Admiral Schofield’s return sets up Tennessee for big 2018-19 season

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Tuesday afternoon, one day before the NCAA deadline for players to announce their intentions to withdraw from the NBA draft and return to school, the Tennessee basketball program received some good news.

Forward Admiral Schofield, who decided earlier in the spring to test the process without hiring an agent, announced that he will be returning to Knoxville for his senior season. As a junior Schofield averaged 13.9 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game, shooting 44.7 percent from the field, 39.5 percent from three-point range and 75.6 percent from the foul line.

Schofield’s return means that the top six scorers — and all five starters — from a team that won 26 games and a share of the SEC regular season title will all be back on campus.

While the rosters at Auburn — which shared the regular season title with Tennessee — and Kentucky are nothing to scoff at, a very good case can be made that Rick Barnes’ team should be the preseason favorite to win the SEC next season. At minimum, the Volunteers should be safely in the Top 10 of the preseason national polls this fall.