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Vols' Yves Pons named semi-finalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award

Pons specialized in frustrating offensive players, especially when he takes to the air to block shots with ease.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee's high-flying senior is one of ten semi-finalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Yves Pons, the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year, has continued to frustrate offenses this season. So far this year, he's blocked 34 shots, ranking seventh in the SEC with 1.6 per game and recorded a career-best 14 steals and eight charges drawn.

He currently sits in 11th on UT's all-time blocks list with 124 career rejections and has tallied 107 blocks in his last 52 games (2.1 per game) dating to the start of last season.

"The Fuveau, France, native has the innate ability to effectively guard all five positions on the floor and makes the Vols virtually matchup-proof while he's on the court," according to a press release from the University of Tennessee.

He makes a difference on offense as well, scoring in double figures in seven of his last nine contests, averaging 11.3 points per game during that span. In addition, fans love to see one of his monster dunks!

The finalists were was chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's board of selectors, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, who base their decisions on outstanding on-court defensive performances during the 2020-21 college basketball regular season.

Pons is one of two players from the SEC who has been named a semifinalist for the award. Joining him is Alabama's Herb Jones.

The Naismith Defensive Player of the Year candidate list will be trimmed to five finalists next month, and the winner of the award presented to the nation's best defender will be announced in April.

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