Tennessee did all of their damage nearly at once in the transfer portal this offseason, quickly adding sharpshooter Jordan Gainey and do-everything forward Chris Ledlum. They saved their best work for last, putting the cherry on top of the group by adding one of the most sought after players in the country.
Dalton Knecht picked Tennessee over Oregon, giving the Volunteers some size and shooting in the backcourt. The 6-6 Knecht comes from Northern Colorado, where he poured in over 20 points per game as a senior. Now with one year left, Knecht heads east to the SEC, looking to make the 2023-24 season a special one on Rocky Top.
“Dalton is just a terrific story of a guy whose hard work has enabled him to steadily improve his game,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said. “He’s grown nearly a foot since he started playing high school ball. And as he’s grown, he’s expanded his skill set as well. He’s a proven scorer and was one of the top offensive producers in the portal, so he immediately gives our team a boost in offensive firepower.”
Per 247Sports, Knecht was the 12th ranked player in the transfer portal.
Knecht shot 38 percent from three-point range last season. Additionally, using that newfound length, he pulled down 7.2 rebounds per contest. Knecht started all 32 games last season, scoring 30+ points in three of those outings.
He’s not just a shooter, either. Knecht takes advantage of his handles and 6-6 frame to attack the rim and finish. He flat out embarrassed defenders as he came downhill, putting together plenty of highlight reel dunks last season.
“Beyond being a high-level shooter, his ability to put the ball on the floor and attack downhill with athleticism really drew our attention,” Barnes continued. “He’s another guy who comes from a great family, and we’re excited to welcome them into our Volunteer family.”
On paper, Tennessee’s backcourt looks the part. Zakai Zeigler will eventually be back to 100 percent coming off of the torn ACL, and Santiago Vescovi returns for one more season. Jahmai Mashack will look to build on a strong close to the year. Knecht has now joined that group, adding a long, legitimate shooter to the equation. Freddie Dilione and Jordan Gainey are also in this mix.
The Vols are deeper for sure, and this appears to be a group that’s going to be able to shoot the ball much more efficiently than last year. Tennessee’s downfall last season was inconsistent offense — Rick Barnes has tackled that problem head on this offseason.