Vols have two targets, one scholarship in basketball

Robert  Hubbs

Photo by Robert Hubbs

Robert Hubbs

Photo with no caption

One scholarship dangles.

The waiting game is under way.

Tennessee basketball was a flurry of activity last Monday. Two recruits — one a highly coveted All-America candidate from Dyer County, the other a top-150 player with NBA bloodlines — sent fans into frenzy.

The verbal commitments of Robert Hubbs III and A.J. Davis made waves. Hubbs, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard ranked as high as No. 12 overall in the Class of 2012 by some, became coach Cuonzo Martin's second five-star haul since arriving at UT in March 2011. Davis, son of former NBA veteran Antonio Davis, is a skilled combo forward.

It all happened in a 12-hour span Monday. Reports of Hubbs' commitment broke at 9 a.m. At 9 p.m., Davis made his announcement on Twitter.

Just like that, decisions from Hubbs and Davis slashed Martin's available scholarships in 2013 from three to one. Huntington (W.Va.) Prep point guard Travon Landry, who spent this weekend taking an official visit to Tennessee, committed to the Vols in December.

Nearly as soon as UT fans' jubilation peaked Monday, the conversation steered to a two-part million-dollar question.

Who is next? And when?

The list is short and centers on Briarcrest Christian School forward Austin Nichols and Southwind High School forward Johnathan Williams III.

Nichols is ranked No. 25 in the Class of 2013 by 247Sports and rated as a five-star recruit ranked No. 17 overall by Rivals.com. He's a true power forward who moves well, can play on the blocks or the top of the post, and has a nice midrange jump shot.

Williams, meanwhile, ranks No. 50 overall on 247 and is a four-star player ranked 47th overall by Rivals. He's a long, lean left-handed combo-forward with an inside-outside game and across-the-board versatility.

Nichols is expected to make an official visit to Tennessee on Oct. 20 for the UT-Alabama football game, following a visit to Duke on Oct. 6. He's previously taken official visits to Virginia and Vanderbilt, and made an unofficial visit to hometown Memphis. Nichols has played AAU summer ball with Hubbs and has a sister currently enrolled at UT.

Williams is a former classmate of current Vol Jarnell Stokes at Southwind. Having made official visits to Georgetown and Missouri, he took an official visit to Tennessee alongside Hubbs for last weekend's Florida game. He is scheduled for two additional official visits — Michigan State on Sept. 28 and Texas on Oct. 12.

The aforementioned waiting game should be prolonged. No movement is expected until Nichols' late-October visit. UT has interest in players outside Nichols and Williams and could sign beyond its scholarship limit, a common practice in college basketball.

One question that's been answered is the level to which Martin can recruit. After a year on the job in Knoxville, few questioned the Gene Keady disciple's coaching prowess, but some remained dubious of his skill to catch a five-star recruit.

Tennessee beat out Duke for Hubbs' services.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/BFQuinn

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Comments » 35

LIBDESTROYER writes:

I love Cuonzo, and whoever he gets I am happy with. But whatever happened to Centers, also known as Aircraft Carriers? Do they even exist anymore?

SummittsCourt writes:

Coach Martin is proving that doing the little things is what really matters.

movinonup writes:

Please keep these basketball updates coming - especially on football game days - it may be the only thing to keep me sane.

eduardo writes:

Have a lot more confidence in Coach Martin than that WAC Coach with a losing record!

VolzsFan writes:

Cuonzo is doing the same as Dooley, taking recruits from Duke and Kentucky LOL!!

alfrizzle097 writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Cuonzo is doing the same as Dooley, taking recruits from Duke and Kentucky LOL!!

lol. Priceless even if it isn't fair to Dooley.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

AS long as Cuonzo gets players that fit UT I don't care about the other school's recruits.
The ability to be competitive is what I am seeing with Martin. Well ok it's a little bit fun to maybe still a couple but Duke and Kentucky are gonna be happy with their haul too. we alreay have aome good experienced shooting guards...but honestly does anyone see why either davis or Hubbs can't just come right in and play?? We hope they're that good.
But if not we''re gonna have some depth.
Depth is all dooley needs. I mean give him a break.(I left Dooley's name uncaps for that frieky first half)

mocsandvolsfan writes:

"STILL a couple"?? I do gots 'n edgycashun!

hikerdude writes:

It took forever for football season to get here. Now it won't go away. I'm ready for some basketball!!

Germanicus writes:

Really enjoy the revved up basketball coverage. Looking forward to the "Mighty Quinn" blog. Two comments - 1) Can't imagine Cuonzo wouldn't take both Nichols and Williams if they want to sign. He'll figure out a way to make it work. 2) Like the Davis commitment, but he's not a top 150 guy in any of the services - Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247, Future 150 - yet.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to LIBDESTROYER:

I love Cuonzo, and whoever he gets I am happy with. But whatever happened to Centers, also known as Aircraft Carriers? Do they even exist anymore?

Not so much. Even seven-footers these days seem to want to play on the perimeter and shoot from outside. For one thing, if a guy has NBA aspirations and isn't a sturdy 6'10" or better in HS, he doesn't want to be stereotyped as a post player too early. Most guys who are under-sized post players find it difficult to play the post at the next level, so it makes sense that they would want to develop as wide an array of skills as possible. Also, the game in general is much more of a speed game than it was in the past, and there aren't a whole lot of guys 6'10" who can run the floor effectively for more than a few consecutive trips.

However, I do get your implied point; the Vols are not going to be loaded in the post when Maymon and Hall--and possibly Stokes--leave after this season. That is why I hope they get Nichols. That is also a reason why he should come to UT; he would be in the regular rotation from his first day on campus.

johnlg00 writes:

PS: Who is the guy in the small picture with the blue and white jersey? A caption might help, BQ, since I don't recognize him, and I am pretty much a hoops junkie.

mrvol2u writes:

One ship righted, one to go!

Coach Martin is impressive on many fronts. Some guys just exude class and confidence. Coach Martin is one of those guys.

My football seats are close to where the recruits sit and I am pretty sure I spotted Hubbs at the Fla. game. My buddy and I thought he was a football recruit and commented that he looked like he could play that day on the football field. If it was him, he is certainly physically ready for college basketball!

GO VOLS!!!

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to Germanicus:

Really enjoy the revved up basketball coverage. Looking forward to the "Mighty Quinn" blog. Two comments - 1) Can't imagine Cuonzo wouldn't take both Nichols and Williams if they want to sign. He'll figure out a way to make it work. 2) Like the Davis commitment, but he's not a top 150 guy in any of the services - Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247, Future 150 - yet.

Who really cares where the scouting services think they should be ranked. I rather choose to think Cuonzo knows more about talent than some rating agency. If he was offered a scholarship by Cuonzo, I rather think he was worthy of wearing the Orange.

VolGrad writes:

in response to johnlg00:

PS: Who is the guy in the small picture with the blue and white jersey? A caption might help, BQ, since I don't recognize him, and I am pretty much a hoops junkie.

Good question. But it looks like it might be A. J. Davis, the other recent commit.

Germanicus writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

Who really cares where the scouting services think they should be ranked. I rather choose to think Cuonzo knows more about talent than some rating agency. If he was offered a scholarship by Cuonzo, I rather think he was worthy of wearing the Orange.

Didn't say Davis wasn't a take. Just said he isn't top 150 on any of the services. Apparently, someone thinks that's important since I've seen the claim made on a few sites.

BigBadVol writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You really think that? LOL! KY will be on probation soon. It's inevitable with that coach.

BRUCEpart2 writes:

Really hope young Mr. Nichols decides to cast his lot w/Tennessee. Not only is he already a very accomplished player with even greater potential, he's a well grounded & studious young man who comes from an outstanding family there in Memphis. He's EXACTLY the kind of "quality guy" CCM seems to seek and deliver....let's everyone keep our fingers crossed on this one!

rbwtn writes:

I like what's going on with Cuonzo he's got the touch...
I'M Stoked!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Germanicus:

Didn't say Davis wasn't a take. Just said he isn't top 150 on any of the services. Apparently, someone thinks that's important since I've seen the claim made on a few sites.

As a rising senior, he has one more year to improve his recruiting-service rating. He is also still rather skinny after his five-inches-in-one-year growth spurt. Guys with his body type can get a lot better in a hurry. He also has the potential of growing another couple of inches. He would likely have a full array of basketball skills as well.

tomatosoup writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Cuonzo is doing the same as Dooley, taking recruits from Duke and Kentucky LOL!!

That was funny.......Sad but funny!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

PS: Who is the guy in the small picture with the blue and white jersey? A caption might help, BQ, since I don't recognize him, and I am pretty much a hoops junkie.

LMAO Try clicking the picture and going to the photo site. THEN you see under the photo the question "Who the heck is in this photo?"
well that didn't really help so I too am assuming it's Davis.

10SE writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Even you should admit that that was funny!

LSG410EC83 writes:

in response to EightLetters:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Really don't know why I am taking the bait to reply to your post, but here it goes. Speaking of pathetic. How come you are spending your precious Kentucky time posting on another teams site?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to TIGERDAN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Uhhh You realize that we often waited to the end of the shot clock to shoot anyhow. No problem waiting. Stokes actually led a couple of fast breaks last year. AND SCORED!
Can't wait for bball.

TNVol71 writes:

in response to TIGERDAN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If we can score and keep the other team from scoring, I don't care if we use the whole shot clock. It's all about the W's. GBO!!

BolivrBob writes:

in response to TIGERDAN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And if Pastner could coach, that would be exciting

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to TIGERDAN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yep. It's unusual that you have our number so to speak. We still were #2 in SEC and we still by tournament time should have made the dance... which we would have if Maymon AND Golden hadn't been playing injured. We DID beat Florida twice. That alone probably makes us as good as Memphis when all are healthy. All this with a new coach and basically a new team (chemistry wise). So you can stop with the garbage 'cause we know better. Pastner so far just hasn't cut it as you well know. I'm not saying he won't. We just haven't seen it yet with all that "elite" stuff.hehe

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to BolivrBob:

And if Pastner could coach, that would be exciting

Dang I could have said that with a lot less typing on my retort above.

DaufuskieIslandVol writes:

in response to LIBDESTROYER:

I love Cuonzo, and whoever he gets I am happy with. But whatever happened to Centers, also known as Aircraft Carriers? Do they even exist anymore?

Jarnell Stokes?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to TIGERDAN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't know?hehe. You can keep Pastner and we'll keep Martin AND Dooley and this year we'll take you in football and bball. At least in Football we at this point in time) could conceivably go to a bowl.

conceivably? Hey I like that word. It's a good defense word for blogs. I almost sound as smart as tiggerdan. I admit though to checking the spelling three times. i after e except after c. What were my teacher's thinking? IT DON'T WORK. sorry I didn't sleep well last night.

1volk-nowi-tall writes:

What a difference a year makes. Don't see any of those negative even hateful Martin posts that appeared so frequently here last year. I guess it really shows how little so many of the posters here really know. It is always a good thing to allow a little time before one makes an assessment of a coaching change.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to 1volk-nowi-tall:

What a difference a year makes. Don't see any of those negative even hateful Martin posts that appeared so frequently here last year. I guess it really shows how little so many of the posters here really know. It is always a good thing to allow a little time before one makes an assessment of a coaching change.

Many of the arguments used against CCM last year, in descending order of validity, were: lack of experience coaching and recruiting at a high level; his dead-pan manner in communicating with the public; and defense-first team orientation.

After a full year of observation of CCM in action, we have seen him finish second after having been prediction next-to-last in the preseason. By the time this recruiting season ends, CCM will have signed at least three 5-stars, and perhaps two more.

As for his low-key demeanor, that now comes across as a serious approach to the team, life, and the program as whole. This comes across very well to parents who have an interest in the overall development of their sons, not merely as players.

Lots of people think young stars don't want to play a disciplined offense while having to play rugged defense every trip down court. This seems not to be so, since all these highly-ranked recruits know this how CCM's teams will play unless they are good enough to convince him to allow a faster style.

So now there is no valid criticism of CCM. As long as things continue to improve, the trolls and negaVols will have no leverage to upset the program or the true fan base.

kti5783 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Many of the arguments used against CCM last year, in descending order of validity, were: lack of experience coaching and recruiting at a high level; his dead-pan manner in communicating with the public; and defense-first team orientation.

After a full year of observation of CCM in action, we have seen him finish second after having been prediction next-to-last in the preseason. By the time this recruiting season ends, CCM will have signed at least three 5-stars, and perhaps two more.

As for his low-key demeanor, that now comes across as a serious approach to the team, life, and the program as whole. This comes across very well to parents who have an interest in the overall development of their sons, not merely as players.

Lots of people think young stars don't want to play a disciplined offense while having to play rugged defense every trip down court. This seems not to be so, since all these highly-ranked recruits know this how CCM's teams will play unless they are good enough to convince him to allow a faster style.

So now there is no valid criticism of CCM. As long as things continue to improve, the trolls and negaVols will have no leverage to upset the program or the true fan base.

Don't know where the three 5 star players are coming from. First years was Stokes (5STAR), Washpun, Richardson, Miller, Chievous, Mackanjula (3STAR or lower).
Reese, Edwards, and Moore were all 3STAR
Committed this year is Hubbs (5STAR) and Landry and Davis (3STAR)

But with Coach Martin, I don't care "as much" about the star rankings. I believe he can flat out coach and will get players to help our program, and isn't afraid to get rid of dead weight.

RememberWhen writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

You really think that? LOL! KY will be on probation soon. It's inevitable with that coach.

Hasn't that song about KY and Cal going on probation become a Golden Oldie by now??? Idiots like you keep singing it but it never happens....

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