Tennessee basketball wins transfer portal with versatility and efficiency

Texas A&M v Tennessee
Texas A&M v Tennessee / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

Tennessee basketball lost four players to the transfer portal this spring, including two starters. The Vols also lost four players to graduation. As a result, Rick Barnes went to work and brought in four players through the transfer portal, focusing on versatility and efficiency. 

Forwards Jonas Aidoo and Tobe Awaka announced their transfer, and Banes responded by signing Ohio State transfer big man Felix Okpara to replace Aidoo down low. The 6-foot-11 four-star center is from Chattanooga and will return home after averaging 6.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks in his two years at Ohio State. 

Okpara became a big part of Ohio State's frontcourt last season and will bring much-needed physicality to Tennessee's paint presence. He was one of the best centers in the portal, and Barnes wasted no time bringing in another big man to help JP Estrella down low. 

"Felix is an elite shot blocker, high-level defender, and terrific rebounder," Barnes said after Okpara's commitment. "He possesses the ability to score in the low post, as well as play on the perimeter. A mobile athlete with excellent length who creates space offensively, Felix is a constant threat to get to the rim for a lob. We will do everything we can to help him further develop all aspects of his game."

Charlotte transfer forward Igor Milicic Jr brings much-needed versatility to Tennessee's frontcourt. He can play as a stretch four or play a guard role for the Vols, depending on Barnes' needs. He could have a solid role going into the season but could play various roles similar to Josiah Jordan-James. 

At Charlotte, he averaged 12.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, shooting 49% and 38% from three-point range. The 6-foot-10 forward plays like a guard, but his size also allows him to be a threat down low. His versatility also makes him a strong sixth man for the Vols if he isn't a starter in the fall. 

Hofstra transfer forward Darlinstone Dubar is the definition of versatility and efficiency in this year's recruiting class. He's an elite scorer and brings elite efficiency with his ability to score the basketball. He averaged 17.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game last season, shooting 53.9% from the field and 39.9% from three at Hofstra. 

Synergy basketball ranks Dubar as the fourth-most efficient scorer in the country last season, automatically making him one of the most efficient scorers in the SEC before the 2024-25 season tips off. 

The most recent transfer signed is North Florida guard Chaz Lanier. He announced his commitment on Friday and was the most efficient scorer in college basketball last season. He averaged 19.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists and earned First Team All-ASUN. 

He averages 1.20 points per possession, which is the best in college basketball. Pair Lanier and Dubar together, and the Vols have two of the country's four most efficient scorers on the court in orange and white.

Both are also versatile in the role they can play for the Vols. Dubar can play anywhere from a two to a four, while Lanier can run the offense or play the No. 2 to Zakai Zeigler.

With the transfer portal class Barnes has put together, with the players returning, Tennessee could have an elite offense next season, which they have been missing before Dalton Knecht stepped on the hardwood in Knoxville. 

Combine the Vols' new versatility and elite efficiency on offense with Barnes' hard-nosed, physical defense, and Tennessee could have something special next season. 

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