Vols freshman earns SEC honors

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Jarnell Stokes technically should have been sitting in a high school classroom in Memphis, Tenn., this morning.

Instead, he was attending college classes at the University of Tennessee and receiving notification that he had earned SEC Men’s Basketball Freshman of the Week honors after playing in just his second and third game for the Volunteers last week.

The SEC office announced on Monday that Stokes was being honored after averaging 13.5 points and 10.0 rebounds in games against conference rival Georgia and defending national champion Connecticut.

Following his 11-point, eight-rebound effort against the Bulldogs in Athens, Ga., last Wednesday, Stokes logged his first career double-double while making his first career start against the 13th-ranked Huskies Saturday in Knoxville.

Despite facing one of the nation’s most talented frontcourts in the UConn game, Stokes led the Vols in both scoring (16) and rebounding (12) and also had a pair of blocks while propelling Tennessee to a 60-57 victory. Stokes helped hold projected 2012 NBA Draft picks Alex Oriakhi and Andre Drummond to 11 points combined.

A Memphis native who graduated high school early (Dec. 22), enrolled at UT for the spring semester, turned 18-years-old on Jan. 7 and practiced for the first time as a Vol Jan .9, Stokes averages a team-high 8.0 rebounds per game this season. That ranks fourth among all freshmen in Division I.

Though his career as a Vol is just three games old, he has already gone up against the projected top two picks in June’s NBA Draft—NBADraft.net currently predicts Drummond to the top overall pick, with Kentucky’s Anthony Davis pegged as the second overall selection.

Stokes is the second Vol honored with one of the SEC’s weekly awards this season, as sophomore point guard Trae Golden was named the SEC Player of the Week on Nov. 14.

Stokes, Golden and the rest of the Volunteers return to action Tuesday night in Nashville when they face Vanderbilt (14-5, 4-1 SEC) at Memorial Gymnasium at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

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