Tennessee’s men’s basketball program could be hauling in the greatest recruiting class in the modern era in UT history. That was helped on Wednesday thanks to the commitment of another high profile prospect.
On Wednesday afternoon, five-star guard Jaden Springer announced on Twitter — with the help of ESPN — that he is committing to Tennessee.
“Next year, I plan on bringing home a national championship and also having one of the best freshman seasons ever,” Springer said in his commitment video. “This is probably the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make, but I’m 100 percent confident in my decision.
“I choose the University of Tennessee. Go Vols!”
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 23, 2019
Springer chose Tennessee over his other finalists of Memphis and Michigan, and he also held offers from North Carolina, Kansas, Villanova, and others.
According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, the 6-foot-5, 195-pound guard, who is originally from North Carolina, is the No. 16 overall prospect and No. 4 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 spring and summer months this year. 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 really turned up the heat. So did Juwan Howard at Michigan.
In the end, however, Tennessee won out for Springer’s commitment.
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 gotten better with his passing, and he has skills that translate to multiple positions across the court. Springer is 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.
Springer’s commitment gives the Vols one of the top recruiting classes in the entire country in the 2020 cycle. The five-star shooting guard joins five-star guard Keon Johnson and four-star small forward Corey Walker as prospects committed to UT in the 2020 class. All three are top-40 players in the 2020 cycle.
Should both Springer and Johnson sign and keep their five-star status, it would mark the first time in school history since recruiting rankings have been maintained (around 2003) that the Vols have signed two five-stars in the same class.