KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Vols point guard Jordan Bone announced Tuesday night on Twitter that he will keep his name in the NBA Draft, foregoing his senior season at Tennessee.
"It's always been my dream as a kid and I have the utmost confidence moving forward," Bone said in a video. "The love and appreciation I have for Vol Nation is something that will never go away and I'll always cherish."
Bone had an impressive performance at the NBA Combine, leading all participants in the three-quarter court sprint, standing vertical, shuttle and lane agility drills.
The Nashville native’s numbers in the three-quarter court sprint and max vertical bested the marks made by former NBA MVPs Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook.
Bone was a second team All-SEC selection in 2019 and broke the school record for assist-to-turnover ratio.
The NBA draft takes place on Thursday, June 20.
Bone and two-time SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams are entering the draft early as juniors. Williams is expected to be a first round pick. Tennessee senior Admiral Schofield appears in the early second round in many mock drafts.
Tennessee reached the Sweet 16 in 2019 for the first time in five years and now is losing Williams, Bone, Schofield, senior center Kyle Alexander, senior walk-ons Brad Woodson and Lucas Campbell (who will remain at UT as graduate assistants) and rising junior forward Derrick Walker who transferred to Nebraska.
With those seven departures, Tennessee loses 70-percent of its scoring, 65-percent of its rebounding and 62-percent of its minutes from the 2018-19 season. Williams, Bone, Schofield and Alexander started all 37 games for the Vols last season.
Rick Barnes returns three players who started a game in 2018-19: redshirt senior Lamonte Turner, senior Jordan Bowden and junior Yves Pons.
Turner averaged 11 points in 31 minutes last season, ranked fourth in the SEC with a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio and emerged as a lockdown defender late in the season. He has eight career 20-point games and has hit several clutch shots in his career including the go-ahead three with 30 seconds left in a win over no. 4 Kentucky in the SEC Tournament semifinals. Turner could be the featured scorer for Tennessee this season.
Bowden, a Knoxville native, has also shown flashes of great scoring ability and could thrive in an increased role. The Carter High School grad was considered one of Tennessee's best defenders last season, alongside Turner. Bowden was one of five Vols that averaged double figures in scoring last season with 10.6 points per game.
Pons, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward from France displayed incredible athleticism while starting 13 games and averaging 11.7 minutes. Fifteen of his 32 field goals were dunks.
And Pons might not even be the best dunker on the team. Many Vols would give that title to redshirt junior Jalen Johnson. The 6-foot-6 guard from Durham, N.C. averaged 5.8 minutes last season but Grant Williams told Andy Katz on the March Madness 365 Podcast that he expects Johnson to have a breakout year.
Tennessee is adding a very talented freshman in the backcourt too. Josiah-Jordan James is the Vols first McDonald's All-American since Tobias Harris in 2010. James is a five-star recruit from Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, S.C. He was the highest rated prospect in South Carolina, 21st in the country, and led Porter-Gaud to three state championships.
Davonte Gaines is listed as a freshman guard on the Vols’ summer roster. He is a three-star recruit from Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va.
In the frontcourt, 6-foot-9 forward D.J. Burns will play this season after graduating a year early from high school and redshirting during the 2018-19 season. He received the second-highest recruiting rating on the Vols roster out of high school (4-star, 108th nationally), behind only James.
The only returning forward who played significant minutes is Tri-Cities native John Fulkerson. He came off the bench last year and contributed more on the defensive end for the Vols. He finished the season with career-highs of 25 blocks and 18 steals while averaging 12.1 minutes and 3.1 points in 36 games.
Tennessee adds incoming freshmen fowards Olivier Robinson-Nkamhoua, a four-star from Maryland, and Drew Pember, a three-star from Knoxville's Bearden High School.
Another important addition is 7-foot-1 Serbian center Uros Plavsic, a transfer from Arizona State. We're waiting to find out if Plavsic will get a waiver from the NCAA allowing him to play this season or if he will have to sit out a year.
(In case you're wondering how to pronounce his name, here you go):
Plavsic played high school basketball at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga. He was a three-star prospect in the class of 2018 and redshirted during his freshman season at Arizona State.
Forward Zach Kent is expected to be ready to play this season after redshirting his freshman year and missing last season with an injury.
Walk-ons Jacob Fleschman and Brock Jancek also return for the Vols.