Tyler to return

Tennessee forward Tyler Smith announced Thursday that he is withdrawing his name from consideration for this month's NBA Draft and that he is returning to UT for his senior season.

Smith made it official during a press conference at the Pratt Pavilion basketball practice facility on the UT campus.

"It's been a great past few weeks trying out for the NBA," Smith said. "But after talking with my family, coaches and teammates, I've decided to return (to Tennessee) for my senior year. I think we have a great chance to have something special next year with my teammates. They have been working extremely hard. I learned how to be a professional and what it takes to be at that level."

In his two seasons at Tennessee, Smith has never missed a game and has scored 1,079 points while averaging 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. The Pulaski, Tenn., native has earned back-to-back first-team All-SEC honors and helped lead the Volunteers to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and an average of 26 wins per season.

As a junior this past year, Smith led the Vols in scoring (17.4 ppg), assists (3.4 apg) and free-throw percentage (.766) while starting all 34 games.

"I continue to be impressed by Tyler," UT head coach Bruce Pearl said. "He had a number of impressive workouts. He did what he said when he wanted to see what was out there and it became apparent that the first round was not locked up. This was a good process for Tyler. He knows more clearly what he has to do (to reach the NBA in the future). It was a tough decision, but he wanted to put himself in a better position for next year. It's a great day for us."

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