Vols Among Top Contenders for 5-Star Center

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    Tennessee’s men’s basketball program is targeting some of the top prospects in the country in the 2021 cycle. Along with five-stars Kennedy Chandler, Paolo Banchero, Harrison Ingram, and Jabari Smith, another five-star recruit is very much interested in the Vols.

    Charles Bediako, one of the top centers in the 2021 class, released his list of top 10 schools on Twitter on Friday, and the Vols made the cut. Tennessee is included along with Duke, Memphis, Michigan, Ohio State, Texas, USC, Maryland, Baylor, and Alabama.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Bediako is the No. 20 overall prospect and No. 3 center in the 2021 class. The 6-foot-11, 215-pound big man plays for Andrews Osborne Academy in Ontario, Canada and is rated as the top prospect in Canada in this cycle.

    Rick Barnes has had a lot of luck bringing in Canadian players during his coaching career, most notably at both Texas and Tennessee. As the Vols’ head coach, Barnes has signed two players from Canada: Kyle Alexander (Milton, Ontario) and Ray Kasongo (Toronto, Ontario).

    Tennessee offered Bediako back in late March of this year, and they’re one of the newest teams to enter his recruitment. That didn’t stop the five-star from including the Vols in his list of top teams, however.

    The tall, lanky center boasts a 7-foot-2 wingspan and has picked up more attention after showing progress on the Canadian U19 team in the FIBA World Cup after playing for their U17 team the previous year.

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    At one point, Bediako was considering reclassifying to the 2020 class, but he has since decided against that and will stay in the 2021 cycle.

    Bediako moves very well and is an athletic big man. He moves and looks similar to Kyle Alexander did at Tennessee, but his offensive game looks a little more developed at this stage in his career. He has some good post moves and plays more physical than you might imagine for his lanky frame. He’s put on a little more weight than his highlight tape shows below, but he still is relatively skinny for his height. His defense is stout and helps him stand out even more.

    With the Canadian U19 team at the FIBA World Cup, Bediako averaged 8.9 points, 5.1 assists, and almost a block per game in just 17.6 minutes a game in seven contests according to ProBallers.com. He shot 65.4 percent overall and 64.3 percent from the free throw line.

    Though the Vols don’t have any current commitments in their 2021 class, they’re pursuing some of the highest-rated prospects in the cycle. This comes on the heels of UT signing one of the top classes in the 2020 cycle when they brought in five-star guards Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson along with four-star forward Corey Walker.



    Nathanael Rutherford
    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.