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Vols’ “Genuine” Approach Stands Out to 4-Star Center

(Photo via Jon Lopez/Nike)

Back in early May, Tennessee extended an offer to four-star center Micawber “Mac” Etienne out of Connecticut. Despite the Vols being a relative newcomer to his recruitment, it appears UT is standing out to the talented big man.

In a recent interview with Travis Branham of 247Sports, Etienne broke down several of the schools that have offered him, and the Vols were one of the programs he talked about along with Kansas, Ohio State, UCLA, Louisville, and Arizona State.

Why has Tennessee made an early impression on him? Because of the “genuine” way UT’s coaches have come off. That, and Etienne has family down in Tennessee, too.

“Coach [Kim] English and coach [Rick] Barnes are really cool people,” Etienne explained to Branham. “They are new in my recruitment, but you can really just see how genuine they are. My sister actually lives in Tennessee, so I have some family up there, and they say coach Barnes is one of the best developmental coaches, so being able to go there and have the opportunity to be close to family while they’re helping me achieve my full potential would be a great opportunity for me.”

Tennessee gave an offer to Etienne back on May 9th, and Georgia followed that up with an offer three days later. In total, the 6-foot-10, 220-pound center holds over two dozen scholarship offers.

According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Etienne is the No. 53 overall prospect, No. 8 center, and top-rated recruit in Connecticut. Etienne plays for Suffield Academy.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench in Etienne’s visit plans, as it has every recruit’s across the country. Because of that, the talented center has had to readjust his timeline as far as visits and trimming down his list of potential suitors.

“Not until later in the process because of the whole corona thing this has slowed down a lot,” Etienne said of taking visits to see some of the programs he’s interested in. “I was planning on visiting some schools during the summer and during the past spring, but due to the corona I wasn’t able to have that opportunity, and so now it’s mainly just seeing what the NCAA (says) about visiting and all of that type of stuff.”

On the court, Etienne is a strong presence in the paint and fights through contact to get to the rim. He has a number of post moves and uses his long arms to sky for rebounds and put-backs. He’s also capable of hitting jumpers, moving beyond just the cylinder to score his points.

As a junior, Etienne was named the Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year in Connecticut. The four-star center averaged 15 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks, and two assists per game for Suffield. He also participated in the Nike Elite 100 Camp and the Pangos All-American Camp in 2019.

The Vols do not currently have any prospects committed to them in their 2021 class, but UT is going after some big names in the cycle. Five-stars Kennedy Chandler, Harrison Ingram, Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith, and Charles Bediako are among the high-profile prospects Tennessee is pursuing. The Vols signed one of the top classes in the country in the 2020 cycle, bringing in five-star guards Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson along with four-star forward Corey Walker.

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