clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Cuonzo Martin Lands Top Recruit Over Kentucky

New, 17 comments

On the second Top 10 player now headed to Cal under Cuonzo's watch, and some of what Tennessee fans are thinking.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Just the facts, ma'am:

Jaylen Brown, the number three rated player in the 2015 247 consensus and number one at Scout.com, surprised many in the basketball world by picking California last night.  He chose the Bears over, among others, Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA, and our friends at Kentucky.  Brown joins Ivan Rabb, the number seven player in the 247 consensus, on the list of Cal pickups in this class, giving the Golden Bears the number five recruiting class in the nation.

Cal, you might remember, is coached by Cuonzo Martin.

And now, an opinion:

So, I'm seeing lots of folks on Twitter and in stories like the one linked from A Sea of Blue up there ask some version of, "I wonder what Tennessee fans are thinking now?"

I obviously can't speak for all Tennessee fans, and it would be a terrifying thing if any one of us did.  But here's what I'm thinking, in order.

First, we're really fortunate to have Rick Barnes as our head coach. Tennessee finally made a coaching change when the timing was favorable, which is often an element out of the athletic department's control.  That our job came open when Barnes' time at Texas was closing was very beneficial to Tennessee.

And of course, Rick Barnes' Wikipedia page is a lot longer and a lot more impressive than not just Cuonzo's, but most active college basketball coaches.  You'd be foolish to suggest Cuonzo Martin is a better coach right now than Rick Barnes.  No one is trying to make that argument, and it's a great thing for Tennessee to have the guy who's going to win most of those arguments before he even coaches a game on our sideline.  I'm happy he's our head coach and excited about where our basketball program can go.

Because second, that question would be a lot more uncomfortable if it was still Donnie Tyndall in the midst of an NCAA investigation, or just about any name on our original hot board.  All of those guys have done a good job where they are to have been desired, and some of them will probably become good coaches in a major conference.  But Tennessee right now could have been dealing with continued uncertainty if Tyndall's situation was still unfolding, or crossing our fingers and hoping one of those mid-major names was going to make it work the way one of our previous mid-major names is now making it work on the recruiting trail.

Third:  Cuonzo Martin is still helping Tennessee.

This time he did it by taking arguably the nation's best player and keeping him away from John Calipari and Kentucky.  Rest assured, the Cats are probably going to continue playing basketball next season and will probably have enough players to roll it out there and see what happens.  But if Jaylen Brown is as good as advertised, Cuonzo's efforts are a win for Tennessee and the rest of the SEC by putting him in a darker shade of blue.  If you're rooting against Cuonzo for some unknown reason which is almost certainly unhealthy, you might want to take a pass on this one.

And so finally, if Tennessee fans do find themselves at a loss for words, or struggling to find the next way to defend an opinion just because it's theirs, I do have a suggestion:  the words you're looking for are, "Thank you." They're great words.  And we don't use them often enough.

Go Vols.