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Justin Powell lands on ESPN’s top transfers list

NCAA Basketball: Auburn at Central Florida Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee only dipped once into the transfer portal with several needs to fill, but they made it count. The Volunteers landed a potential premier shooter in the country, adding 6-6 freshman guard Justin Powell from Auburn. Though he played just a handful of games for Bruce Pearl, his 44 percent hit rate from long range was impossible to ignore.

His season was cut short due to concussions, and Powell opted to find a new home after the season ended. He lands with Tennessee, which hasn’t had a shooter of his caliber in quite a while. Powell should space the floor a bit, opening options up for Kennedy Chandler, John Fulkerson and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield.

Over at ESPN, Powell landed at No. 24 in their transfer rankings this offseason. Here’s what Jeff Borzello had to say on the addition.

Before getting hurt in early January, Powell was one of the more surprising freshmen in the country. He was handling playmaking duties for the Tigers while also making shots and scoring. He averaged 11.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists while shooting 44.2% from 3.

Powell is a former three-star prospect out of Kentucky. According to 247Sports, he was the 188th ranked prospect in the 2020 class.

Again, with sample size in mind, Powell should instantly become Tennessee’s most efficient shooter. He joins Santiago Vescovi and Victor Bailey Jr. in the backcourt, who each ran hot and cold as shooters for the better part of the 2020-21 season.

Powell was joined by several SEC names on the list. New Auburn big man Walker Kessler landed at No. 2 on the list, while his former teammate Garrison Brooks was ranked at No. 6 on his new Mississippi State team. LSU guard Adam Miller was fifth, and new Kentucky Wildcats Oscar Tshiebwe (7), Kellan Grady (9) and Sahvir Wheeler (15) each landed on the list. That’s quite a bit of movement in the SEC alone — a direct result of the NCAA’s new one-time transfer rule. This is your new normal in college basketball, essentially resulting in ‘free agency’ of sorts.

Can Powell keep up his 40-plus percent shooting over a full season? Can he stay healthy? Both are legitimate questions, but the Tennessee staff saw enough to pull the trigger here on Powell with three years of eligibility remaining.