Vols' 2010 needs go beyond point guard

Tennessee men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl doesn’t need to think hard when assessing his team’s recruiting needs for the Class of 2010.

The Vols have five scholarships to offer, and after point guards Josh Selby and Aaron Craft’s de-commitments over the past 2 1/2 months, only one firm prospective signee is penciled in.

Jordan McRae, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard from Liberty County High School in Midway, Ga., said late Sunday night he’s a solid verbal commitment and will sign this fall.

“I’m staying put,’’ McRae said. “Coach Pearl will sign a good class, I know that.’’

Pearl, reached via e-mail in Israel on Monday where he is coaching the U.S. team in the Maccabiah Games, said one of his top priorities is landing a point guard to complement JUCO signee Melvin Goins, who joins the Vols this fall with two years of eligibility remaining.

“We’ll need a three (wing) to replace J.P. (Prince),’’ Pearl said, “and a four (power forward) to replace Tyler (Smith) and Wayne (Chism).

“This will be an important class to complement our returners. We may need a five (post) as well.’’

OK, so what doesn’t UT need?

As Pearl alluded to, Bobby Maze, Prince, Smith, Chism, and Josh Tabb are all seniors — so that’s five players. Five is the maximum a team can sign in one class.

Scotty Hopson will only be a sophomore this season, but Hopson’s game appears to have grown by leaps since his timid freshman season.

Hopson, a 6-7 shooting guard, has adjusted the trajectory on his 3-point shot and learned to finish with more authority at the rim.

That could mean this is Hopson’s last season with the Vols, though he said this summer he has not given the NBA much thought.

Prince, a 6-7 wing, has undergone shoulder surgery two consecutive summers and has yet to have a healthy offseason. If he were to want to redshirt, with hopes of giving himself an entire summer to lift weights and condition, UT would need to apply for a waiver.

It’s all speculative — much like recruiting.

Losing Selby, the No. 2-rated point guard in the Class of 2010, was a blow to the class according to Dave Telep, Scout.com’s director of scouting.

“Josh Selby has distinguished himself as one of the best scoring guards in the country. He’s very difficult to guard off the bounce,’’ said Telep, who saw Selby play in Charlottesville, Va., last month. “He’s kind of a pied piper — he’s a guy that other kids like playing with.

“It’s obviously a tough blow.’’

Telep said there has been a trend of players de-committing only to end up signing with that same school.

“It you’re Tennessee, you hope that trend continues and you stick in there,’’ Telep said. “He’s a perfect fit for Tennessee’s style of play.’’

UT associate head coach Tony Jones and assistant Steve Forbes are in Las Vegas scouting the various AAU Tournaments.

Schedule Boost? Jones confirmed rumors that the Vols are in discussions with Connecticut about a possible home-and-home series that could start as early as next season.

“It’s all preliminary, and we talk to a lot of teams,’’ Jones said, “but we’re always interested in bettering our schedule and bringing great teams to play in Knoxville in front of our fans.’’

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Comments » 32

txvolsfan writes:

Bruce, You will definetly earn your money recruiting soon!!!
You're the man!!!

ULTIMATE_VOL_WARRIOR writes:

This hurts...Pearl was one of the first to offer. Now Shelby is having some good camps and everyone comes calling. Where is the loyalty?

bugman (Inactive) writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

low iq..it's ok, we understand

samjrr writes:

horse feathers!

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If you didn't see improvement in JuJan, Lofton, Bradshaw, Wingate, Patterson, Asumnu, and Watson, than you must be a Cheating Illini fan in disguise. If you don't think that Brian Williams, Scotty Hopson, and Wayne Chism are way better than when they arrived, than you haven't been paying attention and you only want to whine.

Major_Magilicutty writes:

Don't really understand the negativity of all the poser Vols on here. Have a little faith for once in your lives all you fairweather fans!!! Damn I get so tired of some of you fake Tennessee fans sometimes....nothin's ever good enough and the coach don't know jack ever!

You guys are really pathetic.

TommyJack writes:

CBP will provide.

GhostofRobertNeyland writes:

in response to Major_Magilicutty:

Don't really understand the negativity of all the poser Vols on here. Have a little faith for once in your lives all you fairweather fans!!! Damn I get so tired of some of you fake Tennessee fans sometimes....nothin's ever good enough and the coach don't know jack ever!

You guys are really pathetic.

My thoughts exactly. I honestly believe we are so hated because we have the greatest team song. I can't (and I bet most others can't either) name 5 different school songs, but everyone knows Rocky Top. JMO

Ironcity writes:

in response to Major_Magilicutty:

Don't really understand the negativity of all the poser Vols on here. Have a little faith for once in your lives all you fairweather fans!!! Damn I get so tired of some of you fake Tennessee fans sometimes....nothin's ever good enough and the coach don't know jack ever!

You guys are really pathetic.

As someone told me yesterday, I will tell you, the negative posters are not Vol fans. Their wanabees who have nothing better to do but troll the UT website. They blurt out anything that they think might get a rise out of us. It tends to work. These are people who probably don't even know the names of the players on the team. If you read their post the best thing to do is laugh at their stupidity and move on.

golfballs03 writes:

So bottom line... make the most of 09-10. Seriously though, we will get some talent. We've had so much interest, but have had to deny some kids some scholarships. Now they will get looks, and they are the kids who will stick around and work hard. I have complete faith that Bruce Pearl will bring in the kind of kids that Tennessee needs.

Chris4Vols22 writes:

If anyone doesn't know, Selby is a baller. His videos are very impressive and he has an AWESOME report in ESPN.com. This is a big blow for Tennessee basketball.

volfaninwh writes:

when is signing day for B ball

BSweet writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not looking to trade insults with you, but compare UT under Buzz to UT under Pearl. Definite improvement. We are not an elite program, nor have we ever been one, but we are at greater heights now than we have ever been. I would like to think Pearl can take us to championship heights, but only time will tell. I don't assume to know the future, and I don't think others should assume to know the future either.

1vavolfan writes:

I agree this is a big blow for UT hoops, the recruiting class for next year is a big question mark, remember Aaron Craft has already decommitted.Pearl seems to go after players based on athletic ability and it makes no difference if the kid can shoot or has a basketball IQ.This was evident last season as we just had a collection of talented athletes running loose with no direction whatsoever and had noone who could hit an outside shot.He has also brought some pretty low character kids in here as well (see Crews and Ramar). This Selby kid looks like more of the same,a heck of a player but obviously dumb as a rock and of questionable character(per announcing decommitment via facebook, having his momma call coaching staff).

BasketVols writes:

in response to volfaninwh:

when is signing day for B ball

April 15 is the start of the regular signing season. Recruits who want to sign early can do just that in November.

kamikawa#225370 writes:

MorristownVOL obviously has a grudge against Coach Pearl or looking for a reason to gripe.

Slystone writes:

Interesting no conversation on Joe Jackson. One would think he would be the main target for Pearl now. I still don't think Pearl has a clue or the inside track to recruiting Memphis.

newtonrail writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Are you the same guy who slams Majors, then Fulmer, then Kiffin? You obviously have an ax to grind with Pearl. He signed my program. Not yours, huh?

VOLKING writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's a shame you feel the need to post something negative about Pearl every chance you get. We get it, already. We don't agree and none of your childish rantings on here are going to change anything. You just don't get it though, so I am sure we all look forward to the next b-ball story so you can enlighten us with your Pearl-bashing. It's like a little kid standing in the room screaming "look at me, look at me." We see you, kid.

volfan73120#211815 writes:

in response to VOLKING:

It's a shame you feel the need to post something negative about Pearl every chance you get. We get it, already. We don't agree and none of your childish rantings on here are going to change anything. You just don't get it though, so I am sure we all look forward to the next b-ball story so you can enlighten us with your Pearl-bashing. It's like a little kid standing in the room screaming "look at me, look at me." We see you, kid.

Good post volking. Morristownvol is a disgrace to that fine city of vol fans.

Volomatic writes:

If CBP isn't that good of a coach, then why was he selected to coach the usa team in the World Maccabiah Games. Seems to me someone saw some talent. But we shouldn't look at his winning % since hes been here compared to our last few coaches or anything we should just listen to morrisclownvol who might actually be a tarheel fan. What a loser.

JCforUTVols writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

maybe if you learned to spell someone might take you serious

BigOrangeVol writes:

Unless I'm mistaken, Pearl has a D-I winning percentage of .71 and has taken 7 of his 8 teams to the NCAA Tournament (87.5%).

As a D-II coach he had an 83.4 winning percentage and took all 9 of his teams to the NCAA D-II Tournaments with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishes in three of those years.

Ernie Grunfeld is responsible for the hire. He is the one that set everything up between Bruce and Hammy. I'm inclined to believe that Ernie has a greater basketball I.Q. than any person on this board. Any two-time first team NCAA All-Americans on here? Any Gold Medal Olympians here? Any First-round NBA Draft picks? How about any 9-year NBA veteran players? Any NBA Assistant Coaches? Any NBA General Managers? Any NBA Presidents of Basketball Operations?

Is there anyone on here that thinks they know more about basketball, coaches and talent than Ernie G.? Just curious.

I said it yesterday and I'll say it again.... we have to get off the Adidas contract and get with Nike or we're screwed.

born2ride writes:

Too much blame being put on Pearl here for losing Selby - it's John Calipari and his bag man William Wesley (aka WWW) who stole a committed recruit from UT and are breaking the rules. Until the NCAA catches these slimeball cheaters again (Cal has been caught at UMass & Memphis) and slaps Kentucky with probation the honest SEC schools will not be able to compete with these crooked vulchers for the top players.

BigOrangeVol writes:

Morristown, obviously you don't know that Tony Jones and Steve Forbes do the 90% of the recruiting for this staff.

You also seem to have no concept of the importance the Maccabiah Games (The Jewish Olympics) has within the Jewish community either. Bruce is coaching his son and Dan Grunfeld (Ernie's son) and Bruce's daughter, Jacqui, is a team manager. The games are the third largest sporting event in the World.

If you knew anything at all about recruiting then you would know that July 1-6 is a Quiet Period; July 6-15 is an Evaluation Period; July 16-21 is a Dead Period and the rest of July is an Evaluation Period. They haven't had a Contact Period since April and won't have another before September 9. So the time that Coach Pearl has spent in Israel is a period where coaches can't contact recruits anyway!!!

Please do some homework before you waste time with more uninformed blather.

BigOrangeVol writes:

dog, I think that Ernie is doing just fine as the President of an NBA team. I doubt that a college head coaching job is as attractive or lucrative.

Biggie writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're a sad man. Why don't you get out of your Mothers basement and go see a game or two. You'll see what a real coach is like in person.

GreyhairedVol writes:

in response to A_VOICE_OF_REASON:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Most of the people on here have no clue about the history of UT basketball. Pearl has had his success with smoking mirrors. He has accumulated a ton of wins in a league that may have never been so bad. The Sec has not been much better than Conference USA. It has been that bad.
Morristown is right about one thing, Where is the post season success? I have not expected final 4's but I was hoping last years team would have done much better.
And do vol fans really think things are going to get better for us with Calipari at Kentucky? This guy, (shady or not) will recruit the best of the best every year. He has a proven track record. He puts his kids into the pros and his teams generally make deep runs into the tourney. Kids are going to wait in line to play for Kentucky. Calipari will not have to cheat any longer. (If he has been)?
I may be wrong but I truly believe that this is Bruce Pearls last year as a vol. I think this is a reason why he is not worried about recruiting like he should be. Sorry, if I an offending anyone but I have been a fan for a very long time and I am just giving one mans opinion.

johnlg00 writes:

All the talk about Selby's decommittal and Nike's likely involvement in it has crystallized some thoughts I have been having for some time now. I have always been a huge fan of college basketball and I guess I will continue to watch it as long as it is on TV--old habits die hard--but my heart is no longer in it the way it was for most of my 60+ years.

It used to be that schools went after recruits trying to sell the value of a degree from that school, or at least the value of contacts in the city or state in helping an athlete build a life after his playing days. Now the emphasis is ALL about how big a shoe contract a kid can expect after his cameo appearance at a school which is on TV all the time. All that has been said about the modern athletic recruiting process tells me that this is no longer a game so-called institutions of higher learning should be playing anymore.

I don't doubt in the least that UT suffers in recruiting these days because they are associated with adidas rather than Nike. I just don't see why that should be such a factor for anybody. I know, I know, how else can the school recoup its investment in TBA, the practice facility, etc., if it is not fielding a big-time team? I love the pageantry of college sports as much as the next guy, but increasingly I have to wonder how much further from any identifiable education mission colleges can go before the whole enterprise becomes just another commercial venture. College sports becomes just another professional league, only the players get paid under the table and get promised riches later instead of getting paid in the open and up front.

Some would say that it has been this way for years, and I would agree to some extent. I have stated several times that the money we are paying coaches is just the price we have to pay to play with the big boys. However, the influence of shoe companies, unreal pro contracts, AAU programs, and shady "street advisers" has led to a qualitative change in college sports, and not in a good way, IMHO. I have to wonder how long the facade of "college sports" can be maintained before the whole huge edifice comes crashing down.

I can't blame the kids, many of whom come from impoverished backgrounds, for playing what they increasingly see as "the only game in town", but I have to wonder how long colleges can continue to play their role in legitimizing it.

Slystone writes:

in response to johnlg00:

All the talk about Selby's decommittal and Nike's likely involvement in it has crystallized some thoughts I have been having for some time now. I have always been a huge fan of college basketball and I guess I will continue to watch it as long as it is on TV--old habits die hard--but my heart is no longer in it the way it was for most of my 60+ years.

It used to be that schools went after recruits trying to sell the value of a degree from that school, or at least the value of contacts in the city or state in helping an athlete build a life after his playing days. Now the emphasis is ALL about how big a shoe contract a kid can expect after his cameo appearance at a school which is on TV all the time. All that has been said about the modern athletic recruiting process tells me that this is no longer a game so-called institutions of higher learning should be playing anymore.

I don't doubt in the least that UT suffers in recruiting these days because they are associated with adidas rather than Nike. I just don't see why that should be such a factor for anybody. I know, I know, how else can the school recoup its investment in TBA, the practice facility, etc., if it is not fielding a big-time team? I love the pageantry of college sports as much as the next guy, but increasingly I have to wonder how much further from any identifiable education mission colleges can go before the whole enterprise becomes just another commercial venture. College sports becomes just another professional league, only the players get paid under the table and get promised riches later instead of getting paid in the open and up front.

Some would say that it has been this way for years, and I would agree to some extent. I have stated several times that the money we are paying coaches is just the price we have to pay to play with the big boys. However, the influence of shoe companies, unreal pro contracts, AAU programs, and shady "street advisers" has led to a qualitative change in college sports, and not in a good way, IMHO. I have to wonder how long the facade of "college sports" can be maintained before the whole huge edifice comes crashing down.

I can't blame the kids, many of whom come from impoverished backgrounds, for playing what they increasingly see as "the only game in town", but I have to wonder how long colleges can continue to play their role in legitimizing it.

Well said John... Don't hate the player... understand the Game!

TopTenn writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Get lost..........loser

mike#208050 writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You tell them MorristownVOL...

Most of what you say is the painful truth. Outside of this region, Pearl, as a coach, is a joke.

You are judged in coaching on what you have accomplished. Pearl has been around long enough to have made a mark for himself. Making it occassionally to the sweet-sixteen is not getting it done, given all the "so-called talent" you have had.

Where are all these guys playing now that Pearl has made better and developed? I'll take a nap while you try to work that out.

Fact is, John Calipari is building a dynasty in Lexington with Memphis recruits. And in spite of that, Josh Pashner is reloading the Memphis program at an impressive rate. Memphis will be in the NCAA tournament next year, no problem. They have a lot of talent left.

Yes, Conf-USA has been the butt of all your jokes. You really should get off that, your SEC commissioner was the commissioner of Conf-USA when you hired him. Fact is, Memphis has been getting a #1 or #2 seeds in the NCAA tournament dispite being from lowly Conf-USA.

The times have changed quickly for Bruce Pearl. He now has Calipari out recruiting him and screwing with his commitments to the point they are decommiting. There is a true hate relationship still there and Pashner & Calipari will get the best talent out of Tennessee and the surrounding area, you can count on that. You said it MorristownVol, every great prospect has Memphis and Kentucky on their list right now.

Your coach should be recruiting instead of touring the holy land and playing with his girlfriend in Vegas.

TIGRFAN in knoxville

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