July recruiting period starts busy period for Cuonzo Martin

The clock struck 3 o'clock Thursday and the nation's top recruits hit the courts. On the sidelines, bleachers were choked with thirsty Division I coaches. NCAA basketball's first live July recruiting period was officially underway.

The hunters went hunting.

Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin was just one of the hundreds of coaches trekking to nine major recruiting events splashed across the country.

Martin's first stop Thursday was Philadelphia for the Reebok Breakout Challenge. A pair of notable UT targets from Memphis — Austin Nichols, a 6-foot-9 power forward Briarcrest Christian School, and Robert Hubbs, a 6-5 guard from Dyer County — were both on-hand.

Scooting down I-95 on Friday, Martin visited Alexandria, Va., just outside Washington D.C., to peek at a current Vol and potential future Vol. Playing as a member of the Puerto Rican national team in the Nike Global U19 Challenge, Tennessee freshman Derek Reese scored 22 points and pulled 17 rebounds in a loss to Lithuania. Nick King, meanwhile, a 6-6 recruit from Memphis East, scored 14 points in USA Midwest's 87-77 win over USA West.

Saturday brought Martin back to gaze of messieurs Nichols and Hubbs in Philadelphia. At 4:21 p.m., Fox Sports national recruiting analyst Evan Daniels used Twitter to report, "Cuonzo Martin has been front and center for Austin Nichols & Robert Hubbs quite a bit this weekend. He's getting plenty of face time."

As of late Saturday, today's location was a toss-up for Martin. He was eyeing the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis, the Hardwood Classic in Atlanta or perhaps another day in Philadelphia or D.C.

In a text message to the News Sentinel, he said, "Tomorrow is undecided, it depends on tonight at all the other events."

UT assistant coaches Tracy Webster, Jon Harris and Kent Williams, filling the void where Martin couldn't be, spent the live period scattered throughout Philadelphia, D.C., Atlanta, Indianapolis and an additional event in South Carolina.

The live recruiting period closes at 5 p.m. today. The next one begins July 18 at 3 p.m. and runs through July 21. Then they do it all over again from July 25-29.

Paving The Recruiting Road To Memphis: Notice a trend among the three recruits listed above?

They're all from Memphis — forever a deep well of talent UT's arm couldn't quite reach into. The hometown Tigers always take first pick.

Memphis, though, didn't land Jarnell Stokes. (Correct, coach Josh Pastner didn't have an available scholarship, but Stokes, nonetheless, became a Vol.)

Now Stokes thinks his early successes in orange haven't gone unnoticed back home.

"I definitely think it will open up the door in Memphis," Stokes said Monday of UT's recruiting efforts. "For a lot of guys for a while, the city of Memphis was locked down to one school (Memphis) and it was definitely hard for guys to leave Memphis. I understand that situation, but they might not like leaving home, but it might be the best thing for them. That's just my advice to those guys."

Martin can only pray the city's well-stocked 2013 recruiting class is listening.

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Comments » 7

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Great to have Jarnell as a spokesman for the Orange. Help us out, Jarnell!

Latest talk here in Memphis is (semi reliable sources, that's all!) that Nichols is favoring the makeup of the Duke roster over UT. Hope that proves to be false!

johnlg00 writes:

As the old saying goes, "You can't make the sales if you don't make the calls." I think CCM's frequent presence in such circles will pay dividends eventually. A program like UT and a coach at CCM's current level of visibility needs to see and be seen by good HS prospects as early and often as possible. CCM is not going to just swoop in at the last minute and grab off top-drawer talent; he doesn't have that kind of personality and he is not one to be bowled over by a prospect's stats or hype. What he can do, and seems to be doing, is get kids used to him being around and planting the UT brand in those areas, and sooner or later some good kids are going to buy what he is selling.

VolGrad writes:

Reel 'em in, Coach.

Go Big Orange!!!

cussinkiffin writes:

maybe he should have a memphis barbecue? just no hot dogs right?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I love bbq!! Nothing wrong with a little bbq. Just don't invite the NCAA nor the espdamN!
Also NO cameras or phones allowed.

As far as recruiting goes ? I think Martin's already done a great job even if you leave out Stokes(please don't tho') He's building the program. It takes time but starting out 2nd when picked way down the pack is a great start. Reese may turn out to be as good as a lot of 4 or 5 stars.? maybe. The point is "get the name out there." I'd still like to see a 4 or 5 star this next year. Maybe 2 or three. Even then it's a crapshoot.

BRUCEpart2 writes:

Austin Nichols is a MUST GET for The Vols! The young man has incredible ball-handling & shooting skills and is a gifted student as well. The "intangibles" he brings is a "team-first" mentality and "icy" on court demeanor along with being from a supportive and upstanding Christian family. I've known Austin's Dad since we were little boys from the same Memphis neighborhood who played together daily. I know Austin views Jarnell as a role model type. Jarnell's experience in Knoxville along with his great respect for Coach Zo will go a long way in keeping Austin's interest in the opportunity offered by Tennessee. I like our chances of seeing Austin wearing The Orange...(not to mention, his sister is now enrolled at U.T. as well) Keep our fingers crossed on this young man! GBO!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to BRUCEpart2:

Austin Nichols is a MUST GET for The Vols! The young man has incredible ball-handling & shooting skills and is a gifted student as well. The "intangibles" he brings is a "team-first" mentality and "icy" on court demeanor along with being from a supportive and upstanding Christian family. I've known Austin's Dad since we were little boys from the same Memphis neighborhood who played together daily. I know Austin views Jarnell as a role model type. Jarnell's experience in Knoxville along with his great respect for Coach Zo will go a long way in keeping Austin's interest in the opportunity offered by Tennessee. I like our chances of seeing Austin wearing The Orange...(not to mention, his sister is now enrolled at U.T. as well) Keep our fingers crossed on this young man! GBO!

Sounds like someone we could use, for sure. He seems to be like Stokes in many ways. He might even be the kind of guy who likes his sister. He could have the fortitude to turn down the hometown school as well. I hope CCM is successful in acquiring talented players who are also solid people.

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