Vols to Get Visit from In-State Center

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    (Photo via The Times Free Press)

    Tennessee’s basketball recruiting is really heating up lately. The Vols added four-star D.J. Burns to their 2018 class on Friday, seem to be moving in the right direction for two top-100 overall players in the 2019 class, made the cut for another top-100 overall player, and now will be hosting a talented in-state prospect on an unofficial visit soon.

    According to Jake Weingarten of Future150.com, Chattanooga center Jason Jitoboh will come to Knoxville on an unofficial visit on Monday of next week just a few days after he visits Louisville.

    The 6-foot-10, 270 pound Jitoboh plays for Hamilton Heights Christian Academy and picked up an offer from Tennessee way back in June of last year. Since then, he’s picked up offers from Florida, Auburn, Arkansas, Wake Forest, and most recently one from Louisville as well. Jitoboh’s recruitment has picked up a lot of steam during the last few months, and he’s beginning to rise up recruiting rankings.

    Right now, Jitoboh is rated as a three-star prospect and the No. 189 overall player in the 2019 class according to the 247Sports rankings. Those rankings also have him as the 34th-best center in the class and the No. 7 player in the state of Tennessee. He’s already unofficially visited Tennessee back in January of this year, and Rick Barnes paid him a visit back in September of 2017.

    Jitoboh reminds me a lot of a slightly bigger, more defensive-oriented version of D.J. Burns, the four-star center/power forward the Vols just got a commitment from in the 2018 class on Friday. At least that’s the feel I get from his highlight film.

    He uses his big body to assert his will in the paint, and he has a variety of post moves to maneuver past defenders. He plays a more old school style of basketball offensively, and he does it well. He’s also a more than capable passer and can move well for his size. He’s very adept on the defensive side of the ball and is a true rim protector down low. Guards slashing inside to try and find an easy bucket won’t get one if Jitoboh is there guarding the basket. He’s physical inside and knows how to position himself to grab rebounds. With some more conditioning, he could be a double-double waiting to happen almost every night.

    As a junior last season, Jitoboh averaged 8.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game according to MaxPreps. He shot 59.9 percent from the floor as well.

    When he first came to Hamilton Heights, Jitoboh was a huge, raw prospect from Nigeria. He weighed 340 pounds when he first started out in high school, and he’s since trimmed down to 270 pounds and continues to improve his conditioning even more.

    The Vols have offered a plethora of centers and power forwards in the 2019 cycle. Of their 36 total offers in the 2019 class, over half (19) have gone to players listed as centers or power forwards. Jitoboh figures to be one of the Vols’ top priorities in that grouping, and he could really take off this summer if he continues to improve.