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Stokes leaving Tennessee for NBA

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Forward Jarnell Stokes announced at a news conference on Friday that he will bypass his senior season at Tennessee to enter the NBA draft.

Stokes, 6-foot-8 and 260 pounds, averaged 15.1 points and 10.6 rebounds a game as a junior in helping the Volunteers (24-13) reach the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals before losing to Michigan, 73-71.

“‘I want to thank Tennessee for making these last three years so special,” said Stokes, who tied Bernard King’s school record of 22 double-doubles in one season set in 1976-77. ”I definitely grew up and became a man here, and I’ll always be a Vol for life.”

Stokes, who averaged 18 points and 12.8 rebounds in four NCAA tournament games, informed Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin of his decision on Tuesday. He said he was encouraged to enter the draft former Tennessee star Tobias Harris, who plays for the Orlando Magic.

In a mock draft at draftexpress.com, Stokes is projected to be selected in the second round of the NBA draft with the 53rd overall pick.

Stokes also considered entering the draft last year, but decided to return for his junior season.

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