Tennessee forward Yves Pons is set to return for his final season in Knoxville, removing his name from the NBA draft process, ESPN's Sean Farnham first reported.
Pons was one of 60 prospects to earn an invite to the NBA combine in Chicago.
Pons role has increased every year in Knoxville including a breakout 2019-20 season. Pons averaged 10.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game, earning SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Pons 74 blocks last season was the most in the SEC and tied the Tennessee single season record.
Pons’ return to school gives Tennessee a massive boost and likely makes the Vols the favorite in the SEC entering the season.
The 6-foot-6 senior will anchor what’s expected to be a feisty defense, and his improved 3-point shooting should greatly help Tennessee’s offensive spacing.
With Pons’ return, Tennessee will only have to replace one major contributor: Jordan Bowden, from last season’s team.
Tennessee’s newcomers Keon Johnson, Jaden Springer, E.J. Anosike and Victor Bailey, who sat out the 2020 season after transferring from Oregon, are expected to be major contributors.