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Vols’ freshmen included in ESPN’s 2021 NBA mock draft

The hype is real.

City Of Palms Classic Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

I mean, if you follow men’s college basketball, then you know how high the expectations are for the Tennessee Volunteers in 2020.

Most of the players from last year’s team are returning, but Rick Barnes has also assembled one of the nation’s top recruiting classes. The class includes two five-star players in Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson, but he also nabbed a four-star guy in Corey Walker. Those three guys, along with a few others, currently have the Vols at No. 4 in the nation when it comes to recruiting rankings.

There’s going to be some hype whenever you get a five-star kid, so naturally, the hype has been cranked up in Knoxville due to the fact that the Vols have two five-star recruits.

Well, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has bought the hype. The four-lettered network released its most recent 2021 NBA mock draft and guess what? Yep. Both Springer and Johnson were included in the mock.

Johnson was listed as a lottery pick, while Springer is currently considered a late first-rounder. To be exact, Johnson was listed as the 13th overall pick and Springer was selected as the 28th overall pick.

Both players - along with Walker and the rest of the class - should provide a major boost for a Vols team that struggled on offense throughout most of the 2019 season. Barnes isn’t usually known for coaching one-and-done type players, but hey, he’s trying to continue building Tennessee into a contender, so any elite help is always appreciated.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out this year.