Family, teammates' work persuades Smith to return to UT

Tennessee's Tyler Smith watches as a teammate shoots free throws.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee's Tyler Smith watches as a teammate shoots free throws.

Tyler Smith announces he will stay at UT

Video

UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl comments on Tyler Smith returning to Tennessee for his senior year.

UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl comments on Tyler Smith returning to Tennessee for his senior year. Watch »

Video

Tyler Smith, who is returning to UT for his senior year, shared feedback he received from NBA draft scouts.

Tyler Smith, who is returning to UT for his senior year, shared feedback he received from NBA draft scouts. Watch »

Tennessee's Tyler Smith watches as a teammate shoots free throws.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess // Buy this photo

Tennessee's Tyler Smith watches as a teammate shoots free throws.

Tyler Smith said he was wrong about how his decision on coming back to Tennessee would play out.

“I thought it would come down to my gut feeling, but my gut was leaning toward leaving,’’ Smith said. “But then in talking to my family, friends and teammates these past few days, I’ve decided to return for my senior year.’’

Smith, a 6-foot-6 forward, said the attitude his teammates have shown in the offseason, and the Vols’ potential for success out-weighed his professional opportunities.

“We have a great team coming back, and a lot of guys have really grown up and they’ve been right behind me calling me and telling me they wanted me to come back,’’ Smith said. “I think we have a great chance to make something special happen.’’

UT coach Bruce Pearl was smiling like a Cheshire Cat when he took the podium at Smith’s Thursday afternoon press conference at Pratt Pavilion.

“Obviously this is a great day for us; I continue to be impressed by Tyler,’’ Pearl said. “He went through the process, he had some terrific workouts with a number of teams and he trained extremely hard.

“He did exactly what he said he would do.’’

Pearl said when it became apparent that Smith was not “locked down’’ as a first-round pick, Smith weighed that against his opportunity to return to UT and graduate and lead the team.

“Those were some things he wasn’t wanting to give up,’’ Pearl said. “Tyler would make a (NBA) team. He would just put a coach in a position where they would have to keep him.

“But it’s not if you can make the league, it’s whether you can stay in the league.’’

Pearl said that’s where draft position and the contract considerations that go along with it become an important factor.

First-round picks in the NBA draft have guaranteed contracts — second-round picks and free agents do not.

Smith said that he considered playing in Europe, but he never seriously pursued it.

“There was a very slim chance I’d go there,’’ Smith said. “I thought about it, but you can’t get better fan support and exposure over there than you can right here at the University of Tennessee.’’

Former UT star Chris Lofton, who played in Europe last season and has a workout with the Memphis Grizzlies, said he’s happy Smith found a decision he’s comfortable with.

“I wanted Tyler to do what was best for him and his family,’’ Lofton said. “Of course I’m happy he’s coming back to the University of Tennessee.’’

Smith said Vols fans will see a different approach from him this season.

“It’s not about the minutes or the points or the roles with this team,’’ Smith said. “People on this team are ready to step up, including me.

“I’m going to count a lot more on my teammates rather than trying to put it all on my shoulders.’’

Smith said he and his teammates have high aspirations this season.

“We have five seniors, and we’ll all lead,’’ Smith said. “The improvement Scotty (Hopson) has made makes him another leader.

“Winning is what it’s all about. We’ll all benefit if we make it to the Final Four, and there’s a strong possibility we can.’’

Smith said he will play in the Pilot Rocky Top League, which begins Monday.

Andre Whitehead, the league commissioner, said Smith will be added to the Richardson Construction team, one of two teams that did not have a full allotment (2) of current UT players.

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Comments » 124

wildberry14 writes:

stay

knoxlawvol writes:

Come back and lead us to the Final Four, Tyler!

DC_Vol writes:

Pleeeeeeeeeeeease stay we need you, Tyler!!!

We will be a much better team with Tyler than without.

If he returns, I am interested in seeing if he will play in the Rocky Top League. Then how do you add him to a team that has already selected. Essentially, you will be giving one team a distinct advantage by giving them the number one pick in the draft after the selection process. Essentially one pick will have two first round picks. Not necessarily fair or equitable. Prediction whatever team Tyler end up on wins the tournament. Not really going out on a limb am I? LOL

RichmondVol42 writes:

Let him go.

b_neas writes:

If he comes back Scotty better be the #1 option on offense. That is why he and Tyler both struggled last year.

RoyaltyVol writes:

He will be back, because no way does he go in the 1st 2 rounds of the NBA draft. He's good, but not that good. Another year in college and I believe he could be a 1st rounder next year.

CoachFulmer writes:

Alot of close games next season could rest on Tyler's decision. Hes clutch in tight games for the most part. Go with your gut T. Smith.

GO VOLS!

QCVol writes:

Oh man, come on Tyler, didnt you just do this sht last year??...its not a good look dog...its kinda cornball and lame to be honest...I mean what you gon announce??? We- well, the ones of us who know game- already know you just not ready for the NBA yet dog...so what you gon announce? That you going to Turkey???...sorry homie, no one cares about the basketball over there....Just come on back, work on ya game, develop a consistant 15-20 ft jump shot, then maybe, just maybe you'll get a look next year...If you play consistant, get a nice average of 22-26ppg and a good 10-12rebounds consistantly....you'll definitely have a better shot...But thats about it dog...just a shot...Hel, If Ron Slay didnt make it, If Vincent Yarbrough didn't make it, that should tell you a lil something....THE NBA IS ON ANOTHER LEVEL DOG.....you can't keep having press conferences dog....LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

newtonrail writes:

in response to QCVol:

Oh man, come on Tyler, didnt you just do this sht last year??...its not a good look dog...its kinda cornball and lame to be honest...I mean what you gon announce??? We- well, the ones of us who know game- already know you just not ready for the NBA yet dog...so what you gon announce? That you going to Turkey???...sorry homie, no one cares about the basketball over there....Just come on back, work on ya game, develop a consistant 15-20 ft jump shot, then maybe, just maybe you'll get a look next year...If you play consistant, get a nice average of 22-26ppg and a good 10-12rebounds consistantly....you'll definitely have a better shot...But thats about it dog...just a shot...Hel, If Ron Slay didnt make it, If Vincent Yarbrough didn't make it, that should tell you a lil something....THE NBA IS ON ANOTHER LEVEL DOG.....you can't keep having press conferences dog....LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

He didn't do THIS last year. You can't do it but one year, and then you have to go the second YOU Officially put your name in Draft. He nibbled around the edges last year, as did Chism, but never did anything officially.

golfballs03 writes:

in response to Pablopeepants:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You must speak from experience

golfballs03 writes:

Well, I can say with 99% certainty that he isn't going to stay in the draft. I will say chances are he stays at UT. I wish Pearl could play him more at the 3. But we have so much talent at the wings it's hard to rationalize keeping those guys on the bench and playing more of Williams and Negedu. Regardless, Tyler better be practicing his 3 pointer all summer

realisticvolfan1 writes:

in response to b_neas:

If he comes back Scotty better be the #1 option on offense. That is why he and Tyler both struggled last year.

Seriously? We are in trouble if he is our #1!!!!

MillisaAnn writes:

Please stay Tyler we need you and you need to finish school.

MidTennVol writes:

in response to QCVol:

Oh man, come on Tyler, didnt you just do this sht last year??...its not a good look dog...its kinda cornball and lame to be honest...I mean what you gon announce??? We- well, the ones of us who know game- already know you just not ready for the NBA yet dog...so what you gon announce? That you going to Turkey???...sorry homie, no one cares about the basketball over there....Just come on back, work on ya game, develop a consistant 15-20 ft jump shot, then maybe, just maybe you'll get a look next year...If you play consistant, get a nice average of 22-26ppg and a good 10-12rebounds consistantly....you'll definitely have a better shot...But thats about it dog...just a shot...Hel, If Ron Slay didnt make it, If Vincent Yarbrough didn't make it, that should tell you a lil something....THE NBA IS ON ANOTHER LEVEL DOG.....you can't keep having press conferences dog....LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

I think this is a good post but I'm not quite sure...lemme grab my English-Ebonics dictionary...

give_him_6 writes:

Do what's right for you Tyler. But the selfish side of most of us wants you to come back.

Go Vols

golfballs03 writes:

in response to RichRollin:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

someone to spread the defense out. last year other teams stayed in the paint and focused on him. at the very least we need someone to become a reliable shot from behind the arc

golfballs03 writes:

in response to MidTennVol:

I think this is a good post but I'm not quite sure...lemme grab my English-Ebonics dictionary...

he forgot the extra 'g' on dogg

golfballs03 writes:

Well they just updated the story based on my prediction.

gohawks1 writes:

ANNOUCE?

golfballs03 writes:

in response to VOLinCockCuntry:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Skylar? Glad you're so optimistic

DisorientedVol writes:

Will we be any better next year? still no point gaurd that I can see. this Goins doesn't sound like much of a shoot but I could be wrong. Go Vols.

UTVol39 writes:

in response to QCVol:

Oh man, come on Tyler, didnt you just do this sht last year??...its not a good look dog...its kinda cornball and lame to be honest...I mean what you gon announce??? We- well, the ones of us who know game- already know you just not ready for the NBA yet dog...so what you gon announce? That you going to Turkey???...sorry homie, no one cares about the basketball over there....Just come on back, work on ya game, develop a consistant 15-20 ft jump shot, then maybe, just maybe you'll get a look next year...If you play consistant, get a nice average of 22-26ppg and a good 10-12rebounds consistantly....you'll definitely have a better shot...But thats about it dog...just a shot...Hel, If Ron Slay didnt make it, If Vincent Yarbrough didn't make it, that should tell you a lil something....THE NBA IS ON ANOTHER LEVEL DOG.....you can't keep having press conferences dog....LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

This has to be one of the dumbest statements I've ever heard/read. 26ppg and 12 rpg. Why not throw in 10 apg or bpg and make it an even triple-double. If he averages those numbers he will be the number 1 pick in the draft, not just a 1st round pick.

The maing thing Tyler needs this year is a supporting cast. People he can rely on so that he doesn't have to do everything himself (e.g. Chris Lofton, Jajuan Smith). When you can't get in the lane cause it's stacked with 4 defenders because we have no threat for an outside shot (other than our center), it makes it difficult.

DisorientedVol writes:

in response to UTVol39:

This has to be one of the dumbest statements I've ever heard/read. 26ppg and 12 rpg. Why not throw in 10 apg or bpg and make it an even triple-double. If he averages those numbers he will be the number 1 pick in the draft, not just a 1st round pick.

The maing thing Tyler needs this year is a supporting cast. People he can rely on so that he doesn't have to do everything himself (e.g. Chris Lofton, Jajuan Smith). When you can't get in the lane cause it's stacked with 4 defenders because we have no threat for an outside shot (other than our center), it makes it difficult.

All good points and I don't see anything changing next year. Go Vols.

smoovexl1#614870 writes:

in response to marc_ash#231781:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

WOW! Finally, someone who knows how the game of basketball works. Good, good post!

dw0731 writes:

in response to b_neas:

If he comes back Scotty better be the #1 option on offense. That is why he and Tyler both struggled last year.

Scotty was more of a threat when he drove to the basket. Hope to see more of that and better play from Maze.

TommyJack writes:

in response to Pablopeepants:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Objectionable post.

b_neas writes:

in response to realisticvolfan1:

Seriously? We are in trouble if he is our #1!!!!

The last month of the season, after he got his confidence and feel for his role on the team.....he was the best player on the offensive end by far. Tyler is not as athletic and talented and thus forces a lot of shots, Scotty needs the green light like Lofton had for him to succeed.

alfrizzle097 writes:

in response to b_neas:

If he comes back Scotty better be the #1 option on offense. That is why he and Tyler both struggled last year.

The reason they struggled is that Scotty was NOT ready to be the number one or, for that matter, number two option. Tyler was the number one, two, and three options last year.

Chism played hard too, but other than that, they really only got sporadic contribution from others.

MidTennVol writes:

in response to UTVol39:

This has to be one of the dumbest statements I've ever heard/read. 26ppg and 12 rpg. Why not throw in 10 apg or bpg and make it an even triple-double. If he averages those numbers he will be the number 1 pick in the draft, not just a 1st round pick.

The maing thing Tyler needs this year is a supporting cast. People he can rely on so that he doesn't have to do everything himself (e.g. Chris Lofton, Jajuan Smith). When you can't get in the lane cause it's stacked with 4 defenders because we have no threat for an outside shot (other than our center), it makes it difficult.

That last comment about a supporting cast is the truth, Ruth.

We need playmakers and POINTS from the perimeter -- not just from the 1 and 2 spots but from the 1-5. From everybody, everywhere.

Hopson, Maze, Prince, Woolridge, Tatum, Tabb -- especially you guys.

Further, if we are going to make a run this year, we need a minimum of 25-30ppg from the 1 and 2 spots together, IMHO.

I hope these guys are shooting 3s all summer long...from the NBA line. They'll need that range this season.

kiffownsfla writes:

Watever. In other news espn sayn tide to be stripped of 21 wins and showing fla and the 24 arrests since urban took over! GO VOLS!

GerryOP writes:

OK! This is the year to see if there is fire to go with the smoke!

In Bruce We Trust!

ravensearay writes:

Great decision...

GerryOP writes:

in response to kiffownsfla:

Watever. In other news espn sayn tide to be stripped of 21 wins and showing fla and the 24 arrests since urban took over! GO VOLS!

Yup, a bit off topic but here is the link. Sounds a bit like the speech we heard from Big Ol' Doofus about 16 months ago.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/st...

DisorientedVol writes:

in response to GerryOP:

OK! This is the year to see if there is fire to go with the smoke!

In Bruce We Trust!

Maybe I am just pessimistic, but does anyone think we are going to be considerable better? Who has learned to shoot outside this summer? Is Goins really that good - he sounds like a more of a true pointgaurd but he also doesn't sound like a three point threat? Who knows? Go Vols.

Mr_Brownstone writes:

2 more W's against Eddie Munster and the Gators

rocky_topper writes:

Glad he's staying.....Hopefully, the team will find synergy this coming season. It can happen; the talent is there!

kiffownsfla writes:

in response to RichRollin:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Lol it is rich he's in drag. good luck tyler lets play some bball now! GO VOLS!

kiffownsfla writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Yup, a bit off topic but here is the link. Sounds a bit like the speech we heard from Big Ol' Doofus about 16 months ago.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/st...

Thanks gerry. GO VOLS!

GerryOP writes:

in response to DisorientedVol:

Maybe I am just pessimistic, but does anyone think we are going to be considerable better? Who has learned to shoot outside this summer? Is Goins really that good - he sounds like a more of a true pointgaurd but he also doesn't sound like a three point threat? Who knows? Go Vols.

I do not disagree Disoriented. Pathetic shooting and PG killed us last year. We'll just have to wait and see how much Pearl And 'Da Boyz learned over the summer!

TommyJack writes:

A win-win

BigVolFaninSC writes:

YYYEEESSS!!! Another year with Tyler on the blocks! Great news! GO VOLS!!

murrayvol writes:

in response to marc_ash#231781:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Excellent post!

I'd like to think we'll get better pg play this year. Not so sure about the shooters.

txvolsfan writes:

I like our team now, with Maze and Goins I think we have true point guards manning the post. Hopson will be better and his outside shot will be better. I see a lot of improvement and also adding Kenny Hall will help inside.
We are finally starting to get the depth Bruce needs for his system and hopefully JP will be back and be more consistent!!!
GO VOLS
GREAT TO HAVE YOU BACK TYLER
TXVOLSFAN

murrayvol writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Yup, a bit off topic but here is the link. Sounds a bit like the speech we heard from Big Ol' Doofus about 16 months ago.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/st...

Thanks for the link Gerry.

Interesting comment by Meyer: "By and large they're a pretty good group." Well, by and large those 80s & 90s Miami teams were pretty good groups.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to DC_Vol:

Pleeeeeeeeeeeease stay we need you, Tyler!!!

We will be a much better team with Tyler than without.

If he returns, I am interested in seeing if he will play in the Rocky Top League. Then how do you add him to a team that has already selected. Essentially, you will be giving one team a distinct advantage by giving them the number one pick in the draft after the selection process. Essentially one pick will have two first round picks. Not necessarily fair or equitable. Prediction whatever team Tyler end up on wins the tournament. Not really going out on a limb am I? LOL

This is only street ball and the league winner gets nothing but a thrill for doing so.Who plays for whome does not matter.It is only for fun and show.Offensive practice so to speek.

sportsgirl writes:

Yay! So excited Tyler is staying. This is going to be THE YEAR!

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to QCVol:

Oh man, come on Tyler, didnt you just do this sht last year??...its not a good look dog...its kinda cornball and lame to be honest...I mean what you gon announce??? We- well, the ones of us who know game- already know you just not ready for the NBA yet dog...so what you gon announce? That you going to Turkey???...sorry homie, no one cares about the basketball over there....Just come on back, work on ya game, develop a consistant 15-20 ft jump shot, then maybe, just maybe you'll get a look next year...If you play consistant, get a nice average of 22-26ppg and a good 10-12rebounds consistantly....you'll definitely have a better shot...But thats about it dog...just a shot...Hel, If Ron Slay didnt make it, If Vincent Yarbrough didn't make it, that should tell you a lil something....THE NBA IS ON ANOTHER LEVEL DOG.....you can't keep having press conferences dog....LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Have you tried English 101?English,with a capitol letter for some of you.

AlpharettaVol writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Yup, a bit off topic but here is the link. Sounds a bit like the speech we heard from Big Ol' Doofus about 16 months ago.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/st...

Here's what Jesse Palmer, TV analyst, former Gator QB and Florida apologist, said:
"I think it's an internal accountability issue where these players might think they are invincible after the national title. Everybody's patting them on the back and you feel like you can do anything."
What arrogance!!

Hrockytop writes:

I'm sure he made the right decision for Tyler and is probably good for the Vols but he's seriously overrated. I doubt Kentucky, Florida, or the rest of the SEC for that matter are scared.

Just keeping it real.
GO Vols

Ironcity writes:

in response to DC_Vol:

Pleeeeeeeeeeeease stay we need you, Tyler!!!

We will be a much better team with Tyler than without.

If he returns, I am interested in seeing if he will play in the Rocky Top League. Then how do you add him to a team that has already selected. Essentially, you will be giving one team a distinct advantage by giving them the number one pick in the draft after the selection process. Essentially one pick will have two first round picks. Not necessarily fair or equitable. Prediction whatever team Tyler end up on wins the tournament. Not really going out on a limb am I? LOL

Who cares, he is coming back!

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