The Tennessee basketball offseason has been a busy one, as expected. Multiple departures and multiple high-profile additions have the Volunteers looking deeper than ever heading into the 2021-22 season — and perhaps a little more balanced.
As expected, Tennessee lost Keon Johnson, Jaden Springer and Yves Pons to the NBA Draft, creating quite a few needs going into next year. Five-star point guard Kennedy Chandler should solve a lot of issues, while five-star power forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield brings a big boost to the frontcourt.
Former Auburn sharpshooter Justin Powell solves another offensive issue, and Jahmai Mashack, Quentin Diboundje and Jonas Aidoo provide immediate depth and future pieces.
“We’re really excited, obviously about the younger guys that we have coming in and have pretty much been able to do it the old-fashioned way, with the exception of one person coming through the transfer portal,” Barnes said of Tennessee’s offseason to this point. “We’ve been recruiting high school players. We’re always recruiting and always evaluating.”
After all of that, Tennessee still has two scholarships remaining. Adding another post player or even another shooter would make sense, but as of right now, the staff’s plan is to hold what they’ve got.
“As of now, we’re not planning on doing anything,” Barnes said of any additional moves. “Again, it could change because of the transfer portal and just day-to-day now, I think the biggest thing now is that you have to be in position to manage the roster. I’ve said to you guys, we don’t ever stop recruiting. We’re already down the road. It would have to be something really special for us to add to what we have right now.”
As you know, the transfer portal world is ever changing. New options open up seemingly every day, but clearly this staff is comfortable where they’re at.
Rick Barnes will also be breaking in a couple of new assistant coaches after Demond Oliver and Kim English landed head coaching jobs. That’s quite a bit of change for one offseason, and it’s going to be interesting to see if Barnes can manufacture a bounceback season.