"He's probably the quickest player I've coached," Danny Petty said of Travon Landry. "And I've been coaching 39 years ... 30 years as a varsity coach."
That's saying something since Petty has mentored some outstanding players during his stint at Bob Jones High in Madison, Ala. A recent example is Levi Randolph, the state's 2010-11 Gatorade Player of the Year who is starting as a freshman for the Alabama Crimson Tide this season.
Landry, a 6-foot, 175-pound junior, gave his pledge to the Vols during an unofficial visit to the UT campus on Saturday that included attending the Tennessee-Pitt game. He chose the Vols despite interest from Alabama, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.
"The biggest thing is that Tennessee was on him early and did their job," Petty said. "They did their homework and showed him a lot of attention. They were the first big school to offer. He said, 'I know I like it there, so why put it off?' It's a good fit for him."
And Landry appears to be a good fit for the Vols. Head coach Cuonzo Martin demands maximum effort at both ends of the court, and Landry seems to fill the bill.
"The most impressive thing about him is his work ethic," Petty said. "He goes hard on every play in practice. He's a great defender, a heady point guard who sees the floor really well and passes the ball really well. He knows the game really well. And he's just a junior."
Born in San Antonio, Landry averaged 12.3 points and 3.5 assists per game in helping Bryan High School a 26-10 record as a sophomore in 2010-11. He transferred to Bob Jones High a few months ago and has led his new team to a 4-0 start.
"He's got the range (on his jump shot) but he's only averaging about 8 or 9 points a game," Petty said. "We've got a real good team, and he doesn't have to score outside that much. He'll shoot when he's open but he mostly gets everybody involved and runs the team. Next year he'll have to do more scoring. For now, he's just a great point guard, and we put the ball in his hands as much as we can."
An added bonus: Bob Jones plays an offense that's similar to the one Tennessee plays.
"We run a motion offense," Petty said. "I think he'll be able to step in and help right away."
Landry developed a reputation in Texas as a lock-down defender, and his new coach says that reputation is well deserved.
"Oh, yeah. He definitely guards the best perimeter player on the other team," Petty said. "He's got good balance, stays in his stance really well. He has good anticipation and has a great feel for the game, especially for a guy who's just a junior.
"Our last game he played really well against our big rival, Sparkman. They're really quick and athletic also. We put him on their best perimeter player and I think he held the guy to 6 points."
A super-quick point guard with a dedicated work ethic and a passion for defense sounds like a guy Tennessee's coach and fans alike will embrace.
"They're going to like him because he's a team player and he really plays hard," Petty said. "You want good kids that go hard, and he's got himself one here."