Vols Offer Two Elite, Four-Star Guards

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    Tennessee continues to reach out to some of the highest-rated prospects in the 2020 recruiting cycle in basketball. This week, the Vols have extended offers to two elite guards who have been impressing this spring.

    The Vols have given scholarship offers to four-star point guard Caleb Love out of St. Louis and four-star combo guard Bryce Thompson out of Oklahoma. Tennessee had previously gone and watched Love and have had an interest in him recently, and Thompson is arguably the hottest name on the 2020 recruiting trail right now.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Love is the No. 31 overall prospect and No. 5 point guard in the 2020 class. Along with the recent offer from Tennessee, he holds offers from Virgina, Texas, Purdue, Butler, Indiana, Florida, Texas A&M, and Missouri among many others. Thompson is currently rated as the No. 61 overall player and No. 6 combo guard in the 2020 class per the composite rankings. Thompson got an offer from Kansas back in April of 2018, and lately he’s had more offers flooding in. He’s picked up offers from North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Tulsa, and Michigan State in the last couple weeks. Both players are the No. 1 prospects in their respective states in the 2020 cycle.

    Right now, both Love and Thompson are rated as four-stars, but there’s a very good chance that both will be five-stars once the next recruiting rankings are updated.

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    Tennessee has really zeroed in on Love as a point guard option as of late, but they’ll have stiff competition for him. Expect Love to be a huge target for the Vols moving forward depending on what happens with their point guard position.

    Love has a phenomenal offensive game, and it’s easy to see why he’s rated so highly. He can create his own shot just about anywhere on the floor, and he’s extremely athletic and can sky for dunks just as easily as he can pull up and nail a jumper. Not only that, but Love has some incredible vision and is a highly capable floor general. He’s a crisp and accurate passer who has a knack for finding the open man and can get the ball to his teammates in difficult situations.

    Right now, Love is playing with the Brad Beal Elite team in Nike’s EYBL. That team was created by two-time NBA All-Star Bradley Beal in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Love was also named to the first team of the ALL-USA Missouri Boys Basketball Team by USA Today Sports. As a junior this season, Love averaged 18.9 points, four rebounds, just under three assists, and two steals per game while shooting over 200 free throw attempts on the season.

    As for Thompson, he’s been blowing up in the Under Armour circuit this spring.

    So far this spring, Thompson is the leading scorer in the elite AAU event, averaging 25.3 points per game. He’s not just a one-dimensional scorer, though; Thompson can hit threes (he’s shooting about 44 percent from three in the Under Armour circuit), slash to the basket, and he can set himself up off the ball and create his own opportunities.

    Watching his film, it’s evident to see why he’s turning so many heads. Thompson is athletic, quick, and capable of making shots at all three levels of the court. He has long arms and a smooth shot, and his footwork is leagues ahead of most players his age. He models his game after Kobe Bryant, and you can absolutely tell it when you watch his film.

    Thompson has grabbed a ton of attention this spring, and his recruitment will be one of the most hotly-contested recruitments in the 2020 cycle. If you want to read more on him, CJ Moore of The Athletic did a great in-depth feature talking about Thompson’s roots with his family, his time in France, his growth spurt and drive to improve his game, modeling his game after Kobe Bryant, and much more.

    Tennessee currently has a commitment from borderline five-star small forward Corey Walker in their 2020 class. He’s rated as the No. 23 overall prospect and a five-star on 247Sports, and their composite rankings list him as the No. 31 overall player and a four-star. The Vols are also major players for five-star guard Jaden Springer, four-star guard and No. 1 in-state player Keon Johnson, four-star forward PJ Hall, and four-star guard Keon Ambrose among other prospects. Love and Thompson will be two names in this cycle to keep an eye on as well.

    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.