Although it’s not an official part of the schedule, Tennessee basketball is set to return this weekend. The Volunteers will head north on Sunday for a scrimmage against Michigan State — a top ten matchup to benefit the wildfire damage in Maui.
Tennessee won’t have a full roster available, however. Point guard Zakai Zeigler remains an unknown, currently in the final stages of recovering from a torn ACL. The Volunteers will also be without guard Santiago Vescovi, who is dealing with a family matter.
Barnes updated both on Wednesday ahead of the game.
“Santi won’t (be available),” Barnes said. “His grandmother is not doing well. He’s gonna leave tomorrow to go back home. And she’s very, very ill right now and he’d like to be with his family. So he’s leaving tomorrow to go back to Uruguay.”
Tennessee has Sunday’s scrimmage and another against Lenior-Rhyne on Halloween night. They officially open the season on November 6th against Tennessee Tech, so Vescovi has some time if he needs it.
As for Zeigler, it seems like he’s pretty close to a full return. Tennessee has kept him out of full court work through preseason practices, but it sounds like that started to change this week.
“I think we won’t know with Zakai until probably Saturday when we get through a practice,” Barnes said. “And you know, when he’s been fully cleared. And he’s starting to do more in practice. Yesterday he pretty much went through the majority of practice yesterday. I think he’ll do a lot today in the scrimmage when we get going today.
“That will be determined sometime, probably Saturday to be quite frank and how he does there.”
Freddie Dilione and Jordan Gainey worked at the point for Tennessee this summer during their overseas scrimmages. We’ll see if the training staff feels comfortable enough to let Zeigler get some time on Sunday.
The scrimmage against Michigan State is set for Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET. The Big Ten Network will have the call.