Vols Visit Trio of Five-Star Prospects

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    The dead period is over in basketball recruiting, and Tennessee’s entire coaching staff took advantage of the open period getting underway.

    Rick Barnes and his entire coaching staff went out to various parts of the US on Monday to check in with some of UT’s top recruiting targets in both the 2020 and 2021 recruiting classes. Included in the visits were a trio of five-stars and one of Tennessee’s top post targets in the 2020 class.

    Barnes himself was reportedly in to see five-star guard Jaden Springer down in Florida at IMG Academy. As we wrote earlier in the day, Springer seems to be trending towards the Vols after canceling his official visits to North Carolina and Florida and receiving a number of crystal ball predictions in favor of the Vols.

    Since the writing of that article, three other experts have logged crystal ball predictions for Springer in favor of UT, including the Director of Basketball Scouting for 247Sports, Jerry Meyer.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Springer is the No. 15 overall prospect and No. 3 shooting guard in the 2020 class.

    Springer wasn’t the only five-star to get a visit from Tennessee’s coaches, though.

    Five-star point guard Kennedy Chandler in the 2021 class was visited by UT assistant coach Kim English. The Vols were the first team to pay Chandler a visit on Monday, though he ended up hosting a number of schools — including Duke among others — at his high school, Briarcrest Christian, in Memphis.

    Per Jake Weingarten of Stock Risers, Rick Barnes will be back over in Memphis to see Chandler later this month on September 18th.

    The Vols have made Chandler a huge priority for a while, and it looks like the Memphis five-star is Tennessee’s top point guard target in the 2021 class.

    Chandler is the No. 17 overall player and No. 2 point guard in the 2021 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. He’s also already the No. 1 player in the state of Tennessee in the early 2021 rankings.

    Along with Chandler, Tennessee’s coaches went to see another five-star in the 2021 class on Monday.

    Paolo Banchero, a five-star power forward in Seattle, also received a visit from UT’s coaches on Monday. Banchero said recently that he will be taking an official visit to Tennessee’s campus later this year, electing to see the Vols over the Memphis Tigers.

    The 247Sports Composite rankings have the 6-foot-9, 235-pound Banchero rated as the No. 4 overall prospect and No. 1 power forward in the 2021 class. Banchero has considered the idea of reclassifying to the 2020 class, but that remains to be seen at this time.

    While out on the west coast, Tennessee also checked in on one of their top post targets in the 2020 class.

    Bradley Ezewiro, who plays over in California, confirmed to me on Monday afternoon that UT associate head coach Michael Schwartz visited him, and the two had “a great talk.” Ezewiro also got a visit from LSU head coach Will Wade.

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    Back in August, Ezewiro said Tennessee was making him a priority and had continued to recruit him hard since offering him at the end of July.

    “Ever since they offered me, they’ve been really recruiting me,” Ezewiro said of Tennessee. “They’ve been sending me videos and pictures of what Tennessee was doing. They’ve been trying to get me up on an official. I really like the coaches up there. They really see a lot in me.”

    The 6-foot-8, 255-pound post player says the Vols will get an official visit from him, but he hasn’t scheduled the date yet. Ezewiro is currently the No. 215 overall player and No. 3 center in the 2020 class per the 247Sports Composite rankings. Tennessee was included in his list of six finalists back in August.

    Expect to see Tennessee’s coaches pay visits to other targets over the next few days and weeks now that the dead period has lifted.

    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.