During Rick Barnes’ tenure as Tennessee’s head basketball coach, the Vols have seen an uptick in the number of international players who have joined UT’s roster. Last season alone, Tennessee had four players outside the United States on the active roster, and two of them — Yves Pons and Santiago Vescovi — were starters.
Barnes has dipped into international waters a number of times while at Tennessee, and it appears as though he and the rest of his UT staff are interested in another overseas prospect, this time in the 2021 cycle.
According to Evan Daniels of 247Sports, Tennessee and Dayton are the latest programs to reach out to French guard Adama Bal. The 6-foot-6, 180-pound combo guard from Paris already holds offers from Georgia, Cincinnati, Colorado, Marquette, Saint Mary’s, and San Francisco at the Division I level.
Tennessee and Dayton are the latest to reach out to 2021 prospect Adama Bal. https://t.co/iaIymH4v03
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) June 16, 2020
In a recent interview with Daniels, Bal said he’s considering coming to the US for college but is keeping his options open to go straight to the NBA Draft once eligible.
Bal plays for INSEP Academy, the same prep school that current Vol forward Yves Pons played for before signing on with Tennessee as a four-star prospect in the 2017 class. INSEP has produced a number of notable basketball players over the years, including Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, and Ronny Turiaf.
The 16-year-old guard started to get noticed on France’s U16 team last summer in the FIBA U16 European Championship. Bal averaged six points, a rebound, and an assist in 12.6 minutes a game in seven contests with France’s U16 squad according to FIBA. In three games with the U18 CFBB team, Bal averaged 6.3 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 12.7 minutes. He also put up 5.1 points, 1.1 assists, and 1.0 rebounds a game in 16.9 minutes a contest in 17 games for Centre Federal in the France-NM1 according to ProBallers.com.
Though Bal is not currently rated on 247Sports, Daniels notes that he would likely be rated as a four-star prospect if he was committed to a team or playing in the US.
Bal is a wiry combo guard who is capable of playing on the perimeter or cutting inside to the basket. He has long arms that allow him to grab rebounds well, and that length serves him well on the defensive end, too. He’ll definitely need to add some weight, but he has a lot of tools to work with.
Tennessee does not currently have any prospects committed to them in their 2021 class, but the Vols are targeting a number of highly-rated recruits in the cycle. Five-stars Kennedy Chandler, Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith, Harrison Ingram, and Charles Bediako are all interested in Tennessee.
Since Rick Barnes took over as head coach, Tennessee has brought in six players outside of the US. Ray Kasongo (Canada), Kyle Alexander (Canada), Yves Pons (France), Santiago Vescovi (Uruguay), Uros Plavsic (Serbia), and Olivier Nkamhoua (Finland) have all signed on with the Vols since Barnes was named head coach prior to the 2015-16 season.