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What Rick Barnes Has Said About Tennessee Basketball’s Transfer Signings

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee basketball officially inked its third transfer of the offseason on Thursday morning when Charlotte power forward Igor Milicic Jr. made his decision to join Rick Barnes’ program official.

Milicic committed to Tennessee early last week over a top group that included Baylor and Nebraska. The rising senior is the third transfer to sign with Tennessee this offseason along with Hofstra’s Darlinstone Dubar and Ohio State’s Felix Okpara.

All three players fill a major need for Tennessee. Okpara replaces the interior presence that Jonas Aidoo and Tobe Awaka left behind while both Dubar and Milicic bring perimeter shooting and the ability to play as a stretch four.

Barnes has discussed all three transfers in the Vols’ announcement of their signings and has discussed a pair of them during media availabilities. Here’s what Barnes has said about all three.

More From RTI: Tennessee Announces The Signee Of Charlotte Transfer Igor Milicic Jr.

Hofstra Wing Darlinstone Dubar

Statement on Dubar signing

“We are pleased to welcome Darlinstone and his supportive family into the Tennessee basketball program. He is already an accomplished collegian who will add a lot to our team. Darlinstone is a true competitor and you know what you will get from him every day. A versatile player who can excel at multiple positions, he is an excellent 3-point shooter who can also knock down midrange shots and finish at the rim. Darlinstone brings toughness and a strong work ethic, both of which will mesh well with the players already in our locker room.”

On what he liked about Hofstra wing Darlinstone Dubar, who signed with Tennessee on Thursday

“A guy that, just what we were just talking about, what we’re about, he’s about. I just love hearing him talk about one, how excited he is to play defense with Jahmai (Mashack) and (Zakai Zeigler. Versatility, he has that. But he’s got the right mindset and he wants to get better. And we’re really excited … he saw what he wanted to do and he wanted to be a part of it. Special kid, very special kid. And you can tell he is a worker, got a lot of desire. He wants to be able to be really good.”

Charlotte Forward Igor Milicic Jr.

Statement on Milicic signing

“We are excited Igor has decided to join the Volunteers. He is a talented player who has received excellent coaching throughout his career, both in college and in Europe, including learning from his father, Igor Sr., who is one of the best in the business. A versatile competitor, Igor has an impressive, unique and polished skill set that we think will translate well to the SEC. He is a quality 3-point shooter and superb defensive rebounder with big-time upside. Igor possesses invaluable experience on the international level with the Polish National Team and he has improved every year as a collegian. We feel he will fit in well at Tennessee, both on and off the court.”

Ohio State Center Felix Okpara

Statement on Okpara signing

“We are thrilled to have Felix join us here on Rocky Top. He comes from a great family and is an exceptional teammate whose primary goal is to win. Felix is an elite shot blocker, high-level defender and terrific rebounder.  He possesses the ability to score in the low post, as well as play on the perimeter. A mobile athlete with excellent length who creates space offensively, Felix is a constant threat to get to the rim for a lob. We will do everything we can to help him further develop all aspects of his game.”

On how he envisions Ohio State transfer center Felix Okpara fitting in

“He brings us a physicality that we love to have and haven’t consistently had there. I think with what we’ve seen and what we evaluated, I think he’s got some untapped ability there offensively. He runs, he’s strong and being around him, he impressed me with the fact that he’s got a really competitive edge about him that’s going to fit in well with our guys. He’s like a lot of guys his size. He’s just kind of scratching the surface in terms of where he can be, but he showed us that he can do a lot and we’re going to try and not put him in a box and get him to do maybe more than he might think he can.”

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