Kenny Hall, a 6-8, 215-pound rising junior, already was being projected as the cornerstone of a Vol inside game that must replace 2010-11 centers Brian Williams and John Fields, along with power forward Tobias Harris, a projected first-round NBA Draft pick.
Now Hall has the added pressure of being the No. 1 overall pick in Wednesday night's Pilot Rocky Top League Draft. Clearly, folks are expecting vast improvement from a guy who averaged just 2.0 points, 1.8 rebounds and 7.0 minutes per game as a Vol sophomore last season.
Hall's career stats show 60 games, 4 starts, 3.0 points per game, 2.5 rebounds per game, 10.2 minutes per game and a 56.3 field-goal percentage. His playing time has been limited because he has been stuck behind older and heftier centers such as Wayne Chism and Williams (2009-10), then Williams and Fields (2010-11).
Hall was taken by DeRoyal Industries, which had the initial pick in Wednesday night's six-team summer league draft. He is the only current or former Vol on DeRoyal's 10-man roster.
Rising senior Cameron Tatum, who started at small forward for Tennessee last season, was selected after teammate Jordan McRae, a rising sophomore who was his little-used backup last season. McRae was chosen by The News Sentinel with Pick 4 in Round 1, while Tatum was pegged by Richardson Construction one pick later.
Tennessee forwards Jeronne Maymon and Renaldo Woolridge also were back-to-back selections. Maymon was taken by Choice Spine with Pick 10, Woolridge by Ralph Brown and Associates with Pick 11.
Vol guards Trae Golden and Skylar McBee were taken with Picks 15 and 16, respectively - Golden joining Choice Spine and McBee joining The News Sentinel.
Only two of Tennessee's five incoming signees will play in the Rocky Top League this summer, and they also were consecutive selections. Josh Richardson of Edmond, Okla., was taken with the last pick of Round 3 (the 18th overall) and fellow freshman Quinton Chievous of Niles, Ill., with the first pick of Round 4. Both will be playing for Larry Smith Insurance.
Three non-scholarship Vols are competing, as well.
Galen Campbell, a 6-3 invited walk-on, averaged 24 points per game as a senior at Knoxville's Fulton High last winter. He will join Richardson and Chievous on the Larry Smith Insurance squad.
Brandon Lopez, a 6-1 invited walk-on, averaged 25.6 points and 6.8 assists as a senior point guard for Knoxville Austin-East last season. He will represent Ralph Brown and Associates.
Rob Murphy, a 6-7, 230-pound Brentwood native who transferred to UT from Lipscomb and sat out the 2010-11 season, was picked up by The News-Sentinel.
As always, a number of former Vols will participate in the Rocky Top League. Here's a team-by-team list of the current and former UT players scheduled to participate:
DeRoyal: Kenny Hall
Ralph Brown: Renaldo Woolridge, John Fields, Brandon Lopez
Choice Spine: Jeronne Maymon, Trae Golden, Damon Johnson, Jon Higgins, Steven Pearl
News Sentinel: Jordan McRae, Wayne Chism, Skylar McBee, Rob Murphy
Richardson: Cameron Tatum, Dane Bradshaw
Larry Smith: Josh Richardson, Quinton Chievous, Galen Campbell
The Rocky Top League tips off Wednesday, June 15 with games at 6, 7:30 and 9 p.m. in Knoxville's Bearden High School Gym. Action also is scheduled June 17, 20, 22, 27 and 29. There is no admission charge.