Hey, I don’t know if you know this, but basketball is coming back. Thank God. It is returning, and all is right with the world again. Tennessee basketball is also coming back, but it’s going to look a lot different.
Gone are Grant Williams to the Boston Celtics, Admiral Schofield to the Washington Wizards, Jordan Bone to the Detroit Pistons, and Kyle Alexander to…well, we’ll see. All four were excellent players for Maybe the Best Team in School History last season; all four are near-impossible to replace. Collectively, they represent 2,077 of Tennessee’s 3,035 2018-19 points, 870 of their 1,391 rebounds, 140 of their 199 blocks, I think you get the point. It’s going to be tough, and that was before the team lost D.J. Burns (redshirted) and Derrick Walker (might as well have) to transfers.
New are a bunch of young dudes. Josiah James is the headliner, a five-star from South Carolina that can play three different positions and likely will have the most shot attempts on the team. Behind him are Oliver Nkamhoua (a 3/4-star that we don’t know a ton about), Drew Pember (local from Bearden), Davonte Gaines (string bean from New York), and Uros Plavsic (Euro Plastics). How much do we know about these kids? Well, a few things. No one knows for sure what, exactly, they are until the lights come on and they’re playing in front of crowds of 20,000 or greater. That’s the fun of youth.
There’s two previews; you are reading the Offensive preview. This one exclusively focuses on what each contributor, both confirmed and potential, can bring to the table on the offensive side of the game. Because there’s so much changing on this team, I’ll venture to guess that some of these predictions will be wrong. Surprise! I’ll also guess that this is as good and detailed of a preview as you’ll find in the Knoxville market. Nothing here is, or ever will be, clickbait. Let’s get into it.
AFTER THE JUMP: Who’s back of the week