Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin added a fourth commitment to his 2014 recruiting yesterday in the (rather large) form of CJ Turman, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound big man from Monroe County (Ga.) High School.
Turman’s Sunday afternoon commitment (my News Sentinel story) came one day after he and teammate Tookie Brown, a 2015 point guard prospect, shared in an unofficial visit to UT. Turman, ranked No. 147 overall in the 247Composite ranking, joined point guard Larry Austin (No. 100), shooting guard Jordan Cornish (130) and power forward Philip Cofer (134) as top-150 players pledged to Tennessee. All four are rated as four-star prospects by ESPN.Sunday’s pickup was widely seen as a recruiting score for Martin & Co. The Vols’ frontcourt could be thin following the 2013-14 season, both in depth and the players themselves. Current senior Jeronne Maymon will be out of eligibility and junior Jarnell Stokes could be off in search of a professional career. If that occurs, Martin’s lone returning post men will be Rewane Ndiaye, a 6-8, 280-pound center with one year remaining at UT, A.J. Davis, who needs bulk and is more of a wing than a true frontcourt player, Derek Reese (see Davis description) and Quinton Chievous, who has seen time at power forward but is still just 6-6 and, like Reese, is listed on UT’s official roster as a guard.
That’s why Turman and Cofer are crucial. Turman is big and mobile while Cofer is physical and athletic. I’m not smart enough to say whether either will be able to contribute in 2014-15, but UT needs bodies and that’s what Martin has gotten. And remember, the Vols are still in the mix for other impact forwards, including Kevon Looney and Leron Black.
I’m expecting at least one more player to be added to Martin’s 2014 class.
As for what others are saying about Turman’s verbal commitment to UT, here’s a sampling from the world wide web.
Southern Stampede, the Nike Elite travel team Turman stars for, celebrated a big day. Turman wasn’t the team’s only SEC commitment on Sunday. Teammate Jakeenan Gant pledged a verbal to Missouri shortly before news broke of Turman’s commitment.
Today is Nike Stampede Commit Day we should of held a press conference! 2 to 2 major D1 programs in 1 day congrats again to CJ Turman
— Southern Stampede (@Southstampede) August 18, 2013
Jamie Shaw, the director of recruiting for Phenom Hoop Report, had this to say about UT’s future frontcourt duo of Turman and Cofer.
CJ Turman & Phil Cofer will fit in great w what Cuanzo Martin is doing at Tenn Physical & put a premium on defense & dirty work. Great gets!
— Jamie Shaw (@JamieShaw5) August 18, 2013
Rob Lewis, who covers Tennessee hoops and recruiting over at VolQuest.com, has seen Turman in person multiple times. His take …
CJ Turman is a nice pick up for Vols. Rugged post player. Loads of toughness in this four man class so far
— Rob Lewis (@Volquest_Rob) August 18, 2013
Dave Telep, resident ESPN recruiting guru, had this to say …
CJ Turman (Morgan Co. HS) and Phil Cofer aren’t the biggest guys but UT just got more physical in the lane. They’ll pop you.
— Dave Telep (@DaveTelep) August 18, 2013
Telep’s ESPN teammate, Reggie Rankin, a former DI coach and current recruiting analyst for ESPN, has touted Turman in the past and kept it up Sunday.
Just spoke with CJ Turman he is headed to Tennessee! Cuonzo Martin has a powerful rim protector in the fold! Great system fit as well.
— Reggie Rankin (@ReggieRankin) August 18, 2013
Looking at the various recruiting sites, meanwhile, On The Radar Hoops calls Turman, “A man child around the basket” and “an anchor in the paint.” Justin Young, the former national basketball recruiting editor of Rivals.com and current managing editor of HoopSeen.com, described Turman as a “cut-from-granite big man.” Additionally, Nooga.com offers this overview of Turman’s commitment.
Finally, here is 247’s updated look at Tennessee’s current four-man class.