Jarnell Stokes pounded Georgia in the paint on Tuesday night. He dropped 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting, and he grabbed 11 rebounds.
Georgia was sending double teams at Stokes when he caught the ball in the post, but Stokes did an excellent job of passing out or beating the double team by himself.
Stokes had 16 post-up opportunities against Georgia, and Tennessee scored 1.31 points per possession on those 16 plays. For the season, Stokes post-ups are worth .96 points per possession; his 1.31 would be third best in the country, minimum 50 attempts, per Synergy Sports.
We’ll take a look at some of the moves Stokes made against Georgia, but first, it is important to note that Cuonzo Martin does an excellent job of getting of getting Stokes open on the block. Tennessee has Stokes set a lot of screens, and they also run him off of screens to keep the defense honest. This action makes defenses guard the screen, which allows Stokes to position himself on the block without much resistance; it also keeps defenses from denying the pass into the post as easily.
Here Tennessee has Stokes set two screens, before setting up on the block. Before Stokes even catches the ball a double team is coming.
Here Stokes just goes around the double, and powers his way to the basket. Georgia is sending this double hoping for a turnover, or at the very least for Stokes to pass the ball. Stokes taking on this double team all by himself can break the will of the defense.
A few times Stokes did force up a tough shot, as he fought through the double team. But more frequently, he passed out picking up three assists and a couple hockey assists.
Another trait Stokes displayed was patience.
Stokes sees the double team, but he doesn’t panic. There is no forced dribble or hurried pass. He just waits. The double team leaves, and he goes to work. A powerful back down leads to an easy hook shot.
And if you don’t send a double, he can pull off a spin move like this.
Stokes, like Tennessee, is full of talent, but hasn’t shown up every game, and it is a major reason why the third best team in the SEC is still on the bubble.
The two worst losses on Tennessee’s record this season -- a home loss to Texas A&M and a road loss to Vanderbilt -- saw Stokes score six points on 2-of-5 shooting and 11 points on 3-of-8 shooting, respectively.
Tennessee plays Texas A&M this Saturday, and Vanderbilt on the next Saturday. With only one game left in the regular season against a team in KenPom’s top 100, Tennessee and Stokes should close the season strong and find a way into the NCAA Tournament. But if Stokes doesn’t produce like he did against Georgia, Tennessee could get upset a few times and be on the wrong side of the bubble.