The current Tennessee basketball team received great news on Tuesday afternoon when it was announced that Arizona State transfer forward Uros Plavsic had been cleared to play by the NCAA for this season. But the future of UT basketball also got some good news.
Earlier in the day, the future of Vol hoops received great news in their own regard. Three of Tennessee’s signees in the 2020 class were nominated for the 2020 McDonald’s All-American Game, which will be held on April 1st at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Five-star guard Jaden Springer, five-star guard Keon Johnson, and four-star forward Corey Walker Jr. were three of 900 men’s and women’s high school basketball players to make the cut. Springer and Walker were two of 19 players from state of Florida nominated, while Johnson was one of four nominees from the state of Tennessee.
Finalized rosters will be announced by the end of the month.
Eight Tennessee basketball players have played in the prestigious all-star game. Current freshman guard Josiah-Jordan James played in the game last season, and Tobias Harris (2010) and Scottie Hopson (2008) have also represented Tennessee in the high profile event.
Going back a little further, Vincent Yarbrough (1998), Tony Harris (1997), Charles Hathaway (1996), Allan Houston (1989), and Doug Roth (1985) also played in the game.
Current Vol freshman guard Santiago Vescovi was the other signee in the 2020 class for Tennessee. Vescovi and the trio of McDonald All-Americans give Tennessee the current No. 6 overall recruiting class in the country according to 247Sports.
Springer is ranked the No. 17 overall player in the country, while Johnson is ranked No. 22, and Walker is ranked No. 37.
“The combined talent and potential of Keon, Corey and Jaden is really exciting,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said in November when the trio signed. “All three of them fit the culture of this program and come from incredible families who have provided wonderful support and guidance to get them to this point. It’s our responsibility now to help each of them take the next steps in their individual development—not only athletically but also as men.”
The Lady Vols also had two signees nominated to the women’s McDonald’s All-American game. Four-star guard Destiny Salary is one of four representatives from the state of Arkansas who made the initial cut, while guard Tess Darby of Greenfield High School is one of seven representatives from Tennessee. Salary and Darby signed with the Lady Vols in November.
Salary is the No. 59 overall player and the No. 17 guard according to HoopGurlz. ProspectsNation.com has Salary rated No. 92 overall and No. 20 among guards. She was a USA Today All-Arkansas Second Team selection in 2019 and earned Class 5A all-state in 2019 and Class 6A all-state in 2017.
“Destiny is an athletic and high-energy guard,” Lady Vols head coach Kellie Harper said in a press release when Salary signed. “She is aggressive getting to the basket and defending the ball. Destiny has a magnetic personality that will be great for our team and Tennessee fans.”
Darby is the No. 144 overall player according to ProspectsNation and the No. 33 overall guard. She has been chosen TSWA Class A All-State the past three seasons and won a state championship in 2018. Darby was a Class A finalist for Miss Tennessee Basketball that season.
“Tess is a skilled and a competitive wing,” Harper said. “She is a terrific shooter and has a high basketball IQ. As a native Tennessean, Tess has a great appreciation of what it means to be part of our university and the Lady Vol program.
“Both Tess and Destiny are really good people, and we are excited to be adding them to the Lady Vol family.”
The women’s McDonald’s All-American game is played at 4:00 on April 1st, while the men’s game is played at 6:00.