Mike Strange: What will Jarnell Stokes do next?

Mike Strange

It's a good thing Jarnell Stokes didn't win his appeal with the TSSAA.

It's a good thing he didn't listen to those advisers who thought it best he redshirt this first semester.

It's a good thing he'd had a second week of college basketball practice before the defending national champion came to town.

Because otherwise, there's no way Tennessee pulls off a 60-57 upset of No. 13 Connecticut.

Without Stokes' 16 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots, there's no way a Thompson-Boling crowd of 21,114 is going nuts at the final horn.

Without Stokes, coach Cuonzo Martin, the renowned stoic, isn't raising his fist in the air, giving a thumbs-up sign and shaking hands with courtside fans including Phillip Fulmer.

Saturday was, in so many ways, a good day for Tennessee basketball. The crowd, CBS in the house, the energy, the big win. The big freshman, making his first start.

"Oh, gosh,'' said junior guard Skylar McBee. "It's great having Jarnell.

"He's such a big presence in there.''

A week earlier, Stokes was setting his size 20 sneakers on the court for the first time as a collegian. And doing so against No. 2-ranked Kentucky and Anthony Davis, potentially the first pick in this summer's NBA draft.

Wednesday night at Georgia, Stokes was scoring in double figures in his second game.

Saturday, he got the start. And for 29 minutes he took it to the Huskies and another precocious freshman big man, Andre Drummond.

"It has definitely happened faster than I thought it would,'' said Stokes.

"First it was me stepping on the court against Kentucky and getting my first basket. Now it's me starting.

"What next?''

An excellent question.

At this rate, I wouldn't rule out a special NBA supplemental draft when the Vols' season ends in March.

By the time the playoffs start he could be throwing down on LeBron.

Then, of course, it's on to London in the summer

to help Team USA win Olympic gold.

"Stokes was terrific today,'' said UConn coach Jim Calhoun, one of the finalists in the recruiting war for the prospect who was supposed to be one of the top prizes in the Class of 2012 before the TSSAA accelerated his clock.

"He had some breakdowns defensively,'' said Martin, "which is expected because he's learning as we go.

"But I thought his energy, his toughness, his will to receive the ball and desire to score the ball really helped us get over the hump.''

Could he help this rebuilding program get over the hump?

The Vols on Saturday finally found a way to finish in a close game, a mission at which they have failed several times. The caliber of the opponent made it especially impressive.

Cameron Tatum delivered huge baskets. Skylar McBee nailed two crucial free throws. And Stokes continued to amaze.

He made tough shots in traffic and dropped in a few soft jumpers. He was a beast on the boards and generally outplayed Drummond, who also was initially slated for the Class of 2012 but signed with the Huskies in August.

Not bad for a guy who would be playing at Southwind High School in Memphis had the TSSAA not ruled him ineligible (because of transfer rules) and then denied his appeal.

"If I was playing my senior year,'' Stokes said, "I'd probably be a horrible defender, I'd still lack in workouts and I wouldn't be pushed in practice every day.

"I wouldn't be getting coached like I'm getting coached right now.''

The past eight days have put to bed the discussion that a quick transition to the college court was asking too much.

"Ask the people closest to me,'' said Stokes. "They told me I should redshirt this year because I'm not good enough right now.''

Oh, yes he is.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 53

AlWilsonFan writes:

Fantastic. Way to help bring some serious excitement to the Summitt!

eduardo writes:

You got that right! I cant wait to see Jarnell and Ezelli go at it on Tues. Night! Bring it home boys!
Stick it to Candy!

LJS1984 writes:

Hopefully see the court if the Vols go to OT against Georgia again. Still can't figure that out?

LJS1984 writes:

Once again, this kid is far and away the best prospect the Vols have ever had. Wish he would have seen the floor in OT at UGA, and I just hope he keeps a level head. We've never seen a kid with this ability and my never see one again at UT. He seems up to the task so far.

John_10065 writes:

in response to LJS1984:

Once again, this kid is far and away the best prospect the Vols have ever had. Wish he would have seen the floor in OT at UGA, and I just hope he keeps a level head. We've never seen a kid with this ability and my never see one again at UT. He seems up to the task so far.

That's a bold statement considering that he has only played a handful of games and we have had King, Grunfeld and Houston. I think that Houston will be a hall of famer eventually.

But he is definately one of our best recruits in a long time. Let's hope he stays healthy and isn't a one and done. Being an academically smart kid, he might stay until he graduates depending upon his draft prospects. I wouldn't worry about this kid's head not being screwed on straight.

Now we need a top notch guard to get our offense clicking.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to LJS1984:

Once again, this kid is far and away the best prospect the Vols have ever had. Wish he would have seen the floor in OT at UGA, and I just hope he keeps a level head. We've never seen a kid with this ability and my never see one again at UT. He seems up to the task so far.

I don't know why I'm wanting to disagree with you on that one!!? Georgia was a different match up though...golly I guess I don't disagree. But our view was different than coach's. He was looking at Stokes as a "newby"! Fittin' in and all...not ready to play defense at the closing moments. We sure could have used his presence offensively toward the end in that game! Hindsight. 20/20 and all.
I will defend coach to the extent that Stokes's defense has been a little late at times...though he's not really typical of today's modern no defense players.
Hey if Strange likes him? Well he should play every minute. Seriously he's really a blessed kid and he knows he's blessed. I like that.

Bad thing is I have to face a tough Georgia crowd at my Dalton, Ga. church this morn. Fortunately the pastor's a UT grad. and our drummer's a UT fan!!! Go Vols.

Dalton writes:

in response to John_10065:

That's a bold statement considering that he has only played a handful of games and we have had King, Grunfeld and Houston. I think that Houston will be a hall of famer eventually.

But he is definately one of our best recruits in a long time. Let's hope he stays healthy and isn't a one and done. Being an academically smart kid, he might stay until he graduates depending upon his draft prospects. I wouldn't worry about this kid's head not being screwed on straight.

Now we need a top notch guard to get our offense clicking.

DUDE!!! Learn the rules and get off the ONE AND DONE BULL!! He can't leave until?????.....Wait for it....UUUUNNNNTTTIIILLL?????...After his graduating class is???...C'mon you know it just say it...ONE YEAR REMOVED...so for the final time 2013 is the earliest!!! HALLELUJAH HOLY S#$%....where's the Tylenol?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Dalton:

DUDE!!! Learn the rules and get off the ONE AND DONE BULL!! He can't leave until?????.....Wait for it....UUUUNNNNTTTIIILLL?????...After his graduating class is???...C'mon you know it just say it...ONE YEAR REMOVED...so for the final time 2013 is the earliest!!! HALLELUJAH HOLY S#$%....where's the Tylenol?

Uhhhh you DO need some meds. I try to refrain form responding to drunks who can't read!!hehe

Who were you talking to here? The person you responded to didn't say anything about Stokes leaving before it's time. NOW if you meant Mike Strange you may have a point at least till he catches his error.
Now! Go to church.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Uhhhh you DO need some meds. I try to refrain form responding to drunks who can't read!!hehe

Who were you talking to here? The person you responded to didn't say anything about Stokes leaving before it's time. NOW if you meant Mike Strange you may have a point at least till he catches his error.
Now! Go to church.

Well I can't read either. OR Strange has fixed it. I thought he said Stokes may get drafted but it seems he was talking about another player.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Well I can't read either. OR Strange has fixed it. I thought he said Stokes may get drafted but it seems he was talking about another player.

NOPE! He has Stokes "throwing down against Lebron"!?
Supplemental draft this summer? I never heard of one. I don't think they can do that Mr. Strange. LOL I hope not!!

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to LJS1984:

Once again, this kid is far and away the best prospect the Vols have ever had. Wish he would have seen the floor in OT at UGA, and I just hope he keeps a level head. We've never seen a kid with this ability and my never see one again at UT. He seems up to the task so far.

Ahem.......There was once this guy named Bernard King. And then there was this other guy named Ernie Grunfeld. And then there was this guy called Dale Ellis and then this guy called Houston..........

wally writes:

"At this rate, I wouldn't rule out a special NBA supplemental draft when the Vols' season ends in March.

By the time the playoffs start he could be throwing down on LeBron."

It's my understanding that Stokes has to play thru the end of NEXT season before he's eligible for the NBA draft.

gillblog writes:

The NBA has proven time and again, they will bend or ignore any rule to gain market and if Stokes improves as much over the next month or so as he has since his last season in HS, there may indeed be a 'supplemental' draft specifically to bring him into the league.

jawbreaker writes:

I thought the remark about the supplemental draft was sarcasm and hyperbole.

Dalton writes:

I make my own medicine in the bathtub and the church is in the same room...kidding of course..I had just taken generic Nyquil and free flowing...I was responding to the one and done comment...I keep reading it and it grew tiresome right after Stokes committed....am I wrong?

makelemonade writes:

in response to jawbreaker:

I thought the remark about the supplemental draft was sarcasm and hyperbole.

Yeah, I took it that way too. Clearly, many people got their sarcasm switch turned off somewhere along the way. It seems a lack of common sense and lack of the ability to recognize a joke or sarcastic comments goes hand-in-hand.

NGage writes:

He is a great player, for sure, but like mentioned...there have been several others that were great too.

What I really wish we could see is Stokes playing along side Hobson and Tobias Harris. Man.....that woulda been something.

VOODOOley-2011 (Inactive) writes:

Next? I think he should go to Disney World!

packagestore writes:

Very talented. He needs time to grow into the
game. I am looking to see what happens
when other teams adjust to him. He will still
have an average supporting cast. When will Kenny Hall finally leave?

murrayvol writes:

I expect him to give opposing coaches fits for the balance of this season and next.

He's an every night double/double.

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

We need a Jarnell Stokes at on the perimeter, and next year will be dynamite.

John_10065 writes:

in response to Dalton:

DUDE!!! Learn the rules and get off the ONE AND DONE BULL!! He can't leave until?????.....Wait for it....UUUUNNNNTTTIIILLL?????...After his graduating class is???...C'mon you know it just say it...ONE YEAR REMOVED...so for the final time 2013 is the earliest!!! HALLELUJAH HOLY S#$%....where's the Tylenol?

You are an idiot.

"One and done" is a phrase meaning that the player leaves as soon as they are draft eligible. That isn't until after next season. Everyone on this board knows that.

Apparently you need a blood alcohol meter connected to you PC that prevents you from posting under the influence.

John_10065 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, I wasn't leaving out Ellis on purpose.

I was just thinking of the three jerseys hanging in the rafters.

Snapshot writes:

in response to LJS1984:

Once again, this kid is far and away the best prospect the Vols have ever had. Wish he would have seen the floor in OT at UGA, and I just hope he keeps a level head. We've never seen a kid with this ability and my never see one again at UT. He seems up to the task so far.

The best ever is a pretty bold statement. Don't forget Tobias Harris. He was one and done to Milwaukee, the best we had seen in a long time around here.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to jawbreaker:

I thought the remark about the supplemental draft was sarcasm and hyperbole.

hehe

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to makelemonade:

Yeah, I took it that way too. Clearly, many people got their sarcasm switch turned off somewhere along the way. It seems a lack of common sense and lack of the ability to recognize a joke or sarcastic comments goes hand-in-hand.

Common? COMMON!!! My sense is highly uncommon! I'll thank you to remove your irreverent remark.
btw the recognition of "sarcasm and jokes" do not go hand in hand! Obliviously.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Ok try again. The recognition of sarcasm and jokes do not go "hand and hand" with common sense. Everbody knows that.

rclarkvols#224537 writes:

in response to LJS1984:

Once again, this kid is far and away the best prospect the Vols have ever had. Wish he would have seen the floor in OT at UGA, and I just hope he keeps a level head. We've never seen a kid with this ability and my never see one again at UT. He seems up to the task so far.

Mike Jackson, Ron Slay, Marcus Haslip, Michael Brooks, Tony White, Tobias Harris, Reggie Johnson, Dale Ellis, Terry Crosby.

He is really good but let's not get carried away.
Still at the top is Bernard King, Then Ernie Grunfeld, then Allan Houston, then Chamique Holzclaw, then Tamika Catchings, then Candice Parker. That's the list. LOL

Theo writes:

Loved that Jarnell is excited about the coaching he is getting. Coach M is going to be great and that sort of appreciation for the coaching staff can only be great for recruiting.
Good kid, so glad he's a Vol!

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to LJS1984:

Once again, this kid is far and away the best prospect the Vols have ever had. Wish he would have seen the floor in OT at UGA, and I just hope he keeps a level head. We've never seen a kid with this ability and my never see one again at UT. He seems up to the task so far.

Referencing the first sentence of your post, have you ever heard of Bernard King?

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to rclarkvols#224537:

Mike Jackson, Ron Slay, Marcus Haslip, Michael Brooks, Tony White, Tobias Harris, Reggie Johnson, Dale Ellis, Terry Crosby.

He is really good but let's not get carried away.
Still at the top is Bernard King, Then Ernie Grunfeld, then Allan Houston, then Chamique Holzclaw, then Tamika Catchings, then Candice Parker. That's the list. LOL

Plus, Ernie was the best at helping out when any of his teammates needed help shooting free throws while on the road at Kentucky. LOL!!!!!!

atributetoLombardiwasbanned writes:

in response to Samuel_L_Jackson_dares_you_to_say_what_again:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What?

Dalton writes:

in response to John_10065:

You are an idiot.

"One and done" is a phrase meaning that the player leaves as soon as they are draft eligible. That isn't until after next season. Everyone on this board knows that.

Apparently you need a blood alcohol meter connected to you PC that prevents you from posting under the influence.

I'll take an idiot jab from a feminine hygiene product in stride...you know what you meant by one and done....Massingill boy!!! Or else it's one and a half and done. And I'll post at my leisure so INHALE

rclarkvols#224537 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Holtzclaw won three national championships. And I forgot to include Trish Roberts

John_10065 writes:

in response to Dalton:

I'll take an idiot jab from a feminine hygiene product in stride...you know what you meant by one and done....Massingill boy!!! Or else it's one and a half and done. And I'll post at my leisure so INHALE

You need to stick to something you're accomplished at instead of posting. I am sure you have a few brain cells you haven't killed yet.

Go chug down a couple more shots of that Dextromethorphan libation you are enjoying this afternoon.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LOL I fly through these posts! I didn't notice it was a response. Stokes definitely has the ability to be one and done. I hope he wants an education too since he has smarts as well.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

HMMM I reread and John???# didn't say anything but "one and done".???Which is ok! Maybe not to the exact date but who cares? It was all in fun for me.
Stokes might possibly be done after his required time here I think was John's point and I don't think I like this Dalton dude. He's an idiot. Hey we're all idiots. I'm and idiot. You're an idiot. So let's call the whole thing off.lmao

bkgunter writes:

in response to LJS1984:

Once again, this kid is far and away the best prospect the Vols have ever had. Wish he would have seen the floor in OT at UGA, and I just hope he keeps a level head. We've never seen a kid with this ability and my never see one again at UT. He seems up to the task so far.

Easy, there, Big Fella. The kid looks really good after a couple of games. Let's let him get a season or two under his belt before declaring him the greatest ever. I'd be ecstatic if he's as good as the last great Memphis-area UT post player-Wayne Chism. He'll never win as many games in orange. Are you old enough to remember Bernard King or Dale Ellis? The kid's not ready to be in the same sentence with those two yet.

atributetoLombardiwasbanned writes:

in response to Samuel_L_Jackson_dares_you_to_say_what_again:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Eh, what?

GhostofRobertNeyland writes:

in response to NGage:

He is a great player, for sure, but like mentioned...there have been several others that were great too.

What I really wish we could see is Stokes playing along side Hobson and Tobias Harris. Man.....that woulda been something.

I don't think Hopson could play defense like Coach Martin requires.

wigmeister writes:

Let's put him up for President!

Dalton writes:

I don't care who likes who on here...even if they're from Chattanooga like me...I know the one and done comment from John was a throwaway and he's a true Vol supporter unlike some of the trolls that try to post and get a rise out of us. I didn't get personal or start throwing out idiot or alcoholic comments...I just jumped on the first one and done comment even if the rest of the post was supporting...it was a pet peeve moment and I can understand john bristling at it like it was a personal attack...I don't know him and he doesn't know me so how can either one of us gauge the other's brain cell count...I haven't been drunk since last October not that it's even relevant....I'm gonna keep posting when I feel the need...I'll try not to hurt anyone's feelings in the process...GOVOLS!

clvolfan writes:

in response to jawbreaker:

I thought the remark about the supplemental draft was sarcasm and hyperbole.

I quit reading after that comment myself.
Cannot believe Strange would make such a stupid statement in one of his columns.
Seems like some of these writers just can't stand for UT to have some success for any amount time at all.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Dalton:

I don't care who likes who on here...even if they're from Chattanooga like me...I know the one and done comment from John was a throwaway and he's a true Vol supporter unlike some of the trolls that try to post and get a rise out of us. I didn't get personal or start throwing out idiot or alcoholic comments...I just jumped on the first one and done comment even if the rest of the post was supporting...it was a pet peeve moment and I can understand john bristling at it like it was a personal attack...I don't know him and he doesn't know me so how can either one of us gauge the other's brain cell count...I haven't been drunk since last October not that it's even relevant....I'm gonna keep posting when I feel the need...I'll try not to hurt anyone's feelings in the process...GOVOLS!

I can't speak for John and I don't know him but as for my comments they were totally not serious and I thought all in fun. I'm sorry if you took me serious. It's just a silly blog site. Nothing personal.

davmull#225719 writes:

How about Ron Widby, Danny Schultz, Billy Justus in the wayback machine.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say kid is special, Witch Doctor say we might squeak into the NIT(which considering all we lost..not bad after all) Witch Doctor say next season we will be scary. Witch Doctor say Stokes gonna look like a senior next year.(YES he will be here)and this abbreviated season is gonna pay huge next year.
Bones never lie.

Dalton writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I can't speak for John and I don't know him but as for my comments they were totally not serious and I thought all in fun. I'm sorry if you took me serious. It's just a silly blog site. Nothing personal.

I didn't get a militant vibe from you and there shouldn't be one...I haven't posted a lot...mainly observed and I don't usually deal out ALL CAP diatribes either...I'm an easy going self critical take what ever happens kind of guy and like to hear other points of view while forming my own...I wondered while the Stokes lottery was going on why the loaded programs like Kentucky and UConn were so upset about missing out on one player...Stokes is something different and hopefully CCM can land some top flight players to blend in with the current bunch next year...and maybe keep Stokes until after his junior year...but it's a positive first step for Cuonzo...the good coaches only need that first nudge.

FanNotSheep writes:

in response to davmull#225719:

How about Ron Widby, Danny Schultz, Billy Justus in the wayback machine.

Unbelievable players in their day, but that was a different era -- and I'm sure none of the guys from back then would claim to be able to play with the athletes who dominate the sport today. But it was really great to be a Tennessee Vol when the games were played at Stokely, Ray Mears and Stu Aberdeen were on the bench, and John Ward was on the radio.

No one has been as good as Bernard King, and I hope but don't expect to ever see another player in orange hold a candle to him. If not for his knee problems he would be mentioned in the conversations with Jordan.

Wish the kids had to stay three years or just go straight to the NBA from high school like they used to. This new rule is not helping college basketball or the players.

abnerPeabody writes:

NBA draft rules state the following.

Any North American player wishing to be entered into the NBA draft pool must be at least 19 years of age AND one year removed from the completion of High School.

Stokes graduated from High School in December and will not be eligable to be drafted until the first draft after December 2012.

Looks as if he will be forced to play college ball next season {2013} until December anyway.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

Unbelievable players in their day, but that was a different era -- and I'm sure none of the guys from back then would claim to be able to play with the athletes who dominate the sport today. But it was really great to be a Tennessee Vol when the games were played at Stokely, Ray Mears and Stu Aberdeen were on the bench, and John Ward was on the radio.

No one has been as good as Bernard King, and I hope but don't expect to ever see another player in orange hold a candle to him. If not for his knee problems he would be mentioned in the conversations with Jordan.

Wish the kids had to stay three years or just go straight to the NBA from high school like they used to. This new rule is not helping college basketball or the players.

Good post; agree with all, though I think Widby, Justus, and Schultz would still be able to play today. Widby, for example, was bigger than Bradshaw and had a WAY better shot. Justus was slim but lanky and long and would absolutely make you pay if you fouled him. He was a quick leaper who had a very high release on his patented jumper in the lane. Schultz would have had to be guarded from the time he left the team bus and was also a great FT shooter. He would be a couple dozen spots higher in the UT career scoring rankings if he had played in the 3-point era. The main issue was whether or not these guys could play defense in today's game. Even in their day, UT was almost exclusively a zone team. Bottom line, they may not be able to play in Martin's system, but they could well have a place in today's game somewhere.

As for your idea about the NBA-college rules for going pro, I agree whole-heartedly. This is after all the current system in baseball. The rare Kobe Bryants and Dwight Howards who were probably pro-ready in the 10th grade, physically and skill-wise, should be able to go pro right out of HS if they wish. Anybody who signs with a college should have to wait three years to go pro, at least in the US. That would vastly strengthen college ball and give the pros more players with well-rounded skills and maturity than they often get nowadays. If the NCAA ever got around to providing stipends to athletes in revenue sports, a player might not have the need to try for the pro brass ring too early and thus have a chance for an ultimately more successful and lucrative pro career. It would also leave them closer to getting their degrees in college and thus more likely to graduate at some time in the future.

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