Dec. 2, 2009
By Amanda Pruitt, UT Media Relations
For junior Josh Bone, the wait is almost over.
After leaving Southern Illinois and joining Tennessee as an invited walk-on in January, Bone has been limited to scout team duties because of NCAA rules that require a year of residency when transferring. However, he only has a few more weeks before becoming eligible to enter the game for the Vols.
And he's excited to finally step out on the court during an official game.
"Playing's better than watching, I can tell you that. I'm ready to be a part."
Waiting isn't a fun game for any athlete, whether it is because of injury or transfer rules. Bone has been playing organized basketball since he was four years old. The spring semester was the first time he had played the role of spectator instead of athlete after tipoff.
"It was real tough," Bone said. "I tried to get in the gym as much as possible to take my mind off not playing. It was tough for me and my family. Sitting out this year, I got to see a lot of games, and work on my game a little more.
"It was tough, but it's almost time."
For now, Bone has continued to work on improving his game during practices and finding his role in the Vols' playing rotation. In his two years at Southern Illinois, he took the role of a sharpshooter around the perimeter. During his sophomore season, he started 19 games and led the Salukis with 57 3-pointers. He averaged 33.7 percent from the 3-point arc.
"I know it's going to be tough to get into the rotation, but I'm doing everything I can," Bone said. "Hopefully, Coach sees that I can be a help to the team."
Bone has an added benefit of the transfer: his family lives in Nashville. Bone lettered four years at Brentwood Academy and helped the Eagles to four state championships.
"I've talked to my family a lot about it already," Bone said. "It's a closer drive than Southern Illinois was. It's going to be good. It's going to be fun. I know they're going to be able to make more games. It'll give me a little more confidence once I get out there, to see them in the stands."
Even as a spectator, Bone has enjoyed the intense game atmosphere at Thompson-Boling Arena, though he admitted he will enjoy it even more once he's suited up to play.
"It was crazy. That's one word to describe it," Bone said. "This atmosphere, it's crazy, especially for the Florida game. I can't wait to be a part of it."