Tyler Smith will return to Vols for final season

Tyler Smith will return to Vols for final season


6 Sports Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- On Thursday afternoon, Tennessee basketball player Tyler Smith announced that he will return to the Vols for his final year of college eligibility.

Tyler was weighing his options with regards to the upcoming NBA draft, and the possibility of playing professionally overseas.

"It's been a great past few weeks trying out for the NBA. But after talking with my family, coaches and teammates, I've decided to return for my senior year," Smith said. "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."

Smith averaged 17.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game for the Vols last season, leading them to a share of the SEC Eastern Division title, and Tennessee's fourth straight appearance in the NCAA tournament.  He has been a first-team All-SEC player during each of his two seasons at Tennessee.

Tyler Smith originally committed to the Vols back in 2004, when Tennessee was coached by Buzz Peterson.  After Peterson was fired following the 2004-2005 campaign, Smith refused to play for new Vols head coach Bruce Pearl, instead spending a year in prep school at Hargrave Military Academy, and then another season at the University of Iowa. 

Smith had a stellar freshman year in Iowa City, but wanted to transfer in order to be closer to his home of Pulaski, Tennessee.  Tyler's father, Billy Smith, was suffering from lung cancer.  The NCAA gave Tyler a hardship exemption, and he joined the Vols prior to the 2007-2008 season.

Billy Smith passed away before having the opportunity to see Tyler play for Tennessee.

Tyler Smith returns to a Tennessee team that brings back each starter from last year's squad.

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