Tag: Rick Barnes

Tennessee lands three-star point guard

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With Tennessee having three seniors in its backcourt for the upcoming season, that area was an important one for new head coach Rick Barnes and his staff on the recruiting trail. Sunday evening Barnes landed his first commitment in the Class of 2016, as point guard Jordan Bone announced that he’ll remain in his home state for college.

The 6-foot-2 Bone, who attends Ensworth HS in Nashville, is the younger brother of former Tennessee guard Josh Bone and he was a finalist for Mr. Tennessee as a junior.

Jordan Bone made his decision on the heels of an official visit to Tennessee, which was the second of three that he’d scheduled earlier this summer. Bone visited VCU in late August, and he had scheduled a trip to Ole Miss for the final weekend of September.

While Tennessee does have some youth in its backcourt, with sophomore Detrick Mostella and freshmen Shembari Phillips, Admiral Schofield and Lamonte’ Turner all being underclassmen (Robert Hubbs is a junior), they also have three seniors in Devon Baulkman, Armani Moore and Kevin Punter. Adding a guard such as Bone, who can both distribute and score from the point, will help the Volunteers account for those departures in 2016.

Video credit: Courtside Films

Tennessee senior guard stepping forward as a leader for new head coach Rick Barnes

Kevin Punter
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After spending 17 seasons in Austin as the head coach at Texas, Rick Barnes will coach his first season at Tennessee this winter. The good news for Barnes from a personnel standpoint is that many of the key contributors from last season are back in Knoxville, including five of the team’s top six scorers.

The negative: the lone player who isn’t back is versatile guard Josh Richardson, a second-round pick of the Miami Heat who led the Vols in scoring, assists and steals and ranked third on the team in rebounding.

So while Barnes works to establish his culture within the program he’s also faced with the task of accounting for the many ways in which Richardson kept last season’s team competitive in spite of turmoil surrounding then coach Donnie Tyndall. According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, one player who’s helped from a culture standpoint this summer has been senior guard Kevin Punter.


“(Punter’s) work ethic, the way he’s handled things, I told Shembari (Phillips) today, I said, ‘If you’re smart, you’ll hitch your wagon to Kevin, and every time he’s in here you should want to be with him,'” Barnes said. “When you’ve got a guy that’s willing to put that much time in and show that much passion, that’s something you want to develop in your program, and you hope it’s handed down through the years.”

Punter, who averaged 10.3 points per game in his first season at Tennessee, has been the team’s hardest worker and serves as an example for the program’s five newcomers. That quintet includes three perimeter players in Phillips, Lamonte’ Turner and Admiral Schofield. Setting the tone for those players this summer is especially important, as they’ll be asked to be leaders after Tennessee’s four scholarship seniors (Punter, Armani Moore, Devon Baulkman and Derek Reese) move on at the conclusion of this upcoming season.

With Richardson out of the picture Tennessee has a void in its primary playmaker role, one that Punter will be asked to help fill. Whether or not he can do so won’t be learned until the team starts playing games, but at the very least he’s been a good leader for this group during summer workouts.

Rick Barnes finally addresses accusations against Texas


Former Texas head coach and current Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes has finally addressed the accusations levied against his old program.

Earlier this month, The Chronicle of Higher Education published a story claiming that three former Texas players were someway involved with academic impropriety while in school. P.J. Tucker and J’Covan Brown both allegedly received improper help while writing papers, while Martez Walker was accused of getting caught cheating on a test in a class that he later passed.

“If you read the article, from my point of view, there’s no legs to it,” Barnes said to the Knoxville News on Monday. “I think Texas has said everything that needed to be said. I’m sure they’ll proceed with whatever they think they have to do there, but it was made clear that I had no involvement in it, which I knew. If I thought there was something, I would address (it). The fact it has no legs, I’m not really concerned about it.”

The university has put in motion internal and external investigations, and the school’s athletic director has said there is no evidence that Barnes was involved in the alleged misconduct.

“I guess if I would say anything, it would be that it’s just disappointing why my picture was put there with it anyway,” Barnes added. “If I did make a statement, it would have been that I hate for everything that’s happened here at the University of Tennessee, for something like that to pop up. But from where I stand and where I sit and what I know and the people I’m close to back there, everyone says, ‘Hey, you know there’s nothing to it. There’s no legs to it, so why get involved?'”