published Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

SEC denies waiver for Eric McKnight to join UT Vols

HOOVER, Ala. — Tennessee's thin basketball frontcourt took a hit late Tuesday morning.

The Southeastern Conference denied a graduate transfer waiver for Florida Gulf Coast forward Eric McKnight, meaning he will not be joining the Volunteers.

It's a blow for Donnie Tyndall's first Tennessee team, which is losing a potential starter in the 6-foot-9 McKnight.

"We have been informed that Eric McKnight has been denied the graduate transfer waiver by the SEC," Tyndall said in a released statement. "We pursued this issue through the proper protocol, and I respect the process. Although we are disappointed that Eric will not be joining our program, we are focused on moving forward."

McKnight, who averaged 6.9 points and 5.1 rebounds and shot 66 percent from the field for the Eagles this season, needed a specific waiver because he was transferring to his third Division I program.

The North Carolina native played his freshman season at Iowa State before landing at Florida Gulf Coast and becoming part of the "Dunk City" team that went to the Sweet 16 as a No. 15 seed in the 2013 NCAA tournament.

According to a Tennessee spokesman, the NCAA granted McKnight's waiver, but the SEC office denied his request and subsequent appeal.

The Vols lost the starting frontcourt tandem of Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon from last season, and center Rawane "Pops" Ndiaye is going on a medical scholarship after tearing his ACL earlier this offseason.

The 6-8 Derek Reese and true freshmen Willie Carmichael, Jabari McGhee and Tariq Owens are Tennessee's remaining options in the post, though the Vols appeared likely anyway to play plenty of "small ball" in Tyndall's first season.

Tennessee is still awaiting word on guard Detrick Mostella's status with the NCAA Eligibility Center. The 6-3 former Oklahoma State signee, who performed well in last month's Rocky Top League, has been taking classes at Tennessee all summer. The Vols remain confident that Mostella will be cleared.

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com.

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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