The string of SEC talent returning to school continues, as Tennessee forward Yves Pons has decided to withdraw his name from the 2020 Draft.
ESPN college basketball analyst Sean Farnham was the first to break the news that the 6-foot-6 forward would be returning to Tennessee for his senior campaign.
“2nd thoughts are over,” Farnham wrote on Twitter. “Yves Pons will return to [Tennessee] for his senior season, according to NCAA certified representation.”
Jeff Goodman, among numerous other college basketball reporters, confirmed the news.
Pons, who earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2020, previously declared for the NBA Draft without an agent on April 25.
As a junior, the native of France averaged a career-high 10.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest to go with 35 percent shooting from three. He also tied a school record for most blocks in a season with 73 total in 31 games, good for 2.36 per game.
This past year, Pons managed 15 points on 6-9 shooting and 3-3 from three to go with five rebounds and a block in Tennessee’s second matchup against Kentucky on March 3. In the teams’ first matchup in February, UK held the 6-foot-6 forward to nine points on 4-11 shooting and 1-5 from three, though Pons did add four blocks, three assists, two steals, and a rebound in the loss.
Pons joins the likes of SEC standouts Javonte Smart (LSU), Trendon Watford (LSU), and John Petty (Alabama) to announce their return to school on today’s NBA Draft decision deadline.
Kentucky will still be at or near the top of the preseason conference standings, but the Wildcats will unquestionably have some stiff competition in the SEC this year.