Even more from Tobias

Even more from Tobias

He's averaging 15.3 points per game, including a team-high 17.3 in four SEC outings. He has scored in double figures 18 times in the first 19 games.

He leads the team in free-throw attempts (95), ranks second in rebound average (7.3 per game) and in shot blocks (21).

His field-goal percentage (45.8) is second-best among starters and his free-throw percentage (73.7) is solid.

Only senior point guard Melvin Goins tops his steals total of 16 and only three Vols have more assists than his total of 29.

Clearly, Tobias Harris is having a terrific rookie year for Tennessee's basketball team.

"He's averaging 17.3 points in the league. That's sixth in the league in league games," head coach Bruce Pearl noted. "He has almost nine rebounds per game - tied for third in the league. His 15.3 points per game ranks fourth among freshmen in the six major conferences.

"He has just been tremendously productive and solid."

Since Harris has accomplished all of these feats while attempting just 12 shots per game, Vol fans would like to see him shooting more. Vol coaches would like to see that, too.

"I continue to say that I want to get the ball to him more, put the ball in his hands more, have him make more plays," Pearl said.

Although Harris has a mediocre ratio of assists (29) to turnovers (35), that stat is somewhat misleading. After committing 21 turnovers in the first seven games - 3.0 per game - he has been guilty of just 14 in the 12 games since then.

"Unfortunately, his stats are somewhat skewed because he started off with a very poor assist/turnover ratio early," Pearl noted. "Since early on, he's really done a good job of taking care of the ball. He doesn't force the issue. He tries to get his teammates involved.

"He's clearly one of the top five freshmen in the country, and we sure are glad to have him."

With Tennessee stumbling along at 12-7, the Vols' chances of righting the ship could hinge on getting the talented rookie even more involved. Perhaps that means getting Harris the ball more. Perhaps it means Harris being more assertive when he gets the ball.

"I think he's showing the right balance of assertiveness when he gets it," Pearl said. "The key is for him to be patient. He shoots 46 percent from the field, which is good. He's made some big 3s but I think he can shoot it a little better (than 31.0 percent) from there. He's gone to the foul line more than anybody else on our team and he's our leading defensive rebounder by a ways. That's a lot to ask of a freshman."

Clearly, an awful lot is expected of the silky-smooth rookie. With the 6-8, 226-pound New Yorker coming off a 10-point effort at UConn - his second-lowest output of the season - Pearl was asked if Harris might be hitting "the freshman wall" lately.

"Oh, gosh, no," the Vols' head coach said. "There's not a wall he's going to hit. That's just not in his deal. He's going to keep getting stronger as the season progresses."

InsideTennessee.com Recommended Stories


Up Next


Tweets