Iowa point guard Wes Washpun commits to Vols

Cuonzo Martin knows what he’s looking for in a point guard at Tennessee.

Wes Washpun of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, fits the mold.

So much so that Martin offered the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Washpun a scholarship twice in the past three months.

On Sunday, Washpun became Martin’s first verbal commitment since he was hired as UT’s men’s basketball coach.

Washpun, a senior at Washington High School who plays AAU basketball for the Iowa Barnstormers, said his relationship with Martin was the key to his decision.

“A lot of it is about Coach Martin, just being the guy that he is, and recruiting me for so long,’’ Washpun said. “Iowa kind of came in at the last second.’’

Washpun never has stepped foot in Knoxville, but he believes in Martin and Tennessee basketball.

“I know it’s big-time down there, and I’m up to the challenges,’’ said Washpun, who has a 43-inch vertical leap. “Coach Martin is a really upfront guy. Everything he says is 100 percent the truth. He’s honest and caring.

“He told me he wouldn’t have offered me a scholarship if he didn’t think I could play at this level.’’

Martin has been recruiting Washpun since late November and first offered him a scholarship on Feb. 22, when he still was the coach at Missouri State. Martin was named UT’s coach on March 27.

Washington High School coach Brad Metzger said Vols fans are going to like what they see in Washpun, who averaged 18 points, 5.5 assists, six rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots per game last season while also setting the school record for steals.

“Wes, first of all, is a great defender who can defend anybody; the one, the two or the three,’’ Metzger said. “His vertical (leap) is underrated — it’s probably closer to 45 or 46 (inches). He’s extremely fast with long arms, and he handles the ball well.’’

Metzger said he thinks Washpun’s energetic style of play and outgoing personality will make him an immediate fan favorite.

“He’ll come out of nowhere and end a fast break for somebody; come from behind and swat the ball off the backboard,’’ Metzger said. “He’s a bright kid who lights up a room, and he’ll play with emotion. You’ll see him slam over someone and pump his fist. But it’s all in a positive way.’’

Washpun received a three-star rating from Rivals.com, and ESPN.com ranks the left-hander as the No. 57 point guard in the Class of 2011.

Washpun visited Iowa coach Fran McCaffery on Thursday in Iowa City, but he did not make a verbal commitment after receiving an offer, according to HawkCentral.com.

According to an ESPN.com recruiting evaluation, Washpun pushes the ball with great pace and “can change speeds and directions on a dime.’’

The report on Washpun said he’s a streaky outside shooter beyond the 3-point arc and must get stronger to play at the high major level.

“I really believe Wes and Coach Martin have a connection,’’ said Metzger, who coached Washington High School to the Elite Eight of the Iowa state tournament last season. “Wes is a lot like him, a fiery competitor.’’

The spring signing period begins Wednesday and runs through May 18.

The Vols have one signee, guard Chris Jones of Melrose High School in Memphis. Jones, a 5-10 scorer ranked 39th nationally by Rivals.com, met with Martin last Friday and indicated he wants to remain a UT signee.

UT has also offered a scholarship to Josh Richardson, a 6-5 combo guard out of Santa Fe High School in Edmond, Okla. Richardson is expected to come to Knoxville for an official visit Friday.

Kevin Ware, a 6-4 guard out of Rockdale County High School in Conyers, Ga., who’s ranked 56th nationally by Rivals.com, tentatively is scheduled to visit UT next Sunday with his parents. Ware originally signed with the Vols but asked for and received a release from his National Letter of Intent.

UT has between four and six scholarships to offer in the Class of 2011, depending on the futures of junior All-SEC shooting guard Scotty Hopson and freshman All-America forward Tobias Harris.

Hopson and Harris have said they will test the NBA draft waters before deciding by May 7 whether to return to the Vols for another season.

Hopson has been working out in New Jersey and Florida, while Harris went through individual workouts with Martin and the new UT coaching staff last week.

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Comments » 187

thevoice writes:

Welcome to Knoxville, Wes. You may be our best PG since CJ Watson. Work on your outside shot and who knows...

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Wonder where this leaves Chris Jones?

TennVol01 writes:

3 star players will not cut it. But, if that is the best we can get .... welcome.

dvols writes:

43 inch vertilcal but streaky shooter....

rclarkvols#224537 writes:

Good move. We need more depth so Skylar doesn't have to get any minutes at the point.

joshvols writes:

does this mean that coach martin is worried about chris jones' becoming academically eligible? we would have golden, jones, and washpun at the point. that seems like a bit of a logjam doesn't it?

stormblast writes:

I hope he does well. It's good to see that he is coming to UT without ever coming to Knoxville. Does anyone know who else offered Washpun a scholarships?

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to joshvols:

does this mean that coach martin is worried about chris jones' becoming academically eligible? we would have golden, jones, and washpun at the point. that seems like a bit of a logjam doesn't it?

I don't think Golden is a point guard. He sure didn't play like it last season. Given how flaky Chris Jones has acted, we really need another pg or two for security. Sounds like a good pickup to me.

mattlock writes:

in response to TennVol01:

3 star players will not cut it. But, if that is the best we can get .... welcome.

You didn't watch the season or aren't very smart. . .we had 5 4* on the practice squad this year while two no-star walk-ons got lots of playing time.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to TennVol01:

3 star players will not cut it. But, if that is the best we can get .... welcome.

Must have not seen the survey of stars competing in the final four...LOTS of three stars....Are you serious??? We had two walk ons this year getting tons of minutes....Please folks dont make comments like this....

tennrich1 writes:

in response to tennrich1:

Must have not seen the survey of stars competing in the final four...LOTS of three stars....Are you serious??? We had two walk ons this year getting tons of minutes....Please folks dont make comments like this....

Mattlock, thats scary we had the same thoughts at about the exact same time....some folks just show ignorance. I agree with your assessment as well...

mattlock writes:

This is all I need to see:

"Washpun is a true point guard that has great upside. His length and athletic ability are huge assets especially when applying ball pressure, making plays in the passing lanes and finishing at the rim over other guards. He needs to add strength but he is a rhythm scorer and streaky three point shooter at best. Washpun applies pressure on both ends of the floor and plays with great energy and urgency and leads his team more through example that vocal."

tennrich1 writes:

By the way, POINT GUARD IS THE POSITION THATS HELD US BACK SINCE CJ WATSON....NOW WE HAVE HOPEFULLY TWO IN THE BARN...DEPENDS ON CHRIS' GRADES...

rclarkvols#224537 writes:

in response to TennVol01:

3 star players will not cut it. But, if that is the best we can get .... welcome.

How many stars was Jimmer Fredette? CJ Watson? Chris Lofton?

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to TennVol01:

3 star players will not cut it. But, if that is the best we can get .... welcome.

Remember, our four star players were all on the scout squad last year.

ORANGUTANVOL writes:

HES ALL VOL! FORGET YOURE STARS, HOW MANY STARS WAS LOFTON?

stormblast writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thanks Bodeane. Now I see why he didn't have to see Knoxville to accept the scholarship. Still, I hope he does well.

Gbovol writes:

Gbovol: Espn rates him a 2 star. Is that the best Martin can recruit? Sad if it is. However, since Martin offered and the young man accepted, I hope he out performs what ESPN has written about him. Practice, Practice, Practice seems the word about his shooting.

ChrisUTvol writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

Wonder where this leaves Chris Jones?

I'm sure that he'll announce shortly that he wants a release,one more time.

BleedsOrangeinMO writes:

Yeah don't sign any three stars; you know Butler and VCU can't even win their conference with just three star players!!! Where is that sarcasm key!!!
Hey, it is going to take some time to get the players we truly need at UT. Most are already "locked up" for this year and many would not want to come here when they hear about the NCAA mess that may hit us in the summer of 2011. I say if they are willing to come to UT with this mess about to happen - - come on down. CCM wouldn't have been recruiting him if there wasn't some talent.

ChrisUTvol writes:

in response to joshvols:

does this mean that coach martin is worried about chris jones' becoming academically eligible? we would have golden, jones, and washpun at the point. that seems like a bit of a logjam doesn't it?

I'm from West Tennessee and I will bet before everything is said and done that Jones ends up at Memphis.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say this probably means Tobias gone for sure.
Go Vols.
Bones never lie.

GerryOP writes:

Welcome to Big Orange Country young man. Go forth and do well...

TopTenn writes:

in response to ChrisUTvol:

I'm from West Tennessee and I will bet before everything is said and done that Jones ends up at Memphis.

There is no way Jones plays with Joe Jackson. No way!

FearlessFreep writes:

See the star lovers are out in full force. For CCM I'm going to guess taking a guy who you believe in takes precedence over any star ranking, particularly when your future success relies on it.

arkyvol writes:

no. 57? where are the other 56 going?

mattlock writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say this probably means Tobias gone for sure.
Go Vols.
Bones never lie.

If a PG commits? I think it says more about Jones not qualifying.

stormblast writes:

Kemba Walker was ranked the 46th point guard. Look how that turned out. Not saying Washpun is better or worse than the 2 star. I don't like the star ratings. It's even worse in football.

TennVol01 writes:

in response to mattlock:

You didn't watch the season or aren't very smart. . .we had 5 4* on the practice squad this year while two no-star walk-ons got lots of playing time.

I suffered through all the games this past season. After the 7-0 run, the team stopped being a team. That was the coaches fault. I guess I am not very smart and you are. As for walk ons, if you are talking about McBee ... he was useless. If you are talking about Summitt, he rarely played. If you are talking about Pearl, I may give him credit for good defense, but he sucked at offense. I personally hope that McBee never steps on the court again.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say this probably means Tobias gone for sure.
Go Vols.
Bones never lie.

What does signing a PG have to do with Tobias staying or leaving?

clvolfan writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Who cares-CBP could not get a point guard that could stay in school.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to BigVolFaninSC:

What does signing a PG have to do with Tobias staying or leaving?

Witch Doctor guessing but dont think position has a say this late in the process. Signing almost over...
Bones never lie.
(?)

mattlock writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor guessing but dont think position has a say this late in the process. Signing almost over...
Bones never lie.
(?)

We still have two to three players to sign, Doc

mattlock writes:

in response to TennVol01:

I suffered through all the games this past season. After the 7-0 run, the team stopped being a team. That was the coaches fault. I guess I am not very smart and you are. As for walk ons, if you are talking about McBee ... he was useless. If you are talking about Summitt, he rarely played. If you are talking about Pearl, I may give him credit for good defense, but he sucked at offense. I personally hope that McBee never steps on the court again.

That's my point, we have 4-stars who didn't pan out who are sitting on the bench and players who no other big time program recruited playing. i.e. your point about him being a 2-star is irrelevant because stars don't matter.

vol_4_fan writes:

Stars are over-rated,,,coaching is underated. Go Vols!!

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor wonder if he is Martins Ryan Childress?
Witch Doctor not really sure about this one.
Bones never lie.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to mattlock:

We still have two to three players to sign, Doc

Witch Doctor think you are probably right but not want to face it. Witch Doctor in denial lol
Bones never lie.

NorthwestVol writes:

in response to TennVol01:

3 star players will not cut it. But, if that is the best we can get .... welcome.

Suggest you check the rosters of VCU and Butler before you make any more silly comments.

1vavolfan writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

Wonder where this leaves Chris Jones?

Puts him at #1 in the depth chart, this guy is rated as the #57 PG in the nation. Dont think Jones has much to worry about. Skyler was rated higher than this guy.

jjsteel writes:

in response to TennVol01:

3 star players will not cut it. But, if that is the best we can get .... welcome.

Pfhhhhhhht what do you know?

cage952 writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

Wonder where this leaves Chris Jones?

jones is rated higher, so i think it would be washpun who would be worrying

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to BigVolFaninSC:

What does signing a PG have to do with Tobias staying or leaving?

WD may have meant Jones? But getting the extra point may mean an extra scholly available...I hope not.

cage952 writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

I don't think Golden is a point guard. He sure didn't play like it last season. Given how flaky Chris Jones has acted, we really need another pg or two for security. Sounds like a good pickup to me.

golden was a shooting guard in high school

mattlock writes:

in response to cage952:

jones is rated higher, so i think it would be washpun who would be worrying

No worries, if Golden steps up at all under CCM, we can redshirt him while he put on weight.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Let's see What was Michael Jordan rated out of High school...or rather how highly recruited was he?

MrBamSeydu writes:

in response to ORANGUTANVOL:

HES ALL VOL! FORGET YOURE STARS, HOW MANY STARS WAS LOFTON?

For every Lofton, there's a dozen Tobias Harris 5-stars. Check the NBA draft. Majority were 4* and 5* players. Don't pluck 1 player out to make a point. Stars do matter. That's why Kentucky, UNC, and Duke are who they are.

Witch_Doctors writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

orangepeel writes:

I do not care about the stars. A point guard should be able to handle the ball, get other players involved in the game through assists, limit turnovers, and hit free throws. If he can do this then he will be successful. It really does not matter how high he can jump.

mattlock writes:

in response to MrBamSeydu:

For every Lofton, there's a dozen Tobias Harris 5-stars. Check the NBA draft. Majority were 4* and 5* players. Don't pluck 1 player out to make a point. Stars do matter. That's why Kentucky, UNC, and Duke are who they are.

SO now our standard is players who will be drafted? Yeah, Pearl's recruited a lot of those. . .I can name. . .one. Right now I would settle for good college players that we coach up.

MrBamSeydu writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Let's see What was Michael Jordan rated out of High school...or rather how highly recruited was he?

How about LeBron, Kobe, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, John Wall, Derrick Rose.... I mean really? I like how people choose 1 or 2 players who weren't highly touted to try and make a point. I wish you were the coach at Kentucky so you'd recruit 3* players thinking it didn't matter what their star rating was.

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