Right now, Tennessee’s men’s basketball team doesn’t have any open scholarship spots for the 2019-20 season. But that’s not stopping them from reportedly trying to get involved with arguably the top grad transfer on the market.
According to Jeff Goodman of WatchStadium.com, Tennessee and Gonzaga are two schools “trying” to get more involved with Virginia Tech grad transfer forward Kerry Blackshear. The talented big man visited Florida on Thursday and has many schools vying for his services, including Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Arkansas.
Another school involved in the Kerry Blackshear recruitment is Arkansas, sources told @Stadium. Blackshear visited Florida today, Texas A&M and Kentucky in the mix. Gonzaga and Tennessee also trying, per sources.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) June 6, 2019
The 6-foot-10, 250-pound forward/center announced his decision to transfer off Virginia Tech’s roster after head coach Buzz Williams left to take the head coaching job at Texas A&M this offseason.
Blackshear put his name in the 2019 NBA Draft pool and went through the whole draft process, much like Tennessee’s Grant Williams and Jordan Bone. But unlike Williams and Bone, Blackshear withdrew his name from the draft pool and elected to come back to college for one more season.
Now, he’s the hottest name on the transfer market.
Last season, Blackshear averaged 14.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists while shooting 50.8 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from three, and 73.6 percent from the free throw line in 35 games. Blackshear was named a Second-Team All-ACC performer for the Hokies.
Blackshear was second on the team in scoring per game and first in rebounds per game for Virginia Tech this past season. He also led the team in blocks with 27. Blackshear’s efforts helped lead Virginia Tech to the most wins in a single season in program history, and the Hokies reached only their second Sweet Sixteen ever in school history.
In Virginia Tech’s three NCAA Tournament games against Liberty, St. Louis, and Duke, Blackshear averaged 17.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. During the season, Blackshear eclipsed the 20-point mark seven different times and recorded nine double-doubles.
Blackshear is considered one of the best passing big men in college basketball, and he racked up four or more assists in nine games this season.
Right now, it looks like the Vols are fighting to even get in the race for Blackshear, but they’ve been tied to his name for a little while now. Tennessee was labeled a “dark horse” to land Blackshear back in late April, and it appears they’ve continued their efforts with him even since then.
But how would Blackshear fit into Tennessee’s team?
With the Vols signing four players in their 2019 signing class and adding Uros Plavsic and Victor Bailey Jr. as transfers, Tennessee has reached the 13 scholarship limit for the 2019-20 season. Unless someone else on the current roster decides to transfer or if one of the Vols’ four signees can somehow blue shirt this late in the process, there won’t be any room to add Blackshear to this upcoming season’s roster.
Numbers tend to work themselves out, so it’s likely that head coach Rick Barnes and his staff have a plan if things do progress with Blackshear. But right now, Tennessee still has a handful of schools to overcome to even have a chance of landing the talented grad transfer.