clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What is Tennessee getting in Olivier Robinson-Nkamhoua? Here’s what Rick Barnes thinks

New, 11 comments

Now official.

Tennessee basketball landed a commitment this week, bringing in four-star forward Olivier Robinson-Nkamhoua. The 6-8 big man soared in recruiting rankings, coming back from a leg injury that cost him his entire junior season after relocating from Finland. He came back strong in his senior campaign, drawing interest from several teams in power conferences.

Robinson-Nkamhoua lands as the 110th ranked player in the class, perhaps patching a hole in the roster left by the potential transfer of Derrick Walker.

With the papers officially in, Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes offered his thoughts on his newest player.

“Olivier is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential, and we’re excited about his development once he arrives,” Barnes said. “He comes from a great, high-character family—both in Finland and here in the U.S.—that has given him a solid foundation. He’s received excellent coaching at the high school level and comes to us with an outstanding work ethic and eagerness to learn.”

Robinson-Nkamhoua joins a frontcourt that features John Fulkerson, D.J. Burns and Zach Kent. Grant Williams has declared for the NBA Draft, but has the opportunity to come back for his senior season. If Williams does opt to stay in the draft, Robinson-Nkamhoua could be needed right away.

”He’s a very athletic forward who has a level of versatility on both ends of the floor,” Barnes said. “He can play inside or on the perimeter, and he guards multiple positions defensively. He’ll fit well into our defensive schemes. He can bring pressure, play up-tempo, understands good ball movement and is a strong communicator.”

Robinson-Nkamhoua was actually a 6-4 point guard as a 16 year old kid in Finland, so that gives you an idea of the potential versatility he could bring to the table.

He’s the first ever Tennessee player to come from Finland and joins Yves Pons as just the second European to play for the program.

Robinson-Nkamhoua joins five-star guard Josiah James, three-star small forward Davonte Gaines and three-star forward Drew Pember in the 2019 class, which now ranks 21st nationally, according to 247 Sports.

Tennessee may or may not be adding to that 2019 class as they wait on final answers from Jordan Bone and Grant Williams. The Vols could also pursue a couple of grad-transfer options as band-aids if needed.