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Jonas Aidoo A ‘Development Success Story’ For Tennessee Basketball

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

Georgia Southern coach Charlie Henry has watched Tennessee forward Jonas Aidoo’s development from a far over the last few years.

Henry spent the previous five years as an assistant coach at Alabama. He’s seen Aidoo go from a fringe rotational player his freshman year, to a high-level rim protector as a sophomore and now to a complete player on both ends of the court. The first-year Georgia Southern coach learned it the hard way on Tuesday night when Aidoo went for a career-best 29 points and 11 rebounds against the Eagles.

“That’s a success story for them,” Henry said of Aidoo. “He was a good high school prospect but he’s done a ton of developing since he got here. He’s one of the best rim protectors in the country. … We struggled to score at the rim (against Tennessee) at Alabama last year and obviously we had tremendous talent. So he can really shut off the rim which is huge. I think that really anchors their defense and obviously he has great touch offensively.

“His game has expanded. We didn’t want to— they put you in binds. Obviously, I think they’re a really good offensively this year as well. We weren’t too crazy about having to double him in the post but he punished us so he’s a development success story for them.”

Through 10 games, Aidoo is averaging 12.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. While Aidoo put up dominant numbers against Georgia Southern, he’s been extremely consistent and solid against good competition.

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In seven games against top 100 KenPom teams, Aidoo has totaled double-digit points five times and double-digit rebounds twice. Take away the Purdue game— when he fouled out in just 13 minutes— Aidoo is averaging 11.8 points and eight rebounds against Big Six competition.

Aidoo has become a legitimate source of offense for Tennessee and the Vols have emphasized throwing the ball inside to the 6-foot-111 big man.

“When Jonas does, when we do what we practice, he’s going have ample opportunities to put up numbers if he will fight for his space and get where he needs to be,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said of Aidoo.

Aidoo looks to continue his strong play in non conference play on Saturday night when the Vols face North Carolina State in San Antonio. The junior big man will face off against former Tennessee power forward and one of the ACC’s most talented low post scorers D.J. Burns.

Tipoff between the Vols and Wolfpack is at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday night in San Antonio. ESPN2 is broadcasting the game.

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