Jordan Bowden added to 2016 signing class

Jordan Bowden, a 6-foot-5, 178-pound guard and former Carter High School standout, announced Tuesday night that he’s signing with the Tennessee men’s basketball team.

Bowden, averaging 17 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists this season at 22 Feet Academy, a prep school in Greenville, S.C., has scholarship offers from Providence, Cincinnati, Marquette, Utah and Tennessee.

Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes in an interview with the News Sentinel last week said that he was looking to add both a post player and a guard to his 2016 signing class.

“There’s no doubt we need to get bigger in the post, and we’re looking that way,” Barnes said. ” … Right now, we’re going to look to possibly add another wing guard to our roster, but also a post player.”

Bowden chose to attend prep school after his biggest Division I offer last year came from Texas-Pan American.

“I’ve been putting in a lot of work every day after practice,” Bowden told the News Sentinel last week. “I’m elevating more when I shoot. I’m getting higher on my pull-up jumpers and just getting better.

“You have to bring it every day. There’s a lot of competition down there.”

Bowden added that it “would be great” to play close to home.

“My parents could come watch me play when they want to,” he said, “and it would be easy for them.”

Tennessee had five available scholarships for the 2016 class, with four seniors — Kevin Punter Jr., Armani Moore, Devon Baulkman and Derek Reese — graduating this year and the departure of redshirt freshman forward Jabari McGhee, who left the program in December and transferred to Western Kentucky.

The Vols in November announced a five-man signing class, including power forwards Grant Williams and John Fulkerson, guards Kwe Parker and Jalen Johnson and point guard Jordan Bone.

Bowden was named the PrepXtra Boys Basketball Player of the Year last year after also being named all-state and District 3-AA MVP.

He helped lead Carter to back-to-back appearances in the Class AA state tournament.

As a senior at Carter, Bowden averaged 26.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. He scored a school-record 54 against Gibbs. He totaled 932 points as a senior, scoring 30 or more points 14 times and being held under 15 points just four times.

Bowden told News Sentinel PrepXtra editor Chris Thomas last year that late growth spurts changed his game, from a volume shooter on the wing to an attacking guard that prefers to play above the rim.

“I was super short as a 7th grader; maybe 4-foot-9,” Bowden said in an April 2015 News Sentinel story. “My shot always got blocked every time I was going to the hole.

“But it just made me want to get my game better.”

Bowden shot 55 percent from the field as a senior at Carter and at one point recorded 10 straight double-doubles during the first half of the season.

“My length really helped me on offense and defense,” Bowden said. “I got a lot of deflections and stuff.”

Bowden visited Texas-Pan American last year and had planned to visit Tennessee Tech before ultimately deciding to attend 22 Feet Academy.

“From a recruiting standpoint, he’s night and day when he got here,” 22 Feet coach Ryan Schmidt told the News Sentinel last week. “There were some low-major schools who wanted to keep tabs on him. And then we had a lot of coaches come through here to start this season.

“Late November, early December, we played in (the Legacy Nissan Classic) in Kentucky. That’s when the interest started picking up. He played well against (Hargrave Military Academy), then he had a really big tournament in Las Vegas.

“That started to open their eyes.”

Grant Ramey covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at twitter.com/GrantRamey

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