Wednesday, the Tennessee Volunteers basketball program landed another five-star recruit in the 2020 class. Jaden Springer, a shooting guard from IMG Academy, committed to the Vols. Tennessee landed Springer after Penny Hardaway (Memphis) and Juwan Howard (Michigan) looked to land one of the best pure shooters in the class.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 23, 2019
Springer is coming off of a very successful junior season, where he helped lead IMG Academy to a national championship in the GEICO High School Nationals. He also has a connection with the Vols roster, as he played AAU ball with Drew Pember on B. Maze Elite. He had a successful AAU season as well, averaging over 21 PPG, 6.8 RPG and 3.75 APG.
With the addition of Springer, the Vols now have the No. 4 recruiting class in the nation in the 2020 recruiting cycle on both Rivals and 247Sports. Springer is the No. 16 ranked player in the class and the fourth-best shooting guard. Keon Johnson from The Webb School in Bell Buckle is just a few spots behind him at No. 23. Corey Walker, a small forward from Virginia, is right on the edge of being a five-star, ranked as the 36th best player in the class.
Landing these guards will help replace the production that Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner will leave behind after this upcoming season. It obviously depends on the type of season that Josiah James will have, but if he ends up staying for his sophomore campaign instead of declaring for the NBA Draft, Tennessee could potentially have three five-star guards in its backcourt.
Don’t be surprised if the Vols land another recruit in this class as well. Despite potentially having one of the best backcourts in the nation next season, they will have to add a big man down low. The Vols looked to go after P.J. Hall, but have seemed to move on to Dylan Cardwell. Cardwell is a 6’10” center who visited the Vols on Oct. 11. Tennessee made his top four, alongside Vanderbilt, Miami, and Georgia. Cardwell is ranked as a four-star on both Rivals and ESPN while being ranked a three-star on 247.
What this means for Rick Barnes
Landing yet another five-star helped land some trust back in Barnes after what occurred this past offseason. After nearly taking off for the UCLA job, Phillip Fulmer and Barnes agreed on an extension, making him one of the highest-paid coaches in college basketball at $5 million/yr.
When the whole UCLA fiasco went down and Barnes got his raise, I said he better coach and recruit at a $5 million dollar level if he’s going to make that kind of money.
This is $5 million dollar-level recruiting. https://t.co/bqL7nLkTX4
— Charlie Burris (@Charlie_Burris) October 23, 2019
This tweet puts it perfectly.
There’s no doubt that Barnes has one of the best track records as a head coach in the NCAA. One thing that has always stuck with him, though, are his teams’ troubles in the NCAA Tournament, despite the talent those teams might’ve had. Specifically, his team at Texas that had Kevin Durant and last year’s Vols team that only made it to the Sweet 16.
It’s been well known that Barnes and his staff can develop talent ever since they arrived on Rocky Top. Despite not signing a big-time recruit in his first four years in Knoxville, he led the team to two NCAA Tournament appearances. He helped develop guys like Admiral Schofield, Grant Williams, Jordan Bone, and Kyle Alexander into NBA products. Bowden and Turner have the chance to do that after this season, as well.
With the way that Barnes has developed talent despite not having big-time signees, it’ll be interesting to see what he’s going to do with the five-star recruits he continues to sign. The sky is the limit for these recruits and Vol Nation can’t wait to see what these players can do once they arrive on campus.