Not only will Tennessee be looking to replace four of its starting five this season, but they’ll be looking for a new identity. Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield brought a certain mentality to the program, showing up ready to physically wear teams down every night. With those guys gone, Rick Barnes is going to have to come up with a new approach because of what’s left.
Tennessee returns two senior guards, forming one of the best backcourts in the country with five-star freshman guard Josiah James. Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner have waited a long time to be primary options. This year, they’ll finally get that chance.
Without Williams and Schofield to run the offense through, how will Tennessee change in 2019-20? According to Turner, we’re going to see a faster pace and a lot more shooting.
#Vols’ Lamonte Turner on how the team will adjust without all the big guys lost after last season: It’s gonna be fun, man. We’re gonna play a lot faster. We’re trying to shoot in the first 7 seconds of the shot clock, and we’re shooting more 3s.— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) October 11, 2019
Tennessee’s pace was middle of the road last year, ranking 164th in KenPom’s tempo stat. With a more guard driven offense this year, you can expect that number to come down this season.
Bowden shot 37 percent from three-point range last season, while Turner shot 32 percent after slowly coming back from shoulder surgery. Barnes will need a hot start from each with a brutal non-conference schedule on deck for Tennessee.
After Bowden and Turner, look for Jalen Johnson to add some shooting for Tennessee. He went 9-20 from behind the arc last year with limited opportunities. Josiah James should also help out in this department. He connected on 35 percent of his shots from long range on Team USA’s Under 18 squad in 2018. Zach Kent is another player with range, finally getting to contribute at Tennessee after shooting 40 percent from three-point range in high school.
This team won’t have to deal with the expectations that last year’s team did. They’re kind of flying under the radar nationally, which is exactly where Rick Barnes wants to be. In a transition year, we might just see a totally new approach from these new-look Vols.