247Sports Crystal Ball Predictions have Jabari Smith, the 6-foot-10 power forward, heading to Bruce Pearl and the Auburn Tigers.
According to the 247Sports Composite rating, Smith is the 5th highest-rated player in the nation. He’s listed as the number one power forward and the number one player in Georiga.
Smith has offers from Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida State, and more.
As Vol fans, we are well aware of the struggles of having a dominant big man. Basketball has changed, but it’s still nice to have a 6-foot-10 post that dominates down low.
Grant Williams turned into one of the toughest players to guard in the nation. He was back-to-back SEC Player of the Year, but even Williams wasn’t a true dominant big man.
Josh Gershon, a national recruiting analyst for 247Sports, thinks Smith is a first-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Smith has excellent size and has a smooth stroke.
However, maybe Smith choosing Auburn means we get two more years of John Fulkerson.
Fulkerson has been good every year on Rocky Top. His Freshman senior, Fulkerson, showed out at the Maui Invitational.
Injuries hindered Fulkerson’s potential until last season. The junior the Vols looked to Fulkerson to be a leader, and a leader he was.
Fulkerson led the team with 13.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. More impressively, according to KenPom, Fulkerson averaged a 61.4 effective field goal percentage.
On March 3, 2020, Fulkerson put the Vols on his back and beat the Kentucky Wildcats in Rupp Arena. Fulky scored 27 on 10-for-15 from the floor.
He was a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line and added six rebounds.
The NCAA announced this football season didn’t count towards the eligibility of the student-athlete.
Could they do the same for basketball?
Maybe the Vols know that’s the case and know Fulkerson has two more years in him. If I were Smith, I wouldn’t want to be fighting for playing time against one of the SEC’s best players.