Tyler Smith, a 6-7 forward who will be a Vol junior this year, was the first of 60 players selected in last night's Rocky Top draft. He'll be joined on the H.T. Group roster by incoming point guard signee Daniel West. Smith averaged 13.7 points and a team-best 6.8 rebounds per game last winter. He also led the Vols in assists (121) and field-goal percentage (54.1).
Toyota of Knoxville used Pick No. 2 to select Wayne Chism, a 6-9 junior who averaged 9.9 points and 5.8 rebounds for the 2007-08 Vols. Toyota later used pick 10 on ex-Vol Dane Bradshaw and pick 13 on ex-Vol Rashard Lee. Bradshaw averaged just 4.5 points per game during his UT career but made everyone around him better. Lee averaged 10.3 points per game as a Vol junior before spending his senior year backing up Vincent Yarbrough.
Ray's ESG tabbed heralded Vol signee Scotty Hopson with draft pick No. 3. He's joined by juco transfer Bobby Maze (pick 9) and two current Vols, 6-10 Brian Williams (pick 14) and Steven Pearl (pick 26).
The News-Sentinel loaded up with orange, tabbing two former Vols (Damon Johnson, Ron Slay) and two soon-to-be Vols (incoming freshmen Philip Jurick and Renaldo Woolridge). Johnson was pick 4, Slay pick 8, Woolridge pick 15 and Jurick pick 20.
Johnson, a transfer from Hiwassee Junior College, started 53 of 55 games for Kevin O'Neill's 1994-95 and '95-96 UT squads. Johnson averaged 9.5 points per game for his Vol career. Slay, of course, was one of the most popular and colorful UT players of all-time. He led the SEC in scoring (21.2 points per game) in 2003 and was named the league's Player of the Year that winter. He also was a finalist for the Wooden Award that season.
First Tennessee Bank used pick 6 to take current Vol Cameron Tatum, then selected ex-Vols Jon Higgins and Jordan Howell with picks 17 and 18, respectively. Tatum redshirted last winter. Higgins was a four-year starter (1999-2003) who shot 39.8 percent from 3 for his college career. Howell was a parttime starter at point guard for UT the past two seasons.
Richardson Construction grabbed ex-Vol Stanley Asumnu with pick 16 and tabbed current Vol Josh Tabb with pick No. 19. Asumnu, a superior athlete, started 32 games between 2002 and 2006. Tabb proved to be a defensive stopper for the 2007-08 Vols.