If you think that's a coincidence, you haven't been paying attention.
The Basketball Vols must go with 12 scholarship players for 2009-10, instead of the usual 13, because their their 924.3 academic progress rating is seven-tenths of a point below the NCAA requirement of 925. Smith's return put the Vols at 13 scholarship players, so something had to give ... namely Philip Jurick.
In announcing the departure of Jurick, Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl said he is “disappointed,” adding: “But Philip knows that everyone in the Tennessee basketball family loves him, and we wish him nothing but the best.”
Originally from Chattanooga, Jurick averaged 17.8 points, 15.9 rebounds and 8 blocks per game as a senior at East Ridge High School. He is expected to transfer to a school in his hometown.
“It is our anticipation that he will go to Chattanooga State,” Pearl said in a UT news release, cryptically adding: “And the possibility still exists that he could return to Tennessee one day.”
That would be the longest of longshots, since the 6-foot-10, 250-pound Jurick was never a proper fit for the fast-paced system utilized by Pearl.
Asked last fall about the offense his high school team used, Jurick replied: “We didn't run at all. The other guys just waited for me to come down the floor. It didn't really matter when I got there.”
Jurick proved to be so ill-suited for Tennessee's uptempo system that he did not play at all in 2008-09. Instead, the Vols relied on a post rotation of 6-foot-9 junior Wayne Chism, 6-foot-10 sophomore Brian Williams and 6-foot-7 freshman Emmanuel Negedu.
With Chism, Williams and Negedu all returning for 2009-10 – plus heralded 6-9 signee Kenny Hall joining the mix – there was no room for Jurick in the post rotation.
And, with Tyler Smith coming back, there wasn't even room for Jurick on the roster.