Starting Tennessee Power Forward Enters Transfer Portal

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    Tennessee power forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield entered the transfer portal, the freshman announced on his Instagram Sunday morning.

    Huntley-Hatfield averaged 3.9 points and three rebounds playing in all 35 of Tennessee’s games during his freshman season. The former five-star recruit struggled for much of the season before finding his footing in the back half of the season.

    The Clarksville, Tennessee native started all 13 games after Olivier Nkamhoua’s season ended with a left ankle injury in early February.

    After Tennessee inserted the freshman into the starting lineup, Huntley-Hatfield averaged 4.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. The highlight of Huntley-Hatfield’s year in Knoxville was his eight-point, six rebound outing in Tennessee’s SEC Tournament semi final win over Kentucky.

    Despite improved play as the season waned, Huntley-Hatfield struggled to find consistency night in and night out.

    “It would be consistency more so on the defensive end where he understands lunging and reaching will get him in trouble more times than not,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said of where Huntley-Hatfield can grow in February. “Instinctively he has good hands, but you can’t take your body out of position going for steals. Like all young players, he needs to understand to keep moving from play to play. Offensively, he needs to be more consistent because he’s taken some shots that he would say are tough shots to make. The biggest thing is consistency, whether he starts or comes off the bench so it’s about consistency and being productive.”

    Huntley-Hatfield is the fifth Tennessee player to leave the program this offseason joining Kennedy Chandler (NBA) and Quentin Diboundje, Handje Tamba and Victory Bailey Jr. (transfer portal).

    The Vols have one incoming recruit, but now have four roster spots to fill for next season.

    Despite Huntley-Hatfield’s departure, Tennessee has strong returning post depth. Uros Plavsic became a serviceable center last season, Jonas Aidoo flashed his defensive potential and Oliver Nkamhoua is back for his senior season.

    Still, Tennessee will likely pursue big men in the high school ranks as well as the transfer portal to shore up its depth.

    The Vols are after five-star power forward Julian Phillips. Phillips visited Knoxville and had Tennessee in his top-four before committing to LSU in the fall. With LSU terminating Will Wade, Phillips is back on the market and considering Tennessee.

    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.