Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin and the Volunteers basketball team took a huge step in the recruiting department on Monday. The 2013 class is starting to take shape for the Vols, and at this rate, could be one of the nation’s best when all is said and done.
The day started with a bang for the Volunteers as they received word that Robert Hubbs, a 5-star and the 12th-rated prospect in the nation by Rivals.com, would be taking his game to Knoxville next year. Hubbs, who hails from Dyer County in West Tennessee, picked the Vols over Duke, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Auburn. The 6-foot-5 shooting-guard is the second 5-star prospect landed by Martin in the last two years, Jarnell Stokes being the other.
To say this is a major victory for Martin and Tennessee is an understatement. Going head to head with the likes of traditional powerhouses, such as Duke and Kentucky, are battles that programs often fall short in. But just like the battle with Memphis and Kentucky over Stokes, Martin showed he belonged with the nation’s elite coaches when it comes to recruiting.
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Most experts thought Hubbs was headed to Kentucky or Duke, even prompting Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski to make an in-home visit to the Hubbs’ household late last week in a last ditch effort to win him over and play for the Blue Devils. But after his visit to the Tennessee campus this past weekend, something about Rocky Top just clicked for the young man. Even his father was surprised by his decision. ”I asked him, ‘What about Kentucky? You haven’t visited yet,’” Hubbs Sr. said. “He said, ‘Dad, I love Tennessee.”
Players like Hubbs and Stokes are the caliber of players that can build programs into juggernauts. ”He’s a dual-threat player that can shoot it from NBA range and can get to the rim off the dribble with a variety of moves,” said Dyer County head coach Derek McCord. “He has tremendous athleticism, but can also really shoot it. He’s so multidimensional. Tennessee got itself a special player.”
The good news for the Volunteers did not end there however. Later in the day, Martin and Tennessee would receive their second verbal commitment of the day. 6-foot-8 forward A.J. Davis from Buford (Ga.) High School had narrowed down his choices to the Vols and Clemson. Tennessee fans would get the good news and Tigers’ fans the bad via Twitter with Davis saying “I’ll be attending the university of TENNESSEE! #GoVols”.
Davis, the son of former 13-year NBA veteran Antonio Davis, became the third recruit in the Volunteers 2013 class, joining Hubbs and Huntington (W.V.) Prep point guard Travon Landry. He is the 86th rated prospect in the nation and is 3-star recruit according Rivals. Davis is excited and ready for the college game. “I can do a lot of different things that will benefit the team,” he added. “I’ll do anything I need to do to help the team win. If its rebounding and playing defense, I’ll do that. If it’s scoring and shooting the ball, I’ll do that”.
The Volunteers have one scholarship to give for the 2013 class with Southwind High School’s Johnathan Williams III and Briarcrest Christian School forward Austin Nichols being the most wanted on their list. If Martin is able to recruit one of these elite players to Tennessee, the 2013 class would not only be one of the best in school history, but would indeed rival any in the country. Big Orange basketball is indeed on the rise and Martin is proving his worth on the recruiting trail.
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