Tennessee’s five-star freshmen came out to play on Saturday afternoon, with newcomer Brandon Huntley-Hatfield putting up a double-double in his Tennessee debut.
Huntley-Hatfield had 15 points and 12 rebounds as Tennessee took down Lenoir-Rhyne, 103-62, in an exhibition game from Thompson-Boling Arena.
In total, Huntley-Hatfield led the team with a +30 plus/minus and had the fifth-most minutes on the team at 20. Although, even in a dominant game, Huntley-Hatfield had two very different halves. For the freshman from Clarksville, TN, the first half was all about scoring, while the second half was all about rebounding.
After the first half, Huntley-Hatfield had 11 points and was Tennessee’s second-leading scorer behind fellow freshman Kennedy Chandler. Chandler, by the way, was the other standout headline from the Vols’ game. Huntley-Hatfield was 5-of-6 from the field in the first half, showing a range of scoring abilities. He was able to drive to the hoop with a nice spin move, back down defenders to the rim, and make difficult shots underneath the basket. However, in his eight minutes of the first half, Huntley-Hatfield only brought down one rebound.
Huntley-Hatfield came out on a mission to attack the boards in the second half. The freshman forward had 11 second-half rebounds, with eight on the defensive end and three on the offensive end. However, he did take a step back in the scoring department during his 12 minutes of play in the back half of the game. Huntley-Hatfield put up four points, bringing his final total to 15 in his Tennessee debut.
After the game, Chandler spoke about Huntley-Hatfield’s determination to get better in practice, which is why he was able to be successful in his first game.
“Coach [Barnes has] really been on him about rebounding the ball and being aggressive on the offensive end,” Chandler said about Huntley-Hatfield following the win. “He’s been asking coach Barnes a lot of questions.”
Additionally, Huntley-Hatfield spoke about his own game, and specifically about the biggest takeaway he had while playing in his first collegiate exhibition game.
“Playing hard all the time,” Huntley-Hatfield said. “Back in high school, I’d take plays off when I was tired. This coaching staff doesn’t let you do that. I’m learning to find my second wind.”
Brandon-Huntley Hatfield has all the athleticism in the world for a big man entering college, which was shown throughout Saturday afternoon. But whether the success came in different halves or not, the main focal point from Saturday is that Huntley-Hatfield does already possess a high level of skill as he will only continue to get better when the season starts. However, as he mentioned himself, Huntley-Hatfield and the coaches will certainly be working to combine the scoring and rebounding into an effective weapon during the whole game – as opposed to one category in each half.
But, for now, a double-double is a double-double, and that is exactly how freshman Brandon Huntley-Hatfield finished his first game in a Tennessee uniform.
The Vols will host UT Martin in their regular-season opener on Tuesday, Nov. 9, from Thompson-Boling Arena.