Knoxville, TN - January 26, 2013: Forward Jarnell Stokes #5 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the conference matchup between the University of Alabama Crimson Tide and the Tennessee Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Andrew Bruckse/Tennessee Athletics
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- This hasn't been the type of season that Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes expected.
Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin called Stokes an "elite"player before the season, but the 6-foot-8 sophomore has struggled to live up to that description. Stokes has encountered double-teams in the absence of injured teammate Jeronne Maymon. He has been unable to avoid foul trouble.
Perhaps Stokes' breakthrough performance came Saturday.
He scored 15 points, pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds and made a critical defensive stand in the closing seconds of a 54-53 victory over Alabama. That performance improved his season averages to 11.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, slightly above his 2011-12 statistics.
Stokes will try to build on that momentum Tuesday when Tennessee (10-8, 2-4 SEC) hosts Vanderbilt (8-10, 2-4).