Sooner or later, the ripple effect from LSU hiring former Tennessee player/assistant Nikki Caldwell as its new head coach will jolt the Lady Vols.
I’m inclined to think that sooner will involve recruiting rather than the actual games. Caldwell was instrumental in completing the class that helped win the past two national championships at UT. Her ability to attract top talent continued during her three seasons as UCLA’s head coach. Now she’s back in the SEC and bound to pursue some of the same players as Tennessee.
For its next three recruiting classes, Tennessee is considering at least 13 prospects who are either from the Southeast region or the state of Texas. Don’t be surprised if LSU hunts the same talent. And Caldwell has a solid track record for signing such players.
Tennessee won’t be able to swoop in late, as it did two years ago, and sign a player like Meighan Simmons, who was being recruited by LSU. Don’t think something like that will happen on Caldwell’s recruiting watch.
In other matters:
— While going through my files, I came across the understatement of the season. It was uttered before the season by UT coach Pat Summitt regarding the team’s roster: “It will take us a little while to sort it all out.”
The season’s over and the sorting continues.
In the wake of another postseason flameout, the thinking seems to favor playing fewer players on a regular basis. The roster, though, suggests otherwise. And at least one more player likely will be added this spring.
— The demands of playing basketball and pursuing a pre-med cirriculum likely were the main factors in freshman point guard Lauren Avant’s decision to leave Tennessee after the spring semester Still, it’s hard to imagine that naming signee Ariel Massengale the starter for next season wasn’t at least a consideration.