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What Tennessee Basketball’s Rotation Could Look Like Next Season

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

After landing four players in the transfer portal earlier this offseason, Tennessee basketball has filled 11 of its 13 scholarships to work with entering the 2024-25 season. While the Vols could look to add a developmental prep prospect to their roster before the fall semester begins in August, those 11 players are the ones that will battle for playing time next season.

So what could Tennessee’s rotation look like next season? Taking our best stab at it here.

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Point Guard

Projected starter: Zakai Zeigler

This is as simple as it gets. Zeigler enters his senior season as one of the SEC and nation’s best point guards. Despite a slow start to his junior season as he worked his way back from his knee injury, Zeigler averaged 11.8 points and 6.1 assists per game.

Zeigler was at his best in SEC play, averaging 14.1 points per game on 37% shooting from three-point range and seven assists per game. Those strong SEC numbers helped him earn Second Team All-SEC honors and SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Next up: Jordan Gainey, Chaz Lanier and Jahmai Mashack

Tennessee leans on Zeigler hard and that made it difficult for Tennessee to land a true backup point guard. In the final nine games of the season, the four regular season SEC Championship games and five postseason games, Zeigler averaged 36.4 minutes per game.

Behind Zeigler, it’ll be point guard by committee. Jordan Gainey handled most those responsibilities last season while Jahmai Mashack is capable of doing it to. Transfer Chaz Lanier could also fill the role.

Outside looking in: Bishop Boswell

The lone freshman on Tennessee’s roster, Boswell was a four-star point guard out of Charlotte. He could earn those back up minutes for Zeigler but it certainly wouldn’t be an easy task for a true freshman.

Shooting Guard

Projected starter: Chaz Lanier

Things become more set and stone for Tennessee’s potential rotation outside of the point guard spot. The 6-foot-4 North Florida transfer was one of the best transfers in the entire country this offseason, choosing Tennessee over Kentucky and BYU.

In his breakout senior season, Lanier averaged 19.7 points on 51% shooting from the field and 44% from three-point range. Lanier is an elite shooter. How his ability to get to the basket translates to the SEC is the question.

Next up: Jordan Gainey

Gainey had an up-and-down first season at Tennessee after transferring from USC-Upstate averaging 6.8 points per game on 36% shooting from the field and 29% from three-point range.

The 6-foot-3 guard went through a major slump in SEC action but played some of his best basketball in the NCAA Tournament.

Small Forward

Projected starter: Jahmai Mashack

Mashack was one of Tennessee’s most important players last season because of the way he can take over a game on the defensive end of the court. The 6-foot-4 guard could take opposing guards out of the game which he did to Texas’ Max Abmas and Creighton’s Trey Alexander in the NCAA Tournament.

The California native took some steps forward offensively in his junior season, but still has room to grow on that end of the court.

Next up: Cam Carr

It’s hard not to be excited about rising sophomore Cam Carr. The 6-foot-5 wing played sparingly in his freshman season but could be in for a breakout year.

Carr is a fearless offensive player and has the physical attributes to be a strong defender too.

Outside looking in: Darlinstone Dubar

More on Dubar in a moment, but his 6-foot-8 frame allows him to play the small forward spot.

Power Forward

Projected starter: Igor Milicic Jr.

This is the hardest position to gauge who will start for Tennessee. It feels like a true competition between Charlotte transfer Igor Milicic Jr. and Hofstra transfer Darlinstone Dubar.

Milicic is 6-foot-10 but has the skillset of a perimeter player. He averaged 12.8 points on 38% shooting from three-point range last season and there’s a lot of reasons to be optimistic about what Milicic can do on the defensive end of the court.

Next up: Darlinstone Dubar

Dubar played power forward in his senior season at Hofstra and the Second Team CAA selection has the versatility to play the stretch four spot like Josiah-Jordan James did last season.

A Charlotte native, Dubar averaged 17.8 points on 40% shooting from three-point range to go along with 6.8 rebounds per game.

Outside looking in: Cade Phillips

Phillips is entering his second season in Tennessee’s program and the 6-foot-9 power forward is a do it all energy guy. He can play at either front court spot and will be the Vols’ third big man this season.

Phillips playing at the four-spot could be a strong option when Tennessee wants to play a big lineup.


Projected starter: Felix Okpara

Tennessee’s replacement for Jonas Aidoo and Tobe Awaka, Okpara comes to Knoxville after playing his first two seasons at Ohio State.

As a starter at Ohio State last season, Okpara averaged 6.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. He was one of just six players nationally that totaled 80-plus blocks last season. With Zeigler and Mashack returning and Okpara anchoring the defense, Tennessee should be stout defensively again.

Next up: JP Estrella

Estrella turned heads with how he played against Zach Edey in Tennessee’s Elite Eight loss against Purdue and that inspired optimism for what Estrella can do in his second season in Knoxville.

A 6-foot-11 forward, Estrella is a talented offensive player and will be Tennessee’s best back to the basket scorer next season.

Outside looking in: Cade Phillips

Phillips is Tennessee’s third option at center and will likely see minutes in any game that Okpara or Estrella get in foul trouble. At 6-foot-9, Phillips is also a small-ball option at the five-spot.

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