While Tennessee’s football team continues to struggle, the Vols’ men’s basketball program is remaining hot on the recruiting trail.
The Vols already have one five-star guard committed to them in their 2020 class, and they have a borderline five-star small forward pledged to them as well. Now, it looks like Tennessee could be adding their third elite prospect in their 2020 class here soon.
Five-star guard Jaden Springer has been a top priority for Tennessee’s coaching staff for quite some time. He’s scheduled to take an official visit to Knoxville on October 5th when the football team hosts Georgia, and it looks like that visit could set up exceptionally well for the Vols given some recent news in Springer’s recruitment.
Per multiple reports over the weekend, Springer has canceled official visits to two of the teams he previously listed as part of his five finalists. Springer had official visits planned for North Carolina and Florida, but now both of those trips won’t be made. The five-star guard has already taken an official visit to Michigan, and he has an official still scheduled for Memphis before traveling to UT’s campus.
Springer’s visit to Knoxville will be his last official visit before he makes a decision on which college to attend.
“Sometime after that October visit to Tennessee we are going to make a decision,” Springer’s father told Evan Daniels of 247Sports last month.
With that news of Springer canceling visits has come an influx of crystal ball predictions in favor of the Vols.
Since Saturday afternoon, six different recruiting analysts have logged crystal ball predictions in favor of Tennessee for Springer. Most notable among those is Brooks Hansen — a Memphis Insider for the 247Sports page covering the Memphis Tigers — and both Andrew Slater and Chad Lykins of The Devils Den, 247Sports’ site covering Duke’s basketball program.
According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, the 6-foot-5, 195-pound guard who is originally from North Carolina is the No. 15 overall prospect and No. 3 shooting guard in the 2020 class. Springer plays at IMG Academy now and has been out of North Carolina for a couple years.
Rick Barnes and UT’s staff have made Springer a priority for a long time, but blue bloods like North Carolina and Villanova came calling in late spring of this year. Springer already held offers from schools like Kansas and Michigan State, but he picked up even more interest over the last few months. Mike White at Florida made Springer a big focal point on the recruiting trail before Springer eventually passed on the Gators, and Penny Hardaway at Memphis has really turned up the heat.
Still, the Vols have had a relationship with Springer for quite a while, and it’s clear he likes what he’s seen at UT. The only official visit he took in the spring was to see Tennessee back in March when the Vols hosted and defeated Kentucky.
Springer’s highlights are so fun to watch. He has a nasty mid-range game that is extremely difficult to guard. He can stop on a dime and pull-up for his shot, and he can hit fadeaway jumpers as well. He can score at all three levels, and his strength is a big asset. He has really good ball-handling skills and solid awareness on the court. He’s an exceptional all-around player, and it’s very easy to see why he’s considered one of the top players in high school in the 2020 class.
This past season for IMG Academy, Springer averaged 18.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game according to PrepCircuit.com. He shot 55.5 percent from the floor overall, 30.3 percent from three, and an impressive 90.9 percent from the free throw line.
This spring, Springer played with the B. Maze Elite team in the AAU circuit just like he did last year. The spring/summer AAU team was started by former Vol Bobby Maze. In seven recorded games for the B. Maze Elite this year, Springer averaged 18.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists while shooting 51.8 percent overall, 36.7 percent from three, and 85.3 percent from the free throw line according to the Under Armour Association’s website.
Tennessee already has one five-star guard committed to them in their 2020 class, and they have another borderline five-star prospect committed as well. Keon Johnson, the No. 1 player in the state of Tennessee, is a five-star guard who chose the Vols over Ohio State and Virginia a month ago. Corey Walker, the Vols’ other commit, is a top-40 overall prospect out of Florida who plays at small forward.
North Carolina at one point was seen as the favorite for Springer, but they’ve faded over the last month-plus, and Springer canceling his visit there confirms that. Right now, Memphis is probably Tennessee’s biggest competition for Springer. The Tigers have surged since the summer, and the Vols and Tigers are probably the top two teams for the five-star as of now. Michigan is certainly right in it, too.
Still, my best bet right now is that Tennessee is the favorite for Springer, and I think UT ends up getting his commitment. Things can absolutely change, but as of now, I think Springer eventually commits to the Vols.