and another team ranked in the Top Five. The third-ranked Tennessee Volunteers defeated Memphis, 102-92, on Saturday afternoon. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:
5 Admiral Schofield (6’6 241) Tennessee guard- Senior
Schofield is the big shot taker and the big shot maker for the Volunteers. The senior guard can catch and shoot off picks and create his own shot with a left-to-right crossover. Against Memphis, Schofield had a team-high 29 points on 8-of-12 shooting. He also led his team with 11 rebounds. The Tigers made a few runs in the game to keep things close but every time they tried to leapfrog the Volunteers, Schofield was there to make a big basket.
“We wanted to come in and make a statement for our university here on their floor,” Schofield said after the game. “And I think we did that, so you know the crowd was chirping a little bit. So I just had to let them know. UT. UT still on top.”
At the next level, is where things will get tricky for Schofield. He is 6-foot-6 and not extremely long. His body type resembles that of Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker, and in order to adjust to the NBA, Schofield might have to adopt Tucker’s three-and-D game.
2 Grant Williams (6’7 236) Tennessee forward- Junior
Grant Williams brings the grit and low post presence for the Volunteers. The Tennessee junior likes to start the game by getting his rhythm in the post, using a turnaround shot over his left shoulder. Williams can also occasionally pull out to the perimeter and make open long twos and threes (46-percent 3-point shooter). However, Williams knows where his bread is buttered and can mostly be found around the rim. Last season, Williams was named the SEC Player of the Year. He might not have a natural position at the next level but at the very least, Williams will garner attention as a G-League/ NBA two-way contract prospect.
0 Kyvon Davenport (6’8 215) Memphis forward- Senior
Davenport fits the mold of the new NBA forward, he can run to the rim end-to-end but also can float to the three-point line. Despite coming off the bench against the Volunteers, Davenport played starter minutes and with a 56-percent field goal percentage and 44- percent three-point percentage, he is efficient in the time he does play. For the season, Davenport is averaging 15 points per game and seven rebounds. Against Tennessee, he had 31 points and 11 rebounds.
“We know he’s a double-double machine,” said head coach Penny Hardaway after an earlier game this season against Tennessee Tech. “And we’re going to need that from him all year.”
Hardaway benched Davenport four games into the season but since then the senior has responded.
“That’s a question I’ll have to pose to myself later: Is it time for Kyvon to go back in (the starting lineup)? Because he’s playing well coming off the bench, he’s playing minutes,” Hardaway said after the Tennessee game.
No matter what happens, Davenport is highly productive and talented and will catch the eyes of NBA scouts as the season goes on.