Tennessee added its first player through the transfer portal this offseason Saturday with Indiana State guard Tyreke Key announcing he’ll use his final year of eligibility at Tennessee. Key officially signed with the Vols on Tuesday.
Home Sweet Home 🧡🍊 @Vol_Hoops pic.twitter.com/MnjzhRhUq2
— Tyreke Key (@TyrekeKey) April 23, 2022
Key gives Tennessee a scoring guard that can play off the ball and score in a myriad of ways. In four seasons at Indiana State, Key averaged 14.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.
The 6-foot-3 guard’s best seasons came in his sophomore and senior seasons. Key averaged a comparable 17.4 and 17.2 points per game, but did so on 45% shooting from three-point range as a sophomore but on just 32% from deep as a senior.
Key shot 32% from deep as a freshman and 39% from deep as a junior.
The two-time All Missouri Valley First Team guard has already played four seasons of college basketball but still has one year of eligibility due to NCAA COVID-19 eligibility relief. Key entered the transfer portal following the end of the 2020-21 season before returning to school and undergoing a shoulder surgery that would sideline him the entire 2021-22 season.
“We are all very excited about adding Tyreke to our team,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said in a statement Tuesday. “He’s proven himself as a highly effective player in a strong basketball conference. He really fits everything we look for in our program. He’s a great teammate and has an outstanding work ethic that should allow for a smooth transition into what we do every day.”
The Celina, Tennessee native was linked to the Vols last offseason and Rick Barnes and his staff landed him a season later after hosting him on a visit. Tennessee beat out Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Ole Miss for the veteran guard.
The 23-year old was a standout at Clay County High School leading the Bulldogs to the Class A State Title game in 2017. Key was dominant in the state tournament averaging 42 points, 13 rebounds and 4.7 assists in three games.
EvanMiya.com’s complete rankings of every player in the transfer portal — graded using his Bayesian Performance Rating — isn’t overly high on Key ranking him as a three-star and the No. 161 player in large part due to a poor defensive grade.
However, others are much higher on Key including Sports Illustrated, who had Key as the No. 18 player in the portal as of their April 13 update.
Key’s addition gives Tennessee three open scholarships to work with after Kennedy Chandler declared for the NBA Draft and Victor Bailey Jr, Handje Tamba, Quentin Diboundje and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield entered the transfer portal.
The Vols lone prep signee — B.J. Edwards — is a guard but Tennessee could still look to add backcourt help with their three scholarships. While the Vols return Zakai Zeigler, Edwards is the only other point guard slated to be on Tennessee’s roster next season.