Tennessee junior forward Tyler Smith declared his intentions to enter the NBA draft by submitting his paperwork to the NBA, he said in a release through the university. However, Smith has not hired an agent and could still pull his name from consideration prior to the June 15 deadline. The draft takes place on June 25.
By declaring for the draft, he is eligible to work out privately for teams and improve his draft stock.
“Tyler has earned this opportunity to test the waters,” Vols coach Bruce Pearl said. “This is absolutely the right thing to do. Tyler did not choose to work out last season because you can only take advantage of this opportunity one time. He did not feel he was close enough to being a first-rounder a year ago. This gives him a chance to really gauge where his game rates in the opinions of NBA personnel.”
Smith added it is a no-lose situation for him.
“Playing in the NBA has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember,” Smith said. “And I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to come to Tennessee and grow as a basketball player and as a man. Two seasons with coach Pearl and his staff have helped me move closer to my goal of playing professional basketball at the highest level.
“I’m in a win-win situation because I can spend the upcoming weeks finishing up my classwork, working on my game and evaluating my possible draft status. If I decide it’s best for me to come back to Tennesseee for my final season, then I know we’ll have an opportunity to do something special with a great group of coaches and players and the best fans in the country. Tennessee has never won the SEC East three years in a row, and I believe this team has a chance to do that.”
Smith has played in every Tennessee game since arriving on campus two years ago. He has scored 1,079 points in his career while averaging 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. He has earned back-to-back first team All-SEC honors while leading the Volunteers to a pair of NCAA tournament appearances.