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Kim Caldwell shares Tennessee needs 'one or two more' players to complete roster

On3 imageby:Sam Gillenwater05/09/24


Tennessee Volunteers Basketball Kim Caldwell

A coaching change in any college sport leads to necessary roster work. However, after a month as the next head coach of the Lady Vols, Kim Caldwell says their team is almost complete for her first season in Knoxville.

Caldwell addressed how far her roster was from completion during a media availability at the final stop of the Big Orange Caravan in Kingsport on Thursday. She shared that the program is no more than a pair of names away from being done.

“We need one or two more,” said Caldwell.

As the program moves on from Kellie Harper, Caldwell has already pieced together most of her debut team on Rocky Top.

Tennessee obviously lost their best player from last season in Rickea Jackson. As a fifth-year in her second with the Volunteers, she averaged 20.2 points and 8.2 rebounds. That led her to become the No. 4 pick in the WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks.

Karoline Striplin was also their lone transfer from the previous roster. She entered the portal and decided to commit to Indiana.

As for additions, Tennessee has officially brought in a trio of transfers to this point. Alyssa Latham (Syracuse), Lazaria Spearman (Miami), and Samara Spencer (Arkansas) have all committed to the Lady Volunteers over the last two weeks. Latham, a freshman contributor for the Orange last year, and Spearman, who worked down low for the Hurricanes the past two seasons, both went from the ACC to Tennessee on the same day. Then, earlier this week, Spencer came over from Fayetteville after three seasons as a ‘Hog.

That brings Tennessee to a total of 13 players on their roster. That includes several key returnees from last season in Jewel Spear, Sara Puckett, and Tess Darby.

There’s more work left to finalize the lineup for what will be Caldwell’s first year leading the Lady Vols. It doesn’t seem like it’ll take too much more, though, with only a spot or two left to fill.

Barnes details what Tennessee is still seeking in the portal

Tennessee is doing a lot of roster work this offseason with what all left Rocky Top. Now, with a picture of what they will and won’t have coming into view, Rick Barnes and the Vols have a better idea of what piece or pieces that they will still need.

On Thursday, Barnes spoke about the selectivity or priority of the portal targets for the program during a media availability at the final stop of the Big Orange Caravan in Kingsport. With what they have coming in, he says the team’s focus for a transfer is on the top players available. That specifically includes one that can provide them with scoring at any position.

“Well, again, what we’re looking for now is the best player we can find in someone,” said Barnes. “You’re always to add some scoring if you can,” Barnes said. “That’s something to look at, whether it’s up front or in the backcourt.”

“Right now, whatever we do? It’s got to be something we think that we don’t have and something that we know can benefit us.”