Andy Katz is high on the Tennessee basketball Volunteers forward.
This year, Tennessee basketball has three seniors on the roster, and all of them are expected to make a major impact. One is a graduate transfer who was a double-double machine last year. Another is the returning SEC Defensive Player of the Year who tested the NBA Draft waters this past offseason.
However, the one receiving the most hype is the returning leading scorer from last year, John Fulkerson. Andy Katz’s top 20 impact seniors for 2020-2021 placed Fulkerson at No. 17, higher than any post player in the SEC.
At 6’9″ 215 pounds, Fulkerson is actually a redshirt senior out of Kingsport, Tenn. who became a breakout player down the stretch of last season. Here’s what was written about the Tennessee basketball veteran.
Fulkerson is entering his fifth season with the Volunteers. Katz thinks the 6’9″ forward is a contender for the Karl Malone award this season, as he is coming off of a year where he averaged 13.7 points and 5.9 boards per game.
Obviously, Fulkerson is one of those great developmental stories that always seem to arise under Rick Barnes. That’s why him as an impact senior emphasizes what he has become, as he struggled severely at times early in his career, most notably filling in for Kyle Alexander in the Vols’ NCAA Round of 32 loss to Loyola-Chicago, who eventually made the Final Four, in 2018.
Of course, the other two seniors could have had a case to be on the list. E.J. Anosike is the graduate transfer, and at 6’7″ 245 pounds, he averaged 15.7 points and 11.6 rebounds with the Sacred Heart Pioneers last year.
Meanwhile, Yves Pons has been another great developmental story under Barnes. Last year, he averaged 10.8 points and over two blocks a game, which is what allowed him to take a look at where he stands in the NBA Draft at 6’6″ 215 pounds before ultimately deciding to come back for his senior season.
Fulkerson had such a strong finish to Tennessee basketball’s 2019-2020 season, though, that it made sense for him to make the list. Remember, he never scored 20 points in a game before February of this past year, and then he scored 20 or more in four if the Vols’ final 10 games. His potential this year is now through the roof.