Rick Barnes has put together his best class to date during his time at Tennessee, at least on paper. He’s literally put together a starting five with this group, landing commitments from each position on the floor. It’s a nice blend of youth and experience that should push the Vols to another level this coming season. Let’s take a look at some of the new faces.
SF, 6-6 217
This is a guy I’m pretty excited about. He’s going to give Tennessee an athletic piece at the wing. Pons is electric on the floor and an explosive athlete. You’ll see in the highlights below, he’s a terror on the defensive side. He’s on the NBA’s radar, too. He’ll have to work on his long range shot, but the raw physical tools are there. Expect plenty of high flying dunks from Pons in the coming seasons.
PF, 6-8 255
Walker fills a big need with Tennessee needing size in the front court. He should be in line to play pretty early with the Vols lacking size down low. Rick Barnes had this to say of Walker.
C, 6-10 235
More size here for Rick Barnes. He knew he had to add some size to this roster and he did just that with Kent and Walker. Kent is described as more of an offensive force, but the upside is there to turn into a complete player. Kent’s AAU coach Duane Coverdale says Kent has a lot of room to grow.
Chris Darrington (Junior)
G, 6-1 175
Rick Barnes added veteran leadership in the back court this offseason with Darrington and James Daniel III. That’s one way to replace the production from Robert Hubbs and Shembari Phillips. Darrington averaged 20 points along with 5 assists last season at the JuCo level. Maybe most importantly, he shot 43 percent from three point range, which is where he probably will help Tennessee the most right off the bat.
James Daniel III (5th year Senior)
G, 6-0 175
Daniel will probably deliver the most immediate impact. He’s already proclaimed that he will start for the Vols — and why wouldn’t he? We are talking about the leading scorer in the NCAA back in 2015-16. Daniel will bring another three point threat to the Vols, but more importantly tons of experience. This will be his 5th year of college ball. He was granted a 5th year due to an ankle issue that kept him out of action last season at Howard. Daniel will go down as a legend at Howard, but he’ll hit the national stage at Tennessee and have a chance to really show what he’s got.