2019-2020 Season

Discussion in 'Vols Hoops' started by Indy, Mar 29, 2019.

  1. Indy

    Indy Does not get lucky

    Any chance we’re better?

    Obviously Grant would have to stay.

    Can Burns be good enough at the 5 for us to be successful? Is there a grad transfer we can snag to fill that spot?

    Then there’s Josiah James. How much of an impact does he make in his first year? Does he start? If so, where? Either Turner or Bowden would have to come off the bench.

    What’s the starting line up? Seems like it would be something like:


    Can any of our bench players become significant contributors?

    Fulkerson gave us solid minutes this season, but I don’t know how much higher his ceiling is.

    Pons has athleticism out the wazoo. Can he develop enough skill before next season to become a 15-20 minute per game guy? Does Walker have a chance to earn more minutes?
  2. utvol0427

    utvol0427 Chieftain

    If Grant stays we make the tournament, but probably not a top four seed in our region.

    If Grant leaves, I'll be interested to see how we do in the NIT.
  3. Indy

    Indy Does not get lucky

    Would love to see a starting lineup of


    And just rain 3’s the entire game.

    Love it, as in it would be funny. Doubt we’d be very good.
  4. Unimane

    Unimane Kill "The Caucasian"

    This was the year. I like how we are recruiting, but we are not going to be this good for at least a couple of years. I'm rely concerned about the 7-10 guys who are about to become way more critical next year. Pons, Johnson and Walker better be way more productive next year or we are headed for some struggles.
  5. Butthole

    Butthole Chieftain

    We'll be fine.
  6. GahLee

    GahLee Director of Conspiracy Theories, 8th Maxim

    If Grant comes back we will be a very good team again. You hope guys like Jalen Johnson and DJ Burns really push themselves this off-season, they will be needed. Josiah James has to be good enough to at least be a strong rotation guy, if he can be more than that there may not be a drop-off at all. It's the year after that looks bleak from here. Hard to even talk about next year. I've watched the replay of the foul call enough to be sick to my stomach. They had the rest of March to in-bound the ball, Edwards may have stepped out and he certainly kicked his leg out to draw contact.

  7. GahLee

    GahLee Director of Conspiracy Theories, 8th Maxim

    A foul call from 65 feet out with .6 seconds left cost them the regular season SEC crown. A questionable foul call with 1.7 seconds left cost them an Elite Eight appearance and who knows from there.

    It couldn't have happened to a nicer group of guys and for the first time in message board history, that comment is sincere.
    A-Smith likes this.
  8. GahLee

    GahLee Director of Conspiracy Theories, 8th Maxim

    We could return with the back-to-back SEC POTY, the best PG in the SEC, one of the best 6th man in the country, one of the best perimeter defenders in the country and a McDonald's All-American. Johnson, Burns, Walker, Pons, Fulkerson, they all need to take a step forward but that is enough to make the same type of run next year. We should be a pre-season top 10 team.
  9. GahLee

    GahLee Director of Conspiracy Theories, 8th Maxim

    This is tough to watch...
  10. Tenacious D

    Tenacious D The law is of supreme importance, or no importance

    Fulkerson and Pons need to be in the gym, today. Right now. As long as they continue to be non-entities on offense, and sporadically average on defense, we’re playing 3 vs 5 for half of every game (as another poster, who I cannot recall at the moment, correctly pointed out, earlier). If this remains to be the case, then the Sweet 16 is the absolute high water mark that this team will achieve, and not even Grant and Bone’s return will change that.

    Barnes falling into our lap is a godsend. That cat is exactly the sort of coach that perfectly fits at Tennessee, and who players and fans alike will enthusiastically embrace. A universally respected, seasoned and highly skilled coach, and who seeks to build a sustainable culture of not only winning, but winning the right way, and both on and off the court. Tennessee fans should say a thankful prayer for Rick Barnes each and every day.

    This being said, sincerely believed and fully understanding what Barnes walked into when he took this job, he simply must recruit more and better players, that is, if we are going to be legitimate contenders for championships, or have aspirations beyond the Sweet 16. I don’t like saying this, and for a couple of reasons - first, because it seems like I’m shitting on the current players, and secondly, because it is being critical of the same guy who has already done so much. And while I don’t at all seek to do either of those things, that we need better players, at multiple positions on the court and in rotation, is simply - and glaringly - the truth, as best I can see and discern it. That he turned a bunch of 3*’s into a 19-game winning streak, two months as the #1 team in the country and damned near an Elite 8 run might be the most impressive season of coaching that I’ve ever seen from a Tennessee coach, in any sport or era.

    But that’s not a sustainable model of continued success, because you just cannot consistently count on signing and miraculously developing Top 200 players into teams who can compete with and beat teams who are signing multiple Top 50 players, much less Top 10. You can think it possible, you can even hope it to be true, but it isn’t. The next step in our program’s ascent is to land at least our share of those players, and in turning 4*’s into 5*’s.

    Yes, yes, yes - Jeremiah Johnson is a fantastic addition, by any measure. But he is not and will not be enough, alone - particularly when considering that UK, Duke, UNC, KU and others will not only sign multiple players of his ilk and better, but in the recruiting cycles both before and after him - and who we will eventually be required to beat. If we don’t sign more and better players, and fewer 3* “diamonds in the rough” project-types, then our program’s continued successes will almost always be hard capped, inconsistent and limited. And while some measure of laudable success could still and certainly be achieved, as this staff and team have well-proven this year, you won’t win championships, and which should always be Tennessee’s unyielding standard, in everything, all the time, and without any exception.

    Even if that means that you have to suffer criticism from some know-nothing on a message board, however gently and fairly intended, on the morning after you poured your guts out in a valiant but losing effort.

    Everybody wanted to win a championship yesterday, but it’s wanting to win one next year that now matters, and not only while last season still stings, but exactly because it does. And that begins with being honest about what that looks like, and will require, IMO.
    2Maggitt2Quit likes this.
  11. Unimane

    Unimane Kill "The Caucasian"

    We will be a good team next year, provided Williams comes back, but they will not be as good as they were this year with Admiral and his type of leadership. We have too many unproven and underachieving players we will be relying upon, like Burns, Pons, Johnson and James.

    Without Williams, this team is a 50-50 shot at even getting to 20 wins.
  12. Tar Volon

    Tar Volon Me Blog @RockyTopTalk.com

    Typed all this out in Tenny's thread and then it was gone. At any rate, on the recruiting front, this is what 2018/2019/2020 look like:

    DJ Burns, 4*, 108th best player in the nation (per 247)

    Josiah James, 5*, 16th best player in the nation
    Drew Pember, 3*, 195th best
    Davonte Gaines, 3*, 226th best

    2020 (commits)
    Corey Walker, 4*, 31st best

    (for comparison, basically every current player on the team except Pons were 3*. Their national ratings in their recruiting year are 127 (Pons), 144 (Turner), 147 (Johnson), 171 (Bone), 191 (Williams), 238 (Fulkerson), 251 (Schofield), 262 (Bowden), 270 (Walker), and 362 (Alexander))

    We're going to need to really start filling out numbers next year when we lose Williams, Bone, Bowden, and Turner all at the same time. But our proportion of high-end talent appears to be improving. Dude who redshirted this year was rated higher than anyone currently on the team, and James is our best recruit since Tobias Harris. We still have two of the last five as three-star diamond-in-the-rough types, but given what Barnes has been able to get out of this class, I'm okay with him trying to develop a couple of those guys alongside the more well-known talents. Of course, scouting and development are going to be key, as always.

    Random things I noticed while looking all this up:

    *I had no idea that Pons was the only four-star on the current team. I keep forgetting he's only a sophomore. If he can take a big step in his basketball IQ, he could be a real player. Wouldn't be the first project we've had who became a legit contributor as an upperclassman.

    *I've been wondering why the hell we didn't recruit more depth in the post, knowing that Alexander is graduating this year and we have basically nobody behind him. The answer is that we have been. We recruited Derrick Walker and some dude named Zach Kent in the 2017 class. Apparently Kent is still on the team, although I don't recall ever hearing his name. Then we have the aforementioned Burns from the 2018 class, and the local kid (Pember) coming in this year is 6'9. Obviously, we're really relying on Burns to live up to his recruiting rankings if we don't want Fulkerson to be our only option. But there are still three other post players who are theoretically in the mix if we can get some development out of any of them.
    A-Smith likes this.
  13. SGMVols

    SGMVols Contributor

    I tend to agree. I fear our fans will place too much expectation on James because of his ranking and we’ll get a bunch of garbage takes calling him a “bust” because he doesn’t replace 100% of Admiral’s production. He’s got a lot of boot to fill stepping into that role as a true freshman no matter how many stars are by his name.
  14. Tar Volon

    Tar Volon Me Blog @RockyTopTalk.com

    With Williams, I think our range next year goes from fringe top 25 team to legit top 10 team, depending on whether James and Burns can contribute a lot immediately and on whether any of the three-star army (plus Pons) we have just behind our regular rotation develop into solid players or whether we get a good grad transfer.

    Without Williams, I think we're probably a bubble team.
  15. Indy

    Indy Does not get lucky

    Bowden seems like the more likely candidate to fill Admiral’s shoes, IMO. He’s already a better defender. Not as big, but probably slightly more athletic. Seems to have a similarly dangerous outside shot. Not as big of a leader, obviously.

    I really wonder where James will play if we start him. I don’t see him taking a senior spot away from Bone or Turner, and the kid isn’t a small forward.
    YankeeVol likes this.
  16. IP

    IP Advanced Pruitt Apologetics Bot

    the coaches talked about him playing multiple positions
  17. Unimane

    Unimane Kill "The Caucasian"

    Recruiting for the 2017 and 2018 classes have not been productive so far. We only played, really, six guys last night and we lose two of them. We need an infusion of talent or some guys to really make a big leap, which is going to be a tall task. I have to believe we are going to hit up the grad school transfer prospects hard.
  18. Indy

    Indy Does not get lucky

    He’s a combo guard, so yeah, by default, he can play the point and the 2. But we already have 2 seniors that share time at the point, and one of them starts at the 2.

    He has the size to play the 3, but I don’t know if that best utilizes his skill set. And then there’s Bowden, who is already a very serviceable 2/3 for us and was a starter just a year ago.

    Why couldn’t James have been a 6’10 PF/C? Lol oh well.
  19. Tenacious D

    Tenacious D The law is of supreme importance, or no importance

    First and foremost, thanks for this, TV.

    Here’s perhaps a better way to exhibit how I’m looking at it (not being contrarian, but just trying to better illuminate what I’m seeing...and which I’m happy to admit could be wrong, and in any direction):

    2019-2020 Season:
    Admiral - Graduated
    Alexander - Graduated
    Maybe Bone - Senior
    Maybe Grant - Senior

    Jalen Johnson - (Rs-Junior) - 3*
    DJ Burns - (Soph) - 4*
    Josiah James - (True Frosh) - 5*


    Corey Walker - (True Frosh) 4*

    So our starting five ‘18-‘19 season:
    3*, 3*, 3*, 3*, 3*
    Avg. = 3*

    Starting five ‘19-‘20 season:
    3*, 3*, 3*, 3*, 4* (Jalen Johnson)
    Avg. = 3.2*

    Starting five in ‘20-‘21
    3*, 3*, 3*, 4*, 5*
    Avg. = 3.6*

    I see us losing a shit-ton of production in the next two years, and trading a slightly - slightly - better talent, and which is far less experienced / proven.

    Basically, I see our talent level only slightly improving from its current level, and our experience level plummeting. A legit shot at a championship, this does not make, for the forseeable future.

    Is the class for next season already done and closed?

    I did just read where we’ve contacted the Bama Frosh PG who just entered the transfer portal, and maybe we can land him. But he still couldn’t play / help until season after next, as he has to sit for a year.
  20. Tenacious D

    Tenacious D The law is of supreme importance, or no importance

    I’ve not even considered Bowden for Admiral’s spot, and have just assumed it would be James. But you’re right, maybe Bowden is a better fit.

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