Tennessee picked up their first commitment out of the transfer portal on Tuesday afternoon, landing USC Upstate guard Jordan Gainey. If the name sounds familiar, you’re not going crazy — it’s Tennessee assistant coach Justin Gainey’s son.
The Volunteers faced Jordan during his freshman year, hosting USC Upstate at Thompson-Boling Arena.
This isn’t a family favor, either. Gainey was an all-conference selection last season in the Big South after averaging more than 15 points per game. He will have two seasons of eligibility left to play in Knoxville.
Of course, the Big South isn’t exactly the SEC. However, Gainey has proven his worth as a shooter, connecting on a ridiculous 49 percent of his shots as a true freshman. Gainey hit 74-150 shots from beyond the arc during that season, but since cooled to a 34 percent clip during the 2022-23 season.
Tennessee needs shooting with Tyreke Key and potentially Santiago Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James gone. They add that here, and it’s going to be interesting to see how he adjusts to the uptick in competition.
The Volunteers are waiting on those decisions from Vescovi and James, along with veteran big man Uros Plavsic. Olivier Nkamhoua has already hit the portal. Julian Phillips is weighing an NBA decision. The decisions of the remaining four will shape the rest of the offseason for Rick Barnes and his staff.
Borderline five-star combo guard Freddie Dillione joined the team midseason and will get his first action this fall. Four-star big J.P. Estrella, four-star guard Cameron Carr and three-star power forward Cade Phillips will join the team this summer. Tennessee will also be waiting on point guard Zakai Zeigler to return from his torn ACL, which was suffered with just two games left in the regular season.
If nothing else, Tennessee simply swapped out Key for Gainey today. The 6-4, 175 pound, career 40 percent three-point shooter certainly fills a need for Barnes, no matter what else happens during the offseason.