The NCAA recruiting period tipped off Tuesday, and the Tennessee men’s basketball staff went to work. UT coach Donnie Tyndall and his assistants can evaluate prospects and conduct in-home visits until Nov. 10. Some key meetings that will take place this week include:
Tuesday, Sept. 9
Abdulhakim Ado — The 6-foot-11, 200-pound center from Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga is atop the Vols’ 2016 wish list. 247Sports considers him a five-star player and the top center in his class.
Adu is a physical specimen with a prototypical frame for the high-major level. He has long arms, big hands, broad shoulders, and has excellent timing. He impacts the game with his length and shot blocking ability and has the strength to guard in the post. He keeps his hands up as a post defender, moves his feet well, and his quick jumping ability is impressive. He snatches rebounds in and out of his area and his length and strength makes life difficult for post players. In transition he runs well and can be a fluid finisher.
Braxton Blackwell — The 6-foot-8, 220-pound small forward from Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville is alongside Ado at the top of UT’s 2016 wish list. His former teammate, point guard Braxton Bonds, will be a walk-on with the Vols this season. 247Sports considers Blackwell the No. 25 overall player in the 2016 class.
Blackwell is a strong, smooth player maker. He is terrific at making plays with the ball in his hands where he is at his best. Blackwell is an excellent ball handler and passer. He has a tremendous feel for getting teammates the ball where they simply just have to catch and score. He can penetrate and kick, drop off or finish himself. Blackwell can rebound and push the ball and is a threat to go coast to coast and drop off or finish. He can pass with either hand on time and on target as well. Blackwell is also excellent coming off on ball screens where he knows his looks and makes the right decision at a high percentage of the time. Blackwell can get to the rim sometime seemingly at will. He passes over smaller defenders when pressured and seems never get rattled.
Chris Clarke — The 6-foot-5, 170-pound guard from Cape Henry Collegiate School in Virginia Beach fits the uptempo, scrappy style Tyndall loves. He is skilled, too. 247Sports considers Clarke a top-10 guard in the 2015 class, the No. 40 prospect overall.
Clarke is a long and athletic wing froward that is very active. He has an excellent motor which allows him to compete with great energy. He is an above the rim finisher on the break and he attacks the glass on both ends especially offensively. He is a good two or three dribble straight line driver and he is capable of defending multiple positions. Clarke will not hesitate to do the dirty work as well. He will not shy away from charges or loose balls.
Wednesday, Sept. 10
Skal Labissiere — The 6-foot-10, 200-pound power forward originally from Haiti but living in Memphis has UT on a list of finalists that includes Baylor, Georgetown, Kentucky, Memphis and North Carolina. In addition to this in-home visit, Labissiere has already scheduled a visit to UT the weekend of the Vols’ football game against Florida. He’s one of the top-10 overall prospects in the class of 2015.
A native of Haiti, this shot blocking stud has enormous length and good timing but what is most impressive about him is his ability to try and challenge as many shots as possible for a young post. By merely contesting shots on his own man or chasing down an opponent’s fast break opportunities and swat it away, Labissiere is not allowing teams to score easy. His rebounding game is steady as he grabs some misses with two hands as he should others he tips to himself first and then secures. Surprisingly soft touch at a young age as he hit face up jumpers at the elbows and inside the paint.
Thursday, Sept. 11