As the loyal students leave football games with less than ideal outcomes, there is a buzz around campus knowing that basketball season is only a month away. One question is on everyone’s mind heading into the new season: Will the Vols perform as well as last year? 

Last year, the Vols were 31-6 on the season and at home, undefeated for an 18-0 record. A big part of the team was four main players, who have since graduated: Grant Williams, Jordan Bone, Admiral Schofield, and Kyle Alexander. Williams, Bone and Schofiled currently play in the NBA. 

Despite the loss of these players, many young players are on the rise in the Vols basketball program. Five freshmen joined the team for the 2019-2020 season. 

“We have many new talented players ready to step in and fill the roles of the players lost to the NBA,” former player and graduate assistant Brad Woodson said. “All the new guys have come in and really worked hard. I think they could impact the team in positive ways.” 

As well as the men’s team, the Lady Vols look to have another successful season after finishing last year with a 19-13 record. The women’s team were knocked out of the NCAA tournament last year in the first round to UCLA. Despite not advancing, they continued their record streak of making every NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at 38 consecutive appearances. 

Rocky Top Tip Off
#14 Zaay Green jumps for the shot at the 2019 Rocky Top Tip Off in Thompson Boling Arena on Friday, October 4, 2019.

Rocky Top Tipoff will kick off the season Friday at 6 p.m. Fans will be introduced to the new players through different games and a team scrimmage. The men’s and women’s teams will sign autographs from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.  and the head coaches, Rick Barnes and Kellie Harper will pose for photos from 7:05 p.m. to 8 p.m. Students and fans will have the opportunity to see the new players up close and watch them play. 

“I’m excited for the fans to finally get to actually meet all the new guys and start to get to know them,” Woodson said. “And that the fans get to see the boys play again.” 

Director of Student Engagement and Communication for the Rocky Top Rowdies Jared Archer said his hopes are high after the loss to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 of March Madness last year. 

“I camped out last year multiple times just to have courtside seats and cheer on the team. I was at 16 of the 18 home games last year and I intended to go to more this year,” Archer said. “I also bought a ticket to watch the team play in Toronto when they play the Washington Huskies.” 

Although unknown, students and faculty alike are excited and optimistic for a new year of Vols basketball. 

“There is no telling what will happen this year,” Woodson said. “That’s the beauty of the game. You never know what will happen.” 

Rocky Top Tip Off
#35 Yves Pons autographs a fan's photo at the Friday October 4, 2019 Rocky Top Tip Off.
 

Rocky Tipoff is free to the public. More information can be found here.

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