Vols basketball players announce departures from program

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Four more Tennessee men’s basketball players announced their departure from the program on Friday.

Yves Pons, Davonte Gaines, Corey Walker and E.J. Anosike made their decisions to leave the program for a variety of reasons.

The Vols now have four positions to fill on the roster, though one of those positions seems to already be filled. French shooting guard Quentin Diboundje announced his commitment to the Vols earlier this week on Twitter.

Pons, the 2020 Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, is declaring for the NBA Draft. The senior from Fuveau, France, started 70 games, including all 26 this past season, for the Vols and is leaving the program as the one of the Vols leading shot blockers.

Pons tallied 137 blocks and sits as eighth all-time in blocks at Tennessee. He also set a program record and tied the SEC Tournament record for blocked shots in a game with nine against Florida on March 12.

Pons will join the Vols’ All-SEC freshmen Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson in the player pool for the 2021 NBA Draft.

Davonte Gaines announced he is transferring to George Mason University. He will be coached by former Tennessee assistant Kim English, who will serve as a head coach for the first time in his career.

Gaines, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Buffalo, New York, played in 48 games over his two seasons in Knoxville. He saw limited playing time this past season scoring just 14 points and 14 rebounds in 19 games.

Gaines is the second former Vol to announce his transfer destination. Bearden High School standout Drew Pember announced Wednesday he is transferring to UNC-Asheville.

24/7 Sports first reported that freshman forward Corey Walker and senior power forward E.J. Anosike will both enter the transfer portal.

The 6-foot-8 Walker entered UT as a highly-touted freshman before suffering an injury before the start of the season. He did not see regular playing time at Tennessee. The four-star recruit averaged averaged 15.2 points, 8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 blocks per game at Hargrave Military Academy.

Anosike, a transfer from Sacred Heart University, is also entering the transfer portal. The brother of former Lady Vol Nicky Anosike, played in 20 games off the bench for the Vols and averaged 1.7 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.

Entering the transfer portal does not require a player to transfer from their school. Both Walker and Anosike could return to the team.

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