Tennessee basketball: Grant Williams in top 50 one-and-done era list

The former Tennessee basketball Volunteers forward was in an elite ESPN list.

He wasn’t even a one-and-done player. But that didn’t stop former Tennessee basketball All-American Grant Williams from making John Gasaway of ESPN’s list of top 50 individual college basketball seasons in the one-and-done era.

This era is defined as the period dating back to the 2007 season. That was when teams truly began implementing one-and-done talent into their recruiting plans due to the NBA’s age minimum rule that was instituted in 2005.

Williams’ 2018-2019 season came in at No. 45 on that list. That year, the 6’6″ 236-pound power forward averaged 18.8 points and seven and a half rebounds per game, shooting 56.5 percent from the field and 81.6 percent from the free throw line en route to an All-American campaign. His efforts helped Tennessee basketball remain No. 1 for almost a month and reach the Sweet 16.

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Although numerous players on that list were indeed one-and-done talents, including the No. 1 player on there, Zion Williamson, it wasn’t limited to such talent. Williams, a three-star recruit in the Vols’ 2016 class, was a junior during the year that reached this list. His success is a testament to the incredible job Rick Barnes did of developing talent.

After that year, Williams entered the NBA Draft and was taken in the first round by the Boston Celtics. He had played in 62 games and started five of them before the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to the season.

In addition to being one of the greatest players of the one-and-done era, Williams earned his way onto the list of greatest Tennessee basketball players of all-time for his work over three years. He was actually a two-time All-American, also earning the honor in 2017-2018 when he helped Rocky Top win a share of the SEC Regular Season championship.

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In addition to those accomplishments, Williams was named back to back SEC Player of the Year. He was dominant when he played in the league, putting him in the ranks of Chris Lofton, Allan Houston, Dale Ellis, Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld when it comes to Vol legends. His accomplishments are as elite as all of theirs were.