Former Vols guard Jalen Johnson announced on Twitter Friday afternoon that he was transferring down the road to East Tennessee State University.
In his post, Johnson said, “New Beginnings” with prayer hands and a huge smiley face. He also included a #GoBucs.
The Bucs were going to be a fan favorite for some Tennessee basketball fans in the NCAA Tournament this season.
Johnson led the Vols 2016 recruiting class that featured players such as Jordan Bone, Grant Williams, John Fulkerson, and Jordan Bowden.
As a high three-star recruit, Johnson never really got going for Tennessee, although he was around for all the recent success.
In three seasons, the 6-foot-6, 196-pound guard played in 70 games, starting just two.
According to KenPom, using the possessions used metric, Johnson had a limited role for the Vols despite seeing action in 31 games.
However, there were many games where he made a huge difference.
Against Kentucky in Rupp Arena, Johnson hit two big three-point shots early in the first half to keep Tennessee in striking distance.
Johnson’s career-high in points was in early February against Mississippi State. The Vols ended up losing the game by 13, but Johnson scored 23 points on 3-for-6 from deep.
Steve Forbes led the ETSU Buccaneers to their first 30-win season in program history. It also marked the first Socon Conference Tournament Championship since 2017.
However, ETSU is losing five seniors.
According to KenPom, that’s five of their top six players when it comes to possessions used.
Johnson should be able to find playing time with ease.
We’ve been told his entire career that he’s a great practice player. Some former teammates have even gone as far as saying Johnson was the best player on the team.
Recently, the Vols have seen other players transfer away to have success.
Dj Burns was Winthrop’s best player last season scoring 11.9 points per game and pulling down 4.1 rebounds.
We will see if Johnson can have the same type of success at a smaller school.
I bet he will.