Tennessee center Yemi Makanjuola has been granted a release from his scholarship and will be transferring from the men’s basketball program, the school announced Saturday morning.
Makanjuola spent two seasons with the Vols, averaging 1.9 points and 2.6 rebounds in 8.0 minutes over a 57-game career.
“Yemi and I came to a mutual agreement that it would be in his best interest for him to get a fresh start with a new program,” UT head coach Cuonzo Martin said in a press release. “Yemi is leaving Tennessee on good terms. He’s respected by his teammates and coaches, we all appreciate the work he’s put in during his time here and I’m confident that he’ll be successful.”
At 6-foot-9, 250 pounds, Makanjuola’s primary role with the Vols was adding depth to the frontcourt. He will in essence be replaced by incoming junior college center Rawane “Pops” Ndiaye, a 6-foot-10, 270-pound center from Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College.
Makanjuola’s departure moves UT from two over the NCAA scholarship limit of 13 down to one over. The Vols are still awaiting a decision from rising junior Jarnell Stokes whether he will return to Tennessee or pursue an NBA career. The NBA’s deadline to declare for the draft is April 28.
As a sophomore at UT, Makanjuola averaged 1.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in 29 appearances. He drew a team-high 10 defensive charges and grabbed 25 offensive rebounds.
The highlight of Makanjuola’s UT career came in a Dec. 29 win over The Citadel during his freshman campaign. The Lagos, Nigeria native came off the bench to score 18 consecutive points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 13 minutes of action.
According to a UT spokesman, Makanjuola's scholarship release prohibits him from transferring to another SEC school, a standard stipulation.
“The best thing for me right now is to continue to pursue my dream with another school,” Makanjuola said in the UT press release. “I’ll never forget the memories from my time at Tennessee, but I’m also excited about what’s next for me.”
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn