The Tennessee men’s basketball team needed more quickness and toughness on the perimeter this past season.
No one got that point better than Vols coach Bruce Pearl.
So UT went out and got a point. One of the best point guards in the junior college ranks, Melvin Goins of Mount San Jacinto, Calif., said Sunday that he has committed to UT.
Goins, 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, is an explosive penetrator who earned Foothill Conference Player of the Year honors last season.
Prior to junior college, Goins made the Mid-American Conference All-Freshman team at Ball State and started 27 of 30 games.
“Coach Pearl likes to play the way I like to play,’’ Goins said. “Fast-paced, getting up and down the court and getting after it on the defensive end.’’
Goins is originally from San Diego, but he moved to the Houston area in high school and played AAU basketball in Texas.
UT fans need look no further than the Vols’ last opponent to find a player Goins’ style of play compares to — Oklahoma State’s Byron Eaton.
“I actually came up under Byron and played on the same AAU basketball team,’’ Goins said. “I learned a lot from him.’’
Goins said the weekend’s rains prevented him from getting the full Tennessee experience on his visit, but he saw enough to know that he liked Knoxville.
“I can tell it’s a great place,’’ said Goins, who attended UT’s spirited football practice Saturday. “People are really involved in the sports community.
“The main thing for me was Coach Pearl and his staff, and how involved they are in their players and how close everyone is.’’
Goins will compete with senior Bobby Maze at point guard this season, though it’s likely in Pearl’s nine- and 10-man rotation that both will see a lot of minutes.
Goins said he also considered Kentucky, Cincinnati, Nebraska and Marquette.
Kenny Hall, a power forward out of Stone Mountain, Ga., is a signee in this year’s UT class.
Goins said he plans to enroll in the first term of summer school in June, and he plans to play in the Pilot Rocky Top League.
“Coach Pearl was telling me about that, and I’m looking forward to it,’’ Goins said. “That was just the icing on the cake for me. I’m anxious to get involved.’’