Tennessee Basketball: Vols Men’s All-Time Depth Chart

Jan 9, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; General view before the game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Texas A&M Aggies at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 9, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; General view before the game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Texas A&M Aggies at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Men’s Tennessee basketball is not as elite as the Lady Vols, but there is some history there. Here is the four-deep all-time Volunteers men’s depth chart.


With no national titles, only a handful of SEC Championships and Top 25 finishes, and a mark of instability, Tennessee basketball is certainly not nearly as historic as its counterpart, the Lady Vols.

But there are still quite a few good players who have come through the program that would make an elite all-time team.

After our story earlier this year about the all-time depth chart for the Tennessee Lady Vols, we are now here to bring you the all-time four-deep depth chart for the Tennessee men’s basketball program.

With 24 All-Americans in school history and lots of former NBA players, it would seem like there is an easy list of players to pick from. But being an All-American does not automatically put you on the all-time depth chart.

The all-time roster has to be a collection of players who would work well together on each team, and we have to take into account the team success, the level of competition the players we name have faced, the NBA success they may have had, and their overall raw talent in addition to what their individual accolades are.

A player who may be a Top 5 in program history may not make the all-time first team, although if he has the raw skills we do the best to fit him in.

Because of the talent in the program’s history sometimes overloaded at one position, we also found ways to mix and match players at different positions so they could still be on the best team possible.

So doing all of that, here is the all-time four-deep men’s Tennessee basketball depth chart, starting with the fourth team.

Oct 23, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Jarnell Stokes (1) saves the ball against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

4th

Jarnell Stokes

Center, 2012-2014

He’s a bit undersized to play center, but Jarnell Stokes did more than enough in two and a half years with Tennessee basketball to be on the fourth team.

He came midseason in 2011-2012 out of Memphis and immediately turned Cuonzo Martin’s first team from one with a losing record into an NCAA Tournament Bubble team. The next year, he kept the Vols in contention to go to the tournament despite two major injuries that caused a massively slow start.

And when the third year came around, he turned into a star. Stokes helped the Vols to another strong finish after a slew of unfortunate injuries and got them into the tournament as a No. 11 seed with a play-in game.

But the Vols won three games in six days to reach the Sweet Sixteen, and they were one bad call away from going to the Elite Eight.

In those years with the Vols, the 6’8″ forward averaged 13 points and nine and a half rebounds. He averaged 15 points and 10 and a half rebounds his junior year.

The 260-pounder was a banger underneath the basket and could get physical with anybody. That’s why he was so great.

And we have him at center because his undersized, wide self would be a perfect complement on this fourth team to our power forward.

Dec 31, 2014; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers mascot Smokey during the game against the East Tennessee State Buccaneers at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee won 71 to 61. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 31, 2014; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers mascot Smokey during the game against the East Tennessee State Buccaneers at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee won 71 to 61. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

4th

Dyron Nix

Power Forward, 1985-1989

A four-year player for Tennessee basketball during the Don DeVoe era, Dyron Nix was one of the most reliable post scorers you could find. As a finesse power forward who shot 70 percent from the free throw line, could score from the high post, and could still rebound, he is a perfect complement to Jarnell Stokes.

Sure, at 6’7″, he and Stokes would make for a small inside game in this lineup, but that is fine in college basketball. And Nix would stretch the floor to a certain degree that it would make up for the lack of size underneath the basket.

Nix was one of the few bright spots on the Vols in the second half of the DeVoe era, and he single-handedly carried the Vols to the 1989 NCAA Tournament.

In the NBA, Nix validated his skills even more, as he was able to convert to a wing player for a period of time with the Charlotte Hornets.

It was the final year of success for Tennessee basketball until the Jerry Green era of the late 1990s, as they would fall into a state of disarray.

So given that fact, Nix has to find his way onto the all time Tennessee basketball depth chart. And he’d be a very reliable player in our roster here.

Mar 9, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer for their team against the Auburn Tigers during the second half of game one of the SEC conference tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Tennessee won 97-59. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

4th

Paul Walther

Small Forward, 1944-1949

Yes, we’re taking a step back in history for Tennessee basketball here. Paul Walther was a two-time All-American for the Vols in the 1940s. He interrupted his time in Knoxville by going to serve in World War II.

And he came back to showcase his skills once again.

At 6’2″ as a small forward, Walther would not help this lineup that is undersized already, but remember, this is the fourth team. And the Vols always need some shooting.

Walther’s skill was being a major sharpshooter. His shooting helped to lead Tennessee in scoring with over 13 points a game and nearly 18 points a game his junior and senior years respectively. He helped the Vols win the 1945 SEC Championship.

For his career, he averaged 12.9 points through 91 games.

He then spent six seasons in the NBA and scored over 2,800 career points.

A primary scorer, Walther would make a perfect wing player in this roster despite his lack of size. He would stretch the floor even more, and being able to do that can help offset a lack of size in the lineup.

So while he would be a shooting guard anywhere in the NBA, we have Walther as a fourth-string small forward, a position he’d play even by today’s college standards.

Nov 16, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan McRae (12) receives coaching from head coach Tyronn Lue and guard Kyrie Irving (2) in the second half of the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. the Indiana Pacers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-93. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

4th

Jordan McRae

Shooting Guard, 2010-2014

With Paul Walther playing undersized at small forward, he’d receive a ton of help from a tall shooting guard by the college standards in today’s game. Jordan McRae would be a perfect backcourt complement to Walther and the Vols’ inside game.

It’s old-school vs new school when it comes to off-guard scoring here.

McRae played with Jarnell Stokes from 2012 to 2014, and he was a crucial part of the success that Cuonzo Martin had his final year.

In fact, while Stokes was the inside man, McRae was the outside scorer. They would rekindle in this lineup as members of the fourth string on the Tennessee basketball all-time roster.

At 6’5″, McRae would play the two over Walther because he can do more than just shoot. He is an all-around scorer, having averaged 13 points for his career, including over 15 and over 18 points his junior and senior years respectively.

And he did it every way, by shooting 35 percent from three, attacking the basket, and drawing fouls.

The versatility as a scorer was huge, and while Walther and Dyron Nix would help stretch the floor, McRae could go Iso. Stokes under the basket makes this a complete lineup. They just need help in one more spot.

Oct 5, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kay Felder (20) defends Orlando Magic guard C.J. Watson (32) in the third quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

4th

C.J. Watson

Point Guard, 2002-2006

If C.J. Watson did not have to labor for three years in Buzz Peterson’s system of terrible coaching, he would likely be third or second team on this Tennessee Basketball roster.

After all, his success as a 10-year NBA veteran proves that he was clearly a reliable point guard. And he would thrive with this lineup.

Watson is the perfect point guard. He can score when needed, is a deadly mid-range and free throw shooter, and knows how to keep the offense together.

In one year with Bruce Pearl coaching, Watson led a team with no depth into the second round of the NCAA Tournament and a Top 25 finish after it had lost its two leading scorers from a year ago. That was his senior year, and he averaged 15 points and four assists, shooting over 40 percent from three and 87 percent from the free throw line.

Chris Lofton was the star of that team, but Watson was the most important player. He was the glue guy. He’d be the exact same thing here.

Watson would help this Tennessee lineup stretch the floor the way it needs to and know when to let Jordan McRae take over, hit Paul Walther or Dyron Nix on the outside, or feed Jarnell Stokes.

He’s the perfect guy to round out this unit, and it’s unfortunate he didn’t do enough to be higher on this list. But a guy who came right after him is the first guy on our third team.

Mar 9, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers fans celebrate after a play during game one of the SEC Tournament against Auburn Tigers at Bridgestone Arena. Tennessee won 97-59. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

3rd

Wayne Chism

Center, 2006-2010

A four-year starter for Tennessee basketball, Wayne Chism played during the peak of the Bruce Pearl years. And he is the winningest player in Tennessee basketball history, so he has to get a spot on here.

After all, he was part of three Sweet Sixteen appearances, helped one Tennessee basketball team reach its first No. 1 ranking in school history, and helped another team go to its first Elite Eight ever.

At 6’9″, Chism was always the perfect center and a great development story. In all four years, he never averaged fewer than nine points, and he averaged 13.7 and 12.6 points his junior and senior years respectively. He also averaged 8 and 7 rebounds his final two years.

Chism showed an ability to stretch the floor as a center who was always a threat from three-point range, shooting over 30 percent from there and making at least one three a game on average for his career.

As a result, he’d be the perfect team player and a very solid center in any college basketball system, and especially in Tennessee basketball history.

His power forward would complement his physical play as well.  We move onto him next in this all time depth chart.

July 14, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; Fans gather outside Thompson-Bowling Arena before a Celebration of Life service for the late Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt at the University of Tennessee. Mandatory Credit: Larry McCormack/The Tennessean via USA TODAY NETWORK

3rd

Howard Wood

Power Forward, 1977-1981

A 6’7″ physical guy, Howard Wood is the Wayne Chism of the late 1970s. He was part of one of the most successful runs in Tennessee basketball history for that time.

He helped the Vols to three straight NCAA Tournaments, a conference championship, and a Sweet Sixteen appearance.

Wood played center for four years for Tennessee, but he would be a physical banger at power forward to complement Chism in this roster.

After all, at 6’7″, he can be a scrapper inside while Chism stretches the floor on the outside with his three-point shooting to make up the inside game of the all-time Tennessee basketball third team.

He averaged 13 and 14 points his junior and senior years respectively along with seven rebounds his senior year. But Wood is also a great free throw shooter, which would make it hard to foul him and make for even a more unstoppable inside game.

So Wood and Chism together would make for a great inside game on any roster.

Five years in the NBA validates what he did in college, and it confirms that he deserves a spot on this roster.

And a guy as big as him would help out on the wing, which takes us to our next player on the all-time roster.

July 14, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; Fans gather outside Thompson-Bowling Arena before a Celebration of Life service for the late Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt at the University of Tennessee. Mandatory Credit: Larry McCormack/The Tennessean via USA TODAY NETWORK

3rd

Vincent Yarbrough

Small Forward, 1998-2002

Arguably the most prized recruit in Tennessee basketball history, Vincent Yarbrough committed to the Vols a year after Jerry Green inherited a star-studded class of freshmen. He was the guy who would take the Vols to the next level.

At 6’7″ 210-pound forward, Yarbrough would be higher on this list if it were not for the fact that the wing position is the most loaded spot on our all-time Tennessee basketball roster.

And, although he was great, Yarbrough did under-achieve to a certain degree. However, it’s not enough to call out. So we’ll stick with the good.

Yarbrough led the Vols to what was their most successful season in history in 1999-2000 at the time, and he averaged between 14 and 18 points each of his final three years in Knoxville. He was also a 35 percent three-point shooter and another guy who could score all over the court.

With his skills set, Yarbrough would be the one of the three most versatile players on this 20-man roster that we are doing.

And he’d be a perfect fit in this lineup as he, Wayne Chism, and two other guys would all have a good combination of solid inside scoring and decent three-point shooting.

Let’s go to those two other guys.

Jan 4, 2014; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers mascot Smokey cheers against the Tusculum Pioneers during the second half at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee won 98 to 51. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 4, 2014; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers mascot Smokey cheers against the Tusculum Pioneers during the second half at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee won 98 to 51. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

3rd

JaJuan Smith

Shooting Guard, 2004-2008

Probably the greatest over-achiever in Tennessee basketball history, Jauan Smith arrived on Tennessee’s campus during Buzz Peterson’s final year. And as an unrated recruit out of Cleveland, Tenn., all he did was ride the bench that first year.

The next year, Smith developed into one of the best sixth-men in the country in Bruce Pearl’s first year. Then he became a starter his junior year and senior years, averaging double-figures both times and leading the Vols to back-to-back Sweet Sixteens and a No. 1 ranking at one point.

With the Vols as loaded at shooting guard as they are at the wing position, Smith would have to come in as a third team two-guard. But as a 6’0″ scorer, he and Yarbrough would make an epic off-guard combo in the backcourt. Both are scorers who can drive to the basket or shoot from the outside, and while Yarbrough is a versatile defender, Smith is a lockdown defender.

Together, they could keep defenses on their heels constantly and would be impossible to scheme for.

It would be like LeBron and Dwyane Wade for college. Yes, we know with much less skill, but the construction of this backcourt is where that similarity comes in.

Join him with this next point guard, and you’ve got an amazing cast.

Jan 1, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half in the 2016 Outback Bowl against the Northwestern Wildcats at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 1, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half in the 2016 Outback Bowl against the Northwestern Wildcats at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

3rd

Tony Harris

Point Guard, 1997-2001

Tony Harris left a sour taste in the mouths of many Tennessee basketball fans after what they perceived to be an under-achieving four years under Jerry Green.

However, fans overlook the fact that those were the only four years between 1989 and 2006 that the Vols made the NCAA Tournament. So you have to appreciate what he did.

Harris spent three years with Yarbrough, and when healthy, the two formed an unstoppable backcourt that had two of the winningest seasons in Tennessee basketball history. With that in mind, he is a perfect complement to Yarbrough here.

He averaged double-figures all four years in Knoxville along with over four assists a game and shot 36 percent from three.

As a true combo guard, Harris with Smith and Yarbrough would make for a ton of versatility. All three guys can handle the point, score, and shoot from the outside.

But Harris would be the primary point guard on this third team.

Don’t forget that Tennessee’s collapse in 2000-2001 that led to Jerry Green’s firing only happened after Harris got hurt. He is an ultimate glue guy, and at 6’3″ he provides a perfect size mismatch for anybody guarding him.

So yes, his talent and production warrant him being a point guard on the all-time Tennessee basketball depth chart.

Dec 14, 2014; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers fans during the game against the Butler Bulldogs at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee won 67 to 55. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 14, 2014; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers fans during the game against the Butler Bulldogs at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee won 67 to 55. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

2nd

Tom Boerwinkle

Center, 1965-1968

We are now getting to the elite players in Tennessee basketball history that would make for an epic 10-man roster. Starting at center, Tom Boerwinkle would definitely be the backup center for the Vols all-time roster.

Playing under Ray Mears, Boerwinkle was a true center at 7’0″ and 265 pounds. He was an All-American who led the Vols to the 1967 SEC Championship and averaged a double-double in points and rebounds during his junior and senior seasons.

He also became an All-American.

Boerwinkle’s talent was validated by a 10-year NBA career that he enjoyed with the Chicago Bulls. Taking that into account, this guy clearly has true center talent and belongs on the Tennessee basketball all-time depth chart.

A physical seven-footer on the inside, he was not able to stretch the floor too much. But with his size, all he had to do was be a true center, and he’d be unstoppable. After all, being seven feet in college is a major advantage, and his track record earns him the status of at least the second best true big man in  school history.

Plus, the power forward in this rotation would stretch the floor for him. That’s the next guy on our depth chart.

Jan 20, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; Fans enter Thompson-Boling Arena prior to the game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Vanderbilt Commodores. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

2nd

Ron Slay

Power Forward, 1999-2003

We all remember Ron Slay. At a time when Buzz Peterson zapped all the morale out of the Tennessee basketball program, Slay was the one guy who kept it exciting…at least for a year.

An All-American and SEC Player of the Year in 2003, Slay was one of the most unique power forwards you could find.

He was 6’8″, the perfect size for a power forward in college, and he weighed 240 pounds, making him strong enough to post anybody up.

Those numbers physically allowed him to average 14 and a half points for his career, including 21 points his senior year, while his rebound totals per game went up every year, from four and a half as a freshman to nearly eight as a senior.

Meanwhile, Slay had an amazing amount of versatility that made him a Charles Barkley type player in college. He shot an incredible 37 percent from three his senior year and 78 percent from the free throw line.

The only reason he can’t be first team is because of the legends that we have to be flexible with, which we’ll get to. However, he really is the best true power forward in Tennessee basketball history, and if it weren’t for a couple of these other guys, he’d easily be a starter.

We can’t put him there, though, because he can’t play center. So he’d be the first big man off the bench in our rotation.

Feb 13, 2015; New York, NY, USA; U.S. Paralympic athlete Blake Leeper (18), American reporter Kristen Ledlow (21) , WNBA player Shoni Schimmel (23) and New York Knicks assistant general manager Allan Houston (20) during the 2015 Sprint NBA all star celebrity game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

2nd

Allan Houston

Small Forward, 1989-1993

Probably the best scorer to see no team success, of course Allan Houston had to be on our list of all-time Tennessee basketball stars. You might be wondering how he’s not first team.

Well, when you see that list, you’ll understand why.

The fact is, the Vols have produced too many elite shooting guards and small forwards for all of them to be in the starting lineup. And given the team success, we have to relegate Houston to second team.

But make no mistake, he’s still a Top Five player in Vols history and is the first backcourt player we’d bring off the bench on this roster.

Houston averaged over 20 points all four years with the Vols, and he shot an amazing 42 percent from the three-point line.

At 6’6″ he was the perfect size to be the dominant scorer that he was with the Vols. Houston was one of the deadliest three-point shooters in college basketball history and took that talent to the NBA, where he played for a decade and a half.

With three and a half assists and four rebounds a game on average, he’d be the top all-around player coming off the bench for the Vols and the perfect wing-man.

And in this rotation, his counterpart would make for an amazing off-guard scoring punch.

Nov 11, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; General view before the game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Chattanooga Mocs at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

2nd

Tony White

Shooting Guard, 1983-1987

This would even be a deadlier scoring punch than JaJuan Smith and Vincent Yarbrough. Tony White joining Allan Houston would be borderline unstoppable for our second team.

White’s averages went up every year in Knoxville, from nine points a game to 16 points a game to 22.2 and 24.5 points a game his junior and senior years respectively.

Like Houston, however, his scoring did not match team success, as his teams made the NIT his first two years and had losing records his final two seasons. Still, White was never held responsible for that and shouldn’t have been, as he won SEC Player of the Year in 1986-1987.

His scoring was based on incredible efficiency as well, and in the three-point era he and Houston together on the court would massively stretch the floor. After all, he shot 48 percent from the field and 90 percent from the free throw line.

The 6’2″ guard is the perfect shooting guard in this system, and like Houston, he had a career in the NBA. Unlike Houston, though, his career was extremely brief.

Still, White is an elite enough scorer to belong on this list, and had he and Houston played together, the Vols would have had the most unstoppable two-three scoring combination.

Oct 10, 2015; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers fans during the second half against the Georgia Bulldogs at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee won 38 to 31. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 10, 2015; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers fans during the second half against the Georgia Bulldogs at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee won 38 to 31. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

2nd

Jimmy England

Point Guard, 1969-1971

We take another step back to the early Ray Mears era here with Jimmy England at point guard for the Vols. England immediately followed Tim Boerwinkle and proved himself to be an elite point guard in two years with Tennessee basketball.

A 6’1″ guard, England was a hometown guard and became one of the earliest combo guards you could find. He earned All-SEC honors his first year and All-American honors his second year as a guard.

England was an extremely efficient player, scoring on very good shooting numbers, including an 89 percent free throw shooting rate. At the same time, he averaged over five and a half assists per game.

His ability to dictate the offense would make him the perfect combination with Tony White and Allan Houston in the backcourt.

However, like both of those guys, he didn’t enjoy much team success outside of an NIT Quarterfinal appearance in 1971.

Still, as a director of the offense who was nominated captain of the team and known for clutch scoring, he’s the total package as a point guard.

White, Snow, and England would be more than capable of coming together to achieve team success they never achieved individually.

Add in a true center at 7’0″ and an elite, versatile power forward, and you’ve got a complete, dominating lineup.

Nov 16, 2011; Knoxville, TN, USA; General view of Thompson Boling Arena before the game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 16, 2011; Knoxville, TN, USA; General view of Thompson Boling Arena before the game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

1st

Reggie Johnson

Center, 1976-1980

Please not that this is by default. No Tennessee basketball big men really deserve to be on the first team, but we have to put two post guys in there. And at center, the most logical option is Reggie Johnson, who enjoyed unprecedented success with the program.

Despite going through three head coaches in four years, Johnson became the face of major team success.

At 6’9″ and 205 pounds, he may be undersized, but as we said, the stars for the Vols that fit this mold are all undersized.

Big men didn’t make Tennessee basketball go. But despite his thin frame, that’s okay in college, and Johnson spend four seasons averaging double-figures, leading the Vols to three NCAA Tournaments, and winning two conference championships.

He was the leader after Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld left and carried the Vols from 1978-1980 after Ray Mears had gone too. Don DeVoe’s success in following such a legend can be attributed to Johnson.

He averaged 21 points in back to back years, and he finished as an elite rebounder despite being so small. After all, he averaged eight rebounds for his career.

A five-year NBA career that saw him alternate between power forward and center validated that he could play the physical post positions despite his thin frame, so we have him as our first-team center here. No big man has been as successful as Johnson in Tennessee basketball history.

And as a decent shooter at center, he’s just one of many guys that will stretch the floor in this first-team lineup.

Jan 28, 2012; Knoxville, TN, USA; General view of the outside Thompson Boling Arena before the game between the Auburn Tigers and the Tennessee Volunteers. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 28, 2012; Knoxville, TN, USA; General view of the outside Thompson Boling Arena before the game between the Auburn Tigers and the Tennessee Volunteers. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

1st

Bernard King

Power Forward, 1974-1977

This one is no surprise. However, Bernard King was a true small forward, so he should be on the list in that regard.

But as we have already mentioned, Tennessee basketball is loaded at that position. So given King’s versatility, he would move to power forward on the all-time Tennessee basketball depth chart. And he would play that position amazingly.

At 6’7″ 205 pounds, he as the size to play inside. And despite his thin frame as well, King was already averaging a double-double in college. He averaged 12, 13, and 14 rebounds in his three years in college.

So he’s already the perfect person to play power forward. On top of that, his skills speak for themselves.

King would be the primary scorer on the inside in this rotation, as he can dominate in the paint and work the dribble-drive to perfection. As we later saw in the NBA, he can stretch the floor with decent three-point shooting.

But his greatest attribute is his scoring in the post, so at 6’7″ he should be the guy to move to the inside in this first team rotation.

And given what we already know he can do there, we don’t need to explain anything. A three-time SEC player of the year and two-time All-American who led the Vols to two straight NCAA Tournaments and a conference title, King’s accolades obviously warrant him being on this first team. And his elite NBA career as a superstar proved his skill.

Let’s go to the next guy on the list, the reason King would be a power forward.

Jan 23, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; General view before the game between the Tennessee Volunteers and South Carolina Gamecocks at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 23, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; General view before the game between the Tennessee Volunteers and South Carolina Gamecocks at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

1st

Dale Ellis

Small Forward, 1979-1983

This is why Bernard King has to be the power forward. Dale Ellis has got to be in the Tennessee basketball lineup as a first team small forward, and while he’s the exact same size as King at 6’7″ 205 pounds, he is much more of a true wing player than King.

After all, Ellis didn’t have the post moves, but he had the sharpshooting abilities that predated the three-point line. If that existed in college basketball in the early 1980s, he could have led the Vols to a national title.

As it is, he helped Reggie Johnson in leading Don DeVoe’s team, and together, they went to two straight NCAA Tournaments and won an SEC Championship.

But Ellis continued the success after Johnson left, increasing his average in scoring to over 20 points per game in the two years after that, leading the Vols to another SEC Championship, and taking them to their first Sweet Sixteen in 1981.

Ellis was the perfect wing player, and like King, was a two-time All-American who took the Vols to unprecedented heights in basketball. He also earned SEC player of the Year multiple times, although it was only twice.

Still, if Ellis and King could have played together, it would have been an amazing combination.

Ellis showed his NBA skills just like King with an 18-year career, averaging 15.7 points per game throughout that career and shooting over 40 percent from three.

He was a true wing player, and his four years in the late 1980s of averaging around 24 points a game with the Seattle Supersonics proved how much of a star he was.

Of course he should be on the first team as a wing player. He, King, and the next guy on this list prove why we couldn’t put Allan Houston, Tony White, or Ron Slay on the first team.

Feb 8, 2014; Knoxville, TN, USA; A general view of Thompson-Boling Arena before the game between the Tennessee Volunteers and South Carolina Gamecocks. The Pat Summitt Plaza is located in the lower left. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 8, 2014; Knoxville, TN, USA; A general view of Thompson-Boling Arena before the game between the Tennessee Volunteers and South Carolina Gamecocks. The Pat Summitt Plaza is located in the lower left. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

1st

Chris Lofton

Shooting Guard, 2004-2008

He did not have the NBA career that any of the other guys in this lineup had. But Chris Lofton was the greatest shooter in college basketball history, and putting him next to Dale Ellis would make for the deadliest scoring combination in college basketball history.

Add in Bernard King and Reggie Johnson under the basket, and you would have had the greatest team in NCAA history.

Lofton was listed at 6’2″ but was really closed to 6’0″. And in a four-year career, he nailed an amazing 431 three-pointers, shooting 42 percent from the three-point line.

He doesn’t have Ellis’s size, but Lofton was so amazing it didn’t matter. Another two-time All-American, along with being named SEC Player of the Year in 2006-2007, Lofton is the most beloved player in school history.

He was the leading scorer on the Vols as they made it to No. 1 in the country and helped carry them to three straight NCAA Tournaments in three seasons. They finished in the Top 25 in all three seasons and made it into the Top 10 in two of those seasons.

And his greatest story came his senior year. Lofton accepted a lesser role for the team with Tyler Smith joining, making for a more cohesive unit. On top of that, he had testicular cancer earlier that year and struggled out of the gate with it but never complained.

With his lack of size, he deserves respect as one of the greatest over-achievers in Tennessee basketball history. And of course he has to start over Allan Houston! He was better in college and also complements Ellis and King better in this lineup.

And what he lacks in size as a guard, the starting point guard on this list makes up for it.

Jan 9, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; General view before the game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Texas A&M Aggies at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 9, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; General view before the game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Texas A&M Aggies at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

1st

Ernie Grunfeld

Point Guard, 1973-1977

You always need a point guard to keep this collection of talent together, and nobody would be better for that position than Ernie Grunfeld.

Grunfeld played four years with the Vols and took them to four postseason tournaments, making the other half of the Bernie and Ernie show for three years, two of which they made the NCAA Tournament and one of which they won the SEC Championship.

He was also a two-time All-American and tied King for SEC player of the Year in 1977.

Listed as a small forward and shooting guard in the NBA, Grunfeld could easily play point guard. And because of all the collection of elite forwards and off-guards that Tennessee basketball has, we had to move Grunfeld to point guard just to make room for our first team, which is where he belongs.

And it’s actually perfect. Because Chris Lofton is so undersized, Ernie Grunfeld can make up for that at 6’6″, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Despite playing forward his entire NBA career, Grunfeld showed he could play point guard by still averaging two assists for his career. And he could obviously be a scoring guard, evidenced by two seasons when he scored double-figures in the NBA and the 22 points per game he averaged in college. His 33 percent three-point shooting also shows his competence from the outside to be just enough help to Dale Ellis and Bernard King.

So as a do-it-all glue guy, you could move Grunfeld to point guard to round out your first team in this all-time Tennessee basketball depth chart.

And it makes for the perfect size and combination of players in the starting lineup for college basketball.

Jan 6, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; the Tennessee Lady Volunteers cheerleaders perform during the second quarter against the Florida Gators at Thompson-Boling Arena. Florida won 74 to 66. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 6, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; the Tennessee Lady Volunteers cheerleaders perform during the second quarter against the Florida Gators at Thompson-Boling Arena. Florida won 74 to 66. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

So with our explanation for each player on the depth chart, here is an overall look at it all on one page. This would be the all-time Tennessee men’s basketball team if they could get 20 players on the roster.

First Team

C- Reggie Johnson

PF- Bernard King

SF- Dale Ellis

SG- Chris Lofton

PG- Ernie Grunfeld

Second Team

C- Tom Boerwinkle

PF- Ron Slay

SF- Allan Houston

SG- Tony White

PG- Jimmy England

Third Team

C- Wayne Chism

PF- Howard Wood

SF- Vincent Yarbrough

SG- JaJuan Smith

PG- Tony Harris

Fourth Team

C- Jarnell Stokes

PF- Dyron Nix

SF- Paul Walther

SG- Jordan McRae

PG- C.J. Watson

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