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FILE - In this March 3, 2018, file photo, Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield (5) drives the ball toward the basket past Georgia guard William Jackson II (0) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Knoxville, Tenn. Schofield is pulling his name out of the NBA draft and returning to Tennessee for his senior season. Schofield shared his decision on social media Tuesday, May 29, 2018, saying he is focused and hungry to once again chase championships with his teammates. (AP Photo/Crystal LoGiudice, File)

Updated at 8:54 p.m. on Friday, June 15, 2018.

KNOXVILLE — Admiral Schofield rehearsed his lines before he went to talk with Rick Barnes after Tennessee's season ended in the second round of the NCAA basketball tournament in March.

As it turned out, the Volunteers' coach needed little convincing. The two agreed that Schofield should go through the NBA's pre-draft process for underclassmen.

"It was just like, 'Ahh, I'm going to pitch this to Coach Barnes,'" Schofield recalled Thursday. "Just to come in and sit down, and he was like, 'A.D., what do you think about the NBA?' I was like, 'Uh, I think it's a good idea.' He said, 'Yeah, I think so, too.'"

That was the end of the conversation, according to Schofield.

"It was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be," he said.

In the end, after workouts with several NBA teams, Schofield took the feedback of professional coaches and executives and decided to return to Knoxville to refine his skills during a senior season that could be special for a Tennessee team given preseason top-10 regard.

Thursday, he worked out in Tennessee's on-campus practice facility and helped with a youth camp before ambling over to talk with local reporters for the first time since vowing "We'll be back" from the locker room of the American Airlines Center in Dallas after Loyola-Chicago edged the Vols 63-62 in the national tournament.

"This is the first year that, for me, I get to experience being at a level where we're looked at as one of the best teams in the country," Schofield said. "We're already SEC champions. How do we respond? Do you relax or do you get better? From here on out, it's a testament to the group we have, how much better we can get and how much character we have on this team."

Schofield talked about leaving a legacy at Tennessee and polishing his game. He averaged 13.9 points per game as a junior this past season while transitioning to a role on the wing after playing in the post for much of his first two seasons. At 6-foot-5 and 238 pounds, Schofield is considered a "tweener" by some — too big to guard NBA shooting guards but too small to defend post players.

However, he said NBA feedback was positive on his physique, athletic ability and defensive versatility.

"For me, it's just understanding that every day you have to put in the time and the work and the detail," Schofield said. "It's not so much about volume like it was last year. It's about perfection — perfecting every rep, perfecting every jump shot, perfecting every form shot, working on my dribble, not losing the ball, just different things like that. Being more methodical with a lot of things. Understanding that it's not just me, it's about making other guys better."

Barnes said he thinks what Schofield learned during the pre-draft process reinforced the way Tennessee's coaches have developed him.

"He was able to come back here and share with his teammates a lot of the things he had gone through," Barnes said. "He will have to do it again a year from now. What he went through is going to help him."

Roster news

Brock Jancek, a 6-8 walk-on from Knoxville Catholic High School, is now listed on Tennessee's basketball roster. He is a son of former Tennessee football defensive coordinator John Jancek and brother of Vols walk-on quarterback Zac Jancek. Brock averaged 21 points and eight rebounds per game as a high school senior this past season.

Tennessee still has one available scholarship for the upcoming season but no definite plans for it yet.

"We kept it obviously because we know next year we need to sign two players," Barnes said. "If we have it, we have it. If something falls out of the sky, we are ready to catch it."

Contact David Cobb at dcobb@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DavidWCobb and on Facebook at facebook.com/volsupdate.

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