Tag: Tennessee Volunteers

Rick Barnes
Associated Press

Tennessee counting on Barnes to provide stability

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Change remains the only constant at Tennessee.

Tennessee is on its third coach in as many seasons after NCAA issues caused the Volunteers to fire Donnie Tyndall after only one year. Replacing Tyndall is Rick Barnes, who got dismissed at Texas despite leading the Longhorns to NCAA Tournament appearances in 16 of his 17 years on the job.

Barnes has earned NCAA bids 19 of the last 20 years overall and says that remains the goal at Tennessee, even though he’s facing a tough challenge in his debut season.

“I do think that we’ve got to give credit to the previous coaches because we walked into a (good) situation,” Barnes said. “I think we’ve got a group of guys that are going to compete. That’s something that you don’t take for granted. The one thing I do think is that they will compete. Our job now is to teach them to play the way we want them to play.”

Barnes inherits a roster that lacks size and ball handlers. The Vols must replace Josh Richardson, who earned first-team all-Southeastern Conference honors while leading Tennessee to a 16-16 record last year. SEC media have picked Tennessee to finish 12th in the 14-team conference.

The Vols are hoping Barnes can provide the stability that’s been missing from this program the last couple of years.

Last season, Tyndall hadn’t even coached a game at Tennessee when it was revealed that the NCAA was investigating his tenure at Southern Mississippi. Tyndall was fired because Tennessee correctly determined the NCAA would say he’d committed major violations at Southern Mississippi

While many Vols insisted Tyndall’s NCAA issues didn’t bother them during the season – senior forward Derek Reese said he’d actually forgotten about the Southern Mississippi investigation until Tennessee fired Tyndall in March – sophomore guard Detrick Mostella said it “most definitely” was a distraction.

“We didn’t try to let it get to us, but I know some of the players let it get to them,” Mostella said. “It was a big distraction for our team. … It feels much better (now) not having a distraction.”

Although Texas is investigating allegations of academic misconduct in its men’s basketball program, Texas officials have said the university “has no information that suggests” Barnes knew of or was involved in any academic improprieties.

Here are some other things to watch with Tennessee.

WHO’S THE POINT GUARD?: Tennessee doesn’t have a pure point guard available to play because the NCAA ruled freshman Lamonte Turner ineligible for this season. Seniors Kevin Punter and Armani Moore will get the first shots to play the point. Punter’s a natural shooting guard. Moore can play just about any position.

LACK OF SIZE: The Vols have only three players taller than 6-foot-5. Kyle Alexander is 6-9, Ray Kasongo is 6-8 and Reese is 6-7. Alexander’s a freshman. Kasongo, a sophomore, is a Division I newcomer. Tennessee’s lack of size could cause problems.

DIFFERENT DEFENSE: Tennessee’s coaching change has resulted in a switch in defensive strategies. Barnes primarily utilizes a man-to-man defense, while Tyndall favored a matchup zone.

POINTS FROM PUNTER: The Vols will need plenty of scoring from Punter, who averaged 10.3 points per game last season. Barnes has raved about Punter all season and has referred to him as a coach’s dream.

MOORE’S VERSATILITY: Moore has filled just about every possible role for Tennessee the last few years. He was recruited as a point guard but found a home last season as an undersized power forward. Now the Vols will need this stat-sheet stuffer to handle the ball more in his senior season.

GIF: Rick Barnes gives Detrick Mostella a ‘birthday treat’

Alex Barlow, Detrick Mostella
Associated Press
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Monday was the 20th birthday of Tennessee sophomore guard Detrick Mostella, and it was also media day for the basketball team. Head coach Rick Barnes made sure to give Mostella a present of sorts: a pie to the face. Happy Birthday, Detrick.

The underrated aspect of this has to be the teammate who turned Mostella to his right, thus giving the head coach a clean shot. According to his bio Barnes’ birthday is July 17, and given what took place Monday he may want to have his head on a swivel when the time comes.

h/t GoVols247

Tennessee lands three-star wing Jalen Johnson

Rick Barnes
Associated Press
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Sunday evening Tennessee landed its second verbal commitment in the Class of 2016, as 6-foot-6 shooting guard/small forward Jalen Johnson announced that he’ll play his college basketball for Rick Barnes. Johnson, who also was considering Providence, joins guard Jordan Bone in Tennessee’s 2016 recruiting class to date.

“I am excited to announce that I have committed to play basketball at the University of Tennessee,” Johnson said via Twitter.

Johnson attends Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point, North Carolina, and he played for the Team Wall grassroots program on the adidas Gauntlet circuit this summer. Among his teammates at Wesleyan Christian last season were five-star big man Harry Giles (who’s now at Oak Hill Academy) and four-star shooting guard (and Rutgers commit) Kwe Parker.

Johnson played well during the adidas Gauntlet Finale in Atlanta in mid-July, averaging 14.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

Johnson plays a position where Tennessee needs bodies for the future. All four of Tennessee’s scholarship seniors play either the shooting guard or small forward position, which opens up the competition for minutes in 2016-17. Along with current freshman Jabari McGhee (redshirt freshman) and Admiral Schofield, Johnson will look to earn playing time as a freshman.