Team News (current roster)

cardvolfan

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Getting top talent doesn't automatically make someone Kentucky. Many on this board thought Josiah Jordan-James would be a one-and-done. He wasn't. Some think Keon or Springer will be a one-and-done. I bet you at least one of them stays. Not to mention I guarantee if the dream scenario happens and we do land all 4 of Banchero/Chandler/Ingram/Smith I highly doubt they are all one-and-dones.

Can we stop being afraid of securing top talent? That's FOUR top 10 players in the 2021 class. You really going to say "No thank you" to any of them if they all decide they want to be here?
To that point, Barnes recruits specifically to character as well as talent. I will be more than happy to have the talent, but 5-star character is not quite so easy to get these days.
 

StrangeVol

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I'm really proud of the type of young men Coach Barns recruits. Talent and ability to grow for sure but just as important is the potential to be a solid teammate rather than a me-centered "star." I'm pretty sure the kids being recruited know what type of players Coach wants as well as the type of player he doesn't/won't recruit. I'm good with that all day long! Character matters! :)
 
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Roustabout

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Getting top talent doesn't automatically make someone Kentucky. Many on this board thought Josiah Jordan-James would be a one-and-done. He wasn't. Some think Keon or Springer will be a one-and-done. I bet you at least one of them stays. Not to mention I guarantee if the dream scenario happens and we do land all 4 of Banchero/Chandler/Ingram/Smith I highly doubt they are all one-and-dones.

Can we stop being afraid of securing top talent? That's FOUR top 10 players in the 2021 class. You really going to say "No thank you" to any of them if they all decide they want to be here?
There was very few people that thought any such thing about JJJ.
 

kamoshika

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Tennessee may have a secret weapon on their men’s basketball roster. At least, according to rising sophomore guard Josiah-Jordan James. James spoke with the media via a virtual press conference on Friday afternoon, and during the session he was asked about Oregon transfer guard Victor Bailey Jr. becoming eligible this season after sitting out last year. According to James, the former Oregon sixth man and former four-star prospect is being undervalued across the country.

“I honestly think Victor Bailey is the best-kept secret in all of college basketball,” James said. “He’s done some things that I’ve only seen pros do. He definitely brings a lot to this team. Going against him every day in practice definitely made me a lot better, and I’m excited to do it again this year. We definitely bring the best out of each other.”

...James thinks he’ll make a bigger impact than what outsiders are predicting. Why? Because Bailey apparently has elite athleticism and speed. “Just his athleticism, it’s just on a whole 'nother level,” James explained. “His shot-making ability and his speed is out of this world. He can get down the court in no time. He knows that, and he knows what he brings to the table, and he’s excited. I’m excited for him.”
James Calls Teammate "Best-Kept Secret" in All of CBB | RTI
 
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One bright spot though, according to what we’re hearing. And let me stress this is second hand as we obviously aren’t watching workouts, but the buzz is that the coaches really like what they’re seeing from grad transfer E.J. Anosike. His strength is off the charts and some feel like if he ends up as the starter in the event that Pons leaves that he would likely lead the team in rebounding.
-VQ.
 

cncchris33

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Frankly, I'd be disappointed if he didn't lead them team in rebounding, whether Pons stays or not. Rebounding was EJA's bread and butter, and Pons is not a particularly good rebounder for his size and athleticism. As long as EJA is seeing 20-25 mpg, either as the starter at PF, or the primary backup to Pons and Fulk, we should expect him to lead the team in rebounding.
 

bleedingTNorange

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Frankly, I'd be disappointed if he didn't lead them team in rebounding, whether Pons stays or not. Rebounding was EJA's bread and butter, and Pons is not a particularly good rebounder for his size and athleticism. As long as EJA is seeing 20-25 mpg, either as the starter at PF, or the primary backup to Pons and Fulk, we should expect him to lead the team in rebounding.
Thought the same thing when I read that. Anything more than 20mpg and I would expect him to lead the team in rebounding.
 
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PulaskiVolFan

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Frankly, I'd be disappointed if he didn't lead them team in rebounding, whether Pons stays or not. Rebounding was EJA's bread and butter, and Pons is not a particularly good rebounder for his size and athleticism. As long as EJA is seeing 20-25 mpg, either as the starter at PF, or the primary backup to Pons and Fulk, we should expect him to lead the team in rebounding.
A bench player leading the team in any major stat category is rare. I'm sure it's happened before but I doubt very much. I expect Fulky will lead the team in rebounding.
 
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cncchris33

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A bench player leading the team in any major stat category is rare. I'm sure it's happened before but I doubt very much. I expect Fulky will lead the team in rebounding.
It isn't common, but it happens. Look no further than our own team two years ago. Lamonte Turner led us in 3-pt FGs made as a bench player in 2017-18.

EJ Anosike averaged 14.0 rebs per 40 minutes last year, and 12.4 per 40 over his career. If he only plays 20 mpg, that translates to roughly 6-7 rpg. In 30 mpg, last year, Fulk only averaged 5.9 rpg. I think EJA will see at least 20 mpg, and likely a few more, especially if Pons leaves. I think it comes down to those two, and if Fulk edges him out by a fraction, I won't bat an eyelash. Fulk will bear more of the scoring load amongst post players and EJA will be leaned on to clean up the offensive glass, which is where I'd expect to see the difference.
 

LeannaVol

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A bench player leading the team in any major stat category is rare. I'm sure it's happened before but I doubt very much. I expect Fulky will lead the team in rebounding.
Anosike will likely be the backup at both the 4 and 5 position assuming Pons comes back imo. So even though he doesn't start he will probably get close to as many minutes as a starter. Walker may get some of those minutes at the 4 which would impact his numbers. Pons and Fulky are average rebounders at best while it's Anosike's bread and butter. I just hope the play a full schedule this year so we can see what they can do.
 

cncchris33

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Anosike will likely be the backup at both the 4 and 5 position assuming Pons comes back imo. So even though he doesn't start he will probably get close to as many minutes as a starter. Walker may get some of those minutes at the 4 which would impact his numbers. Pons and Fulky are average rebounders at best while it's Anosike's bread and butter. I just hope the play a full schedule this year so we can see what they can do.
Exactly
 

PulaskiVolFan

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It isn't common, but it happens. Look no further than our own team two years ago. Lamonte Turner led us in 3-pt FGs made as a bench player in 2017-18.

EJ Anosike averaged 14.0 rebs per 40 minutes last year, and 12.4 per 40 over his career. If he only plays 20 mpg, that translates to roughly 6-7 rpg. In 30 mpg, last year, Fulk only averaged 5.9 rpg. I think EJA will see at least 20 mpg, and likely a few more, especially if Pons leaves. I think it comes down to those two, and if Fulk edges him out by a fraction, I won't bat an eyelash. Fulk will bear more of the scoring load amongst post players and EJA will be leaned on to clean up the offensive glass, which is where I'd expect to see the difference.
3 point field goals made is hardly a major stat line and Turner was top 6 in minutes that year I assume. If he's top 6 in minutes he may lead the team, 20 minutes a game and he will not lead in any category other than maybe field goal pct. I still think Fulky ends up with the most rebounds this year. We're not going to need him to score as much this year as I believe our Backcourt is going to lead the way in the scoring department, Fulky will still be relied on at the offensive end we'll just have more scoring options this year.
 

PulaskiVolFan

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Anosike will likely be the backup at both the 4 and 5 position assuming Pons comes back imo. So even though he doesn't start he will probably get close to as many minutes as a starter. Walker may get some of those minutes at the 4 which would impact his numbers. Pons and Fulky are average rebounders at best while it's Anosike's bread and butter. I just hope the play a full schedule this year so we can see what they can do.
If he gets big minutes I can see him leading the team in rebounding, I just don't see him getting many of Fulky or Pons minutes. He'll be lucky to get 20 a game I think. Great addition to the team but he's likely to be our 8th or 9th best player, great role player I feel. If his role is just rebounding and sparing minutes for Pons and Fulky I can't see him leading the team in any category.
 

PulaskiVolFan

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It isn't common, but it happens. Look no further than our own team two years ago. Lamonte Turner led us in 3-pt FGs made as a bench player in 2017-18.

EJ Anosike averaged 14.0 rebs per 40 minutes last year, and 12.4 per 40 over his career. If he only plays 20 mpg, that translates to roughly 6-7 rpg. In 30 mpg, last year, Fulk only averaged 5.9 rpg. I think EJA will see at least 20 mpg, and likely a few more, especially if Pons leaves. I think it comes down to those two, and if Fulk edges him out by a fraction, I won't bat an eyelash. Fulk will bear more of the scoring load amongst post players and EJA will be leaned on to clean up the offensive glass, which is where I'd expect to see the difference.
We have 3 or 4 NBA level guards on this roster, Fulkerson's scoring is going to go down not up
 

cncchris33

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3 point field goals made is hardly a major stat line and Turner was top 6 in minutes that year I assume. If he's top 6 in minutes he may lead the team, 20 minutes a game and he will not lead in any category other than maybe field goal pct. I still think Fulky ends up with the most rebounds this year. We're not going to need him to score as much this year as I believe our Backcourt is going to lead the way in the scoring department, Fulky will still be relied on at the offensive end we'll just have more scoring options this year.
We have 3 or 4 NBA level guards on this roster, Fulkerson's scoring is going to go down not up
1. LOL at the idea of made 3-pt FGs not being a major stat, unless your selective idea of major is limited to PPG, RPG, and APG.

2. You are moving the goalposts. First it was bench player. Now it's top 6 in minutes. FWIW, 20 MPG would have been good for 6th in minutes played last year, and almost every year Barnes has coached at Tennessee. That only increases if Pons leaves, which will make this a moot point, as EJA will almost assuredly be a starter. As it is, he is going to receive the bulk of minutes behind Fulk and Pons, and I'm willing to bet you see a much more even distribution of minutes next year if Pons returns. Excluding Turner, we had 5 guys average 30+ mpg. I'd be willing to bet the distribution next year looks much closer to what it did in 2017-18 when we had no one average 30 mpg.

3. I didn't say or even suggest that Fulk's scoring is going to go up. I said he would be relied upon to shoulder the majority of the scoring in the paint amongst the post players. In other words, as opposed to Anosike, whose primary responsibility will be rebounding. How does that statement affect our guards or vice-versa?
 

PulaskiVolFan

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1. LOL at the idea of made 3-pt FGs not being a major stat, unless your selective idea of major is limited to PPG, RPG, and APG.

2. You are moving the goalposts. First it was bench player. Now it's top 6 in minutes. FWIW, 20 MPG would have been good for 6th in minutes played last year, and almost every year Barnes has coached at Tennessee. That only increases if Pons leaves, which will make this a moot point, as EJA will almost assuredly be a starter. As it is, he is going to receive the bulk of minutes behind Fulk and Pons, and I'm willing to bet you see a much more even distribution of minutes next year if Pons returns. Excluding Turner, we had 5 guys average 30+ mpg. I'd be willing to bet the distribution next year looks much closer to what it did in 2017-18 when we had no one average 30 mpg.

3. I didn't say or even suggest that Fulk's scoring is going to go up. I said he would be relied upon to shoulder the majority of the scoring in the paint amongst the post players. In other words, as opposed to Anosike, whose primary responsibility will be rebounding. How does that statement affect our guards or vice-versa?
Last season our offense basically ran through Fulkerson and we relied heavy on him scoring. I believe our offense will run through JJJ and the backcourt this year thus I believe Fulky will score less, rebound more and play the same minutes. Anosike is much needed for depth and rebounding, how fast he learns and how well he defends will determine his minutes and I just don't see Fulky or Pons sitting much less than this past season. If either gets injured or Pons declares for the draft then Anosike will definitely be relied on to be our best rebounder and if we are to be any good in either of those situations he'll have to be good at it. I agree with you though in that if Fulky/Pons/Anosike all average 25 min per game he should lead the team in rebounds. If I'm Pons I probably wouldn't return to UT if I were going to get less minutes.
 

bleedingTNorange

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Last season our offense basically ran through Fulkerson and we relied heavy on him scoring. I believe our offense will run through JJJ and the backcourt this year thus I believe Fulky will score less, rebound more and play the same minutes. Anosike is much needed for depth and rebounding, how fast he learns and how well he defends will determine his minutes and I just don't see Fulky or Pons sitting much less than this past season. If either gets injured or Pons declares for the draft then Anosike will definitely be relied on to be our best rebounder and if we are to be any good in either of those situations he'll have to be good at it. I agree with you though in that if Fulky/Pons/Anosike all average 25 min per game he should lead the team in rebounds. If I'm Pons I probably wouldn't return to UT if I were going to get less minutes.
Even past years when we had good guards Bone/Bowden/Turner/Schofield, Barnes was adamant that the offense run through the post first.
 
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PulaskiVolFan

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@cncchris33, if Pons stays, what do you see the “2 deep” being for the team? I don’t know the specific positions that well
I think our 7 you'll see on the floor the most will be JJJ/Fulkerson/Pons/Johnson/Springer/Vescovi/Anosike in that order for minutes played.
That's our biggest, fastest, most athletic, best defensive/offensive 7 guys on the team. Gaines will get minutes based on his hustle and defense I feel.
Vescovi/Bailey/Gaines at backup guards and Anosike/Walker/Uros/Big O will fight for backup minutes in the paint.
 
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cncchris33

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@cncchris33, if Pons stays, what do you see the “2 deep” being for the team? I don’t know the specific positions that well
I really hate to even speculate as the guard position is a total logjam.

Opening Game...

PG: Vescovi/Bailey
SG: Springer/Johnson
SF: James/Johnson
PF: Pons/Anosike
C: Fulkerson/Anosike

Walker, Nkamhoua, and Plavsic fighting for scraps.

Gaines and Pember could both use a RS, but I'd be surprised if both got one.

I'd play Springer at PG and Vescovi or Bailey primarily at SG when they aren't backing up Springer at point, but I'm not the coach.

The lineup at the end of the season could look a bit different.
 

PulaskiVolFan

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Even past years when we had good guards Bone/Bowden/Turner/Schofield, Barnes was adamant that the offense run through the post first.
We'll still work from the post out when it's our best option I just feel our best unit offensively will be our guards and we're going to have to find shots for Johnson/Springer/JJJ/Vescovi. Johnson and Springer are best creating their own shots, JJJ is best at being physically stronger than most guards that guard him. Only Vescovi really benefits from playing through the post and that's the main reason I think our offense is going to look different this season. Luckily for us I believe that all of our guards are unselfish players so I could see a different leading scorer for us throughout the year. We're going to be top5 defensively if Pons returns, with that being our strength it only makes sense to speed our offense up a bit if we have the talent at guard to do so. I think we'll look similar to the great North Carolina team's style as that of Virginia which I see many comparing us to.
 

TrippieRedd

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I really hate to even speculate as the guard position is a total logjam.

Opening Game...

PG: Vescovi/Bailey
SG: Springer/Johnson
SF: James/Johnson
PF: Pons/Anosike
C: Fulkerson/Anosike

Walker, Nkamhoua, and Plavsic fighting for scraps.

Gaines and Pember could both use a RS, but I'd be surprised if both got one.

I'd play Springer at PG and Vescovi or Bailey primarily at SG when they aren't backing up Springer at point, but I'm not the coach.

The lineup at the end of the season could look a bit different.
Hope at some points we see
Vescovi
JJJ
Pons
Anosike
Fulky

On the floor at the same time, big, strong lineup.
 

PulaskiVolFan

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Hope at some points we see
Vescovi
JJJ
Pons
Anosike
Fulky

On the floor at the same time, big, strong lineup.
Gonna be lots of different looks I feel. We might still struggle some vs teams with big, tall physical post play. I think our best defensive unit will be JJJ/Johnson/Springer/Pons/Fulky. Barnes is a defensive 1st coach and that's why I think we'll see that lineup a bunch, especially when we need stops. JJJ is a great physical defender on the perimeter, oftentimes simply dominating who he guards. Johnson may be the best combo of offense/defense on the team, he's terrific on the defensive end and I think will lead the team in steals. Springer is kind of a mixture of JJJ and Johnson. Those 3 along with Gaines who is great defensively and an improving Vescovi on D I think we have a fair argument for having the best defensive guards in the country. If we rebound well and the freshmen guards can hold up to the physical play in the conference I believe we'll have a top 5 defense next year. Guards are going to hate playing us I feel.
 

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