Rick Barnes has done it again. The veteran head coach continues to make Tennessee a destination for top basketball prospects across the country, backing up consecutive strong classes with yet another in the 2021 cycle.
Tennessee picked up its second commitment of the class today, landing four-star wing Jahmai Mashack. The 6-5, 190 pound small forward is the 43rd ranked player in the country, per 247Sports. Mashack comes all the way from Rancho Cucamonga, California.
Mashack was a relatively new target for Tennessee as the Volunteers extended their offer on June 30th. Tennessee joined the race and quickly became the favorite over schools like Texas, Louisville, Arkansas, Cal, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. Gonzaga, UCLA and Stanford also showed interest.
Mashack joins five-star point guard Kennedy Chandler in Tennessee’s class, who committed last month.
Earlier this year, Mashack told Yahoo Sports that his game is centered around defense, something that Rick Barnes surely loves.
“I pride myself on my defense and scoring,” Mashack said. “I feel like the number-one thing for me is defense; it has been about defense my entire life. I have been very touted for being a defender and also for being able to get my team buckets so I can get them a lead.”
Tennessee currently has an extremely young backcourt, but both Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer could pursue NBA opportunities as early as next season. Santiago Vescovi, Josiah-Jordan James and Victor Bailey Jr. complete the 2020-21 rotation. With Kennedy Chandler and Jahmai Mashack entering the fold, Barnes and his staff are clearly preparing for some early departures.
The obvious frontcourt need has to be next on the list for the Tennessee staff. John Fulkerson and Yves Pons are entering their final season, set to leave two big voids in the starting lineup next season. Uros Plavsic, Olivier Nkamhoua, Corey Walker and Drew Pember will be set for expanded roles, but it would be surprising if Barnes didn’t bring it at least one big to bolster the depth.