2013-2014 Overall Rank: #20
Conference Rank: #3 SEC
|Tennessee Team Page||Buy Tennessee Basketball Tickets|
Coach Cuonzo Martin has come agonizingly close to reaching the NCAA Tournament during his first two seasons leading Tennessee. This should be the year they finally break through. However, it looked that way last season too. The Volunteers went into the SEC Tournament winning eight of their previous nine games. Once there, they handled Mississippi State without much trouble. Then the offense struggled in a loss to Alabama and Tennessee was sent to the NIT. In the first round of the NIT they were upset by Mercer. The Volunteers were looking good, but those final two games of the year were pretty ugly.
2012-13 Record: 20-13, 11-7
2012-13 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Cuonzo Martin
Coach Record: 39-28 at Tennessee, 100-69 overall
Tennessee does lose three part-time starters and reserve Yemi Makanjuola, so Coach Martin does have some holes to fill. Trae Golden opted to transfer and that leaves the Volunteers without their playmaking point guard. Golden averaged 12.1 points and 3.9 assists. Golden was a good shooter and Skylar McBee was one of the team’s best shooters. McBee averaged 5.5 points per game as a senior and just about all of those points came from long range. In the frontcourt, Kenny Hall started 21 contests in 2012-2013 and tallied 5.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Despite the losses, Tennessee has options when it comes to replacing Golden, McBee and Hall. Most notable is Memphis transfer Antonio Barton. The senior averaged just 5.6 points and 1.1 assists last season, but he has more than enough experience to run the point for the Volunteers. Coach Martin will also hope incoming freshman Darius Thompson is ready to run the show on occasion. Thompson is a big combo guard who can do other things, but for now he will need to spend some quality minutes taking care of the ball. It is Robert Hubbs III who has Tennessee fans most excited. The 6-6 shooting guard is one of the top recruits in this class and he will make a big impact right away. With his size, Hubbs can help out on the glass and attack the basket with relative ease. Incoming freshman A.J. Davis and junior college transfer Rawane Ndiaye are the new faces in the frontcourt. Without much big body depth, those two will have to play a huge role off of the bench.
Who to Watch:
The return of Jarnell Stokes is a huge reason why Tennessee has a chance at winning the SEC. Stokes flirted with the idea of entering the NBA and the big 6-8, 260 pound forward could have a future playing professionally. For now the junior will dominate the glass and provide the Volunteers with a consistent interior scoring threat. Stokes is one of the best offensive rebounders in the country and he will get help from Jeronne Maymon. Maymon missed last season with an injury, but he was an All-SEC performer two years ago. Like Stokes, Maymon is a superb rebounder on both ends of the floor and a very consistent and reliable interior scorer. As far as listed forwards, that is all Tennessee has on their roster beside the newcomers. Yet, there is plenty of size on the wing. Jordan McRae, who stands at 6-6, is the best scorer and shooter on the team and averaged 15.7 points per game as a junior. Josh Richardson is another 6-6 wing who can slide up to provide depth at the four spot against certain opposition. Derek Reese is a 6-8 wing and Quinton Chievous is 6-6.
It is not ideal for Tennessee to run a smaller lineup all of the time, but they do have the size on the wing to pull it off. Armani Moore was a part-time starter as a freshman. He is not a big time scoring threat, but he is a fine defender and there should be some minutes for Moore even with the new talent on the perimeter. For the most part, the success or failure of this group will come down to the play of the point guards. Stokes and Maymon form one of the best frontcourt duos in the nation and there are not many wings better than McRae and Richardson. They just need somebody to get them the ball efficiently and effectively.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Antonio Barton, Senior, Guard, DNP last season at Tennessee
Jordan McRae, Senior, Guard, 15.7 points per game
Josh Richardson, Junior, Guard, 7.9 points per game
Jarnell Stokes, Junior, Forward, 12.4 points per game
Jeronne Maymon, Senior, Forward, DNP last season
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.3 (199th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.4 (88, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.0 (188, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.8 (125, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.2 (270, 12)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.6 (253, 11)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.0 (188, 6)
Rebound Margin: 5.5 (31, 2)
Assists Per Game: 10.7 (263, 11)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.9 (141, 6)
Madness 2014 NBA Draft Rankings:
#40 Jarnell Stokes
#69 Jordan McRae
Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#23 Robert Hubbs