Could Tennessee Pursue A Standout Belmont Transfer?

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    The college basketball season is yet to end with the Final Four taking place this weekend. However, the college basketball is already in full swing. As of Tuesday morning there were already more than 900 collegiate players in the transfer portal looking for a new home.

    One of those players is talented Belmont guard Will Richard who entered the transfer portal after a standout freshman year in Nashville.

    The Vols return point guard Zakai Zeigler from the 2021-22 team, but starter Kennedy Chandler could be off to the NBA in the coming weeks. If he goes, adding another perimeter ball handler could be a priority for Tennessee.

    Tennessee has allegedly reached out to the Belmont freshman according to a report from Stockrisers Jake Weingarten.

    Richard was one of Belmont’s top players a freshman averaging 12.1 points, six rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. While Tennessee’s backcourt needs are primarily at point guard, Richard played primarily off the ball in his lone year in Nashville. That would make a cross-state transfer less likely but doesn’t rule out the possibility.

    The Fairburn, Georgia native is 6-foot-5, 195 pounds and has the physicality to thrive in the SEC. While Richard’s defense was solid and not great as a freshman, he has the build and athleticism to thrive under Rick Barnes.

    According to EvanMiya.com — a analytical based college basketball site — Richard is currently the ninth-best player in the transfer portal.

    A number of schools are pursuing the talented guard, including Florida who is hosting a guard for an official visit in April.

    The Vols currently have just one open scholarship and four-star point guard B.J. Edwards is filling it. Still, Tennessee is recruiting like it has at least one more open scholarship. Santiago Vescovi is going through the NBA Draft process while analyzing his professional future, and Josiah-Jordan James and Kennedy Chandler are likely to do the same.

    All three can come back to school even if they declare for the draft, but it’s unlikely all three will be wearing the orange-and-white next winter.

    Players entering the transfer portal is also always a possibility in today’s new era of college basketball.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.