99 in 99: #22 Tennessee Volunteers

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Bruce Pearl body paint

If you had Bruce Pearl in the “Which shady college coach would be the next to get busted for a major recruiting violation” pool, congratulations.  Pearl put the Tennessee Volunteer program in a troubling situation but if the team can not let that affect the product on the floor, the Vols should be a contender in the SEC.

The Sports Bank’s 99 team college basketball preview in 99 days ranks the 72 power conference teams and top 27 mid-major programs.  Click here if you missed teams #23-#99.

By: David Kay

Tennessee Volunteers (11-5 in SEC, 28-9 overall)

Projected Depth Chart
C: John Fields (Sr)/Brian Williams (Sr)/Kenny Hall (So)
F: Tobias Harris (Fr)/Renaldo Woolridge (Jr)/Steven Pearl (Sr)
G/F: Jordan McRae (Fr)/Cammeron Tatum (Jr)/Jeronne Maymon (So)
SG: Scotty Hopson (Jr)/Skylar McBee (So)/Josh Bone (Sr)
PG: Melvin Goins (Sr)/Trae Golden (Fr)

Gone: F/C-Wayne Chism, G/F-J.P. Prince, PG-Bobby Maze, PG-Josh Tabb (transfer-Northern Kentucky), F/C-Emmanuel Negedu (transfer-New Mexico)

2010-2011 Outlook:
When it seemed the team would crumble after four valuable contributors were suspended stemming from an off-the-court incident, Tennesse re-grouped and pulled off a huge upset of top-ranked Kansas.  The Vols then made a deep run in the NCAA Tournament before falling by one point to Michigan State in the Elite 8.

Tennessee loses three starters from last year’s team but still returns eight players who averaged double digit minutes since the Volunteers had such a deep rotation.  Plus, they add a pair of freshmen and transfers who should make an immediate impact.

Junior Scotty Hopson is the top returning scorer even though he struggled with his shot with most of last season.  He should be joined in the starting backcourt by Melvin Goins who will need to become more of a floor leader while taking over for Bobby Maze.  Cammeron Tatum will be a key piece off the bench while Josh Bone and Skylar McBee provide experienced depth and freshman Trae Golden will try to work his way into the mix.

The starting frontcourt jobs seem a little more up for grabs.  UNC-Wilmington transfer John Fields may have stolen the starting center spot from Brian Williams during camp while Jordan McRae has emerged as the likely candidate to start at forward alongside highly recruited Tobias Harris.

Depth will not be an issue for Pearl up-front.  If Fields does start at center, Williams will bring his big body off the bench while sophomore Kenny Hall is capable of playing steady minutes as well.  Renaldo Woolridge is a perimeter based forward who can play either forward position and Marquette transfer Jeronne Maymon will be a factor once he becomes eligible after the first semester.  Do not forget about Pearl’s son, Steven, who brings energy and hustle to the floor when given a chance.

The Volunteers will once again be a very deep team that utilizes its versatility rather than counting on one or two players to carry the load.  They will be right in the mix of a very talented SEC West but figure to finish a notch below Florida and Kentucky.  (On a side note, I am really going to miss Wayne Chism’s headband.)

wayne chism headband

Player to Watch: Tobias Harris, F
A McDonald’s All-American, Harris is an athletic 6-8 player who can play inside or on the perimeter.  He can handle the ball, play in the open floor, and knock down jumpers.  What really stands out about Harris is his intensity and passion for playing the game.  I like Harris A LOT and think he could very easily be a one-and-done and potential top-ten pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/17 vs. Missouri State (Pre-season NIT)
11/24 vs. Wake Forest (Pre-season NIT)
11/26 vs. Villanova/UCLA (Pre-season NIT)
12/11 at Pitt
12/17 at Charlotte
12/21 vs. USC
1/5 vs. Memphis
1/22 at UConn

Other 99 in 99’s:
#23 Gonzaga
#24 Texas
#25 San Diego State
#26 Xavier
#27 West Virginia
#28 BYU
#29 Georgia
#30 St. John’s
#31 N.C. State
#32 Florida State
#33 Marquette
#34 Temple
#35 Vanderbilt
#36 Arizona
#37 Murray State
#38 Dayton
#39 Notre Dame
#40 Mississippi State
#41 Utah State
#42 Maryland
#43 Richmond
#44 UNLV
#45 Seton Hall
#46 Wichita State
#47 Washington State
#48 St. Louis
#49 Old Dominion
#50 Minnesota
#51 New Mexico
#52 UConn
#53 Northwestern
#54 UCLA
#55 Southern Mississippi
#56 St. Mary’s
#57 Texas A&M
#58 Louisville
#59 Arizona State
#60 Northern Iowa
#61 Creighton
#62 Clemson
#63 Cincinnati
#64 Texas Tech
#65 Miami, FL
#66 Charlotte
#67 UTEP
#68 Ole Miss
#69 George Mason
#70 Colorado
#71 Weber State
#72 Alabama
#73 Bradley
#74 Central Florida
#75 Wake Forest
#76 Georgia Tech
#77 USC
#78 Oklahoma State
#79 Cal
#80 Oklahoma
#81 Virginia
#82 South Carolina
#83 Indiana
#84 Stanford
#85 Oregon
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#88 Arkansas
#89 Boston College
#90 LSU
#91 Providence
#92 Michigan
#93 Oregon State
#94. Nebraska
#95. Auburn
#96. DePaul
#97. Iowa State
#98. Rutgers
#99. Iowa

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  1. That fan on the top photo looks a little like Bruce Pearl.

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