Expectations for the 2013-14 Volunteers basketball team were immediately raised on Saturday with the announcement that forward Jarnell Stokes would be returning for his junior season.
Stokes, the first five-star to commit to Cuonzo Martin, came on strong during the second half of the year last season and was a key part of the Vols nearly making the NCAA tournament. Stokes finished the season averaging 12.6 points a game and 9.6 rebounds a game.
The Memphis native took his time to make a decision, which was good for the Vols because Stokes said if he would’ve made a decision right after the season, he most likely would have declared for the NBA draft.
Stokes said he was given a second round grade by NBA talent scouts.
Earlier this month guard Jordan McRae announced he would be returning to Knoxville next season as well.
Stoke’s return does put the Volunteers in a little bit of a quandary since the Vols are still one over the scholarship limit. It’s unclear what decision Martin will be forced to make.
With the return of forward Jeronne Maymon, who redshirted last season due to injury, as well as McRae and Stokes, the Vols will be considered one of the most dangerous teams in the SEC. Tennessee could possibly start the season ranked in the top 25.
The Vols finished the season winning 9 of their last 12 games. Tennessee lost in the first round of the NIT to Mercer.
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