The papers are signed and the ink is dry on Tennessee’s 2020 basketball recruiting class. The elite trio of Keon Johnson, Jaden Springer and Corey Walker Jr. made things official on Wednesday, signing their national letters of intent to play for the University of Tennessee.
The Vols hold the 4th ranked recruiting class in the entire country for 2020, according to 247Sports. Two five-star guards in Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson along with a four-star wing in Corey Walker Jr. will be tasked with leading Tennessee into the next era after Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner move on after this year.
“The combined talent and potential of Keon, Corey and Jaden is really exciting,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said of his 2020 class. “All three of them fit the culture of this program and come from incredible families who have provided wonderful support and guidance to get them to this point. It’s our responsibility now to help each of them take the next steps in their individual development—not only athletically but also as men.”
The trio will take the court at this time next year, leading Tennessee through the 2020-21 season. Here’s a little more on each player in the group.
Guard Jaden Springer
Five-star guard Jaden Springer picked Tennessee over Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina and several others. Springer is the 16th ranked player in the country, per 247Sports. The 6-5, 195 pound guard played last season at the IMG Academy.
“Jaden will provide outstanding ball-handling and scoring ability,” Barnes said. “Much like Keon, Jaden is someone who will immediately make us better on both ends of the floor. I love his competitiveness. He’s a winner.”
Guard Keon Johnson
The homegrown Johnson also joins Tennessee as a five-star prospect. Johnson comes out of Bell Buckle, Tennessee and currently sits as the 21st ranked prospect in the nation. He also checks in at 6-5 and has already cracked the top 15 of a few early 2021 NBA Mock Drafts.
“Keon is truly an elite athlete—one of the most explosive, two-way players in the country at the high school level,” Barnes said. “We’re excited about what he brings on both ends of the floor and expect that he’ll make an immediate impact.”
Wing Corey Walker Jr.
Walker kicked this class off back in March, giving Tennessee its first commitment of 2020. The 6-7 small forward is out of Virginia and ranks as the 36th overall player in the class.
“Corey is one of the most naturally gifted offensive players in this class nationwide,” Barnes said. “We’re very optimistic about his potential and expect that his game will rise to a different level once he becomes immersed in our daily culture and work ethic. He certainly has the capacity to make big contributions to our team success as a freshman.”
These two have nothing to do with signing day, but it’s important to remember that Rick Barnes raided the transfer market for next season. Point guard Victor Bailey Jr. announced that he was transferring in from Oregon, but would sit out 2019-20. Bailey is a former four-star prospect, ranking 86th overall in the 2017 class. Bailey will bring experience to a group that will need it in the backcourt next season.
Of course, Tennessee also has Uros Plavsic ready for next year and maybe this year. The 7-0 center was ruled ineligible for this season by the NCAA, but Tennessee is doing everything they can to appeal. We should have a final answer on that soon. Regardless of what happens there, the former four-star big man will bring some much needed size to the Tennessee frontcourt next season.