CONFIRMED: Tennessee are bringing him back

Tennessee basketball’s Dalton Knecht selected by Los Angeles Lakers in 2024 NBA Draft

Tennessee basketball star guard Dalton Knecht was picked No. 17 overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2024 NBA Draft on Wednesday.

Knecht is the 10th top-20 pick in Tennessee history and the first since Tobias Harris went No. 19 in 2011. He is the highest-drafted Volunteer since Marcus Haislip went No. 13 in 2002, and is the 54th total NBA Draft choice from Tennessee, including the 16th in the top 30 and the 12th in the first round.

The SEC Player of the Year is the 44th NBA player Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes has coached in his 37 years leading a program, including the 33rd draftee, 19th first-rounder and 11th top-20 pick. Knecht is the 10th player Barnes has guided from Rocky Top to the NBA, including the eighth draftee and the fourth—all in the last six drafts—in the first round.

Knecht was voted SEC Player of the Year by the league’s coaches following the conclusion of the regular season to become the 10th Volunteer to win the award and the first to do so since Grant Williams was honored in back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2019. Knecht was also the first Vol to ever win the Julius Erving Award, which is awarded by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the nation’s best small forward.

The Northern Colorado transfer became this season just the eighth former junior college player to earn consensus First Team All-America honors in the NCAA Tournament era (1938-39 to present), including the first in 33 years. Knecht played at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colo., from 2019-21, before playing two seasons at Northern Colorado and transferring to Tennessee.

Knecht concluded his lone season as a Volunteer with 780 points, the second-most in a single campaign in program history. He averaged 21.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, while shooting 45.8 percent from the floor, 39.7 percent beyond the arc and 77.2 percent at the stripe. His scoring average puts him eighth nationally, including third among Power Six players and first in the SEC.

In SEC play alone, Knecht averaged 25.5 points during SEC play, which is the second-best in the league over the last 22 seasons. It was the highest scoring average of any Division 1 player this season and the best mark of any Power Six player in league play since 2019-20.

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