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Tennessee basketball: B.J. Edwards portal entry speaks to Vols’ depth at guard

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Last month, Tennessee basketball lost Olivier Nkamhoua to the transfer portal but then added three new transfers and received the news that Santiago Vescovi would return for his super senior season. Now, they are losing another player to the portal.

B.J. Edwards has now entered the transfer portal, according to Grant Ramey of ON3. A four-star combo guard in the Vols’ 2022 recruiting class, Edwards played in 14 games last year and averaged just over four minutes per game.

Although he had the potential to burst onto the scene this year, Edwards’ entry is about just how loaded Tennessee basketball is at guard. That is the case despite Tyreke Key running out of eligibility.

Not only is Vescovi back, but Zakai Zeigler is set to return from his ACL injury. Meanwhile, midyear commitment Freddie Dilione was a borderline five-star and can shoulder the combo guard role this year.

USC Upstate Spartans transfer Jordan Gainey is a proven sharpshooter, and D.J. Jefferson was also a four-star in UT’s 2022 recruiting class. Simply put, the Vols can go five-deep at the two guard spots already, and Barnes may not be done adding talent.

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Guys on the wing could also move over to the two. Jahmai Mashack is a defensive specialist who could play there, and Northern Colorado Bears transfer sharpshooter Dalton Knecht is a natural two-guard. It’s hard to know how Barnes will use this rotation right now.

As a result, this entry isn’t too shocking. Even when Zeigler got hurt last year, Edwards wasn’t able to see consistent minutes on the floor, suggesting he’s more of a scoring guard than a true point guard. The Vols are even deeper there.

Of course, with this move, the Vols’ roster is still way up in the air. They may add another transfer, and Josiah-Jordan James, Uros Plavsic and Julian Phillips are all testing the NBA Draft waters. It’s hard to know who will come back.

Heck, Nkamhoua and even Edwards could with draw from the portal, and Barnes might take them back. Recruiting may not be done either. Simply put, the roster is wide open at this point.

What is clear is that no matter what, Tennessee basketball should have a good combination of elite proven talent and potential. The decisions by those in the NBA Draft right now will determine how much proven talent is there.

A bigger question is the rotation in the post. Jonas Aidoo is back, but Nkamhoua is gone, and Plavsic might be gone. With Awaka and Aidoo as the two main guys, the Vols also add four-stars Cade Phillips and J.P. Estrella.

Meanwhile, if James, Phillips or both return, there’s always a chance Barnes decides to go small and play one of them, or both, at the four. Again, he will have options. Right now, though, it’s still unclear where the depth will be before he starts preparing for next year.

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2 Responses

  1. Vols are now at 13 scholarship players. Doubtful James, Phillips, Plavsic or Nkamhoua return. James and Nkamhoua invited to NBA G League combine.

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