Tobe Awaka does not get nervous.
Photo | Associated Press
By: Dallas Bowlin, Senior Staff Writer, Junior Editor.
Tobe Awaka, a freshman for Tennessee basketball, never gets nervous. In an interview with teammate Zakai Ziegler posted in September on the Tennessee Athletics Youtube channel, he made this exact statement. Awaka was not joking.
Due to teammate Jonas Aidoo suffering from Flu-like symptoms, he was thrust into a significant role against a top-fifteen team in Maryland. He made excellent use of the opportunity. In his 17 minutes of action against the Terrapins, Tobe recorded eight rebounds, including five on the offensive glass. He scored seven points, blocked one shot, and recorded one steal. If he was nervous, he did a fine job at concealing it. To accomplish this in his first meaningful minutes against a top-fifteen team is astonishing.
While Aidoo should be back for the Vols' Saturday night matchup against Arizona, the Wildcats have what may be the best big-man duo in the country in Oumar Ballo and Azuolas Tubelis. If Tennessee hopes to defeat Arizona for the second straight season, the Vols' may need to count on Awaka to combat the nation's second-best team at grabbing defensive rebounds.
One thing is sure: Tobe Awaka will not be scared or nervous.