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Tennessee basketball playmaker enters the transfer portal

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Tennessee Basketball's Tobe Awaka entered the transfer portal, becoming the third player from last year's team to do so. Awaka developed into a playmaker and defensive threat for the Vols. He helped secure the paint and help Tennessee get to the Elite Eight.

The Vols forward averaged 5.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game this season. While those aren't All-American stats, he has made a huge impact on the defensive side of the field where stats don't always translate to the final stat line.

The second-year forward capped a tough season with an impressive performance late in the regular season and in the NCAA Tournament. He made the announcement on Instagram and while it's possible he could return for next season, his message to Tennessee fans seemed to be a farewell.

“Dear Vol-Nation, the last two years have been some of the most influential of my life,” Awaka said on social media. “The relationships I have gained and the experiences I have had will change my life forever. First, I would like to thank Coach Barnes, all the assistant coaches and the rest of the basketball team for welcoming me with open arms and supporting me. “During my time at Rocky Top, I would also like to thank my teammates – my brothers for life.

“It has been a pleasure getting to know you and going to war with you these past two years. Lastly, I want to thank Vol Nation for being one of the best fan bases in the country. Your hospitality and support has truly been a blessing.”

Losing Awaka could be a big loss for the Vols. Not only is he a physical forward who has what it takes to play efficient defense in the best conference, but he is also a starter for Tennessee next year and can be one of the best players on the court if he continues to develop further developed.

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Freddie Dilione and DJ Jefferson are the other two Vols to enter the transfer portal so far. It's expected that some players will enter the portal each year to gain more playing time, but Awaka's entry comes as a shock to many in Vol Nation. There might be a personal reason for the decision, but I still hope he succeeds wherever he decides.