'22 NY PF Tobe Awaka (Tennessee commit)

TRUEFANVol

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The UT staff knew what they had in Grant Williams. I’m sure they viewed him at the same level as JJJ during the recruiting process. GW was prioritized by the UT staff as the key piece to their foundational class. He was and then some.

It was the recruiting rankings folks who dropped the ball completely on Grant. He was ready to play at the high major level from the time he stepped on campus. He was a five star level recruit who was mistakenly characterized as a three star recruit.
I agree concerning Grant. He was also recruited by the Ivy League
 

Probably_in_Class

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The UT staff knew what they had in Grant Williams. I’m sure they viewed him at the same level as JJJ during the recruiting process. GW was prioritized by the UT staff as the key piece to their foundational class. He was and then some.

It was the recruiting rankings folks who dropped the ball completely on Grant. He was ready to play at the high major level from the time he stepped on campus. He was a five star level recruit who was mistakenly characterized as a three star recruit.
I disagree, and I honestly think it disrespects the work Williams put in at UT. In recruiting and more often in major league baseball, you talk about prospects that are lottery tickets. Grant Williams is the textbook example of one of those lottery tickets actually turning into a prize. He landed in the perfect situation, and that led to him excelling instead of being merely average. Barnes challenged him aggressively, and he responded and then thrived. He had a hall of fame coach. That adds value. Acting like he was ready to dominate on day 1 is revisionist and honestly just silly. You may recall the fat camp articles, and he also put in countless hours working on his D and his jumper. I really, really respect Grant (and view him as one of the best Vols of all time), but in many other programs, I don't think any of us know his name.

Barnes and staff had no clue what they had in Williams. They thought they had a smart, coachable guy who had been overlooked because he was undersized. He was, and is, undersized which Barnes was able to make irrelevant during his college years. Barnes and his staff came up with a perfect gameplan, and Grant rose to the occasion. Looking at this as anything other than a top 1% possible outcome for Williams just doesn't make sense to me, and there's no way you can convince me Barnes knew he had that.
 

Thunder Good-Oil

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Yes, what they had was a back-to-back SEC player of the year. Him starting on a bad team doesn't change anything about what I said.
As a freshman they had him on the court more than every player other than Hubbs as a senior. They played Williams more than Bone, Schofield, and Alexander - 3 guys making money in the NBA. I’d reckon the staff had “a clue”. The played him 23 minutes in his first game. He had no blocks or steals, 3 rebounds, and 6 points in his 3rd game. But instead of sitting him down, he started every game for the rest of his career. But they were “clueless”.
 
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Probably_in_Class

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As a freshman they had him on the court more than every player other than Hubbs as a senior. They played Williams more than Bone, Schofield, and Alexander - 3 guys making money in the NBA. I’d reckon the staff had “a clue”. The played him 23 minutes in his first game. He had no blocks or steals, 3 rebounds, and 6 points in his 3rd game. But instead of sitting him down, he started every game for the rest of his career. But they were “clueless”.
Everything you're describing is well into the season which is irrelevant. Your post was about recruiting, and there was nothing to indicate Williams was a future SEC POY. You said they knew what they had and viewed him equivalently with a 5*. That's just not remotely accurate. There is no way they KNEW they had a guy with Grant's ceiling coming out of high school. No coach knows that until a guy gets in the program and starts to work. All of your responses have involved things Grant did after he arrived. It's due to the crazy amount of work by both Williams and Barnes that he reached the level he did. He became a 5* caliber player, but he didn't arrive as one.

Again, I think Grant is phenomenal, but Barnes and crew thought they had a smart, athletic guy they could turn into a player. Turns out, they had a monster just waiting for the right challenge. He landed in the perfect spot, and it worked out well for everyone. It's not often you can say going to Harvard would have been a mistake, but there's no chance he's in the NBA if he takes the Yale or Harvard offer.

Shoot me Alexander's NBA stats from last season while you're coming up with some more nonsense...
 

Thunder Good-Oil

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Everything you're describing is well into the season which is irrelevant. Your post was about recruiting, and there was nothing to indicate Williams was a future SEC POY. You said they knew what they had and viewed him equivalently with a 5*. That's just not remotely accurate. There is no way they KNEW they had a guy with Grant's ceiling coming out of high school. No coach knows that until a guy gets in the program and starts to work. All of your responses have involved things Grant did after he arrived. It's due to the crazy amount of work by both Williams and Barnes that he reached the level he did. He became a 5* caliber player, but he didn't arrive as one.

Again, I think Grant is phenomenal, but Barnes and crew thought they had a smart, athletic guy they could turn into a player. Turns out, they had a monster just waiting for the right challenge. He landed in the perfect spot, and it worked out well for everyone. It's not often you can say going to Harvard would have been a mistake, but there's no chance he's in the NBA if he takes the Yale or Harvard offer.

Shoot me Alexander's NBA stats from last season while you're coming up with some more nonsense...
I didn’t make a post about recruiting. I never said that the staff viewed him as equivalent to a 5 star. My posts are about your ridiculous assertion that the staff was “clueless”. They had him playing 20 minutes per game in his first one and they were starting him beginning with his 4th - even after not producing in his 3rd game. “Well into the season”?

They played him twice as much as a freshman as they did BHH. They played him the same amount as Keon. I think they understood early on what they had.
 
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Probably_in_Class

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I didn’t make a post about recruiting. I never said that the staff viewed him as equivalent to a 5 star. My posts are about your ridiculous assertion that the staff was “clueless”. They had him playing 20 minutes per game in his first one and they were starting him beginning with his 4th - even after not producing in his 3rd game. “Well into the season”?

They played him twice as much as a freshman as they did BHH. They played him the same amount as Keon. I think they understood early on what they had.
Ahh, you're not the OP, my bad. Still, they were clueless about what they had. They did not know they had a future POY, that's not a knock on them, literally no one in the country knew that. He played in the backyard of some of the greatest coaches of all time, and none of them even gave him a serious look. So anyone saying Barnes and staff knew what they had during the recruiting process just is ignoring what really happened at the time.

If you're trying to say they knew what they had once he was in school and in the program, I wouldn't debate that, but it's moving the goal posts from the original discussion.

I think we can both agree BHH and Keon were on significantly better teams than Grant's freshman year squad.
 

GregAmsler

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Yes, what they had was a back-to-back SEC player of the year. Him starting on a bad team doesn't change anything about what I said.
Back when InsideTennessee.com was a thing, Danny Parker was one of their analysts/writers. His basketball source was an assistant on the Barnes staff (who is now a Head Coach). Danny is a friend of mine. He told me multiple times after Grant committed that this staff LOVES Grant Williams. They were extremely high on him and couldn't wait to work with him.

They knew he fit their profile and they knew they could develop him. The statement, "Barnes and staff had no clue what they had in Williams" is patently false.
 
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GregAmsler

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The UT staff knew what they had in Grant Williams. I’m sure they viewed him at the same level as JJJ during the recruiting process. GW was prioritized by the UT staff as the key piece to their foundational class. He was and then some.

It was the recruiting rankings folks who dropped the ball completely on Grant. He was ready to play at the high major level from the time he stepped on campus. He was a five star level recruit who was mistakenly characterized as a three star recruit.
This is exactly right. Barnes and staff evaluated him and viewed him as a high level recruit, whether the recruiting sites did or not.
 

Probably_in_Class

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Back when InsideTennessee.com was a thing, Danny Parker was one of their analysts/writers. His basketball source was an assistant on the Barnes staff (who is now a Head Coach). Danny is a friend of mine. He told me multiple times after Grant committed that this staff LOVES Grant Williams. They were extremely high on him and couldn't wait to work with him.

They knew he fit their profile and they knew they could develop him. The statement, "Barnes and staff had no clue what they had in Williams" is patently false.
We're just arguing semantics at this point if that's where you want to go. That "clueless" phrase was probably a bit hyperbolic, but it's a flipping internet forum. Your post nearly matches what I've been saying. OF COURSE they were high on Williams. Why else would they recruit him? My original response was to a guy who said Barnes knew what he had in Williams during the recruiting process. I disagree. I believe, and your post basically supports it, Barnes thought he had a smart, coachable guy who fit the system and was overlooked due to being undersized. They hoped they could develop him into an SEC-level player.

That is not what he had. What he actually had was one of the greatest players to ever wear an orange jersey. Those are not the same thing. The original post made it seem like Grant was basically Zion Williamson and just a blatant miss by the recruiting services. That's revisionist at best and ridiculous at worst.

As a sidenote, blaming the recruiting services (not you, the start of this discussion) is also laughable. Basically no one in the country offered Grant, so it was a much bigger miss by a lot of college coaches than a miss by the recruiting services.
 

GregAmsler

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We're just arguing semantics at this point if that's where you want to go. That "clueless" phrase was probably a bit hyperbolic, but it's a flipping internet forum. Your post nearly matches what I've been saying. OF COURSE they were high on Williams. Why else would they recruit him? My original response was to a guy who said Barnes knew what he had in Williams during the recruiting process. I disagree. I believe, and your post basically supports it, Barnes thought he had a smart, coachable guy who fit the system and was overlooked due to being undersized. They hoped they could develop him into an SEC-level player.

That is not what he had. What he actually had was one of the greatest players to ever wear an orange jersey. Those are not the same thing. The original post made it seem like Grant was basically Zion Williamson and just a blatant miss by the recruiting services. That's revisionist at best and ridiculous at worst.

As a sidenote, blaming the recruiting services (not you, the start of this discussion) is also laughable. Basically no one in the country offered Grant, so it was a much bigger miss by a lot of college coaches than a miss by the recruiting services.
a) Pretty sure they hoped for more than "they could develop him into an SEC-level player." They were extremely high on him. They considered him the cornerstone of the turnaround. You admit that the "no clue" comment was hyperbolic, I respect that, and that's what I took issue with. But they thought of him as more than a guy they could develop into merely an "SEC level player."

b) No, you're correct, I don't think they predicted that he'd be a 2-time SEC POY. But you can say that about anyone who ends up being superb. When the Bulls drafted Michael Jordan 3rd overall in the 1984 NBA draft, they didn't realize they had just obtained the greatest player who would ever put on basketball shoes. But that doesn't mean they had "no clue" what they had, either. There are plenty of places to land between "no clue" or merely "develop into SEC level" and 2-time SEC POY.

They realized they had a fantastic prospect and felt very confident that he was going to be a very good player. Whether they knew he'd be SEC POY or not, they were giddy. Let's give them credit for the eval and seeing what others didn't. Because they did.
 

allen phillips

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As a freshman they had him on the court more than every player other than Hubbs as a senior. They played Williams more than Bone, Schofield, and Alexander - 3 guys making money in the NBA. I’d reckon the staff had “a clue”. The played him 23 minutes in his first game. He had no blocks or steals, 3 rebounds, and 6 points in his 3rd game. But instead of sitting him down, he started every game for the rest of his career. But they were “clueless”.
they played Grant early on because they had no one else that could get the job done.
 

Probably_in_Class

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a) Pretty sure they hoped for more than "they could develop him into an SEC-level player." They were extremely high on him. They considered him the cornerstone of the turnaround. You admit that the "no clue" comment was hyperbolic, I respect that, and that's what I took issue with. But they thought of him as more than a guy they could develop into merely an "SEC level player."

b) No, you're correct, I don't think they predicted that he'd be a 2-time SEC POY. But you can say that about anyone who ends up being superb. When the Bulls drafted Michael Jordan 3rd overall in the 1984 NBA draft, they didn't realize they had just obtained the greatest player who would ever put on basketball shoes. But that doesn't mean they had "no clue" what they had, either. There are plenty of places to land between "no clue" or merely "develop into SEC level" and 2-time SEC POY.

They realized they had a fantastic prospect and felt very confident that he was going to be a very good player. Whether they knew he'd be SEC POY or not, they were giddy. Let's give them credit for the eval and seeing what others didn't. Because they did.
All of this is fair. I wasn't really trying to downplay the evaluation. I just thought the original post was rather dismissive to both the work Grant put in and the coaching Barnes put in. Both of them executed perfectly. I was probably trying to say something more like: Barnes thought he found a great player, but he had no clue he actually had found the future SEC POY (in a good way).
 
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youcancallmeAl

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All of this is fair. I wasn't really trying to downplay the evaluation. I just thought the original post was rather dismissive to both the work Grant put in and the coaching Barnes put in. Both of them executed perfectly. I was probably trying to say something more like: Barnes thought he found a great player, but he had no clue he actually had found the future SEC POY (in a good way).
Maybe not, but it's well documented that when Barnes first saw him play, he noted that Grant was out of shape and overweight, but his footwork was fantastic. He understood he could be turned into something special, and recruited him hard, depite the fact his mother was determined that he go to Harvard. Barnes wouldn't have fought that upbhill battle unless he thought Grant could be special. 2 time POY SEC? No one would think like that, so he probably didn't think of that. Who knows what's really possible of a budding HS player? Recruit them, coach them, motivate them, then see how it turns out.
 

VolArmy74

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Grant played like a 5 star from day one. And not just played like a 5 star, he played as well as quite a few 5 stars who were one and done. He is easily the best recruiting find Barnes has had and was a huge miss/blunder by recruiting services.
 

GregAmsler

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All of this is fair. I wasn't really trying to downplay the evaluation. I just thought the original post was rather dismissive to both the work Grant put in and the coaching Barnes put in. Both of them executed perfectly. I was probably trying to say something more like: Barnes thought he found a great player, but he had no clue he actually had found the future SEC POY (in a good way).
Turns out, message board posters actually CAN come to an agreement. 😉
 

Allvols1996

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I disagree, and I honestly think it disrespects the work Williams put in at UT. In recruiting and more often in major league baseball, you talk about prospects that are lottery tickets. Grant Williams is the textbook example of one of those lottery tickets actually turning into a prize. He landed in the perfect situation, and that led to him excelling instead of being merely average. Barnes challenged him aggressively, and he responded and then thrived. He had a hall of fame coach. That adds value. Acting like he was ready to dominate on day 1 is revisionist and honestly just silly. You may recall the fat camp articles, and he also put in countless hours working on his D and his jumper. I really, really respect Grant (and view him as one of the best Vols of all time), but in many other programs, I don't think any of us know his name.

Barnes and staff had no clue what they had in Williams. They thought they had a smart, coachable guy who had been overlooked because he was undersized. He was, and is, undersized which Barnes was able to make irrelevant during his college years. Barnes and his staff came up with a perfect gameplan, and Grant rose to the occasion. Looking at this as anything other than a top 1% possible outcome for Williams just doesn't make sense to me, and there's no way you can convince me Barnes knew he had that.
Grant played in a very high level AAU program and was Consistently putting up numbers against many in the top 100. Having family in NC, he was a well known player. I remember many scratching their head as to why he wasn’t ranked higher. Many said if he’d been 6’8” he’d been a top 20 player.
 

ReggieJohnsonFan

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I disagree, and I honestly think it disrespects the work Williams put in at UT. In recruiting and more often in major league baseball, you talk about prospects that are lottery tickets. Grant Williams is the textbook example of one of those lottery tickets actually turning into a prize. He landed in the perfect situation, and that led to him excelling instead of being merely average. Barnes challenged him aggressively, and he responded and then thrived. He had a hall of fame coach. That adds value. Acting like he was ready to dominate on day 1 is revisionist and honestly just silly. You may recall the fat camp articles, and he also put in countless hours working on his D and his jumper. I really, really respect Grant (and view him as one of the best Vols of all time), but in many other programs, I don't think any of us know his name.

Barnes and staff had no clue what they had in Williams. They thought they had a smart, coachable guy who had been overlooked because he was undersized. He was, and is, undersized which Barnes was able to make irrelevant during his college years. Barnes and his staff came up with a perfect gameplan, and Grant rose to the occasion. Looking at this as anything other than a top 1% possible outcome for Williams just doesn't make sense to me, and there's no way you can convince me Barnes knew he had that.
Just checked the board- glad your reply to my post generated some discussion.

I get where you are coming from but I don’t retract anything I said. I especially agree with you that Grant Williams worked extremely hard at UT- no question about that. But it takes more than hard work to be the best player in the SEC and to make the NBA. It takes big-time talent. I think the UT staff deserves the credit for recognizing his potential as a player. I’m sure he did exceed their expectations but his development wasn’t some kind of lucky fluke, imo. GW’s success was due to the UT staff’s vision for him as a player, GW’s work ethic/attitude, and most importantly GW’s talent as a basketball player.
 

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