The addition of Darius Thompson means someone is going or someone isn't coming on Vols' roster

Vols over scholarship limit by one

Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) grabs a rebound over Alabama guard Trevor Releford (12) while forward Jarnell Stokes (5) assists during the quarterfinal round of the 2013 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville Friday, March 15, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) grabs a rebound over Alabama guard Trevor Releford (12) while forward Jarnell Stokes (5) assists during the quarterfinal round of the 2013 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville Friday, March 15, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

If a college basketball roster is fluid, the Tennessee Vols are taking on water.

A verbal commitment from Murfreesboro point guard Darius Thompson last weekend pushed UT over the NCAA-mandated scholarship limit of 13.

Following the departure of seniors Skylar McBee, Kenny Hall and Dwight Miller, coach Cuonzo Martin will have 10 returning scholarship players. Four freshmen — Dyer County High School guard Robert Hubbs III, Buford (Ga.) High combo forward A.J. Davis, Huntington (W.Va.) Prep point guard Travon Landry and the aforementioned Thompson, from Blackman High School — are incoming.

That equals 14.

Some water needs to be bailed.

Questions stir around the future of standouts Jordan McRae and Jarnell Stokes. Both are mulling over the option of declaring early for the NBA draft. A new set of rules, enacted by the NCAA in May 2011, make it a far trickier process than that navigated by such former UT stars as Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris.

Under the new set of rules, any player who declares for the draft must decide by the day before National Signing Day (April 17 this year) whether he wants to return to school or lose his collegiate eligibility.

The withdrawal date was previously May 8, affording players a chance to participate in a handful of NBA workouts and more direct communication with league executives.

Now that is impossible.

Potential early entrants, McRae and Stokes included, fly blind. The NBA bars teams from communicating with players who are not officially draft eligible, while the NCAA bans contact from third parties contacting NBA teams.

The only individual who can speak with NBA teams and vice versa is a player’s head coach, in McRae and Stokes’ case, Martin.

Upon being enacted, the NCAA’s rule change was bombarded with criticism, denounced by many coaches and rife with controversy. The storm prompted the NBA to form the Undergraduate Advisory Committee. Comprised of 20 league executives, the committee produces formal evaluations for any potential early-entrant who requests one. The report is considered the clearest picture of a player’s standing in scouting circles.

Possible early entrants must request a report by April 10. Doing so is not the same as declaring for the draft and players don’t have to declare to request an evaluation. The reports, which attempt to provide an accurate window of where a player could land in the draft, are issued to players April 15.

While the NCAA’s early entry withdrawal date is April 16, the NBA’s deadline to declare doesn’t fall until April 28. Thus, whether a player pulls his name out of the draft by April 16 or doesn’t declare at all during the NCAA’s mandated time frame, he can still enter the draft as long as he does so before the 28th.

Something to remember; despite the above communication restrictions, activity and chatter bustle in alleys. When it comes to getting information to a player, agents, coaches, handlers and NBA personnel manage to keep the lines open.

What’s all this mean for Stokes and McRae? That depends on what they are hearing, who they are listening to and how each interprets what he gathers.

Either way, if one or both bolts, UT will right its scholarship.

And if both return?

Then eyes drift toward Martin’s incoming class, notably Landry.

According to statistics on Maxpreps.com, the 6-foot-1 point guard averaged 2.7 points and 2.8 assists per game and went 2-for-29 on 3-point attempts this year for powerhouse Huntington Prep. The program, littered with Division I talent, finished the season 30-3, ranked No. 7 in the USA TODAY Super 25 and featured Andrew Wiggins, the 2012-13 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

A consensus three-star prospect, Landry committed to Tennessee as a junior at Bob Jones High School near Huntsville, Ala., in December 2011. He signed a National Letter of Intent with UT on Nov. 15, 2012. Now, given his struggles at Huntington, speculation spins as to whether he could be nudged in a different direction.

A call and text message to Huntington coach Rob Fulford went unanswered.

If not Stokes, McRae or Landry, the only other possible defection would have to come from the remainder of Martin’s roster, be it a player transferring for playing time or new scenery.

That’s far from an irregularity in the college game.

By whatever means, either someone is going or someone isn’t coming.

Splash.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn.

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Comments » 45

newtonrail writes:

It's 13 shollys not 12, but your premise is correct.

LiveFaith writes:

Is Landry going to end up in prep school? Grades are the problem I heard. Anyone know?

Show-me-your-TDs writes:

are we really gonna give a guy with a 2.7 point average, a scholarship?

GO VOLS!!! playing in the rain tonight at Vandy

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

Ah..." 6-foot-1 point guard averaging 2.7 points and 2.8 assists per game and went 2-for-29 on 3-point attempts(7%) this year", is all I need to know to yank that scholly. Those are not D1 numbers for anyone to have expecting to play even in the SEC. So what if he played on a team full of stars, we need to be recruiting guys that are stars and who are productive. Those numbers are not (period).

tnvol34 writes:

Well the Vols basketball team does'nt look so bad after all, Wichita State, whom we beat is in the Final Four, Florida is stil in it, so good work VOLS! So if we can keep Mcrae, Stokes and company, in comes Hubbs and the other recruits, get a big seven footer, we'll be looking good! GO VOLS!

CoverOrange writes:

Grayshirt. Always talk about committing and commitment and VFL. Time to reflect that.

Razor784 writes:

I didn't know Landry's numbers were that awful, how in the world was he once a 3 star prospect. Those aren't college numbers for any level I don't care how good the team is that you're playing for.

Oenoboy writes:

This is such a common practice, I cannot figure out why it warrants an article. Modern media brings drama where it is doesn't belong to sell papers and ratings.

Nothing to see here, move along.

SouthPaVol writes:

Good article, BfQ, and interesting to see how CCM plays this out. We haven't had a true point guard at UT in ages, by "true" meaning a player that is less of a threat to score. If Landry is that fast to where he can push the ball up the court at lightning speed, then it would be as much an asset as liability.

If Thompson is all that and a bag of chips, then he takes up reserve PG time next year and Landry would choose greener pastures (and more PT) elsewhere. Hope Landry stays though, just to see what the Vols look like with a true PG on the floor.

Right now, I'm watching Stokes and McRae with "worms on the tip of my tongue"--bated breath. Go Vols!

iowavol writes:

in response to tnvol34:

Well the Vols basketball team does'nt look so bad after all, Wichita State, whom we beat is in the Final Four, Florida is stil in it, so good work VOLS! So if we can keep Mcrae, Stokes and company, in comes Hubbs and the other recruits, get a big seven footer, we'll be looking good! GO VOLS!

If FL wins today, I wonder how many other teams that didn't make it to the dance beat two of the final four teams? Just sayin.

eduardo writes:

Take gonzo with ya! Way to go Hammy could have gotten Gregg Marshall to coach us!

Katphan29 writes:

Kentucky Basketball's New Death Star.

Wall Street Journal article. Interesting read:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

Tennfan4075 writes:

in response to tnvol34:

Well the Vols basketball team does'nt look so bad after all, Wichita State, whom we beat is in the Final Four, Florida is stil in it, so good work VOLS! So if we can keep Mcrae, Stokes and company, in comes Hubbs and the other recruits, get a big seven footer, we'll be looking good! GO VOLS!

I am not sure how siting at home watching other teams play for the prize and after being knockout of a second rate tournament in the first round can translate into not looking so bad after all. I can only guess, you and many other Vol fans have the bar set much lower than previously.

rbwtn writes:

I can't believe they considering leaving way to early for them.

PHAT_VOL writes:

Either way its not a big deal. How about just making it to the big dance?
GO VOLS !!

Nunshalpass writes:

in response to Katphan29:

Kentucky Basketball's New Death Star.

Wall Street Journal article. Interesting read:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

Take that cr-ap on back to Lexington.

RememberWhen writes:

wow...slow news day I guess. First, McRae and Stokes aren't going anywhere - if they're smart. Neither is NBA ready and both may never be. TN had several players in the prior regime that are MUCH better than these two and none of them have made it. Second, for all you blind loyalists, this is EXACTLY why Martin should be gone. To even remotely consider signing Landry is solid evidence of either incompetent evaluation, inability to recruit real D1 players, or both. And to sign him EARLY only compounds the sin! Other than Stokes, this roster is filled with this level of talent - and CCM fell into Stokes given that he wanted to leave HS early and nobody else had any spots open. This guy is recruiting this program directly into being Missouri State. What? CCM ruined them too? Case rested.

jmaples54 writes:

in response to Katphan29:

Kentucky Basketball's New Death Star.

Wall Street Journal article. Interesting read:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

this year's kentucky team got the star treatment too, sports illustrated article and all that. how'd that work out?

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Katphan29:

Kentucky Basketball's New Death Star.

Wall Street Journal article. Interesting read:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

May be in the future you won't get humiliated by a team with lesser talent..jUsT sayin.

MooseandSquirrelVol writes:

in response to Katphan29:

Kentucky Basketball's New Death Star.

Wall Street Journal article. Interesting read:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

Nothing about Kentucky is interesting.

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

Handing out a scholly to a guy averaging less than 3 points a game is more note worthy of discussion than Kentucky.

kazoo writes:

McCrae and Stokes should stay in school. Neither is ready for, nor good enough right now, for the NBA.

VolunteerLifer writes:

I have heard that CCM does not recruit players who have publicly committed to other schools. I like that. Shows integrity. So it strikes me that he isn't the kind of guy who would go back on any of his commitments to any of his players or recruits, including Landry. Therefore, I think it highly likely that one of his current recruits or his current players have told him that they aren't going to play for UT next year. My guess is that it isn't Landry. My other guess is that it will come from the wing types, of which there are many and playing time will be scarce next year for those who rode the bench this year. Best guess: Chievous.

golfman1975 writes:

in response to RememberWhen:

wow...slow news day I guess. First, McRae and Stokes aren't going anywhere - if they're smart. Neither is NBA ready and both may never be. TN had several players in the prior regime that are MUCH better than these two and none of them have made it. Second, for all you blind loyalists, this is EXACTLY why Martin should be gone. To even remotely consider signing Landry is solid evidence of either incompetent evaluation, inability to recruit real D1 players, or both. And to sign him EARLY only compounds the sin! Other than Stokes, this roster is filled with this level of talent - and CCM fell into Stokes given that he wanted to leave HS early and nobody else had any spots open. This guy is recruiting this program directly into being Missouri State. What? CCM ruined them too? Case rested.

Amazing how this phooey team and coach beat a final four team and maybe 2...half the final four.

jt45 writes:

Seems like alot of Speculation but if one
does end up having to go then I think it will be Edwards.

Katphan29 writes:

in response to jmaples54:

this year's kentucky team got the star treatment too, sports illustrated article and all that. how'd that work out?

I just thought it was an interesting article that acually wasn't flattering at all, LOL.

So far its gotten Cal a first round NIT loss, a Final Eight, Final Four, and National Championship, so odds wise, pretty good.

This UK team coming in is going to be very special, and very different work ethics wise than this current team. Not knocking UT hoop, just talking hoop here.

I hope Donovan wins today and I hope Pitino wins today. I am a UK fan but always liked UL. A Pitino and Donovan final would be special, and I'd like to see Rick win it all again.

trl_x writes:

A big mistake in my opinion if either Stokes or McRae go early. Jordan needs to work on his ball handling skills and Jarnell needs to develop a game beyond 5 feet from the rim.

But who knows how ready THEY think they are?

voloffaith writes:

I believe Landry was offered when still in bama land b4 going to the next level of hs ball where he evidently was challenged.

Snapshot writes:

in response to Katphan29:

I just thought it was an interesting article that acually wasn't flattering at all, LOL.

So far its gotten Cal a first round NIT loss, a Final Eight, Final Four, and National Championship, so odds wise, pretty good.

This UK team coming in is going to be very special, and very different work ethics wise than this current team. Not knocking UT hoop, just talking hoop here.

I hope Donovan wins today and I hope Pitino wins today. I am a UK fan but always liked UL. A Pitino and Donovan final would be special, and I'd like to see Rick win it all again.

You're a UK fan, but always liked UL? I didn't think that was possible. lol

Just thought that there was bad blood between those two programs.

OwensboroVol writes:

in response to sly_stone99#434111:

Handing out a scholly to a guy averaging less than 3 points a game is more note worthy of discussion than Kentucky.

Why was this kid offered in the first place? There has to be a reason. Did he have a bad year because of injuries? I thought Martin made some recruiting errors that first year but there had to be a reason this kid was offered. Does anyone know?

VOLsince68 writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

I have heard that CCM does not recruit players who have publicly committed to other schools. I like that. Shows integrity. So it strikes me that he isn't the kind of guy who would go back on any of his commitments to any of his players or recruits, including Landry. Therefore, I think it highly likely that one of his current recruits or his current players have told him that they aren't going to play for UT next year. My guess is that it isn't Landry. My other guess is that it will come from the wing types, of which there are many and playing time will be scarce next year for those who rode the bench this year. Best guess: Chievous.

Chievous had a lot of playing time down the stretch. I would say Edwards.....or maybe Reese.

eVOLved writes:

in response to Show-me-your-TDs:

are we really gonna give a guy with a 2.7 point average, a scholarship?

GO VOLS!!! playing in the rain tonight at Vandy

Wow, you have Google! And your knee jerks quickly!

Katphan29 writes:

in response to Snapshot:

You're a UK fan, but always liked UL? I didn't think that was possible. lol

Just thought that there was bad blood between those two programs.

Most UK and UL fans definitely dislike the other's program, but not all. I respect the program, it is a program in Kentucky, and I would like to see Pitino get another championship.

tovolny writes:

Crank up the negative flashlight. Why bring this up now, Guinn? This article has John Adams written all over it. His Style, your name. This belongs on the KNS Sports Page, not "GO VOLS" Extra. You are sending a message to someone, I wonder who.

keepitreal4vols writes:

Why is Brendan Quinn calling and texting the Huntington coach for?
"Hey, I'm a reporter covering UT Sports and was just wondering if Coach Martin has called you yet, we believe he is going to pull Landry's scholly...anyway, call me when you get this message. Bye"

chipmurphy461 writes:

As a UT fan I've watched nearly every game this past season. No one on Tennessee's men's basketball team is ready for the NBA! Be smart and return for at least one more season then evaluate yourselves.

volsxsnos writes:

Just sitting here dreaming of a lineup in orange featuring Tobias Harris, Jarnell Stokes, a healthy Jeronne Maymon and Scotty Hopson all on the floor, at the same time, with heads on straight and attitudes adjusted. WOW. I guess the point, no pun intended, I'm trying to make is Tennessee can and does attract high quality MALE basketball players. We just can't seem to get them all in the same pot with the right spoon as my Southern granny used to say.

HooRay_Vol writes:

in response to volsxsnos:

Just sitting here dreaming of a lineup in orange featuring Tobias Harris, Jarnell Stokes, a healthy Jeronne Maymon and Scotty Hopson all on the floor, at the same time, with heads on straight and attitudes adjusted. WOW. I guess the point, no pun intended, I'm trying to make is Tennessee can and does attract high quality MALE basketball players. We just can't seem to get them all in the same pot with the right spoon as my Southern granny used to say.

That would have been one talented team, except Hopson would have been gone the year before.....

brod writes:

didn't know dwight miller was leaving. he didn't play at all this year.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Katphan29:

Kentucky Basketball's New Death Star.

Wall Street Journal article. Interesting read:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

Did you read that article all the way to the bottom? Are you really OK with that?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

I have heard that CCM does not recruit players who have publicly committed to other schools. I like that. Shows integrity. So it strikes me that he isn't the kind of guy who would go back on any of his commitments to any of his players or recruits, including Landry. Therefore, I think it highly likely that one of his current recruits or his current players have told him that they aren't going to play for UT next year. My guess is that it isn't Landry. My other guess is that it will come from the wing types, of which there are many and playing time will be scarce next year for those who rode the bench this year. Best guess: Chievous.

Just guessing here, but my GUESS is that those season stats aren't as good as his stats LAST season. Besides, if that IS as good as Landry can do, no matter how good his team is, he HAS to know that is not major-college level production. He may well welcome a chance to go somewhere else where he has a chance to play. If somebody besides McRae and Stokes on the current roster goes, my guess would be Reese. Chievous got more playing time late in the season while Reese was MIA.

TheEffect writes:

So....who is Marten going to run off....then say the player wanted to leave on his own??

brod writes:

talk about players missed...add chris jones and kevin ware to the list. i agree with johnlg00. reese wasn't even dressed for the nit game, very suspicous. wes washpun didn't play after the regular season last year, and he left.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to TheEffect:

So....who is Marten going to run off....then say the player wanted to leave on his own??

This happens everywhere sometimes and somewhere all the time. Don't make more of it than it is. Most guys aren't stupid; they can read a roster and coaches' attitudes quite well. Most guys who think they have college-level talent want to go where they can play. College scholarships only run year-to-year anyway. ANY scholarship can be pulled at the end of any academic year. Most programs avoid negative fallout by helping guys get on elsewhere if they aren't in their present team's plans.

tneagle writes:

We need Stokes back. I want to compete with the Big Blue.

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