Vols Offer Fast-Rising Power Forward in 2019 Class

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    (Photo via Olivier Robinson-Nkamhoua)

    Tennessee’s coaching staff continues to keep their options open in the 2019 class in case someone on the current roster declares early for the 2019 NBA Draft or someone transfers off the roster this offseason. On Tuesday, UT head coach Rick Barnes was in to see a fast-rising power forward in the 2019 class and ended up giving him an offer.

    Olivier Robinson-Nkamhoua is a 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward who plays for Bishop Walsh High School in Cumberland, Maryland. He’s been receiving a ton of attention from high major programs lately, and Tennessee was the latest to offer him according to Corey Evans of Rivals.com.

    Right now, Robinson-Nkamhoua is rated as a three-star on Rivals but doesn’t even have a 247Sports profile as of yet. But don’t let the lack of exposure fool you; the athletic big man is grabbing attention from coaches for a reason.

    Robinson-Nkamhoua was born in Helsinki, Finland and didn’t move to the United States till the summer 2017. Not long after that move, he ended up breaking his foot and had to sit out for a long time. Because of that, he was off the radar for quite some time and didn’t get to show off his skills in the States in front of scouts.

    But now Robinson-Nkamhoua is healthy, and he’s turning heads.

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    Starting in the summer of 2018, Robinson-Nkamhoua began to make waves with his versatility and impressive offensive game, and scouts started to take notice along with coaches at high major programs looking for late additions to their 2019 recruiting class. One of those teams is Tennessee.

    Robinson-Nkamhoua has added offers most recently from the Vols and Pitt, and he also has offers from Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, and Wake Forest. When you watch his film of when he’s healthy, it’s easy to see why coaches like him.

    Not only is the 6-foot-8 power forward agile and athletic, but he has an array of offensive tools. He can slash to the basket, use post moves, and drain shots from three. Despite not being the largest player in terms of weight, Robinson-Nkamhoua does a great job of rebounding and finding ways to get the basketball. He’s also a solid ball-handler and can bring the team up the court. He’s not going to be able to bang down low a ton with some bigger players in the SEC or whatever conference he ends up at, but he doesn’t need to; that’s not his game. Robinson-Nkamhoua is a very intriguing prospect with a lot of upside.

    Right now, Tennessee’s 2019 class is full with the three prospects they signed in the fall signing period. Five-star guard Josiah James, three-star forward and Bearden standout Drew Pember, and three-star forward Davonte Gaines from New York all signed with the Vols in the fall, and they’ll be UT’s only new additions to the roster for next season unless there’s a change or two to Tennessee’s team this offseason.

    If Grant Williams or Jordan Bone elect to forgo their senior seasons at Tennessee and declare for the NBA Draft or if one of the Vols’ current players decide to transfer to another program this offseason, then the Vols would have another scholarship spot open up. If that happens, Tennessee could add someone else in their 2019 class or could pursue a grad transfer for next year.

    Robinson-Nkamhoua isn’t the only 2019 prospect Tennessee is keeping tabs on in case one of those moves get made. In-state center Jason Jitoboh and German power forward Isaiah Ihnen are two other names currently in the 2019 class who the Vols are interested in, and 2020 five-star center Walker Kessler is high on UT and is heavily considering reclassifying to the 2019 class.

    The Vols have options if they want to make a late addition in the spring signing period of the 2019 class. Time will tell if that move will need to be made, though.