Tobe Awaka is the newest member of the Tennessee men’s basketball program, as the New York native is set to enroll for the second session of summer school. Awaka will be a freshman for the Vols this upcoming season. Tennessee announced his signing on Friday.

“Tobe gives us another big, strong presence in the post who plays a very physical brand of basketball,” coach Rick 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.

Vols fans remember all-time greats from the New York area star for the Vols. 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 hail 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.

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Tennessee online sports betting officially launched on November 1, 2020, and many of the largest sportsbooks are live and operating in the volunteer state. Tennessee is only one of a handful of SEC football states with legalized sports betting.