Jarnell Stokes staying for junior season at Tennessee

Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes talks to the media after it was announced that he will be staying with the men's basketball team for his junior year during a press conference in Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, April 27, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes talks to the media after it was announced that he will be staying with the men's basketball team for his junior year during a press conference in Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, April 27, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

The last piece of Tennessee’s 2013-14 men’s basketball puzzle has fallen into place.

It’s a familiar fit.

Jarnell Stokes, the Vols’ second-leading scorer (12.4 ppg) and leading rebounder (9.6 rpg) last season, announced Saturday morning he will return to Tennessee for his junior season. The Memphis native had mused over the option of declaring for the 2013 NBA draft, but will instead continue his college career.

Stokes’ decision came just before the NBA deadline to declare for the draft, which is approaching on Sunday.

"After considering entering the NBA draft, I have decided to return to Tennessee for my junior season," Stokes said in a school release. "After talking with my family I have decided to come back and I am excited to return to the Vols. I am looking forward to playing with Jeronne (Maymon), Jordan (McRae), Trae (Golden) and my other teammates again. I think we are ready for a big season, one that will make Vol Nation proud."

Neither NBADraft.net nor DraftExpress.com, two widely used mock draft websites, projected 6-foot-8, 270-pound forward as being selected in the 2013 draft. DraftExpress lists him as a mid-second-round pick in 2014 and ranks him as the 15th-best current college sophomore.

"I am excited that Jarnell is returning for his junior season," UT coach Cuonzo Martin said in the release. "I thought he had a great sophomore campaign. He did a tremendous job of improving throughout the season. He did a great job in terms of offensive rebounding. This is very exciting news for our team and the entire Tennessee family."

With Stokes back in the fold, UT will return 80.8 percent of its scoring and 79.2 of its rebounding next season. Jordan McRae, the Vols’ leading scorer last year with 15.7 points per game, also spurned the draft, announcing he’ll return to Tennessee on April 13.

That’s the good news for UT. The bad news is Stokes’ return leaves Martin one scholarship over the NCAA-mandated limit of 13 for next season. As a result, either one of the program’s nine returning scholarship players or one of its five incoming freshmen will not be in orange in 2013-14.

That said, the Vols will happily welcome back Stokes to a frontline that will already see the return of Jeronne Maymon, an All-SEC forward who missed all 2012-13 with a knee injury. In 50 career games at UT, including 47 starts, Stokes is averaging 11.4 points and 8.9 rebounds.

Maymon averaged 12.7 points and 8.1 rebounds as a junior, before missing last season.

Almost identically, Stokes averaged 12.4 points and 9.6 rebounds as a sophomore. He earned All-SEC second-team recognition from both the league’s coaches and the media, having dominated portions of the second half of the year. Thirteen double-doubles were produced over the final 18 games.

Against SEC competition, Stokes averaged 13.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game last year. His 16 total double-doubles were the most by a UT player in a season since Bernard King posted 19 in 1976-77.

Arriving as a ballyhooed five-star recruit, Stokes enrolled at Tennessee on Jan. 11, 2012. He immediately helped right the ship of the Vols’ 2011-12 season, joining the roster midyear and helping power UT to a 10-5 finish to end the regular season.

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Comments » 86

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Really cool.

really

cheetah-vol writes:

Glad he talked it over with his family. Very unselfish of them to not push him to go for the $. That says a lot about a family who has their son's best interest at heart. Thank you Stokes' family for supporting your son.

movol77 writes:

Great news

BolivrBob writes:

Glad but why all the drama

FeelVol writes:

Great news!!!

voloffaith writes:

in response to BolivrBob:

Glad but why all the drama

Only drama was tomorrow's date hanging out there...did the presser to get it out of the way one and done......drama is usually in the eye of the beholder as to their perception of things transpiring...Welcome back Mr. Stokes!!

chattabluetick writes:

Good decision! GBO

pcorange writes:

Very wise decision by Jarnell Stokes. I am glad to hear he will be back. We should have a good team next year with Maymon back.

cheetah-vol writes:

in response to BolivrBob:

Glad but why all the drama

I understand why you'd ask that. A lot of us old folk kinda roll our eyes at how these young athletes hold press conferences for announcing where they're going to school or what they're doing. I've learned to accept it as a sign of the times and PR moves by the schools. And, besides, there has been a little bit of drama waiting to hear about his decision.

johnlg00 writes:

Great news! A wise decision from any number of standpoints. I hope Jarnell got some good advice from the NBA advisory committee on how to get his game pro-ready by this time next year and that he does all the work necessary to do so. Priority #1, IMHO, is to develop a go-to post move. With his size and bulk, the post game will always be his bread and butter. He can be effective even against NBA post defenders if he develops the jump hook with either hand out to about eight feet. Job #2 will be to develop a reliable mid-range jumper out to 18' if possible. That should also help get his FT percentage up another 20 points or so. Having confidence in those shots and moves should help him be more decisive in all aspects of his post game. Anything else he can do to make himself a quicker leaper and a smarter defender will be all to the good. I will be most interested to see how much of this he can get done over the summer. In any case, this is the best news I have heard this week! Glad to have you back, Jarnell! Now get to work!

Show-me-your-TDs writes:

Thank God!

GO VOLS!!!

tennlions writes:

So now the big question becomes, who's the odd man out? My guess is either Reese or the juco kid coming in.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Only drama was tomorrow's date hanging out there...did the presser to get it out of the way one and done......drama is usually in the eye of the beholder as to their perception of things transpiring...Welcome back Mr. Stokes!!

Great example to new kids(Hubbs). Do what's best for more than self. He could have made good money in Europe. He might even have been picked up here in the NBdarnA!. Glad to see him staying.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to cheetah-vol:

I understand why you'd ask that. A lot of us old folk kinda roll our eyes at how these young athletes hold press conferences for announcing where they're going to school or what they're doing. I've learned to accept it as a sign of the times and PR moves by the schools. And, besides, there has been a little bit of drama waiting to hear about his decision.

I suggested on the other thread that he may have been in conversation with some NBA team about the idea of them drafting him out of the blue, as far as the rest of the league is concerned, since he was not prominent on the mock draft boards. It may be that it took awhile for all that to play out. Or it may be something as simple as you suggest. Besides, it's a basketball story in what would otherwise be dead times for such, and after all it had a happy ending!

Noogaorange writes:

Good news. Good decision. GBO VFL17

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to tennlions:

So now the big question becomes, who's the odd man out? My guess is either Reese or the juco kid coming in.

Don't know. BUT it's entirely possible to keep them with some sorta academic scholly?..maybe? I liked Reese. at times. We don't have a clue about the additions really.

VOLDoll writes:

Welcome back young man, we need you!

brian.mcculloch2008#1417262 writes:

not being selected at all in a mock draft is a good reason to return to school.it's not like there was big money for him to leave.he's not NBA caliber player

voloffaith writes:

Have to (sorry) comment that the player contending with young mister Stokes in the picture looks somewhat like JJWalker of 'DYNOMITE!!' fame..........Again, welcome back mister Stokes!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to tennlions:

So now the big question becomes, who's the odd man out? My guess is either Reese or the juco kid coming in.

If the juco you mention is Ndiaye, my guess is he would still come here. Minimal stats and all, he would likely be the only true "center" type on the team after next year. I would rate the odds that Jarnell comes back after NEXT year as very, very low. With all the losses after next season, it is imperative that Martin signs another big guy since it would be foolhardy to rely on Ndiaye developing to the status of a reliable SEC starter. Besides, he only has two years of eligibility. Another possibility would be that Landry doesn't come at all. But then the team is looking at replacing the PG after next year, too, and it may be possible that Landry could develop or that Thompson can do the job.

cheetah-vol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I suggested on the other thread that he may have been in conversation with some NBA team about the idea of them drafting him out of the blue, as far as the rest of the league is concerned, since he was not prominent on the mock draft boards. It may be that it took awhile for all that to play out. Or it may be something as simple as you suggest. Besides, it's a basketball story in what would otherwise be dead times for such, and after all it had a happy ending!

Yes. I think what you're saying about him consulting with an NBA team has more than a grain of truth to it. And, I suggested on the other thread it could've been the Grizzlies. I'm not upset that it took him this long to announce or that he held a press conference. Just the way it is these days. And, yeah, best news we've all heard in a while.

Btw, I appreciate your coaching tips for him to improve. If JM is healthy again, his play should help JS to improve in all those areas you mentioned.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

That's a relief, and I personally feel it was the right decision for him. I'm not one of these self indulgent fans that only wanted him to return to help UT's cause. The advice he got from the NBA was work on his game and that's what he needs to do..GBO!

VictorKruger writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Have to (sorry) comment that the player contending with young mister Stokes in the picture looks somewhat like JJWalker of 'DYNOMITE!!' fame..........Again, welcome back mister Stokes!

You are correct sir! Thanks for the laugh.

volfan2002 writes:

in response to tennlions:

So now the big question becomes, who's the odd man out? My guess is either Reese or the juco kid coming in.

It could be Reese but no way the Juco kid will be the one he will be inside depth. I think Edwards, and possibly Landry an early signee are still in play.

tennrich1 writes:

Finally somebody made a wise decision about entering the draft early. Jarnell has a smart head on his shoulders (knew that in high school) and comes from a devoted, committed, smart, educated family(there's the difference).

TheEffect writes:

As if the NBA was an option for him LOL!!!

cheetah-vol writes:

in response to tennrich1:

Finally somebody made a wise decision about entering the draft early. Jarnell has a smart head on his shoulders (knew that in high school) and comes from a devoted, committed, smart, educated family(there's the difference).

Agree. But, don't forget. Jordan made a wise decision, too.

murrayvol writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

That's a relief, and I personally feel it was the right decision for him. I'm not one of these self indulgent fans that only wanted him to return to help UT's cause. The advice he got from the NBA was work on his game and that's what he needs to do..GBO!

And there's a lot of work to do before he's NBA ready.

Rosie writes:

Yes!!! So excited about next year. Loaded in hoops and new (much needed) energy in football!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to TheEffect:

As if the NBA was an option for him LOL!!!

No, he'll just have to come back and widen that 30 point beat-down he gave your mildcats..

6futurevols writes:

This is excellent news and speaks well of Jarnell that he would make this decision!

As for all of the previous comments stating nonsense such as "good riddance" and "traitor", go find another team to root for.

I saw lots of progress from the first of last season to the end for Jarnell. He greatly improved on his ability to make good decisions when being double teamed and staying out of foul trouble.

I think that next year could be very special if we can get steady PG play and Hubbs can make some three's. I don't think that is asking too much. If we don't have a top 15-20 season next year, then Coach Martin will deserve some of the criticism that he has received. However, I expect that some of the frequent negative posters on this site will be eating crow...just as they should for the negativity spoken concerning Jarnell.

I am very excited about the next b-ball season!!

SummittsCourt writes:

Pardon the pun but I'm STOKED!

Go Vols!

67classut writes:

If Landry's bio was accurate, he was recruited by Georgetown. That's pretty strong. Don't dismiss the value of a pure guard. UT has good players at every position, it will work itself out. If Stokes doesn't improve his draft position, he might want to try a year of football....would be a first round DE draft pick.

tfortennessee writes:

Thank you Jarnell. I look forward to wonderful 2013-14 season.

TheEffect writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

No, he'll just have to come back and widen that 30 point beat-down he gave your mildcats..

I will seriously take that bet!!

martic#220796 writes:

So glad he decided to come back, in our minds he definitely wasn't ready for NBA. Let's hope he and Jordan both work hard on improving. But not to the detriment of the team. Like trying to promote themselves and not playing as a team.

drorange writes:

in response to TheEffect:

I will seriously take that bet!!

It's nice knowing for every 15 times UT beats the Mildkittens you girls beat us ONCE in football.

eVOLved writes:

They are going to have a very talented team next year!

SewaneeVolFan writes:

That's good for Jarnell and that's VERY good for UT. I think Stokes is a very good player, but I don't think he was close to ready for the NBA. Therefore, if he didn't have hardships that would force him to go for the money, for his development and his eventual longevity in the NBA, staying was best.

Since Coach Martin believes in honoring commitments, I don't see one of the scholarship players giving up his scholarship, nor do I see Coach Martin running someone off (Yemi ran himself off). Therefore, I guess an incoming player may be asked to grayshirt. Not sure how that works, but with the need for bigs, I'd guess it's not going to be the juco center, and with the need for more scoring and point guard play, I doubt it'll be one of the incoming backcourt stars. Who does that leave?

manniesghost1903 writes:

Well there is good news tonight. With the current incoming freshmen and returning underclassmen, the "UT BasketVols" will be in excellent shape for next season. From the play I witnessed at the Boys State Tournament, Hubbs can play the type of defense Coach Martin likes and Thompson can hit "threes" also. Now, in a sense, the basketball is in Coach Martin's "court" (of public opinion).

The future also looks god for the UT Lady "BasketVOLS" when incoming Freshmen women arrive. Coach Holly and her crew should be able to cause havoc in NCAA women basketball next season.

If Coach Jones can produce a winning season for the football program this year (it won't be easy), 2014 appears to be a banner year for UT Football.

I hope Justin Hunter gets the "mind set" to play at the 100% level on every down he participates for the Tennessee Titans. Otherwise, they wasted a second round pick.

Vol43 writes:

in response to TheEffect:

I will seriously take that bet!!

What? Yet another cat fan on GoVols? Why are yall so enamoured with us?

Samuel_L_Salma_GataBait_HowBoutDemCowboys_BlueWaffles88 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

No, he'll just have to come back and widen that 30 point beat-down he gave your mildcats..

Stokes made the right decision to come back. He definitely isn't ready for the bigs in the NBA. Btw, what do you think of Big D's drafting so far? JJ is killing me..

PHAT_VOL writes:

TKS Mr. Stokes!
This should be a very good team next year. All the pieces have been assembled. With all the good looking freshmen coming in can't waite.
GO VOLS!!!

underthehill writes:

in response to SewaneeVolFan:

That's good for Jarnell and that's VERY good for UT. I think Stokes is a very good player, but I don't think he was close to ready for the NBA. Therefore, if he didn't have hardships that would force him to go for the money, for his development and his eventual longevity in the NBA, staying was best.

Since Coach Martin believes in honoring commitments, I don't see one of the scholarship players giving up his scholarship, nor do I see Coach Martin running someone off (Yemi ran himself off). Therefore, I guess an incoming player may be asked to grayshirt. Not sure how that works, but with the need for bigs, I'd guess it's not going to be the juco center, and with the need for more scoring and point guard play, I doubt it'll be one of the incoming backcourt stars. Who does that leave?

I think Coach Martin may have advised Washpun he would be more likely to play if he did transfer last year and I see no reason to think he would not do the same with a player like Reese..who may lack the speed and athletic ability to play defense..I did not see him on the floor after the Ga center did a spin move and left him standing flat footed..I never thought Stokes would leave and I am glad for him and UT that he stayed..his only hope to ever play in the NBA is to learn to use his body as Wes Unseld did and become a dominant rebounder..always in demand and usually has a long NBA career..I look for a very interesting team next year..

reidtownriverrat writes:

Let's go ahead and sign his little (BIG) brother. I said earlier that he would go over seas,I"M NOT ALWAYS RIGHT but that was a very wise decision that Stokes made. Like to see him lose about 15 lbs, that might improve his quickness aroung the rim. MUST become reliable at the FT stripe. Outside jumper would be a plus. SMASH THE KITTY CATS!

trl_x writes:

Outstanding news. Looks like we'll have all our bullets next season. If we can shoot a little better the Vols will be hard to handle.

Now Jarnell needs to work on a 10 to 15 foot jumper. Probably a fall away because of his size.

Classof72 writes:

Stokes has represented very well. Best wishes to him for next season and his future.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

Good news for Tennessee. He wasn't ready for the NBA anyway. We should be pretty tough next year. I'm expecting big things. Go Vols!

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to TheEffect:

As if the NBA was an option for him LOL!!!

It's an option...just not this year.

Thankfully, he and McRae had the good sense to realize that. Next year should be fun to watch.

chipmurphy461 writes:

Other than signing with UT, this is the best decision Stokes has made to date. Can't wait to see his improvement on the floor next year! Go VOLS

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