With basketball season wrapped up, players are entering the transfer portal and finding new homes every day. Tennessee men’s basketball has seen Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, Victor Bailey Jr., Quentin Diboundje and Handje Tamba enter the portal and the Lady Vols have seen Emily Saunders depart.
However, both squads gained an addition in the last week.
Tyreke Key – Indiana State
With Kennedy Chandler entering the NBA Draft and a handful of players looking to transfer, Tennessee men’s basketball needed to find veteran talent to help the fill holes on the team. They accomplished this on Saturday by landing their first incoming transfer of the off-season in Tyreke Key out of Indiana State.
Key played four seasons at Indiana State where he excelled. In 2020-21 as a senior, he averaged 17.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.1 steals per game on 47.2% field goal shooting and 31.6% 3-point shooting. After missing last season due to a shoulder injury, this upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility at 24 years old.
Key’s decision to join the Vols comes as a sort of homecoming for him. Key was born in Celina, Tenn. which is just a two-hour drive from Knoxville. At Clay County High School, he scored 3,287 career points (11th in state history) and 1,383 points as a senior (single-season state record). He chose to come home to Tennessee over Texas Tech, Ole Miss and Oklahoma.
This addition of another guard is needed alongside Santiago Vescovi, Zakai Zeigler and incoming freshman BJ Edwards. Tennessee will also have three remaining scholarship spots to help supplement the roster.
Jasmine Franklin – Missouri State
Although Jasmine Franklin is from Arkansas and went to college in Missouri, she has a strong connection to this Tennessee team. She spent her first season as a Lady Bear under Kellie Harper before Harper left to coach the Lady Vols. Now, Franklin will reunite with Harper after four successful years at Missouri State.
Last season, Franklin averaged 14.9 points, 12.1 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 1.8 steals on an impressive 53.8% field goal shooting as a 6-foot-1 forward. This season was cut short, though, due to a knee injury suffered in December. In her just over three seasons at Missouri State, she blocked the second-most shots and secured the third-most rebounds in school history.
Franklin becomes the third player to announce their commitment to Tennessee as a transfer this off-season. She will join highly-touted transfers Rickea Jackson and Jasmine Powell for the upcoming season. All three players are considered top-10 transfers according to ESPN. They will also join incoming freshman Justine Pissott as new faces that will make an immediate impact.
Franklin has one season of eligibility left as a graduate transfer. She may fill the role Alexus Dye carved out in her lone season at Tennessee as a scorer and rebounder. With the departure of Rae Burrell to the WNBA, as well, this presence will be a big factor in the upcoming season.
Featured image courtesy of GoSycamores.com and Ozarks Sports Zone