Last year’s Pilot Rocky Top League lacked its normal appeal.
The annual summer league — comprised of future, current and past Tennessee men’s basketball players and a slew of players with Knoxville ties — was more or less a dud. The Vols didn’t boast a touted incoming freshman to draw curious eyes. Team members Jarnell Stokes and Trae Golden were unavailable to play. Late afternoon temperatures inside Bearden High School’s homey gym often rose to Saharan levels.
All that, boasts Rocky Top League commissioner Andre Whitehead, will change this summer.
“It’s going to be very different — for the better,” Whitehead said.
Primarily, a new home will deliver air conditioning.
The Rocky Top League is moving to Christian Academy of Knoxville this summer. According to Whitehead, the dates are set for June 17, 19, 24 and 26 with the semifinals on July 1 and championship game on July 3.
“We needed a great location,” Whitehead said. “CAK is a little smaller than Bearden, but it’s more centrally located and meets all our needs. And did I mention the air conditioning?”
The change in location means CAK will host the highly anticipated Knoxville debut of incoming UT freshman Robert Hubbs III. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Dyer County High is a five-star prospect and rated as the top prospect in the state by 247sports.com.
According to Whitehead, Hubbs and fellow incoming freshman A.J. Davis, Darius Thompson and Travon Landry are expected to participate, while confirmation on incoming junior college transfer Rawane Ndiaye is still up in the air.
As for the current UT roster, Whitehead is expecting full participation with the exception of senior forward Jeronne Maymon, who missed all the 2012-13 season with a knee injury.
The league will also offer its normal array of ex-Vols. Last summer brought Bobby Maze, Wayne Chism and Melvin Goins back to Knoxville, among other former Tennessee players.
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn.