Skip to main content

Rick Barnes details what Tennessee is still seeking in the transfer portal

On3 imageby:Sam Gillenwater05/09/24


Tennessee Volunteers Basketball Rick Barnes At Big Orange Caravan

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.”

The Volunteers have already lost several players to graduation, the draft, or the portal this offseason. Dalton Knecht, Santiago Vescovi, and Josiah-Jordan James were all leaving Knoxville already. Jonas Aidoo, Tobe Awaka, Freddie Dilione, and DJ Jefferson then all transferred elsewhere.

In turn, Tennessee have three transfers in Ohio State’s Felix Okpara, Hofstra’s Darlinstone Dubar, and Charlotte’s Igor Milicic Jr.. All three rank within the Top-175 overall and Top-40 at their position in On3’s 2024 Transfer Portal Top Players. Okpara (No. 8 C) and Dubar (No. 12 SF) are both within the Top-60 in total.

The Vols will add them along with bringing back Zakai Zeigler, Jahmai Mashack, Jordan Gainey, and JP Estrella. Bishop Boswell, a four-star point guard and Top-75 prospect out of Charlotte, North Carolina, will also be there as the lone commitment in their recruiting class.

As for who Barnes could be referring to, a name like North Florida’s Chaz Lanier would fit that mold. Tennessee is in play for him as the No. 8 transfer and the No. 3 SG at On3. Other schools are involved too, namely Kentucky to this point. This comes after he averaged 19.7 points on 51% shooting and 44% from three on 3.3 triples per game for the Ospreys this last season. However, he has yet to make a commitment as he is still working out for the 2024 NBA Draft.

The roster is coming together for Tennessee after several subtractions followed by a handful of additions thus far. From here now, it’s all about finishing off the team with at least one piece, if not more, that will provide them with something that’s not there for them already

“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,” said Barnes.