Stokes to return for junior season


Jarnell Stokes announced on Saturday his intentions to return to Tennessee for his junior season.

KNOXVILLE, TN - JANUARY 19, 2013: forward Jarnell Stokes #5 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Tennessee Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Matthew DeMaria/Tennessee Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Jarnell Stokes announced on Saturday his intentions to return to Tennessee for his junior season. The power forward from Memphis, Tenn., had explored the possibility of entering this summer's NBA Draft and had requested an evaluation from the NBA's Undergraduate Advisory Committee.

"After considering entering the NBA Draft, I have decided to return to Tennessee for my junior season," Stokes said. "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."

The 6-8, 270-pound Stokes earned second-team All-SEC honors after a season in which he was one of only four players from a "major" conference - and the only player from the SEC - to average a double-double in league play (13.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg).

"I am excited that Jarnell is returning for his junior season," Martin said. "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."

Stokes started all 33 of Tennessee's games and finished the season as UT's leader in total rebounding (9.6 rpg), offensive rebounding (4.2 orpg), free-throw attempts (194) and blocks (1.1 bpg). He grabbed at least 10 rebounds in 18 games and scored in double-figures 22 times.

His 138 offensive rebounds and 4.2 offensive rebounding average both stand as the best by a Vol in a single season since offensive rebounding statistics have been tracked. His 4.2 offensive rebounds per game ranked third among all players in Division I college basketball.

Stokes' 16 double-doubles were the most among SEC players and marked the most by a Vol in a season since Hall of Famer Bernard King had 19 in 1976-77.

Rising senior wing Jordan McRae announced earlier this month that he would be returning to UT for the 2013-14 season. With Stokes joining him on next year's roster, Tennessee appears set to return 83.7 percent of its scoring and 86.3 percent of its rebounding from a season ago. In addition, forward Jeronne Maymon - a second-team All-SEC performer in 2012 who redshirted in 2013 - will be a fifth-year senior next year.


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