Rick Barnes had a lot to say at the Knoxville Quarterback Club on Monday, but the one thing that stood out to me was the team’s strength was all the depth.
Barnes has recruited really well lately, and with some important pieces coming back, the Vols team should be really deep. Some media members have the Vols as the second-best team in the SEC. I consider myself pretty balanced when it comes to college basketball talk, but I consider the Vols as the best team in the SEC.
One of the knocks I’ve had on Barnes during his time on Rocky Top is he doesn’t get his bench guys ready to play. Two seasons ago, Tennessee basically had a 6-man rotation, which ended up hurting them in March. To this day, I’ll die on the hill that Yves Pons should have been in the starting lineup, which would have allowed Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bowden to come off the bench.
If Barnes played Pons for the first five-six minutes of each half, he could have provided a blow for other guys.
On The Strength Of This Team
“I would say the depth. We have more depth than we’ve had since we’ve been here. There’s no doubt. That’s the biggest thing; it is right now. We have to get the consistency factor, where we expect the older guys to be there. They haven’t shown that as much as we would like right now, but there’s no doubt we have more depth than we can use than at any time that we’ve been here.”
This year is going to be completely different, though. I have no clue what Barnes will do with the starting lineup, but let’s create one for this article.
Point Guard: Santiago Vescovi
Shooting Guard: Jaden Springer
Small Forward: Josiah-Jordan James
Power Forward: Yves Pons
Center: John Fulkerson
Now here are the players coming off the bench: Keon Johnson, E.J. Anosike, Victor Bailey Jr., Corey Walker, Davonte Gaines, Drew Pember, Olivier Nkamhoua, and Uros Plavsic.
I know all those players won’t play, but that’s a lot of bodies to construct a successful lineup.
John Calipari and Kentucky ran a platoon system, and it worked really well.
Rick Barnes and the Vols have enough players to do the same this season. It will be interesting to see what Barnes has in store for the rotation.