5 Burning questions as Tennessee gets set to take the court
Many would probably point to Uros Plavsic as the one big man that could have an impactful presence on this team. However, with Plavsic’s eligibility status still being up in the air, it could force some other big men on the team to take on a larger role. 6 foot 11 Zach Kent is a player who could really surprise some fans this upcoming season. Of course, we all know about John Fulkerson and the effort he is going to lay on the floor on a nightly basis, but Kent has the potential to be very versatile. There’s some uncertainty with the Vols Post players with or without Plavsic.
4. Which Guards will handle the point guard duty?
Last season the Vols relied on Jordan Bone, who went on to forgo his senior season for the NBA. Tennessee has a multitude of options at the Point Guard spot this year. Lamonte Turner who has a ton of experience running the point will more than likely be the primary ball-handler. However, Jordan Bowden served some duties as a point guard last season here and there. Many should expect Bowden to hold down the shooting guard position most of the minutes he’s on the floor. With this being said I would expect Josiah James to get a heavy dose of point guard considering he primarily played point guard in high school. James’ wingspan and build give him a huge advantage, to be an irritant on the defensive side of the floor.
3. How will Rick Barnes approach the pace of play this season?
Last year the Vols changed up the pace quite a bit. With Grant Willams on the floor, they would run many half-court sets to play to his strengths. While they could also balance the pace out by going up-tempo when they wanted to. Jordan Bone was the type of player who just knew when to attack and when to pull the ball out. It will be interesting to see what Barnes wants done this year, considering the team will be vastly different. With Tennessee being guard-heavy, I would expect them to push the tempo a lot more.
2. Who will lead the Vols in Scoring?
Tennessee has many options they can turn towards whenever they need a bucket. The Vols have a lot of guards who are able to fill it up. Lamonte Turner is a streaky scorer and shooter who can get hot at any moment. You could also say the same about Jordan Bowden and his ability to put the ball in the basket, but consistency will be vital for him this upcoming season. Freshman Josiah James could be a dark horse pick with his pure talent. James comes in with expectations to produce for Tennessee from the jump, and we see freshman step in from day one and dominate all across the country, so many wonders if James could do the same.
1. What will be the end result with Uros Plavsic’s eligibility wavier?
Many Tennessee fans have been eagerly awaiting news on Uros Plavsic’s wavier for months now. From the beginning, Rick Barnes and the Vols have believed that they have a strong case for Plavsic to get cleared. With Tennessee’s season starting up very shortly, it only puts more pressure on the coaching staff to figure out how they will handle the situation. If the Vols do not receive an answer soon, you have to wonder how they will roll the 5 man lineups out in practice. Will Barnes prepare as if they will have Uros, or will he decide to give others reps as they await a decision from the NCAA?
Matt Ray is the managing content editor for VR2. He founded VR2 in November of 2017. He is an FWAA Member and covers Tennessee prospects across the country from the Opening Regional Camp series to Under Armour All-American game and everything in between.