Jimmy’s blog: NBA scout thinks Pons should return to Tennessee

By Jimmy Hyams

Tennessee’s Yves Pons has until Aug. 3 to declare whether he is staying in the NBA draft.

One NBA scout has some advice for the talented forward from France: Return to Rocky Top.

“There’s no way he should stay in the draft,’’ the scout said Friday. “There should be no discussion. He should go back to school.’’

The scout was impressed with Pons’ improvement from his sophomore to junior season, but he said the 6-foot-6 athlete needs to work on his offensive game.

“He can’t dribble,’’ the scout said. “He can’t shoot off the move. He’s an undersized center. He needs to improve his overall offensive game.’’

Pons did just that last season, but he is still a ways away from being an NBA player.

Pons went from averaging 2.2 points as a sophomore to 10.8 – an improvement of 8.6 per game. He went from 1.8 rebounds to 5.4, from 28 percent from 3-point range to 34.9, from 40 percent from the free throw line to 63.8.

“He improved his 3-point shooting,’’ the scout said, “but he’s not where he needs to be.’’

Pons also became the first Vol to win SEC Defensive Player of the Year as he blocked a school-record tying 73 blocks – at least one in each game.

“I think he’s a great defender,’’ the scout said. “He’s athletic, long, very strong.’’

Pons had season highs of 24 points against Kansas, 14 rebounds against Alabama and six blocks against Jacksonville State.

And while his scoring took a huge jump, he has to be more of a weapon to become an NBA player, the scout said.

The scout doesn’t agree with some mock drafts that have Pons being selected in the first round.

“The holes in his offensive game make it had to draft him,’’ the scout said.

“There are better odds he won’t get drafted than going in the first round.’’

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