June 26, 2014
There were 46 NCAA players selected in Thursday's NBA Draft, and two of them were Tennessee Volunteers. Jarnell Stokes was picked 35th overall, and Jordan McRae was taken with the 58th pick.
Stokes and McRae are Tennessee's 44th and 45th all-time NBA Draft picks, respectively. Stokes was drafted by the Utah Jazz then traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. McRae was selected by the San Antonio Spurs and then traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Both Vols were second-round picks Thursday, marking the fourth time Tennessee has had multiple players selected in the first two rounds of the NBA Draft (1977, 1989, 2002). It was the 10th time multiple Vols were drafted in the same year.
Tennessee joined Stanford and UConn as the only schools in the nation to have multiple upperclassmen selected Thursday.
Stokes is a Memphis native and grew up attending Grizzlies home games. He worked out for the team June 9 in Memphis.
Tennessee has never previously had a player suit up for the Grizzlies. The organization was founded as an expansion team in Vancouver in 1995 and relocated to Memphis prior to the 2001-02 season.
Though he will not suit up for Utah, Stokes is the second Vol ever to be drafted by that franchise. The Jazz selected Tennessee All-American center Howard Wood in the second round in 1981.
Despite playing less than three full collegiate seasons--he graduated high school early, enrolled in January of 2011 and played in just 17 games as a freshman--the 6-8, 260-pound Stokes left Tennessee as one of the most prolific rebounders in school history.
He'll also be remembered as one of the sparkplugs of UT's 2013-14 Sweet Sixteen team, which overcame adversity to win 24 games and fight its way to three NCAA Tournament victories for only the second time in school history.
In four NCAA Tournament games, Stokes averaged 18.0 points, 12.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steal. His NCAA Tournament rebounding average of 12.8 rpg ranks No. 1 among Vols who have played at least two career tournament games. He scored a career-high 26 points and ripped down 18 rebounds in UT's third-round win over Mercer March 23, which clinched the eighth Sweet Sixteen berth in Tennessee history.
Stokes appeared in 87 career games, making 84 starts (he made 79 straight starts to end his UT career). He ranks among Tennessee's all-time leaders in offensive rebounding (337, first), double-doubles (40, fourth), total rebounding (836, eighth), blocks (94, 14th) and scoring (1,129, 41st). The Vols averaged 21 wins per season during Stokes' three-year career.
Stokes' 22 double-doubles last season ranked second among all Division I players and tied the Tennessee single-season record set by Hall of Famer Bernard King in 1976-77. Stokes nearly averaged a double-double for his career, posting three-year marks of 13.0 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.
His 155 offensive rebounds and 4.19 offensive rebounding average as a junior both stand as the best by a Vol in a single season since offensive rebounding statistics have been tracked (1996-97). His 4.19 offensive rebounds per game also ranked third among all players in Division I last season.
For his career, Stokes averaged a school-record 3.87 offensive rebounds per game.
Stokes was a first-team All-SEC selection last season, and he also earned All-District honors from the NABC, USBWA and Basketball Times.
McRae is the second Vol ever to be drafted by San Antonio. The Spurs drafted UT All-American power forward Reggie Johnson 15th overall in 1980. Interestingly, Johnson later joined the 76ers and won an NBA Championship with Philadelphia in 1983.
The 76ers brought McRae to Philadelphia for a pre-draft workout June 1.
A native of Midway, Ga., McRae was a two-time, first-team All-SEC performer who averaged 17.3 points during the last two seasons at Tennessee. He received his degree in Sociology/Criminal Justice from UT on May 9.
He increased both his scoring average and his field-goal percentage every year throughout his career as a Volunteer. And with 1,521 career points, McRae ranks 16th on Tennessee's all-time scoring list.
McRae also ranks seventh on the school's all-time list for 3-pointers made (179) and is 13th in blocked shots (97).
His 692 points as a senior last year marked the sixth-highest single-season scoring total in Tennessee history.