Tennessee Basketball: Reassemble to disintegrate?

Two weeks ago Donnie Tyndall made the leap from Southern Mississippi to Rocky Top to take over the Tennessee basketball program.

Since then the Vols have lost all four members of their incoming recruiting class, as well as current Vols Darius Thompson, and A.J. Davis who were both freshman brought in by Cuonzo Martin last year.

While Tyndall has moved quickly to salvage the incoming recruiting class by adding six-foot-seven power forward Jabari McGhee out of the Hargrave Military Academy, and six-foot-four shooting guard, and pure scorer Kevin Punter from Sedalia, Mo.

The Vols are also in the mix for Purdue transfer point guard Ronnie Johnson. Although Johnson won’t be eligible to play in the upcoming 2014-2015 season, he would still be a solid get for the Vols, especially since the Vols are running slim at the point guard position yet again thanks to the release of Thompson.

Although Davis’s departure will hurt the Vols when it comes to size, McGhee will most likely take his place on the roster as the two are about the same size. The only returning big men for the Vols are six-foot-10 forward Rawane Ndiaye, who will be a senior this upcoming season, and six-foot-eight Derek Reese who is listed as a guard on the Vols’ current depth chart.

Tyndall, however, has made it clear his No. 1 priority is to find a point guard in the coming weeks of the recruiting trail. Given the style of basketball he intends to play, which will be eerily similar to that of which Bruce Pearl implemented in his time at Tennessee, he may not seek anymore big men for his first full roster at Tennessee.

He may, however, be forced to replace another guard if former five-star recruit Robert Hubbs III follows suit with the other freshmen from last year and transfers as well. It was reported on Tuesday afternoon, May 6, that he will meet face-to-face with his family with coach Tyndall on Wednesday, May 7, and possibly make a decision whether to stay or leave afterwards.

The six-foot-six Hubbs III turned down the likes of Duke, Florida, and Oklahoma State to play for Martin’s Vols a year ago, but has been silent after Martin’s departure for California. Hubbs III has yet to formally ask for a release from Tennessee, but could do so as soon as tomorrow if he isn’t convinced that Tennessee is where he wants to be after he and his family talk with Tyndall.

As it stands Tyndall still has six scholarships to give even after securing two commitments for next season. While the positive of that is that gives him more of an opportunity to quickly implement his system by recruiting players better suited for his system, now that we are nearing the end of the recruiting season what prospects are still out there are slim pickings so-to-speak, so Tyndall may not get exactly what he’s looking for to begin his first season in Knoxville, Tenn.

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