Stokes led the SEC in double-doubles last season and helped the Volunteers to a second seed in the NIT tournament, despite Tennessee deserving an NCAA tournament berth. He absolutely dominated most of the teams that Tennessee played and is one of the best offensive rebounders in the entire country. Stokes is a little short for his position, and another year in the NCAA will not only help out the Volunteers but his NBA draft stock as well. Expect Stokes to be one of the most talked about players in the country at the end of next season; he can lead Tennessee back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since Bruce Pearl was fired.
Tennessee returns Stokes, Trae Golden and Josh Richardson for next season in addition to one of the best shooters in the country, Jordan McRae. McRae announced a few weeks ago that he would forgo early NBA entry to stay another season with the Volunteers. Along with the returning talented players from last year, head coach Cuonzo Martin has recruited his best class so far. Don’t forget that Tennessee also will get back their 2012-2013 preseason All-SEC Forward Jeronne Maymon, who sat out last year and was redshirted due to an injury. Because of Stokes decision to remain in Knoxville for another season, Tennessee will be the favorite, along with the Kentucky Wildcats, to win the SEC next season.