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Tennessee Shooting Guard Enters The Transfer Portal

St Peter’s Upsets Purdue to advance to Elite Eight

Tennessee shooting guard Victor Bailey Jr. entered the transfer portal on Sunday evening, which was first reported by 247 Sports’ Travis Branham.

Bailey transferred to Tennessee from Oregon before the 2019-20 season but had to sit out that season due to NCAA transfer rules.

The Austin, Texas native played nearly 25 minutes a game as a redshirt-junior during the 2020-21 season, averaging 10.9 points and two rebounds while shooting 33.8% from three-point range in an up-and-down shooting season.

Bailey struggled to find a rhythm this season and saw his minutes severely dwindle while competing for playing time with backcourt newcomers Kennedy Chandler, Zakai Zeigler and Justin Powell.

The left-handed shooting guard averaged just 2.6 points in 9.6 minutes per game. Bailey didn’t go through senior day with teammates John Fulkerson and Brock Jancek leading Barnes to comment on Bailey’s future with the program following the top-15 win over Arkansas.

“We’ve discussed everything with him,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said. “He still has another year left and he’s not sure. He’ll still have options. We hope he’ll always be apart of our program, but as you know with the portal today he can choose to go somewhere else and play. Again, one way or the other, we love him. His teammates love him. … We love VJ, we love him being part of our program but he chose that he didn’t want to do it.”

Despite coming to Tennessee as a shooter and posting a poor 22% shooting from three-point range this season, Bailey found a way to carve out a role on the team.

The 6-foot-4 guard committed completely on the defensive end and to attacking the glass earning double-digit minutes four times from November on including 20 minutes in the SEC Tournament Championship.

“Telling guys that for weeks on end, hey, you’ve got to be ready, and then they don’t play,” Barnes said of Bailey holding onto the rope. “I think VJ is a perfect example of a guy that every game has been ready. He’s gone games where he hasn’t played and he’s come in — he really helped us at Missouri. He helped us a great deal last night. Helped us in the Kentucky game. He went over 4 and a half minutes where the clock didn’t stop and actually took himself out of the game. I do think it’s a great example.”

Bailey is the first Tennessee player to enter the transfer portal this offseason though four Vols transferred to smaller programs following the 2020-21 season.

The Texas native was close with George Mason head coach Kim English during the coach’s two-year stint as an assistant coach at Tennessee. That could make the Patriots a potential landing spot for Bailey though the shooting guard will no doubt have plenty of options.

Bailey’s departure gives Tennessee its first open scholarship in the 2022 cycle and it will be filled by Knoxville guard B.J. Edwards. John Fulkerson was the only scholarship senior on Tennessee’s roster, but the super-senior was using his COVID-19 year of eligibility. That means the scholarship didn’t count against the Vols’ 13-active scholarships last year and henceforth doesn’t open up a spot as the Kingsport native departs Knoxville.

The Vols are still recruiting like they would like to add new pieces both in the prep and transfer ranks. Freshman point guard Kennedy Chandler is a candidate to go to professional basketball while other Tennessee players could pursue professional opportunities or enter the transfer portal.

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