The Tennessee Men’s Basketball 2020-21 season is expected to be as good or better than the season of 2018-19 when the Vols finished 31-6 (15-3 SEC). Rick Barnes, who is beginning his 5th year as head coach, is hopeful that the country’s #4 recruiting class for 2020 will ultimately help this team go the distance.
This class includes highly-regarded, talented freshmen such as Jaden Springer, a prized 5-Star shooting guard. Director of Basketball Scouting for 247 Sports, Jerry Meyer, describes Springer as having “tremendous strength and build for a combo guard” and is “effective in traffic and plays through contact”. He is joined by another 5-Star from Bell Buckle, TN, shooting guard Keon Johnson and also forward Corey Walker, a high 4-Star rated recruit. This notable group also includes Malachi Wideman, a two-sport recruit from Venice, FL who was ranked in the top 200 Best in football and basketball, though it remains to be seen is Wideman will ever suit up for the BasketVols after football season.
Transfers, E.J. Anosike, a 6’7” 245 lb. power forward from Sacred Heart, and Victor Bailey, Jr., a 6’4” 185 lb. point guard and redshirt junior from the University of Oregon, are also noteworthy additions. With returning veterans John Fulkerson, Yves Pons, Santiago Vescovi, Josiah Jordan-James and others, Tennessee’s roster is teeming with potential for a potentially recording-breaking season.
While Tennessee’s out-of-conference and inter-conference schedule has not been finalized due to Covid-19, it will surely prove to be challenging and very demanding. Before league play begins, the Vols will participate in the Charleston Classic alongside teams such as Florida State, Oklahoma State and Penn State. They are also slated to play Wisconsin, Cincinnati and Memphis in out-of-conference and, of course, the ever-tough SEC schedule featuring the likes of Kentucky, LSU and Auburn. Andy Katz, an analyst for the Big Ten Network and a correspondent for the NCAA, picked the Vols to finish No. 1 or 2 in the SEC and CBS Sports has chosen them to finish first.
This Tennessee team is definitely showing the qualities and abilities that merit recognition and pre-season accolades. But, will this translate into an abundance of W’s, especially in the postseason? The prospect of Rocky Top becoming the “Home of Champions” in basketball is more promising now than maybe ever before.