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Rick Barnes previews Tennessee’s 2020-21 season on Jon Rothstein’s podcast

NCAA Basketball: Florida at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee basketball Head Coach Rick Barnes was the guest on Jon Rothstein’s popular podcast that dropped today. Rothstein notes that the Vols were picked to win the SEC this preseason, as Terry posted about here.

The COVID pandemic was obviously a topic, and Barnes discussed how safety has to be a priority for the season to proceed.

Barnes discussed a myriad of other things, but said his main concern was Tennessee’s ability (or inability) to rebound the basketball since the Vols finished last in the conference in defensive rebounding last season.

About halfway through the show, Barnes said EJ Anosike is the team’s best rebounder and then touches on the two incoming 5-star guards Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer. Barnes said both of the young guards are already good one-on-one defenders.

Rothstein also talked about sophomore guard Santiago Vescovi’s emergence midway through last year, and Barnes said he’s in much better shape than he was when he arrived to Tennessee. Barnes also mentioned wanting to let Vescovi play some off the ball this season — a luxury the Vols didn’t have last season without the team’s incumbent point guard Lamonte Turner who played in just 11 games due to a lingering shoulder injury.

The show lasts about 30 minutes, but the final 6 or 7 minutes are basically just Rothstein answering general college basketball questions from people on social media.

Tennessee will open their season one week from today — November 25th against Charlotte.