« Men’s Basketball 2020-21

John Fulkerson

School

University of Tennessee

Position
Forward
Major
Recreation and Sport Management

Classroom

John Fulkerson completed his bachelor’s degree in recreation and sport management in May of 2020, compiling a cumulative GPA of 2.92 during his four years. He is now enrolled in UT’s Agricultural, Education & Communication graduate level program.

Character

After storming out of the gates of his collegiate career, Fulkerson suffered a dislocated right elbow and fractured right wrist against Lipscomb on Dec. 15, 2016, which ended his freshman campaign. After being granted a redshirt for that season, Fulkerson battled through both the physical obstacles of rehabbing to get back on the court, along with battling the mental barriers to regain the confidence he arrived in Knoxville with in the Fall of 2016.

As a redshirt-junior in 2019-20, Fulkerson reemerged to earn a spot on the 2020 All-SEC second team while becoming more of a vocal leader in the locker room.

Now in his senior season, Fulkerson has been tasked with helping lead a Volunteers squad that was picked by the media in the preseason to win the SEC Championship. Fulkerson has had to improve not only his ability to lead by example, but his ability to lead his teammates vocally through both the trials and tribulations of a new season, but also the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Community

Fulkerson has been heavily involved in both the university and local community since arriving in Knoxville. At the University of Tennessee, Fulkerson has helped out at the annual Hoops for Hope event held in West Knoxville four times during his career. There, Fulkerson has built lasting relationships with participants who have disabilities and their families.

On campus, Fulkerson has been the men’s basketball team rep for Tennessee’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for the last two academic years, helping coordinate and run various community outreach events, such as Tennessee’s annual VOLoween event, during which UT student-athletes provide a fun-filled Halloween themed evening for local children.

Fulkerson is also heavily involved in his church community at Sevier Heights Church. A specific 24-hour span this past March illustrated his commitment to enriching the lives of others. Fulkerson delivered a historic performance—highlighted by a career-high 27 points—to power Tennessee past sixth-ranked Kentucky at Rupp Arena on March 3. The game tipped off at 9:05 p.m. ET, and the Vols didn’t arrive back on the UT campus until after 3 a.m. ET Wednesday morning. Despite the lack of rest, Fulkerson honored a commitment to make a 10 a.m. ET appearance at an area elementary school on Wednesday, reading to students as part of the Read Across America initiative. This placed Fulkerson on the SEC’s 2020 Community Service Team.

Competition

On the floor, Fulkerson put together a career year in 2019-20. He was selected to the coaches All-SEC second team, while leading the Vols in scoring (13.7 ppg), field-goal percentage (.612) total rebounding (5.9 rpg), offensive rebounding (2.1 orpg) and steals (1.1 spg). Fulkerson’s scoring average jumped 10.6 points per game from his redshirt-sophomore seaso and his .612 field-goal percentage as a junior stands as the fourth-best single-season field-goal percentage in program history, trailing only Bernard King, Reggie Johnson and Dale Ellis.

Fulkerson’s field-goal percentage, his mark of 13.7 points per game and his 5.9 rebounds per contest ranked second, 18th and 18th in the SEC respectively. Fulkerson’s play reached its peak when he scored 22 points to help power the Vols past Florida on Feb. 29 and scored a career-high 27 points to propel UT past then-sixth-ranked Kentucky on March 3.

Fulkerson had never scored 20 points entering his junior season, but did so four times during SEC play. His ability to push through the injuries that hampered the early part of his career paid dividends as his time on Rocky Top draws to a close. Entering his senior season, Fulkerson has been placed on the preseason watch list for the Wooden Award, along with teammate Yves Pons.