The Vols continue to make waves in recruiting on the basketball front. They added four-star center/power forward D.J. Burns to their 2018 class on Friday of last week, and this Friday they added another piece to their 2019 class.
Local standout Drew Pember of Bearden High School announced on Twitter that he is committing to the Vols in the 2019 class. Tennessee offered Pember back in late April, and he decided to go ahead and announce his decision now.
COMMITTED ‼🍊🖤🤟🏼 pic.twitter.com/oBPsll4zTu
— Drew Pember (@DrewPember7) June 8, 2018
The 6-foot-9, 195 pound forward from Bearden is rated as a three-star by 247Sports and recently jumped up to the No. 179 overall player in the 2019 class and the No. 6 player in the state of Tennessee. He’s the highest-rated player in the state who doesn’t hail from Memphis.
Pember has drawn a lot of attention from teams across the country lately because of his play during Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League. He played for former Vol Bobby Maze’s team, the BMaze Elite, and held his own against four and five-stars in the summer league.
But what makes Pember different from other talented players in the east Tennessee area in this cycle? He’s a stretch four with a multitude of offensive skills, and he projects well down the line.
Pember can nail threes and has a pretty jumper, especially for a player who is 6-foot-9. But he’s not just some finesse forward; Pember can score in the post too. He’s also a more than capable post defender and won’t back down from anyone. He’s very athletic and can move well down the court too.
Though he’s 6-foot-9, he’s a skinny post player right now and will definitely need a developmental year before he’s ready to play in college. He’s built more like a tall wing player right now, but he has undeniable skill.
There’s been talk of Pember potentially reclassifying to the 2020 class, and that move may benefit him and would make sense if he does it. Pember won’t come in and start immediately for Tennessee regardless of what class he’s in, but he needs some time to develop, get tougher, and put on more weight. Whether that’s in high school or with Tennessee doesn’t matter much, but he has the potential to be a consistent contributor by the time he’s a sophomore just like current Vol Zach Kent projects to be.
Tennessee’s coaching staff has earned a reputation for developing post players effectively, and that bodes very well for Pember. Players like Kyle Alexander and Grant Williams have flourished under Rick Barnes and his staff, and there’s no reason to doubt that Pember could develop into a solid player with UT’s coaches.
The Vols now have two commits in their 2019 class. Pember joins three-star small forward Davonte Gaines as members of Tennessee’s 2019 class.