Tennessee made a few splashes in the transfer portal this offseason, revamping their roster as a few mainstays of the program exit. The Volunteers, looking for a little more juice on the offensive end, first added Jordan Gainey from USC Upstate. The son of Tennessee assistant coach Justin Gainey brings plenty of outside shooting to the table.
Gainey started 58 of the last 61 games for USC Upstate, averaging nearly 15 points during that span. Most importantly, Gainey connected on over 40 percent of his three-point attempts. As a freshman, he shot a ridiculous 49 percent from deep. For a Tennessee team that struggled with offensive consistency, that shooting will be welcomed.
Now officially able to talk about Gainey, Rick Barnes released a statement on the combo guard.
“We obviously know and love Jordan’s family, but his ability as a player stands on its own merit,” Barnes said. “He plays with a high basketball IQ and is a guy who makes his teammates better. We love his offensive versatility and his ability to shoot and score the ball in a variety of ways. In addition to giving us another shot-maker, he also competes on the defensive end and led (the Big South) in steals last year.”
That last sentence more than likely sold Barnes on the idea. You better be ready to play defense if you’re going to play for Barnes, and Gainey’s lofty 1.94 steals per game number proves his worth on that end of the floor.
Tennessee also added big guard Dalton Knecht and do-it-all forward Chris Ledlum from Harvard. Josiah-Jordan James, Julian Phillips, Uros Plavsic and Olivier Nkamhoua are expected to move on from the program, but have yet to officially announce their plans.
Gainey should have two seasons of eligibility remaining. The 6-4, 175 pound guard will slot in behind Santiago Vescovi, Zakai Zeigler, Dalton Knecht and Jahmai Mashack to begin his time in Knoxville, likely giving Tennessee some offensive pop off of the bench.