Johnson and Springer Go in First Round of NBA Draft

A pair of former Tennessee Volunteers were selected in the first round of the NBA draft Thursday night.

Shooting guard Keon Johnson was taken 21st overall by the New York Kicks and Point Guard Jaden Springer went 7 picks later to the Philadelphia 76ers at 28th overall.

However, Johnson won’t play in the Big Apple. The Knicks traded the 21st selection to the Los Angeles Clippers for the 25th selection in the 2021 draft, Houston’s Quentin Grimes, and a future second round pick.

Johnson, an All-SEC Freshman Team selection in his lone season on Rocky Top, averaged 11.1 points per game (second on the team) while appearing in all 27 contest during the 2020-21 season.

Springer, a fellow All-SEC Freshman Team pick, led the Vols at 12.5 points a game in 25 contests in orange.

He became Tennessee’s highest NBA Draft pick since Tobias Harris was selected 19th overall in 2011.

Tennessee was just one of two programs in the nation with multiple first-round selections this year. Johnson and Springer’s selections also mark the first time since 1977 that two Vols were taken in the first round.

Among active head coaches, Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes has developed the sixth-most NBA Draft picks. Over the last 12 years, 12 players coached by Barnes have been selected in the NBA draft. Johnson and Springer bring Barnes’ total number of first-round draft picks to 17. Since 1990 Barnes has produced 29 total NBA draft picks.

Pons to sign with Memphis

Former Tennessee Small Forward Yves Pons was not among those drafted Thursday night but he will get an opportunity to battle for a spot in the NBA.

According to ESPN Pons is expected to sign as an undrafted free agent with the Memphis Grizzlies.

The 2020 SEC Defensive Player of the Year averaged 5.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 20.1 minutes per game, starting 70 times in 116 appearances. He’s eight on Tennessee’s list of blocked shots with 137.

Will Rabb

Will Rabb

Will is a Middle Tennessee native having been born and raised in Winchester. His love of radio began as a child listening to local stations on the way to school or while falling asleep at night. After High School, where he was active in student media, he attended the University of Tennessee majoring in Journalism and Electronic Media while covering sports for the campus radio station. He then moved into the business professionally as a board op/producer for Cumulus of Knoxville and the Vol Network. His radio journey then took him to Louisiana where he was the lead producer for ESPN New Orleans. After returning home to Winchester, he spent several years broadcasting local sports for stations in Franklin County before joining the Bowman Family. When he’s not at the station, Will enjoys spending time with his wife Shaina and his two fur babies (Toulouse and Belle), cheering on the Vols, Preds and Saints and in the kitchen or behind the grill trying out new recipes.

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