Vols basketball signs New York player of the year

Published 3:42 pm Friday, July 8, 2022

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New York prep hoops star Tobe Awaka has signed with the University of Tennessee and will enroll in July for the second session of summer school.

Tobe Awaka

Awaka will be a freshman for the Vols this upcoming season.

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“Tobe gives us another big, strong presence in the post who plays a very physical brand of basketball,” Barnes said. “Tobe is an excellent student and had offers from multiple Ivy League programs. He’s very comfortable playing down on the block, he can score with either hand and he has a nice shooting touch. He rebounds and moves well, and we love his toughness and grit.”

A 6-8 forward from Hyde Park, New York, Awaka was the 2022 New York Gatorade Player of the Year—an award that former Vol and current Philadelphia 76ers swingman Tobias Harris won in 2010.

Awaka also was a member of the New York Lightning AAU program—the same program that produced Tennessee rising sophomore point guard Zakai Zeigler.

In addition to Zeigler and Harris, Awaka follows the likes of Bernard King, Ernie Grunfeld, Howard Wood, Brian Williams and Kevin Punter Jr. as Vols who came from the New York City area.

“Just like Zakai, Tobe continues the New York-to-Tennessee pipeline, which has produced many fan favorites over the years,” Barnes said.

This past season at Cardinal Hayes High School, Awaka posted averages of 19.2 points and 13.9 rebounds per game.

In April, Awaka logged double-doubles in each of his four games at the Nike 17U EYBL Session 2 in Indianapolis, helping lead the Lightning to a 4-0 record with averages of 12.8 points and 13.8 rebounds per game on 55.3 percent shooting from the field.

Awaka is the fourth member of Tennessee’s 2022 prep signing class, joining guards B.J. Edwards and D.J. Jefferson and forward Julian Phillips. In addition to those four high school signees, the Vols also added Indiana State graduate transfer guard Tyreke Key to the roster this offseason.