Head coach Rick Barnes is bringing in a highly-touted recruiting class to help the Vols rebound from last year’s down season. UT went 17-14 (9-9 SEC) in the 2019-2020 season, with no results for the postseason due to coronavirus cancellations.
The incoming class of 2020 was ranked fourth in the country and second in the SEC by 247Sports. It features three true freshmen, two of which are five-stars, and a graduate-transfer.
The headliner of the class is five-star guard, Jaden Springer. The Charlotte, N.C. native is listed as 6’4”, 204 lbs., and 247Sports has ranked him the 16th best player in the 2020 recruiting class. Jerry Meyer, the 247Sports’ Director of Basketball Scouting, commented on Springer’s ability.
“[He is] a power guard who is effective in traffic and plays through contact. Scores at all three levels. Great rebounder for a guard,” Jerry Meyer said.
Meyer also compared Springer to current Minnesota Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley.
247Sports’ 19th-ranked player, guard Keon Johnson, also committed to Tennessee. Johnson, a Shelbyville, Tenn. native, is officially listed at 6’5”, 186 lbs. Meyer also commented on Johnson’s ability.
“[Johnson is] a well-built, physical and explosive athlete. A well-rounded and versatile offensive player. Primarily a slasher who can both finish and find open teammates. Quality rebounder for position and versatile defender,” Meyer said.
Rounding out the incoming freshmen is four-star Corey Walker Jr. Walker is a 6’8”, 219 lbs. power forward out of Hastings, Fla. 247Sports’ Brian Snow called Walker a new-age player and compared him to former UCLA Bruin Kris Wilkes.
“[He is] a very good athlete with positional versatility. Projects as a new-age forward who can play on the wing and also take advantage of mismatches down low,” Snow said.
Also new to the Volunteer basketball program is graduate-transfer E.J. Anosike. A native of East Orange, N.J., Anosike is a 6’7”, 245 lbs. power forward.
Anosike transferred in from Sacred Heart University, where he played three seasons and was a starter for two of them. During his last season at SHU, Anosike averaged 15.7 points and 11.6 rebounds per game.
“When we scrimmaged Saturday, in terms of a guy understanding his role, E.J. was far and away the best on the court [out of the newcomers] knowing what he needed to do. We need that,” Coach Barnes said.
With the talent of this recruiting class, mixed with a lot of key contributors returning with experience, the Vols may have placed themselves in contention for a conference title in 2020-21, and maybe more.
Edited by Christian Knox and Gracie-Lee Strange
Featured image from Jaden Springer’s Twitter (@jadenspringer11)