The Vols are entering the offseason after a disappointing season that ended in a defeat in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, in a year that they were expected to be national championship contenders. The Vols have been hit with a wave of transfers, leading to a roster overhaul, and a new-look coaching staff.
Kim English and Desmond Oliver leave for head coaching positions at George Mason and ETSU respectively, and Rod Clark and Justin Gainey join the staff from Austin Peay and Marquette respectively.
Jaden Springer, Guard
Former 5-star recruit Jaden Springer has declared for the NBA Draft, which is not surprising considering he averaged 12/4/3 in his college career. He is a bit of a project, but a rewarding gamble for NBA teams if he reaches his full potential.
Keon Johnson, Guard
Another former 5-star Keon Johnson also declared for the NBA Draft. Johnson is an elite athlete and one of the best perimeter defenders in this draft class. He is a more NBA-ready prospect, but will need to climb over the shooting struggles if he wants to reach his full potential.
Yves Pons, Forward
The Flying Frenchman leaves Rocky Top after igniting the fans with electrifying dunks and blocks. Pons, an elite defender and freak athlete, might be the best defender and athlete in this draft. Pons is generally viewed as a second round prospect.
EJ Anosike, Forward
EJ Anosike enters the transfer portal again after he transferred to Tennessee from Sacred Heart. Anosike had sky-high expectations after averaging a double-double at Sacred Heart, but the stats just didn’t transfer to Tennessee. Anosike will look for a team willing to invest in a undersized center.
Drew Pember, Forward
Knoxville’s own, fan favorite, Drew Pember announced he was transferring to UNC Asheville. to the disappointment of Vols fans, Pember was never really given any opportunity to showcase his talent. For him to become a decent college athlete, he will need to hit the weight room.
Davonte Gaines, Guard
The amazing defender who stuffed Herb Jones in the SEC Semis last year, follows Kim English to George Mason. Gaines saw his playing time decrease from 2019-20 to 2020-21, and rightfully so, he was just buried on the depth chart. He will look for a fresh start at George Mason.
Corey Walker Jr, Forward
Walker was a 4-star recruit who was sidelined for his whole freshman season. First it was a toe injury, which set him back, before COVID-19 quarantine and other factors made him redshirt. He will take all his talent to another school.
Kennedy Chandler, Guard
The 5-star Memphis native comes to Tennessee ready to take over the point guard role. Chandler carried Sunrise Christian into the finals at the GEICO Nationals, and led a Briarcrest team. He will look to give the Vols their first consistent point guard since Jordan Bone.
Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, Forward
The 5-star reclassified from 2022 to 2021 to get on the court an year earlier, and will look to make contributions at the power forward role. He is a decent offensive weapon, and is exactly what the Vols need to be able to score consistently.
Jonas Aidoo, Center
Aidoo, the former Marquette commit follows Coach Gainey to Tennessee. He provides depth behind John Fulkerson, but is more of a project. He will look to play an important role in a very thin Tennessee frontcourt.
Jahmai Mashack, Guard
The 4-star wing should be a nice piece of depth there, as he is a project. Hopefully he will learn from some of the other older players that play the same position at Tennessee.
Quentin Diboundje Eyobo, Forward
The Vols had success with Yves Pons from France, so why not try another forward from France? Diboundje will look to step in at the small or power forward position.
Justin Powell, Guard
Justin Powell, the sharpshooter transfer from Auburn was a huge addition to this team, as he filled in the Vols need for a shooter. He will likely start next to Kennedy Chandler in the backcourt, to create and elite backcourt.
Victor Bailey Jr
Starting Lineup Projection
PG: Kennedy Chandler
SG: Justin Powell
SF: Josiah-Jordan James
PF: Brandon Huntley-Hatfield
C: John Fulkerson
PG: Kennedy Chandler, Santiago Vescovi
SG: Justin Powell, Victor Bailey
SF: Josiah-Jordan James, Jahmai Mashack, Quentin Diboundje Eyobo
PF: Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, Olivier Nkamhoua
C: John Fulkerson, Jonas Aidoo, Uros Plavsic
The Vols still have one open roster position.
Next year will be another year where the Vols will be expected to contend on a national level again. With a solid returning core and a Top 5 recruiting class, it’s easy to see why the Vols might be in that conversation. But can Rick Barnes’ team live up to the hype? Only time can tell……