Tennessee Basketball: Paging Mr. Five-star

Tennessee Volunteers

Robert Hubbs III (Photo credit: 247sports.com)

For the 2013-2014 Tennessee basketball season it’s easy to point out who the leaders are for the Vols.

Jordan McRae, Jarnell Stokes, and of course the return of Jeronne Maymon are the large reason for the Vols success. However, just how long can the team rely solely on their three upper-classmen to be the bread winners for the team so to speak.

Combined the three average 43 points and 21 rebounds per game. That’s over half of what the team averages as a whole.

While the fact that Stokes, Maymon, and McRae are having phenomenal seasons serves as a major plus for Cuonzo Martin’s Vols, if they were to have an off night or end up in foul trouble early Tennessee may not even reach 50 points, or even 40 for that matter, in the game.

While Memphis transfer Antonio Barton has provided a small spark for the Vols here and there with his superb three-point shooting ability, 10-of-24 from beyond the arc in eight games, Tennessee needs more. They need someone who can get it done from all parts of the floor, and do so at a moment’s notice.

Robert Hubbs III, true-freshman guard, was rated as a five-star coming out of high school a season ago. Scout.com labeled the six-foot-four guard as a solid attacker and finisher at the rim.

Hubbs had offers from elite schools, national championship winning schools such as Duke, Florida, and Missouri, but the Newbern, Tenn. native decided to stay home and play for his home-state orange-and-white.

Being a five-star recruit brings a lot of hype around a kid, especially in the era of basketball we are in today where kids are expected to come in from high school and play right away (i.e. the entire Kentucky basketball recruiting class each year). So like most incoming freshman, Hubbs was expected by many to have an immediate impact upon his arrival on Rocky Top. Essentially he was expected to be the go-to-guy for the Vols when “the big three,” were having an off night.

However, Hubbs has not been that guy through the first eight games of the season. In fact, some may argue that the incoming three-star guard Darius Thompson has been the most impressive addition to the Vols arsenal this season.

In eight games Hubbs has only averaged 5.6 points per game, including a season-high 13 points against the Citadel.

With freshman such as Jabari Parker of Duke, and Andrew Wiggins of Kansas lighting up the scoreboard, Hubbs dismal performance can make you scratch your head and wonder aloud, “this guy was a five-star?”

The season is still young, and the true-freshman still has plenty of time to grow, but the Vols really need Hubbs to step up and mature quickly so that if Maymon, Stokes and McRae can’t carry the team as they have all season, they can fall back on someone who can.