Basketball season is here. Tennessee will hit the floor for a scrimmage next week, kicking off a new era of Volunteer basketball — one that doesn’t include Grant Williams or Admiral Schofield.
Rick Barnes still has options though, starting with Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner. Those two senior guards have seen a little bit of everything through the years. Now they’ll get a chance to lead this team, becoming the primary scoring options for Barnes.
Over at CBS Sports, their team ranked the top 100 players in College Basketball for the upcoming season. Despite losing four starters to the NBA a season ago, Tennessee made three appearances on the list.
- #52: Lamonte Turner
- #81: Jordan Bowden
- #87: Josiah James
The most interesting comment from the piece was made about Bowden, which we agree with.
The Volunteers won’t be as good as last season but could be nearly as fun to watch if Bowden’s potential is helped to an unlocking via Lamonte Turner. Heck, he could make us look dumb and turn into a top-40 player by March.
Bowden has excelled in spots as an occasional big-time scorer, but has struggled with aggressiveness and consistency throughout his career. That’s going to have to change this season as he transforms into a primary option. Barnes has talked in the past about how getting Bowden to simply shoot enough has been a struggle. We saw him take a step forward last season, but he’s going to have to take another one forward this year.
Can he do that? Absolutely. At 6-5, with a really good season this year, Bowden could find himself attracting NBA attention by the end of the year.
CBS also added that Josiah James’ versatility will be a big deal for Tennessee this year.
The McDonald’s All-American is the fourth-highest rated Vols signee ever. His positional versatility to play either guard spot should make him a seamless fit alongside veteran Lamonte Turner.
With Victor Bailey Jr. having to sit out a year, Tennessee doesn’t really have an answer at the backup point guard spot. That honor will go to five-star freshman Josiah James, who Tennessee has already practiced at the point guard position. His ability to take a few minutes off of Turner’s shoulders will be big, but you can expect him to start alongside of Turner as well. It will be interesting to see how Barnes juggles all of these pieces with Jalen Johnson also in that equation.
The top player in all of college basketball? Cassius Winston of Michigan State. Kerry Blackshear Jr. checked in at fifth overall and sits as the overwhelming favorite to win the SEC player of the year award.
Other Players of Interest
- Memphis center James Wiseman at No. 7
- Georgia guard Anthony Edwards at No. 12
- Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey at No. 20
- Kentucky guard Ashton Hagans at No. 29
- Mississippi State guard Reggie Perry at No. 30
- Florida guard Andrew Nembhard at No. 33
- Alabama guard Kira Lewis at No. 34