'22 NY PF Tobe Awaka (Tennessee commit)

VolArmy74

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Continuing AAU and not coming makes me wonder if it's an academic thing. Otherwise why in the world would you play AAU and risk an injury when you could be with your college team getting ready for fall?
 
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creekerballer

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Continuing AAU and not coming makes me wonder if it's an academic thing. Otherwise why in the world would you play AAU and risk an injury when you could be with your college team getting ready for fall?
There’s a tweet out there that says he has a perfect gpa. So if that’s true it doesn’t seem to be academics. I believe it was reported he has a very close relationship with his AAU coach. If that’s correct I’m sure it could have played a factor in him wanting to finish out the AAU season with him.
 

bleedingTNorange

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Continuing AAU and not coming makes me wonder if it's an academic thing. Otherwise why in the world would you play AAU and risk an injury when you could be with your college team getting ready for fall?
He’s got a better than 4.0 it’s not academic…these kids get attached and feel they “owe” something to the AAU coaches that helped land them college scholarships, nothing wrong with finishing it out.
 

VolArmy74

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Seems a risky and odd decision then. Maybe he knows he's going to red-shirt regardless. I'd pick spending 8 hours a week with my new coaching staff in the conditioning program and getting skill instruction over playing a bunch of meaningless AAU games. His AAU coach is failing him by not advising him to do the same imo. He will arrive on campus way behind all the early enrollees.
 

bleedingTNorange

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Seems a risky and odd decision then. Maybe he knows he's going to red-shirt regardless. I'd pick spending 8 hours a week with my new coaching staff in the conditioning program and getting skill instruction over playing a bunch of meaningless AAU games. His AAU coach is failing him by not advising him to do the same imo. He will arrive on campus way behind all the early enrollees.
Seemed to hurt Zeigler
 

VolArmy74

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We don't and will never know if it hurt Zeigler or not, though it's likely he would have been better/more ready had he been known in spring and got an extra couple of month of conditioning and skill work with the team/staff. He played extended AAU as an attempt to land a scholarship, he arrived at Tennessee four days after he signed.

It's something most coaches probably wouldn't allow if it were possible the kid enroll in June. I can easily find a ton of quotes from guys like Roy Williams and Tom Izzo on how important it is t get to campus in June and begin working. I don't recall seeing any prospect at a major school that could enroll in school, skipping that to play AAU ball all summer instead. That's why I thought it must be an academic issue. You can have a 4.0 GPA and still not have the classes finished that allow for early enrolling.

What if Awaka tears his ACL/achilles or something playing AAU? It would be a disaster for him and hurt Tennessee. I guess I'm just not a fan of pointless risk taking.
 
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Unimane

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Yeah, playing in nothing AAU tournaments while you have a signed scholarship is a bit risky and silly. If those coaches have his best interest in mind, it really wouldn’t be to play in them.
 

SJAVol32

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Him tearing his ACL would not be a “disaster” for Tennessee. Can we stop acting like he was going to be a major contributor this year lol. Like yes you would rather him be here now but I don’t think the coaching staff is concerned with him playing AAU. If they felt like he was going to be a major player this upcoming year. I feel like they would make it a point to have him on campus now.
 

cncchris33

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We don't and will never know if it hurt Zeigler or not, though it's likely he would have been better/more ready had he been known in spring and got an extra couple of month of conditioning and skill work with the team/staff. He played extended AAU as an attempt to land a scholarship, he arrived at Tennessee four days after he signed.

It's something most coaches probably wouldn't allow if it were possible the kid enroll in June. I can easily find a ton of quotes from guys like Roy Williams and Tom Izzo on how important it is t get to campus in June and begin working. I don't recall seeing any prospect at a major school that could enroll in school, skipping that to play AAU ball all summer instead. That's why I thought it must be an academic issue. You can have a 4.0 GPA and still not have the classes finished that allow for early enrolling.

What if Awaka tears his ACL/achilles or something playing AAU? It would be a disaster for him and hurt Tennessee. I guess I'm just not a fan of pointless risk taking.
If his knee is susceptible to an ACL tear, then it was susceptible to an ACL tear. That can happen on the AAU court just as easily as it can the court at Pratt Pavilion. It would be my preference that he be enrolled and working out/practicing with teammates, but he is still playing organized ball and getting live reps, so I'm not distraught. If it were Julian Phillips, I'd feel different. Awaka is only likely to be a bit player as a freshman, anyway. Perhaps even a redshirt candidate, which may have come with the staff's blessing to enroll in the fall.
 
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VolArmy74

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Him tearing his ACL would not be a “disaster” for Tennessee. Can we stop acting like he was going to be a major contributor this year lol. Like yes you would rather him be here now but I don’t think the coaching staff is concerned with him playing AAU. If they felt like he was going to be a major player this upcoming year. I feel like they would make it a point to have him on campus now.
I said it would be a disaster for him, not Tennessee. There's no upside and a ton of downside to it.
 

VolArmy74

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If his knee is susceptible to an ACL tear, then it was susceptible to an ACL tear. That can happen on the AAU court just as easily as it can the court at Pratt Pavilion. It would be my preference that he be enrolled and working out/practicing with teammates, but he is still playing organized ball and getting live reps, so I'm not distraught. If it were Julian Phillips, I'd feel different. Awaka is only likely to be a bit player as a freshman, anyway. Perhaps even a redshirt candidate, which may have come with the staff's blessing to enroll in the fall.
I'm not distraught but I absolutely fail to see any upside for him or Tennessee in him losing time with the team and staff, plus risking an injury for something that generally only serves as a vehicle to get kids noticed by colleges. Taking the risk makes little sense to me regardless of whether he's going to redshirt or play 20 minutes a game next season.
 
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bleedingTNorange

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I'm not distraught but I absolutely fail to see any upside for him or Tennessee in him losing time with the team and staff, plus risking an injury for something that generally only serves as a vehicle to get kids noticed by colleges. Taking the risk makes little sense to me regardless of whether he's going to redshirt or play 20 minutes a game next season.
You risk not landing him as a commitment…rather he goes to Maryland and plays his AAU season or Tennessee?
 

cncchris33

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I'm not distraught but I absolutely fail to see any upside for him or Tennessee in him losing time with the team and staff, plus risking an injury for something that generally only serves as a vehicle to get kids noticed by colleges. Taking the risk makes little sense to me regardless of whether he's going to redshirt or play 20 minutes a game next season.
I get it. I'm with you in the preference for him to be here, already. Just not going to lose sleep over it. My only disagreement is with the injury risk, which I see as a non-issue. He can get hurt at Tennessee just as easily as he can in AAU. That area of concern only seems valid if he came to campus and was put on the shelf, which wouldn't happen.
 

MoCo_Vol

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I'm not distraught but I absolutely fail to see any upside for him or Tennessee in him losing time with the team and staff, plus risking an injury for something that generally only serves as a vehicle to get kids noticed by colleges. Taking the risk makes little sense to me regardless of whether he's going to redshirt or play 20 minutes a game next season.
The upside is he could win his AAU team/coach a title and get more eyes on those teammates still looking to get noticed. More coaches/staff may come watch that AAU team now since a signed TN recruit is playing for them.

Lots of upside to the impact him still playing can have on his teammates and coaches. Can't only look at it from the TN side of things, personally I admire him wanting to finish what he started and I applaud Barnes & staff for letting him do it.
 

cncchris33

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The upside is he could win his AAU team/coach a title and get more eyes on those teammates still looking to get noticed. More coaches/staff may come watch that AAU team now since a signed TN recruit is playing for them.

Lots of upside to the impact him still playing can have on his teammates and coaches. Can't only look at it from the TN side of things, personally I admire him wanting to finish what he started and I applaud Barnes & staff for letting him do it.
Additionally, that AAU program has been very good to Tennessee two years in a row. Our top PG target for 2024 (Elliott Cadeau) plays for that New Heights Lightning AAU program.
 

MoCo_Vol

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Additionally, that AAU program has been very good to Tennessee two years in a row. Our top PG target for 2024 (Elliott Cadeau) plays for that New Heights Lightning AAU program.
I mean most kids want to play ball, they don't want to start classes earlier or start conditioning in summer when they can still just be playing ball. So I get it completely.

I guarantee if you polled any team and asked what they'd rather do during the summer the larger majority would prefer to play actual games instead of practice.
 

SlyStone

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I mean most kids want to play ball, they don't want to start classes earlier or start conditioning in summer when they can still just be playing ball. So I get it completely.

I guarantee if you polled any team and asked what they'd rather do during the summer the larger majority would prefer to play actual games instead of practice.
Allen Iverson approves of this message!!!
 

VolArmy74

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I mean most kids want to play ball, they don't want to start classes earlier or start conditioning in summer when they can still just be playing ball. So I get it completely.

I guarantee if you polled any team and asked what they'd rather do during the summer the larger majority would prefer to play actual games instead of practice.

"When you're a freshman, now you get to come in and take a couple of classes and adjust when there's not 40,000 [students on campus] or when there's not all the pressure of classroom work, athletic work and then the social activity that goes on with kids their first year away from home," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "I think it benefits [the student-athletes]. I think it's going to make our freshmen a lot more under control and not so overwhelmed."

Stacey Osborn, associate director of public and media relations for the NCAA, said the board "adopted this rule in January because student-athletes who enroll in summer school, particularly early in their academic careers, tend to experience enhanced academic success during their collegiate enrollment."

"I think it's just going to be an enormous help for the young players, especially for the ones coming out of high school," Robinson (OSU head coach) said. "They come earlier than most of the other summer school folks, and it helps bridge the gap between high school and college on an academic front. And this is going to serve as a bridge program on the court, where they'll have a chance to work out with the guys as well as get used to the rigors of playing and having homework and really learning the speed of the game."

"It shortens the learning curve, gives guys an opportunity to understand how hard they're going to have to work," UNLV coach Dave Rice said. "So much of that learning curve in the past has taken place in September. Now we get to spend a lot of time in July and August with them on the court."

"Belmont's Kerron Johnson said his first summer session alleviated some of the future hassles he may have encountered without that early connection to his new teammates.

Johnson learned the do's and don'ts from the squad's upperclassmen. And he convinced them that they could depend on him, a crucial display for an incoming freshman point guard who played 20 minutes per game during his first season in 2009-10.

"When the game is on the line, they're the ones passing you the ball. I think it's a way for you to prove yourself that you can hang at that level," Johnson said."

Michigan State guard Keith Appling also touted the benefits of a summer arrival for freshmen. Appling's best lessons were gleaned on the floor in the months prior to his first year of Division I basketball, he said.

Michigan State hosts a notorious round of pickup games each summer. Former Spartans return to East Lansing and battle current players in feisty matchups.

In Appling's first experience with those annual battles, he played on a team that needed one more bucket for the win. Appling had a clear path to the basket.

But he was a freshman. And it doesn't work like that for young players.

Former All-American forward Draymond Green challenged the naive guard.

"My team had game point, and I thought I had a wide-open layup and [Green] just fouled me like it was playoff basketball and I just thought it was open gym, man. The intensity level was just so high, it was crazy," Appling said. "It was a wake-up call. Nothing will be easy, you're going to have earn every basket."

Getting to campus as soon as possible benefits them in both academic and athletic life. You're short changing yourself and your potential by delaying your arrival.

Imagine you're a quarterback who can enroll in December and you decide to not do it so you can go play in a spring 7v7 league with your friends. This isn't any different.

Choosing AAU over advancing academically and athletically with the coaching staff and teammates that matter to your future is probably not the best way to go about it. That's why virtually every prospect who can enroll in June does so.
 

MoCo_Vol

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Awaka was originally a 2023 recruit, he's already reclassifying (because of how successful he has been academically) to get here a year earlier than he should. He should enjoy the last few weeks of this time in his life, when he truly can focus purely on the game playing AAU.

It's his decision and our staff are supportive of it.
 

VolArmy74

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Awaka was originally a 2023 recruit, he's already reclassifying (because of how successful he has been academically) to get here a year earlier than he should. He should enjoy the last few weeks of this time in his life, when he truly can focus purely on the game playing AAU.

It's his decision and our staff are supportive of it.
He was a 2022 recruit that was going to prep school for a year to try and get a scholarship.
 
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