KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Here's Thursday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: Terrence Oglesby, a Tennessee native as you know, sure could help (Tennessee) right now. But we needed more athletes. ... Yeah right.
As I watched the Vols miss 22 of 28 3-point attempts last night in a loss to Gonzaga -- and noted that they are shooting 31 percent from beyond the arc this season, which ranks 265th nationally -- I started wondering, over late drinks with some writers in Knoxville, why we all assumed that losing JaJuan Smith and Chris Lofton wouldn't hurt as much as it's hurting. Say what you want about Smith and Lofton, but those dudes could shoot; both made 38 percent of their 3-point attempts last season, and nobody on this roster comes close to approaching those numbers.
So clearly, Tennessee could use a shooter.
And man, Terrence Oglesby really would be nice.
He's the Clemson sophomore from Cleveland, Tenn. -- about 80 miles from Knoxville -- who is averaging 13.5 points for the 12th-ranked Tigers. More important, he's shooting 42.0 percent from 3-point range. Like Smith and Lofton, that dude can shoot. So I'm with you, Lee. Tennessee would've been wise to pursue the in-state product more seriously. But in fairness, Oglesby was not a highly regarded talent on the national level, and most every high-major program passed on him similarly to how most every high-level program passed on Stephen Curry.
Was it a mistake?
Sure, in hindsight.
But I don't remember anybody criticizing the recruiting decision when it happened, which is why it's difficult to criticize UT for missing on Oglesby just like it's difficult to criticize Duke and North Carolina for missing on Curry. That said, why is it always shooters who get overlooked, whether it's Oglesby, Curry or former Florida Gator Lee Humphrey?
(Humphrey was also from Tennessee, it's worth noting.)
What's wrong with having shooters, even if they can't necessarily run and dunk?
With 13 scholarships available, I'll never understand why one or two can't be used on a kid who can just flat-out bury an open jumper. There's a place for a guy like that on every team, and yet so many teams often find themselves with zero capable shooters, and Tennessee is among those this season, save the possible exception of Cameron Tatum.