First stop, Memphis.
Martin took advantage of the first day of the contact period by touring talent-rich Memphis high schools, including Melrose, Southwind, Central, White Station and Briarcrest Christian.
Martin stayed true to his word, meeting first with UT signee Chris Jones, now at Melrose. Jones, the 39th-ranked player in the nation according to Rivals.com, requested a release last week and Martin said he would meet with him before moving forward.
Martin said Thursday’s meeting went well enough that Jones no longer wants a release, and Martin said he plans to go see him again.
“We just have to make sure it’s the best thing for Chris before anything else,’’ Martin said. “Chris impressed me . . . he’s been through a lot in his life, and I can relate to that.’’
Martin will head to Georgia today to meet with Kevin Ware of Rockdale County in Conyers, Ga. Ware, ranked 56th, has been released from his National Letter of Intent with UT but is still interested in the Vols.
UT has between two and six scholarships to offer in the Class of 2011, depending on the futures of Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris, who could enter the NBA draft.
The current contact period runs through midnight Sunday. The national signing period begins next Wednesday and runs through May 18.
UT has offered a scholarship to Josh Richardson, a 6-foot-5 guard at Santa Fe in Edmond, Okla., who also has offers from Penn State, Georgia Tech and TCU. He’s expected to visit Georgia Tech this weekend and tentatively scheduled to make an official visit to UT on April 15-16.
The Vols also are interested in junior college guard Guy Landry, a 6-5, 210-pounder who led Midland, (Texas) College to a runner-up finish in the NJCAA Division I tournament this season.
Landry, tentatively scheduled to visit UT on April 22-23, is expected to visit Minnesota this weekend and Wichita State on April 15-16. He’s originally from Van Nuys, Calif.
According to jucorecruiting.com, the previous Vols staff offered a scholarship to former UT player Phillip Jurick, who came to UT in 2008 and left after two semesters. The 6-11 Jurick declined the offer after playing well his past two seasons at Chattanooga State. He received other offers from West Virginia, Georgia, Oklahoma and Mississippi State.
Martin has spoken with 6-9, 230 Lekan Ajayi, of the Quality Education Academy in Winston-Salem, N.C., but the parties have yet to meet.
Otto Porter, a 6-8 power forward at Scott County Central in Sikeston, Mo., is ranked No. 97 overall by Rivals and is another player UT has interest in. Martin showed interest in Porter while he was the coach at Missouri State, but Georgetown, Kansas and Missouri are believed to be the leaders.
The Vols are expected to visit Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball, Anthony Hickey, at Hopkinsville Christian County. Hickey, a 5-10 guard, has offers from Nebraska, Mississippi State, LSU, South Carolina and Texas Tech.
A list of Memphis players Martin is recruiting with graduating class in parenthesis: Jarnell Stokes, Memphis Central (2012); Andre Applewhite, Memphis Central (2012); Austin Nichols, Briarcrest Christian (2013); Jonathan Williams, Southwind (2013), Leron Black, White Station, (2014).
Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men’s basketball. He may be reached at email@example.com or follow him on twitter at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32