Is this the most talented Tennessee men’s basketball team ever?

#1

WhenUrVolUrVFL

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#1
We’ve had a pretty awesome run since Bruce Pearl turned us into a relevant basketball school.

Lots of talent.

But I truly feel this team is the most complete team we’ve had.

The team with:

Grant Williams
Admiral schofield
Kyle Alexander
Jordan Bone

Had a very strong starting 5 and Bowden was a good 6 man.

This team I feel is just better.

Knecht is the guy we’ve been waiting for. This far into the season he has that “I want the ball” go to scorer. Whereas before we wanted JJJ to be the guy, he didn’t have that instinct. He has the ability, and I think having Knecht take that responsibility from JJJ will allow JJJ to actually be the guy to hit a huge shot or two down the stretch.

Once Vescovi learns to play a 2 man game with Knecht, he should feast. You can’t double Vescovi if that leaves Knecht to slash all over you.

Aidoo is a very good big man. With a solid mid range game and the ability to dominate the post and get boards.

Awaka going to develop further into a dominant PF. And we’re going to give teams a strong down low look with Aidoo and Awaka complimenting each other when needed.

Gainey I think is a really nice presence that will offer some interesting looks to hit multiple slashers with swing men. I love the idea of having a set with Vescovi at point, Knecht and Gainey/James at swings, and Aidoo and Awaka banging down low. Or even throw James in for a Awaka to have a mobile offensive set with a solid mid range big man that can dominate the post like Aidoo.

Mashack is the wild card. He’s that guy that has the highest athletic potential of anybody on the team. And he’s worked on his shot. He’s a lock down guard. He’s going to be key.

Not to mention we’ve got Ziegler back who will put some interesting sets available and the ability to control guard play for late tourney runs.

We also have some very talented freshmen.

This is a team built for a run. I think we win it all.

So—is there any Tennessee basketball team that’s been as talented?
 
#2
#2
Most talented? Maybe. There’s been some teams with some loaded offensive talent between the Barnes and Pearl eras. As far as depth goes, I’d definitely say this is the deepest team I’ve ever seen in orange. I’d also say, just from the early returns, that DK is probably the best perimeter shot creator we’ve had this century. Can’t remember anyone that could get to their spots off the bounce with the easiness that he does.
 
#3
#3
The first 6 of Bernard King, Ernie Grunfeld, Mike Jackson, Reggie Johnson, Johnny Darden, and Terry Crosby is probably the most talent. Would have been amazing if Reggie was an upperclassman that year (1976-77).

Also, Ron Widby, Boerwinkle, and Justus.

And Justus, Croft, England, Johnson, and Hann.

And 2005-06 when Lofton and JaJuan were sophomores.

And when Weezy was on the roster.
 
#4
#4
We’ve had a pretty awesome run since Bruce Pearl turned us into a relevant basketball school.

Lots of talent.

But I truly feel this team is the most complete team we’ve had.

The team with:

Grant Williams
Admiral schofield
Kyle Alexander
Jordan Bone

Had a very strong starting 5 and Bowden was a good 6 man.

This team I feel is just better.

Knecht is the guy we’ve been waiting for. This far into the season he has that “I want the ball” go to scorer. Whereas before we wanted JJJ to be the guy, he didn’t have that instinct. He has the ability, and I think having Knecht take that responsibility from JJJ will allow JJJ to actually be the guy to hit a huge shot or two down the stretch.

Once Vescovi learns to play a 2 man game with Knecht, he should feast. You can’t double Vescovi if that leaves Knecht to slash all over you.

Aidoo is a very good big man. With a solid mid range game and the ability to dominate the post and get boards.

Awaka going to develop further into a dominant PF. And we’re going to give teams a strong down low look with Aidoo and Awaka complimenting each other when needed.

Gainey I think is a really nice presence that will offer some interesting looks to hit multiple slashers with swing men. I love the idea of having a set with Vescovi at point, Knecht and Gainey/James at swings, and Aidoo and Awaka banging down low. Or even throw James in for a Awaka to have a mobile offensive set with a solid mid range big man that can dominate the post like Aidoo.

Mashack is the wild card. He’s that guy that has the highest athletic potential of anybody on the team. And he’s worked on his shot. He’s a lock down guard. He’s going to be key.

Not to mention we’ve got Ziegler back who will put some interesting sets available and the ability to control guard play for late tourney runs.

We also have some very talented freshmen.

This is a team built for a run. I think we win it all.

So—is there any Tennessee basketball team that’s been as talented?
Bowden was a starter
 
#5
#5
We’ve had a pretty awesome run since Bruce Pearl turned us into a relevant basketball school.

Lots of talent.

But I truly feel this team is the most complete team we’ve had.

The team with:

Grant Williams
Admiral schofield
Kyle Alexander
Jordan Bone

Had a very strong starting 5 and Bowden was a good 6 man.

This team I feel is just better.

Knecht is the guy we’ve been waiting for. This far into the season he has that “I want the ball” go to scorer. Whereas before we wanted JJJ to be the guy, he didn’t have that instinct. He has the ability, and I think having Knecht take that responsibility from JJJ will allow JJJ to actually be the guy to hit a huge shot or two down the stretch.

Once Vescovi learns to play a 2 man game with Knecht, he should feast. You can’t double Vescovi if that leaves Knecht to slash all over you.

Aidoo is a very good big man. With a solid mid range game and the ability to dominate the post and get boards.

Awaka going to develop further into a dominant PF. And we’re going to give teams a strong down low look with Aidoo and Awaka complimenting each other when needed.

Gainey I think is a really nice presence that will offer some interesting looks to hit multiple slashers with swing men. I love the idea of having a set with Vescovi at point, Knecht and Gainey/James at swings, and Aidoo and Awaka banging down low. Or even throw James in for a Awaka to have a mobile offensive set with a solid mid range big man that can dominate the post like Aidoo.

Mashack is the wild card. He’s that guy that has the highest athletic potential of anybody on the team. And he’s worked on his shot. He’s a lock down guard. He’s going to be key.

Not to mention we’ve got Ziegler back who will put some interesting sets available and the ability to control guard play for late tourney runs.

We also have some very talented freshmen.

This is a team built for a run. I think we win it all.

So—is there any Tennessee basketball team that’s been as talented?
I’m not sure. Grant is the best player out of everyone on both teams. This team may be deeper but id pick the starters for the grant team personally
 
#6
#6
A main difference between this team and Grant's team is that when Alexander
went down, we had no one to take up the slack. We do with this team. For
this reason I expect this team to go farther than any that Barnes has had to date.

IMO, we make it to E8 but I won't be surprised if we lose in E8
 
#7
#7
Most talented? Maybe. There’s been some teams with some loaded offensive talent between the Barnes and Pearl eras. As far as depth goes, I’d definitely say this is the deepest team I’ve ever seen in orange. I’d also say, just from the early returns, that DK is probably the best perimeter shot creator we’ve had this century. Can’t remember anyone that could get to their spots off the bounce with the easiness that he does.

This 👆.....definitely deep with depth and if we can avoid the injury bug (unlike football 🙄) I think a pretty deep run is definitely on the table. Need a little bit of luck and need these guys to keep geling together as the year goes on. Probably could be an elite 8, if not our first final four team if I'm honest.
 
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#9
#9
Most talented? Maybe. There’s been some teams with some loaded offensive talent between the Barnes and Pearl eras. As far as depth goes, I’d definitely say this is the deepest team I’ve ever seen in orange. I’d also say, just from the early returns, that DK is probably the best perimeter shot creator we’ve had this century. Can’t remember anyone that could get to their spots off the bounce with the easiness that he does.

Punter was pretty good at getting his shot off from 3 (shot 35-37%) with absolutely no help (nobody shot over 33% with at least a few attempts per game on avg) and LaMonte was very good pre-injury. Knecht definitely has the potential to turn out better but we will see (his current season avg is 29% but I do expect that to go up)...and Knecht is going to get a lot of attention from opposing D's. It will also be interesting to see what Gainey does the rest of the way (showing out at 44% after 2 games I know).
 
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#10
#10
I love this team, but Ernie and Bernie and 3 walkons would have been more talented.
Yes, but King would have been one and done. Barnes has that unique skill of bringing in talented players who typically need to play 3-4 years.

Our depth, with the scoring punch he brought in is off the charts. Besides maybe ZZ, and now apparently Knecht, I think that since Grant Williams, we've not had a player who can put the team on his back on an off night. The last 3 or so years, I think that's been the void on this team...when we hit scoring droughts or bad mojo for a stretch of games, offense has typically been the culprit. We are in the upper tier mix this year if everyone embraces the depth and playing their part, while also not sitting back waiting for someone else to step up.
 
#11
#11
The first 6 of Bernard King, Ernie Grunfeld, Mike Jackson, Reggie Johnson, Johnny Darden, and Terry Crosby is probably the most talent. Would have been amazing if Reggie was an upperclassman that year (1976-77).

Also, Ron Widby, Boerwinkle, and Justus.

And Justus, Croft, England, Johnson, and Hann.

And 2005-06 when Lofton and JaJuan were sophomores.

And when Weezy was on the roster.
Yep. That Ernie/Bernie team would get my pick. Jackson was underappreciated but he was deadly in the corner. I'd also certainly pay to see ZZ vs Darden go head to head. Don't think the current team has an answer for Johnson and King in the paint. Just stunning that team didn't get the post season result it deserved.
 
#13
#13
A main difference between this team and Grant's team is that when Alexander
went down, we had no one to take up the slack. We do with this team. For
this reason I expect this team to go farther than any that Barnes has had to date.

IMO, we make it to E8 but I won't be surprised if we lose in E8
If Aidoo goes down we won’t have a rim protector, exactly like it was when Alexander was hurt. Awaka is a gifted rebounder but lacks the length to be a rim protector. After him it’s the 2 freshmen who are unproven at this point
 
#14
#14
Adding Knecht was a great deal. HOWEVER... I don't believe we are better at PG. We have nobody close to a Chandler type talent. CBB is PG driven, especially come tourney time. I don't think ZZ will be healthy enough to be a difference maker this year and Dillione has MILES to go. Hopefully, I'm wrong come March.
 
#15
#15
Most talented? Maybe. There’s been some teams with some loaded offensive talent between the Barnes and Pearl eras. As far as depth goes, I’d definitely say this is the deepest team I’ve ever seen in orange. I’d also say, just from the early returns, that DK is probably the best perimeter shot creator we’ve had this century. Can’t remember anyone that could get to their spots off the bounce with the easiness that he does.
Christ Lofton just raised his hand from the back row...
 
#16
#16
That's a fantastic question that's hard to answer. I do feel as though we're in our best window to make a Final Four, if that makes sense.
 
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#17
#17
I love this team, but Ernie and Bernie and 3 walkons would have been more talented.
Bernie was the greatest basketball player to ever play at Tennessee. He was so good that the team had set rules and Bernie had his own set of rules. He could have robbed a bank, and he would have never been punished by the staff.

The Ernie and Bernie show was fun to watch.

A few years before Ernie and Bernie came along, Ernie DiGregorio, who played at Providence, was a magician with the ball in his hand. His teammates had to have their head on a swivel, or he would take their heads off with those behind the back passes.

Didn't mean to hijack this thread but those three guys were just great ball players.
 
#18
#18
This team is deep, but it lacks greatly in perimeter quickness and shot creating. Knecht is the only one that can “go get his shot”. This has been an issue for us for a few years and I think it’s what leads to some of those long lulls we have. Depth down low is an issue too. I’d go with the Grant/Admiral team for overall talent
 
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#19
#19
We’ve had a pretty awesome run since Bruce Pearl turned us into a relevant basketball school.

Lots of talent.

But I truly feel this team is the most complete team we’ve had.

The team with:

Grant Williams
Admiral schofield
Kyle Alexander
Jordan Bone

Had a very strong starting 5 and Bowden was a good 6 man.

This team I feel is just better.

Knecht is the guy we’ve been waiting for. This far into the season he has that “I want the ball” go to scorer. Whereas before we wanted JJJ to be the guy, he didn’t have that instinct. He has the ability, and I think having Knecht take that responsibility from JJJ will allow JJJ to actually be the guy to hit a huge shot or two down the stretch.

Once Vescovi learns to play a 2 man game with Knecht, he should feast. You can’t double Vescovi if that leaves Knecht to slash all over you.

Aidoo is a very good big man. With a solid mid range game and the ability to dominate the post and get boards.

Awaka going to develop further into a dominant PF. And we’re going to give teams a strong down low look with Aidoo and Awaka complimenting each other when needed.

Gainey I think is a really nice presence that will offer some interesting looks to hit multiple slashers with swing men. I love the idea of having a set with Vescovi at point, Knecht and Gainey/James at swings, and Aidoo and Awaka banging down low. Or even throw James in for a Awaka to have a mobile offensive set with a solid mid range big man that can dominate the post like Aidoo.

Mashack is the wild card. He’s that guy that has the highest athletic potential of anybody on the team. And he’s worked on his shot. He’s a lock down guard. He’s going to be key.

Not to mention we’ve got Ziegler back who will put some interesting sets available and the ability to control guard play for late tourney runs.

We also have some very talented freshmen.

This is a team built for a run. I think we win it all.

So—is there any Tennessee basketball team that’s been as talented?
The team is very good but it's very early. This kind of talk gets thrown around every year. The Springer/Johnson team is one that comes to mind. Fans were going crazy after we beat up on a couple directional schools. It ended up being a good but not great team. We will know a little more after Hawaii.
 
#20
#20
Wouldn’t say it’s the most talented but it does have a strong case to be argued as the deepest. 2008, 2019, and Ernie/Bernie were great but there was a pretty big dropoff once you got past the 7th guy or so. That doesn’t appear to be the case with this team.
 
#21
#21
Wouldn’t say it’s the most talented but it does have a strong case to be argued as the deepest. 2008, 2019, and Ernie/Bernie were great but there was a pretty big dropoff once you got past the 7th guy or so. That doesn’t appear to be the case with this team.

They only went with 6 or 7 in the rotation in that era. There weren’t media time outs every 4 minutes. There wasn’t a shot clock.
 
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#22
#22
Bernie was the greatest basketball player to ever play at Tennessee. He was so good that the team had set rules and Bernie had his own set of rules. He could have robbed a bank, and he would have never been punished by the staff.

The Ernie and Bernie show was fun to watch.

A few years before Ernie and Bernie came along, Ernie DiGregorio, who played at Providence, was a magician with the ball in his hand. His teammates had to have their head on a swivel, or he would take their heads off with those behind the back passes.

Didn't mean to hijack this thread but those three guys were just great ball players.
You speak the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
 
#23
#23
They only went with 6 or 7 in the rotation in that era. There weren’t media time outs every 4 minutes. There wasn’t a shot clock.
To add to that, TGO, not only Tennessee, but mostly all decent teams went 6-7 almost exclusively. It was the era of guys playing lots of 36-40 minutes a game.
 
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#25
#25
Punter was pretty good at getting his shot off from 3 (shot 35-37%) with absolutely no help (nobody shot over 33% with at least a few attempts per game on avg) and LaMonte was very good pre-injury. Knecht definitely has the potential to turn out better but we will see (his current season avg is 29% but I do expect that to go up)...and Knecht is going to get a lot of attention from opposing D's. It will also be interesting to see what Gainey does the rest of the way (showing out at 44% after 2 games I know).
Agreed, especially on Lamonte. He was never going to be the prolific scorer that Knecht can be, but he’s probably the most similar with how he could get to the rim so well (KC was elite at this too). Knecht can just do it from literally anywhere - mid range, back to the basket, etc. He’s definitely the most versatile out of this group.
 

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