For the first time this season, Tennessee basketball has hit some turbulent waters. With the blowout loss to Kentucky followed by a lackluster showing against Vanderbilt, questions are now swirling around the Vols as they look ahead to a tough stretch to close out regular season play.
With that difficult stretch in mind, let’s take a look at the stock value of different Tennessee players as it stands right now. In particular, who has been trending up and down over the last three or four games.
Grant Williams: Williams has been delivering consistent offensive production as well as good work on the glass over the last four games. His production is really what we expect from the reigning SEC Player of the Year. It would be really easy to place him in the “stock steady” category, but there are two aspects that show Williams is actually trending up: His rebounding and his multiplicity on offense.
Early in SEC play, Rick Barnes was not pleased with the way Williams was attacking the glass. Over the last four games though, Williams has amped up his effort and subsequently increased his numbers on the boards. His rebound totals since the Florida game at home are 6, 9, 8, 11 which shows his numbers are trending upward.
Offensively, Williams really impressed in the South Carolina game despite only scoring eight points. He still contributed heavily though by dishing out a game high seven assists. This just goes to show that Williams doesn’t necessarily have to be scoring in order to contribute. His passing is just another weapon in his arsenal.
John Fulkerson: Fulkerson is still playing his role with around ten minutes per game. In those minimal minutes he has been efficient though as he’s shot 71% from the field over the last four. Some of his baskets have been energizing dunks that have helped his team from a momentum standpoint.
— Caleb Noe (@wvltCaleb) February 20, 2019
Even more impressive is that Fulkerson has recorded at least one block in each of the last four games despite his small role. He may not look athletic doing it, but John Fulkerson’s stock is on the rise.
Jordan Bone: Bone’s stock is down, but just barely. Bone has still been playing decently, but a couple aspects of his game have hit rough patches. In three of the last four games, Bone has had more turnovers than his season average of 2.1 per game. This includes two performances of four turnovers against Florida and South Carolina.
Bone has also gone into a drought defensively as he hasn’t recorded a steal over the last four.
Kyle Alexander: It’s no secret that Alexander has been struggling lately. In fact, it’s been one of the headlines around the team. Alexander showed some life against South Carolina, but other than that he just hasn’t looked like himself.
The scariest part of his struggles is that Rick Barnes doesn’t seem to know what to do. When Barnes was asked about Alexander on Monday, he said, “I don’t know if I have an answer for why he is struggling.”
Rick Barnes on Kyle Alexander & the recent struggles.
— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) February 18, 2019
Jordan Bowden: The last two games have been two of the most unproductive outings Bowden has had at UT. Bowden is never a huge assist or rebound monster. His production mainly comes from his scoring ability which has been outstanding this year. In the last two games though he’s combined for seven points in 54 minutes. Yikes.
Admiral Schofield: Schofield has been scoring at a decent rate, but his shot attempts are also through the roof lately. His inability to stay consistent on offense are still not his highest concern.
What’s really concerning about Schofield is his defensive ability – or should I say inability.
Kentucky’s PJ Washington was the first truly elite player that Schofield has been matched up with this season. Washington dominated Schofield and really exposed that Schofield is not as good of a defender as many people think.
Schofield gets another crack at Washington on March 2. Between now and then, he needs to figure things out. Otherwise any team with a good small forward will be able to beat the Vols in March.
Yves Pons: Since his face injury, Pons has basically fallen off the face of the earth. He is becoming more and more of a nonfactor and he is seeing his minutes disappear as a result. This could mean more time for Jalen Johnson or just a shortening of the rotation.
Lamonte Turner and Jalen Johnson: Both of these guys are doing exactly what we expect. Turner is a volume shooter who has his good and bad nights. Johnson is still in a limited role, but he goes out and competes well when he gets on the floor.
All in all, the Vols have been trending downward lately, but most people know this. The LSU game is huge for this team. If Tennessee loses, then the questions will keep flying and the struggles will likely continue.
But if the Vols win, people will forget all about the recent struggles and the train will keep on rolling. Rolling right into the tournament.
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