5. Jaden Springer enters NBA Draft
Sticking with the one-and-done five-star freshman, Jaden Springer was a bit bigger of a loss than Keon Johnson. Now, to be fair, Tennessee basketball also has somebody to replace Springer in Victor Bailey Jr., who was great off the bench last year as a scoring punch. They have similar styles, and Bailey will likely take on Springer’s role.
However, Springer himself was the best scorer on the team. The 6’4″ 204-pound guard averaged 12.5 points a game while shooting 43.5 percent from the free throw line, hitting nearly one a game, and 81 percent from the free throw line. His midrange seemed like something straight out of the 1990s, but he could score from anywhere on the floor.
When Springer made his departure clear on March 29, it wasn’t shocking at all. He was the most high-profile recruit last year and was always set to leave after a year. Rick Barnes knew he was going to find more backcourt scoring after just one year with this guy.
Like Johnson, Springer’s departure isn’t the most impactful one for the Vols, and that’s largely due to who is in the backcourt. We mentioned Bailey, but Santiago Vescovi can also provide scoring, and with Kennedy Chandler arriving, Vescovi could focus more on that. Simply put, there are options, but Springer will still be missed.