Tennessee Big Man Enters Transfer Portal

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    Tennessee freshman big man Handje Tampa entered the transfer portal Tuesday afternoon, 247sports’ Travis Branham first reported.

    The 6-foot-11 forward reclassified from the 2022 class into the 2021 class, graduating from Knoxville Catholic a year early to enroll at Tennessee. Tamba redshirted his lone collegiate season not appearing in any of Tennessee’s 35 games.

    “He’s shown that same ability as a quick learner on the basketball court, too,” former Tennessee associate head coach Mike Schwartz said of Tamba before the season. “His ability to pick up new things quickly and continue to improve on them is really incredible. It’s impressive. We love his hunger to learn and his coachability. He’s driven to figure things out. And when he doesn’t know something, he knows how to communicate. He’s a great listener as well. He’s so serious about doing things right, and his work ethic is so strong. He doesn’t make the same mistake twice very often. That’s a unique skill.”

    Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tamba spent his high school years in Knoxville and played for former Tennessee point guard Bobby Maze’s BMaze Elite AAU team.

    Other current and former Vols that came from Maze’s program include Jaden Springer, Brandon Huntley-Hatfield and Drew Pember. Tennessee’s lone signee in the class of 2022 — B.J. Edwards — played his high school and AAU basketball with Tamba.

    The big man’s departure comes just hours after Kennedy Chandler announced he was signing an agent and declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft.

    Tamba joins Chandler, Victor Bailey Jr and John Fulkerson as scholarship players leaving Tennessee’s program this offseason.

    Fulkerson was using his extra-year of eligibility due to COVID-19 relief so the Vols don’t gain a scholarship from the super senior’s departure. The Vols have three scholarships open from Chandler, Bailey and Tamba’s departure. Incoming freshman Edwards fills one of those scholarships with Tennessee looking to fill two other spots.

    The Vols have been actively pursuing high school forward Julian Phillips along with transfer guards Brandon Murray and Nijel Pack.

    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.