Tennessee basketball: Five ways Vols can offset Jaden Springer turning pro

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Tennessee Head Coach Rick Barnes reacts to a call during a basketball game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Georgia Bulldogs at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn., on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. Tennessee defeated Georgia 89-81.
Kns Vols Georgia Bulldogs Hoops

To nobody’s surprise, Tennessee basketball is losing freshman guard Jaden Springer. After one year on Rocky Top, the 2020 6’4″ 204-pound five-star recruit out of Charlotte, N.C. announced on Twitter that he will enter the NBA Draft and has signed with an agent.

As one of three guards who were once five-star recruits on the 2020-2021 Vols, two of whom were freshmen, Springer was the best offensive player on the team, leading everybody in scoring at 12.5 points per game. Because of that, dealing with his departure will be difficult, especially since UT doesn’t have any elite scoring guards committed in its 2021 class.

However, Tennessee basketball still has plenty of ways to offset the departure of Springer, which Rick Barnes almost certainly knew was coming. Everybody on Rocky Top should wish him the best. He’s got great potential in the pros. Looking ahead, here are five ways UT can make sure that they keep rolling as a program despite such a big loss.

5. Vols add a transfer scoring guard.

Honestly, Barnes should prioritize other ways to offset Springer, which we’ll get to in a minute, as he should be focusing on an elite offensive big man in he transfer portal. However, this is a way for UT to add more of a scoring punch to its backcourt with Springer gone.

Grant Ramey of GoVols247 listed multiple scoring guards in the transfer portal the Vols could target, including Tyreke Key, Jalen Cone, Xavier Pinson, Justin Powell, Noah Locke and Kellen Grady. Jamison Battle is technically a forward at 6’7″ but can stretch the floor with his shot, so he’s more of a backcourt scorer anyway.

Any of these guys would be an additional offensive threat in the backcourt. Cone is only 5’10”, so he wouldn’t be the best addition given who Tennessee basketball has coming in at point guard, but he could still be very valuable if he does choose Rocky Top. Battle, given how elite of a shooter he is and his size, would probably be the best pickup.

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