Dalton Knecht thanks Tennessee coaches for his one year

On3 imageby:Thomas Goldkamp04/02/24
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One of the most pleasant surprises in the SEC this year was the emergence of Northern Colorado transfer Dalton Knecht at Tennessee.

Knecht was a superstar from start to finish, showing no signs of any trouble whatsoever going from a slightly lower level of college hoops to the big stage in the SEC. He was elite all the way around, helping guide the Volunteers to the Elite Eight.

Even after all that, Knecht remained humble.

“I don’t think I put the team on my back,” he said after the team’s loss to Purdue. “I think all of us carried each other. I think every single one of us did what we needed to do. At the end of the day, they were just the better team, and we didn’t — we always were coming out swinging.”

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Tennessee put up a healthy fight against Purdue in the Elite Eight but ultimately was unable to keep pace with superstar Zach Edey on the inside. Still, it was a valiant effort and that’s what Dalton Knecht came away from the game focusing on.

“Yeah, I just love these guys, and I wish we could have one more game,” he said. “I’m thankful for all these guys for accepting me for my one year here, as well as the coaching staff.”

As far as transfers go, Knecht was one of the biggest hits all season long, for any program. He was an absolute monster en route to earning first-team All-American honors.

He averaged 21.7 points per game, while also pulling down 4.9 rebounds per game and dishing out 1.8 assists per contest.

He credited his close relationship with coach Rick Barnes for much of that development. Barnes quickly learned how to use Knecht, and Knecht very quickly began to understand how he could flourish with the Volunteers.

“I would say it’s by far the closest I’ve ever had to be with a coach,” Dalton Knecht said. “He’s coached me super hard ever since I told him on my visit that I wanted to be coached super hard, and he’s held up to his end.

“He’s been beyond just that. He’s been helping me off the court, on the court. He cracks jokes and stuff like that. Coach Barnes, I love him to death, and I can’t thank him enough for bringing me in for my one year here.”