Tennessee Vols morning report: Basketball adds final assistant

For the first time in a long time, baseball is the talk of the town for the Tennessee Vols. Obviously, football is still a big storyline with Josh Heupel’s ongoing first spring practice at UT, and basketball has personnel issues to address, but baseball is the big one.

Our morning update on Rocky Top, though, leads with men’s basketball and the addition of a new assistant. After missing out on transfers Noah Gurley and Walker Kessler, who joined the Alabama schools, this was some decent news Rick Barnes’ program needed.

As for the diamond, baseball’s current ranking in the polls coming off their series win over the Florida Gators along with a preview makes some news, and we have a softball recap to bring you as well. Let’s start with the basketball team, though.

Justin Gainey joins basketball staff – UTSports

Marquette Golden Eagles Associate Head Coach Justin Gainey has joined Rick Barnes’ staff with the Tennessee Vols men’s basketball team as an assistant coach. Gainey joins Rod Clark, who was added a few weeks ago, and the two complete the staff, offsetting the departures of Kim English and Desmond Oliver.

Immediately prior to coming to Tennessee, Gainey spent the 2020-21 season as the associate head coach at Marquette. It was his second stint on Steve Wojciechowski’s staff, as he also worked with the Golden Eagles from 2014-17.

In between his stints in Milwaukee, Gainey was an assistant coach at Santa Clara in 2017-18 and Arizona from 2018-20. During his time at Arizona, he assisted in the recruitment and development of 2020 NBA Draft picks Josh Green, Zeke Nnaji and Nico Mannion.

Baseball reaches top five in every poll – Wes Rucker, GoVols247

After winning their fourth straight SEC series over the weekend, the Tennessee Vols baseball team reached as high as No. 3 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll Monday. They are not lower than No. 5 in any poll as they get set for a Tuesday road matchup with the Western Carolina Catamounts. The first pitch is set for 5 p.m. ET.

Vanderbilt fell from No. 1 to No. 2 in this week’s USA Today poll after a rare weekend series loss at home to Georgia, but this weekend’s Vols-Commodores series in Knoxville will still feature two top-three teams who don’t care much for each other.

Tennessee (27-6, 9-3 SEC) and Vanderbilt (25-5, 9-3) are tied atop the SEC Eastern Division standings and the overall SEC lead, with top-ranked Arkansas (26-5, 9-3) matching that mark in the SEC Western Division.

Softball returns from COVID shutdown with big win – Ken Lay, VolsWire.com

On Monday, the No. 16 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols softball program improved to 29-6 with an 8-0 shutout win over the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles. This was a rescheduled game from a scheduled doubleheader last week that was canceled, along with this past weekend’s series against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, due to a COVID outbreak in the UT program.

UT pitcher Ashley Rogers (17-4) was dominant in the circle Monday as she surrendered just one hit in a five-inning complete game. She struck out five. Offensively, Kiki Milloy went 1-for-3 and clubbed a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning.