I don’t have a son or daughter yet, but if I did, I’d tell them to watch Admiral Schofield.

I’d have them watch the way the Tennessee forward shoots. It’s smooth. It’s pure. He rises for a jumper like a guy who spent countless hours in the gym practicing to make that a key part of his repertoire. Because he did. And it shows.

I’d tell my kid to watch how when he does have a rare missed jumper, he either follows his shot or he makes a cut without the ball to open himself up for an easy dump-off pass after a teammate cleans up the offensive glass.

I’d point out Schofield’s willingness to go up strong with the ball and play through contact whether he’s getting the calls or not.

I’d make note of the fact that even though he’s only 6-4, he attacks the glass like a man who’s the biggest guy on the floor.

I’d definitely stop and rewind when he takes a defender off the dribble and dunks on the baseline help.

I’d make sure my kid saw the times when even after Schofield makes a big-time play and could be celebrating, he’s busy coaching a teammate through a mistake. After all, he’s an Admiral.

Everything about the Tennessee forward’s approach is admirable. He’s the heart and soul of a team that was supposed to have no business even sniffing the NCAA Tournament. Instead, the Vols spent Thursday dismantling a mid-major that couldn’t stay on the floor with them.

As long as Schofield is on the floor, he’s got my attention. Perhaps now it’s time he finally has the nation’s attention, too.

Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

All of those aforementioned sequences actually occurred on Thursday. That didn’t include the calming jumper that Schofield knocked down after Tennessee’s sluggish start, or the shot he drained after Wright State posed its biggest threat of the game with a 3-pointer in the middle of the first half.


That’s what TruTV color analyst and former sharpshooter Steve Smith said after Schofield’s mid-range jumper silenced the Wright State crowd.

Schofield brings a calm, cool presence like someone who’s playing in his fourth NCAA Tournament instead of his first. Anyone can tell that his demeanor embodies his teammates on and off the court.

“We’re a bunch of two and three stars sitting up here,” Schofield said before Thursday’s game (via the Tennessean). “And what we’ve done this year is a testament to our hard work. At the end of the day, whatever you put in, you’re going to reap the blessings. We’re going out to compete. We don’t care what starters you have. We don’t care about being on the mock draft. We don’t care about any of that. Basketball is basketball. The court is 94 feet. The rim is 10 feet off the ground. And you’ve got to come out and you’ve got to compete against me.

“You bleed like I bleed. You get tired like I get tired. At the end of the day, it’s who wants it more.”

It’s not surprising that Schofield was the tweener forward who wasn’t even the best player on his high school team until his senior year. That was Malik Yarbrough, who was the prolific all-state scorer at Zion-Benton High School north of Chicago. As Schofield said, he wasn’t the big-time recruit.

He was the football player on the basketball court. And fittingly, the guy who looks like a linebacker now was actually a high school quarterback. Football is his brother’s sport. No, really. His brother, O’Brien, spent 7 seasons as a defensive end in the NFL. Maybe that’s how Admiral learned how to carve out space on the low block.

It’s clear that the Tennessee junior picked up a few skills during his travels as the son of retired Senior Chief of the U.S. Navy (hence, the name). It’s not every day that a standout college basketball player can claim he was born in the same London hospital as Princes William and Harry.

But nothing about Schofield’s workman-like attitude resembles that of British royalty. You can almost see all the people he’s trying to prove wrong with the controlled aggression he plays with. It’s like he can hear the people who probably told him that Tennessee basketball wasn’t going anywhere, or the college coaches who probably said he was a player without a position.

NBA scouts will probably say the same thing. A 6-4, 238-pound forward doesn’t have a position in the NBA. In all likelihood, that means Schofield will spend his senior year in Knoxville. That’d be good news for Tennessee fans, regardless of how the rest of the NCAA Tournament plays out for the Vols.

It’s also good news for the rest of us who can’t get enough of watching him go to work. In a perfect world, Schofield would play at Tennessee forever.

Instead, I guess I’ll just have to show my future kids a bunch of old YouTube clips.