Transfer portal season rolls on — this time taking another guard from Tennessee. Justin Powell plans to move on from Knoxville, according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN. Powell would join Victor Bailey Jr. (George Mason), Quentin Diboundje (ECU), Handje Tamba and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (Louisville) as players to leave the program via the portal this offseason.
Tennessee guard Justin Powell plans to enter the transfer portal, source told ESPN. Averaged 11.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists and shot 44.2% from 3 as a freshman at Auburn. Played in 30 games as a sophomore with the Vols.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 27, 2022
Powell joined Tennessee last season after starting his career at Auburn. He was only able to play in a handful of games for Bruce Pearl as a freshman, but he made a huge impact when he was available. Concussions ended up costing him most of that season, however.
He moved on to Tennessee, which desperately needed three-point shooting. Powell just never was able to settle in. His minutes were sporadic, and faded as the season went on. The emergence of Zakai Zeigler really came out of nowhere, and Powell saw his minutes slashed as a result.
More than that though, Powell’s play didn’t exactly demand playing time. Rick Barnes demands his players put in the effort on the defensive end, and Powell didn’t seem to fit that mold. Barnes spoke about that a few times during the season.
Powell finished shooting 38 percent from three, scoring just 3.7 points while averaging 14 minutes per game.
Frankly, this isn’t a surprise. It took longer than expected, but as the season went on, it became clear that this wasn’t a great fit.
Tennessee now waits on final word from Santiago Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James, who have both entered the NBA Draft process. Neither one signed an agent, and both are expected to return.
The Volunteers will bring back Zakai Zeigler and Jahmai Mashack, while adding 2022 guard BJ Edwards and grad-transfer shooter Tyreke Key. They’ve continued to recruit the class of 2022, while also staying active in the portal. Tennessee will host former Iowa State guard Tyrese Hunter on Friday after appearing in his top six this week.