SCOUTING THE NEWCOMERS
Scotty Hopson from Hopkinsville, Ky., is the first McDonald's All-American to join the Vols since Vincent Yarbrough in the 1998-99 season and will be groomed to take over the 3-point role played by Chris Lofton. That's asking a lot, but he has that kind of potential.
--Junior-college transfer Bobby Maze (Hutchinson Community College in Kansas) will be the favorite to take over at point guard, where the Vols have needed more consistency. Maze played one season at Oklahoma and started five of the Sooners' last six games his freshman year.
--Freshman Daniel West from Saginaw, Mich., is a third guard in the class doesn't look to play a prominent role this season.
--The Vols added depth inside with 6-10 C Philip Jurick from Chattanooga and 6-7 PF Emmanuel Negedu from Nigeria.
--Renaldo Woolridge is a 6-8 swingman from North Hollywood, Calif., who fits the athletic mold coach Bruce Pearl seems to prefer.
--Cameron Tatum, a 6-6 guard/forward, also joins the active roster after sitting out last season as a redshirt.
KEY EARLY GAMES
Tennessee once again has an ambitious non-conference schedule that features potential matchups against Georgetown, Maryland, Michigan State, Oklahoma State or Gonzaga in the Ole Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., in late November. The Vols also have a trip to Temple in December, a game against Marquette in Nashville in the SEC-Big East Challenge and a trip to Kansas in early January.
The Vols hit the No. 1 national ranking for the first time in their history with a win at Memphis late in the season and, despite key personnel losses like Chris Lofton and JaJuan Smith, look to have that kind of season again. They will be favored to win the SEC again, and anything less than a Sweet 16 berth in the NCAA will be a disappointment.
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP
PG Bobby Maze, SG Scotty Hopson, SG J.P. Prince, SF Tyler Smith, PF Wayne Chism.
--Tyler Smith attended the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio, during the summer. Other attendees included Jarvis Varnado of Mississippi State, Kyle Singler of Duke, Terrence Williams of Louisville and Dajuan Summers of Georgetown.
--F Ryan Childress injured his knee in a pickup game during the summer. Surgery was considered successful, but he missed a lot of workout time. He will be counted on to provide depth in the frontcourt.
--With a class of six newcomers this season, there doesn't appear to be much room for the 2009 recruiting class, but the Vols have a commitment from 6-8 F Kenny Hall out of the Atlanta area. The Chattanooga Times-Free Press also has reported that 6-foot PG Aaron Craft from Findlay, Ohio, who is a high school junior, has committed to the Class of 2010.
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