Two months ago, Tennessee was considered a “dark horse” team to land coveted Virginia Tech grad transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. for this upcoming season. Now, the Vols are right in the thick of things and are expected to get an official visit from the talented big man this week.
According to Evan Daniels of 247Sports, Blackshear has scheduled an official visit to Knoxville for this Friday, June 14th. Blackshear has already taken official visits to Florida and Arkansas, and it’s expected he’ll also visit Kentucky sometime this week before traveling to Tennessee.
Over the weekend, Jake Weingarten of StockRisers.com reported that Tennessee’s “number one priority” right now is to add Blackshear to their roster. With the highly-touted transfer now setting his official visit date, it seems UT is definitely a major player for his services.
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. There’s a chance that Blackshear could return to Virginia Tech for his final season, and Texas A&M has also been involved with him since they now have his head coach from the Hokies.
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 points per game and first in rebounds per game for Virginia Tech this past season. He also led the team in total 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. He has 13 career 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. He was actually third on the team in assists per game, finishing behind guards Justin Robinson and Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
Right now, the Vols have all of their scholarship spots full for the upcoming 2019-20 season. That means that in order for Tennessee to add Blackshear — if he does, indeed, choose the Vols — someone off the current roster would have to transfer.
Tennessee has already had one player transfer off the team this offseason. Forward Derrick Walker announced his decision to transfer to Nebraska last month. The Vols also lost starting center Kyle Alexander and starting forward Grant Williams to the NBA Draft, leaving their frontcourt with a lot of holes and questions.
The Vols are right at the 13 scholarship limit for the 2019-20 season after signing four players in their 2019 recruiting class and adding two transfers this offseason. Tennessee signed five-star guard Josiah Jordan-James, four-star forward Olivia Robinson-Nkamhoua, three-star forward Drew Pember, and three-star small forward Davonte Gaines in their 2019 signing class, and the Vols also brought in Arizona State center Uros Plavsic and Oregon guard Victory Bailey Jr. as transfers.