McBee couldn't turn down UT; Grainger guard to walk on, could earn scholarship in 2010

Grainger High School combo guard Skylar McBee is determined to prove his ability on the grander stages of college basketball, even if it means shunning guaranteed scholarship money elsewhere.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior decided Thursday to walk on as a freshman at the University of Tennessee and likely be on scholarship as a sophomore.

He met with Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl and assistant Steve Forbes on campus Thursday and committed to the Vols. He turned down recent offers from Santa Clara and Marshall to play inside Thompson-Boling Arena.

“If you’re a competitor and someone tells you you can’t do something, that makes you want to do it that much more,” he said. “I think I can play at that level.

“Hopefully, working hard enough, I’ll be able to prove that.”

McBee averaged 24 points, 8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.6 steals this past season and was an all-state selection.

He was a target of Wake Forest from November until mid-April, when the Demon Deacons filled their final spot with junior college guard Konner Tucker.

McBee visited Santa Clara and Marshall in early-to-mid April. Santa Clara is coached by former Tennessee assistant Kerry Keating, who served on Buzz Peterson’s staff.

“(The visit to Santa Clara) was great. It really was,” said McBee. “But Tennessee is one of those things. It’s where I’ve always wanted to play. I grew up wanting to play at UT. Now that I have this opportunity, I couldn’t turn it down. It’s one of those things that if I did, I would have regretted it. I would’ve always wondered.”

Tennessee coaches talked to McBee about playing the 2-guard.

“I could become a combo (guard),” he said. “They want me to play more off the ball, though.

“But with walking on, it’s going to have to be earned. They’re giving me a shot. They didn’t say anything about (promising) playing time. But if you can come in and make open shots, you can find playing time. So, not really promises for playing time but for an opportunity.”

McBee will enroll in summer school at Tennessee in early June. He will play in the Rocky Top League again, he said.

“Right now, I can go to open gym, which I have been doing,” he said. “I had been playing pick-up games with them (at Pratt Pavilion).”

McBee could be a weapon from behind the arc if he finds the floor as a freshman. He made 39.5 percent of his 220 3-point shots last season. He also made 82.5 percent of his 280 foul shots.

He finished his high school career with 2,362 points.

“He’s a great 3-point shooter,” said Grainger coach Derrick Combs. “He shot 40 percent for us behind the line. Most were highly contested. He was well guarded for most of the year.

“If given the chance, he can help (Tennessee) in that aspect, to maybe loosen some defenses.”

McBee hasn’t reached his potential either, Combs added.

“He’s never had a preseason to get ready for a basketball season, because he’s always been on the football field. Once they get him there and get him in the weight program and some basketball specific training, I think he can blow up.

“I think they got a steal. I really do.”

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Comments » 65

golfballs03 writes:

Scouts, Inc. evaluation:
Reminds many of us in Eastern Tennessee of former Florida hotshot Lee Humphrey. His picture perfect jumper is a thing of beauty and his understanding of the game is well above his years. McBee plays in a rural environment but was awesome this summer playing for a top notch program that showcased his skills and brought him some much needed attention. He can run the point and this should be his position of choice; however, his deadly jumper makes him a weapon from the three-point line. Skyler will need to step up his defensive effort and make better use of his footwork and positioning. He is a good athlete but will have trouble guarding the ultra quick guards in the bigger conferences.

TommyJack writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your post almost beat the article. Facinating.

golfballs03 writes:

Good for him. Glad to see a local kid get a shot. All I ask is that he's a hard worker. I remember one local kid who walked on at PG. He turned out pretty good.
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2...

shoalcreekvol writes:

Welcome Skylar. Regardless of what the Chattanooga media says, this is the kind of character we need more of...

morenoble writes:

I saw him play several times this past summer in the Rocky Top League. The first night, he was playing and he popped a 3. Assuming he was a college kid from somewhere other than UT, I checked the program to see who he was. I was shocked to see he was a rising senior from Rutledge. He was fearless playing against the much more "famous" college guys like Tyler Smith, etc. He continued to make 3s. In my opinion, he was the second best 3 shooter I saw - the best was Pigram(?) from ETSU.

Did anyone else see him play at "Rocky Top"? Am I correct?

golfballs03 writes:

in response to morenoble:

I saw him play several times this past summer in the Rocky Top League. The first night, he was playing and he popped a 3. Assuming he was a college kid from somewhere other than UT, I checked the program to see who he was. I was shocked to see he was a rising senior from Rutledge. He was fearless playing against the much more "famous" college guys like Tyler Smith, etc. He continued to make 3s. In my opinion, he was the second best 3 shooter I saw - the best was Pigram(?) from ETSU.

Did anyone else see him play at "Rocky Top"? Am I correct?

Yeah, you're right.

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to LazhilUT:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

yea ole hansbrough , i seen on espn where they said hansbrough will not be a lottery pick and didnt see him doing much of anything in the nba.looks like he better go to europe

JohnyLobo34 writes:

Bruce Pearl needs to pay more attention to guys like this. Great athlets who can't shoot or catch the ball aren't that great an asset. Just like JuJuan, Skyler McBee is going to be golden. Out here in NorCal there was a blip in the San Francisco Chronicle the other day about Santa Clara waiting on a decision from McBee. This is no small development for the Vols.

UTVolAlum writes:

Welcome to Big Orange Country Skylar McBee!!

PaulTheVol writes:

He can shoot lights out. The problem is he can't stop the other guy from scoring. He was on Wake's radar for awhile before they finally went in another direction. He has skills, the issue is speed.

jzt writes:

Good player, good student, plays smart Bruce needs this guy.

johnlg00 writes:

Sounds like good news for the program. Now I just hope he really does get a chance to show what he can do. Unless one or, hopefully, more of the holdovers comes back in burning it up from outside, Skylar should at least get some spot duty in the early non-conference schedule. I haven't seen him play, so I can't judge his athleticism--which as we all saw last year is frequently overrated anyway--but I have heard great things about his fundamentals and basketball IQ. If he turns into a legitimate zone-stretcher and can also deliver the post pass, we will have gotten a bargain.

MillisaAnn writes:

Welcome Skylar!!! Go Vols!!!

golfballs03 writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

well, honestly, i don't see this guy logging significant PT anytime soon. but hopefully he can just work on getting better and help our team off the bench

EnglewoodVol writes:

if he can shoot...he'll play. I think they need to hold a schoolwide HORSE competition and the winner should get a scholly.

rclarkvols#224537 writes:

I heard the same comments about a player in Kentucky by Louisville and Kentucky fans. He can shoot but he's too slow and not athletic enough. His name is Chris Lofton and he turned out to be okay. You can't measure the heart of a kid who has a dream and is willing to work hard to make it come true.

TkelynN writes:

in response to rclarkvols#224537:

I heard the same comments about a player in Kentucky by Louisville and Kentucky fans. He can shoot but he's too slow and not athletic enough. His name is Chris Lofton and he turned out to be okay. You can't measure the heart of a kid who has a dream and is willing to work hard to make it come true.

dang it, I was going to say something like this... anyways, glad to have a shooter onboard, just do P90X and run 5 miles a day and no one will be able to keep up!

Volumnus writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Sounds like good news for the program. Now I just hope he really does get a chance to show what he can do. Unless one or, hopefully, more of the holdovers comes back in burning it up from outside, Skylar should at least get some spot duty in the early non-conference schedule. I haven't seen him play, so I can't judge his athleticism--which as we all saw last year is frequently overrated anyway--but I have heard great things about his fundamentals and basketball IQ. If he turns into a legitimate zone-stretcher and can also deliver the post pass, we will have gotten a bargain.

Skylar McBee as a walk-on is a steal for the program. It is also an insult to him after giving Goins a scholarship. Skylar is a smart kid who should have been awarded a scholarship straight up. Goins attended a substandard parochial charter school in Houston that is famous for its recruitment of athletes rather than teaching them to read.

It is good for the program that Skylar is coming. He can play the game. He is a 2 guard, pure as they come. He is smart enough to play the one, but may be a step slow, but he is a sterling two. I am thrilled that he is here, disappointed he is a walk-on but thrilled that he is here. Would have loved to see the point guard from Texas who played in the RTL come with him, to feed him the ball and play defense. But this is half the puzzle.

And folks this is not because that our crack coaching staff did a good job, it is because that he wanted to come here enough to pass up good offers. I hope that he is making the right decision for himself. I respect the results of our coaching program. I am not thrilled with the selection process that I have witnessed nor of the ethics concerning academics and personnel.

Welcome, young Mr. McBee! You deserved a scholarship. Go Vols!

EnglewoodVol writes:

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2...

http://www.gasolinealleyantiques.com/...

This is too good...any resemblance?...Sorry I had to.

old_number1 writes:

in response to robvols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think it was U.T.fan4life? Hadn't heard from his lately. Probably has school finals. But whoever it was, they were saying that he was exactly what U.T. b-ball needs!

Waldorf writes:

Never underestimate a kid who can shoot the lights out of a gym....this one can. Coaches can always find a place for a guy like him.

dvols writes:

say mcbee is money three times real fast

i'm just sayin

old_number1 writes:

in response to dvols:

say mcbee is money three times real fast

i'm just sayin

I'm thinking that Pearl is going to make sure Mcbee will get his school pd for. Even if he has to pay for it himself! I would if I was the coach, and I had to do that to get a quality guard for my team!! He can afford it, after all.

VOLFORLIFE writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

CatScratch! Are you okay?!?

You just said something nice about the Tennessee program and Coach Pearl, and complimented a future Vol! Maybe there's hope for this old world after all.

Just giving you a hard time, but you know what I mean.

If other "visitors" to this site would offer insights, observations and opinions such as yours and the ones 99gator provides, it would be, in my opinion, a much more pleasant experience for everyone.

GO VOLS!!!
JUGHEAD

dvols writes:

in response to old_number1:

I'm thinking that Pearl is going to make sure Mcbee will get his school pd for. Even if he has to pay for it himself! I would if I was the coach, and I had to do that to get a quality guard for my team!! He can afford it, after all.

"money" as in our announcers term

try the old number 7

i'm just sayin

CoverOrange writes:

in response to old_number1:

I'm thinking that Pearl is going to make sure Mcbee will get his school pd for. Even if he has to pay for it himself! I would if I was the coach, and I had to do that to get a quality guard for my team!! He can afford it, after all.

Aside from the fact that that would be a major violation...

Another idea might be for Kiffin to give him a scholarship (he's got plenty of those to hand out) for a year and just hang out around Haslem field in the fall. Redshirt his first year in BB to see if he can hack it then give him a BB scholly in 2010 after Maze, et al, graduates. Or is that illegal too?

old_number1 writes:

in response to dvols:

"money" as in our announcers term

try the old number 7

i'm just sayin

Hey, you're not going to believe this! I just made a jack and coke about 15 minutes ago! That is almost scary! But it sure is smooth!!

BillVol writes:

A true VOLUNTEER!

old_number1 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Aside from the fact that that would be a major violation...

Another idea might be for Kiffin to give him a scholarship (he's got plenty of those to hand out) for a year and just hang out around Haslem field in the fall. Redshirt his first year in BB to see if he can hack it then give him a BB scholly in 2010 after Maze, et al, graduates. Or is that illegal too?

If nobody finds out about it, it's not illegal!! J/K
I just think We just need some good guard play to have a really great season!

mbible1utk#324980 writes:

in response to shoalcreekvol:

Welcome Skylar. Regardless of what the Chattanooga media says, this is the kind of character we need more of...

I'm down here in Chattanooga now and I must say... this media is driving me crazy... if B.J. Coleman was really THAT good he would have been the leader... this is the same phooey that we went through when Joey Matthews got benched. It didn't matter that Joey Matthews threw the ball further vertically than horizontally no matter what direction... he'd get our receivers creamed! But yeah, Chattanooga sports media is phooey.

mbible1utk#324980 writes:

On a separate note.... Jajuan Smith turned out to be a pretty good walk on.... I say give the kid a shot, see what he learns, see what he can already do. If you can shoot the ball, you can shoot it... period

Slystone writes:

keeping in the tradition of a Travis Henry...

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Your post almost beat the article. Facinating.

Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice at the Looking Glass Hole.

Is this Kansas, ToTo?

old_number1 writes:

in response to mbible1utk#324980:

On a separate note.... Jajuan Smith turned out to be a pretty good walk on.... I say give the kid a shot, see what he learns, see what he can already do. If you can shoot the ball, you can shoot it... period

Hey, I'm in Cleveland. Have you heard what Sporttalk has been saying? I've missed it the last couple of days.

Wayfarer writes:

in response to wlvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This kid played in the Rocky Top league last summer and shot the lights out. He is the real deal. Yes, he will have to work hard but he has the shooting tools. He has the desire to be in the program now only time will tell. He may the next Dane Bradshaw. He's a gutsy player.

VOLKING writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How's Memphis doing? POSER. This guy is not a UNC fan, but an old Memphis poster who changed his screenname now that UM is irrelevant. LOSER and CHUMP. Tarheel fan my a##.

kb7398#233189 writes:

in response to wlvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're uninformed as well as ignorant. He played in the Rocky Top League as well as summers with the Mid State Ballerz and played top flight competition all the time. He drew double and triple teams while at Rutledge/Grainger and STILL averaged 24, 8 and 4.

Overrated? I think not. A bargain? You bet. A full ride to Santa Clara is probably worth a lot $$$. His heart is that of a true Volunteer. I'm glad he'll be on the team, but cautiously optimistic he's only got one year to be a walk-on.

Major_Magilicutty writes:

I've got nowhere else I can think to ask this question.

Does someone know of a website that lists all the music that the UT band and pep bands play?

I've always heard this one song that's awesome, but I can't find it. I think it's only at men's bball games but I'm not sure.

old_number1 writes:

in response to Florrible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nutscratchbeaver= FUNNY. Also, nice use of the word- haranguing! You don't see that one every day!!

old_number1 writes:

in response to Florrible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Me too. U.T. surely needs some guard play. Dang, this subway sandwitch is good!!

EnglewoodVol writes:

cricket....

old_number1 writes:

in response to EnglewoodVol:

cricket....

No, it was roast beef.

panties4tebow writes:

GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DandyVol writes:

in response to Major_Magilicutty:

I've got nowhere else I can think to ask this question.

Does someone know of a website that lists all the music that the UT band and pep bands play?

I've always heard this one song that's awesome, but I can't find it. I think it's only at men's bball games but I'm not sure.

For almost a year I looked for a song they play over the speakers.
It was Kernkraft 400, Stadium Chant by Zombie Nation.
I have never heard the band play this one, but maybe it is what you are looking for.

chad_t31 writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Are you still here??

HtownVol writes:

Glad that we are adding a shooter to the team. The biggest need for UT.
Did you all see on ESPN that Ric Petino is the leading coach to take over the Sacremento Kings? Has no real impact on UT, but Petino has pretty much owned us.
Go Vols, looks like we have a much better team this coming year. And once we get that 2010 class in we will own the SEC again!

volboy81 writes:

Cant wait to see you draining 3's, Skylar!
GO VOLS!!!

longball writes:

in response to wlvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

HAHAHAHA! I didn't know you graced the sports boards with your miserable presence as well. I'm so glad that I've read you're other posts to realize that you have no clue what you're talking about.

Great get for the Vols, and an absolute steal as a walk on!

Colliervol writes:

in response to PaulTheVol:

He can shoot lights out. The problem is he can't stop the other guy from scoring. He was on Wake's radar for awhile before they finally went in another direction. He has skills, the issue is speed.

Sounds like a guy we can use to catch and shoot when one of our "athletes" goes to the hole and kicks it out. (Certainly could have used somebody like that last season.) As folks have noted, the issue is if he can play the kind of defense that Pearl wants to play.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You'll have a hard time proving Pearl can't coach if you look at EVIDENCE. how many wins does he have again?

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