Tennessee basketball ready to rely on new senior leader

For the Vols, Lew Evans will be called upon for both his production and leadership skills in his lone season on Rocky Top.

KNOXVILLE,TN - OCTOBER 26, 2016 - Forward Lew Evans #21 of the Tennessee Volunteers and Guard Kwe Parker #12 of the Tennessee Volunteers during SEC Media Day at Pratt Pavilion in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics

If there ever was a player who could be described as a college basketball journeyman, Lew Evans would be him.

The senior graduate transfer from Salt Lake City, Utah, has seen a lot during his career as a collegiate basketball player. For Evans, his fifth and final year will mean the third different school he has played for. That also means he will have competed in three different conferences. Despite the travels, Evans is excited about what his time in Knoxville holds.

“I enjoyed my two years at both Tulsa and Utah State,” Evans said. “But my final year at Tennessee will be something that will stick with me forever.”

The senior big man averaged 8.4 points per game and 5.6 rebounds a game during his final season at Utah State. For a Tennessee team that will only have two seniors, Evans’ experience and leadership will be invaluable. At Tennessee basketball’s media day Wednesday, second year coach Rick Barnes reiterated that point.

“That’s why we wanted Lew, someone who had been through it all and played a lot of games,” Barnes explained. “We expect Lew and Robert (Hubbs III) both to help these young guys know what it takes to be ready to play.”

His production and leadership has definitely made an impact on the young post players for Tennessee. Freshman Grant Williams has been one of the guys that has been impacted by Evans’ leadership early on.

“Lew is incredible. He knows the game, and it’s great to have him around,” Williams said. “He’s played against elite guys like the Doug McDermott’s of the world, so he’s preached to us that we need to do our work early.”

Evans, Williams and the Vols’ other big men will need to make an impact for a Tennessee team that has much better size than a year ago. Rick Barnes said in his press conference Wednesday that his second team at Tennessee is more skilled top to bottom than his first team in Knoxville was.

Tennessee will open up play against Slippery Rock in an exhibition game on Nov. 3 before its season opener on Nov. 11 against Chattanooga.

Edited by Nathan Odom

Featured image by Donald Page, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics