2022 Record: 25-11 (11-7)
Head Coach: Rick Barnes (Career Record 779-406) (Tennessee Record 175-92)
PG: Zakai Zeigler (10.7 Pts, 2.7 Reb, 5.4 Ast) (Injured- Starts when healthy)
SG: Santiago Vescovi (12.5 Pts, 4.6 Reb, 3.1 Ast)
SF: Dalton Knecht (Northern Colorado 20.2 Pts, 7.2 Reb, 1.8 Ast)
PF: Josiah Jordan-James (10.0 Pts, 4.7 Reb, 1.8 Ast)
C: Jonas Aidoo (5.1 Pts, 4.9 Reb, 0.9 Ast)
6: SG Jahmai Mashack (4.7 Pts, 2.4 Reb, 1.5 Ast)
7: C Tobe Awaka (3.2 Pts, 3.8 Reb, 0.3 Ast)
8: SG Jordan Gainey (USC Upstate 15.2 Pts, 2.5 Reb, 2.3 Ast)
9: PG Freddie Dilione (RS)
10: SG DJ Jefferson (RS)
11: PF JP Estrella
12: SG Cameron Carr
13: PF Cade Phillips
Tennessee returns the guard duo of Zakai Zeigler and Santiago Vescovi. Zeigler has been a surprise player in his Tennessee career. He was a 3 star recruit coming out of HS. He was a summer signing in the 2021 class and has developed into a starting SEC guard. He’s undersized at 5-9, but he’s extremely quick and plays with physicality as well. He has also developed into a great passer that gets his teammates involved. He averaged over 5 assists per game this past season. Uruguay native Santiago Vescovi has developed into a great player in his Tennessee career. He is going into his 5th season with the Vols and has been a fantastic three point shooter with a career percentage of 38%. Tennessee also returns guard Jahmai Mashack. He is a very athletic guard who defends at a high level and has a chance to have a breakout season this year in an expanded role.
Additional returning players for the Vols this upcoming season are Josiah-Jordan James and Jonas Aidoo. Josiah-Jordan James is an amazing defender making an impact on that side of the ball in many ways. He has been a streaky shooter at times, but is capable of hitting shots. He initially planned to leave Tennessee, but opted to return to the Vols later in the offseason. Jonas Aidoo has great size and is a physical player in the interior. He rebounds well and also has decent range capable of making mid-range shots. The former Marquette player is someone in contention for a big rise in production. Tobe Awaka was a freshman last season and showed tremendous flashes. He played minimally, but was a very efficient player shooting 59% from the floor.
Tennessee took to the transfer portal when they were able to land Northern Colorado transfer Dalton Knecht and USC Upstate transfer Jordan Gainey. Knecht was a brilliant scorer this past season at Northern Colorado. He shot 48% from the floor and 38% from three this past season averaging over 20PPG. Knecht was also a stud in the JUCO ranks and averaged 24PPG at Northeastern Junior College in the 2020-21 season. He could be the #1 option offensively for the Vols with his skills on that end of the ball. He wasn’t the best defender at Northern Colorado and Tennessee prides itself on that side of the ball so he will have to improve as a defender. USC Upstate transfer Jordan Gainey could be a solid scorer off the bench for Tennessee. He is the son of Tennessee associate head coach Justin Gainey. He’s a career 41% three point shooter.
The Vols return 2 redshirt freshman from the team last season and bring in an additional 3 true freshman. RS guard Freddie Dilione was ranked as the #41 prospect in the country and should see some action this season. RS guard DJ Jefferson could also see play time right away and was ranked as the #85 prospect in the 2022 class. SG Cameron Carr was the highest ranked freshman in the class at #54 in the country. Big man JP Estrella was ranked as the #61 prospect in the country. Forward Cade Phillips was ranked as the #144 player in the country.
Tennessee has been a very good team in recent years, but they’ve never been able to break through and make a big run in March. The Vols have the talent and depth to be at the top of the conference once again. The SEC is improved and ranks as the #2 conference on Kenpom for next season. Tennessee is the current favorite to win the conference, but it won’t be a runaway win for the Vols. Tennessee will once again be very good defensively but they can’t go into that many offensive ruts this year if they want to make a deeper run.