Tyndall reels in rebounder

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New Tennessee basketball coach Donnie Tyndall has taken the first step in replacing all of those rebounds that Jarnell Stokes used to grab. The Vols' head man has secured a verbal commitment from Jabari McGhee, a 6-foot-8, 210-pound rebounding machine from Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va.

McGhee, who is visiting the UT campus this week, averaged 19.2 points and 13.7 rebounds per game for the prep-school program at Hargrave over the winter. He averaged 20 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists per game as a senior at Monroe High School in Albany, Ga., in 2012-13.

McGhee's rebounding abilities should come in handy now that Stokes has elected to skip his senior season of collegiate eligibility in favor of the 2014 NBA Draft. Stokes averaged 7.4 rebounds per game as a Vol freshman, 9.6 as a sophomore and 10.6 as a junior.

Rated a three-star prospect by Scout, McGhee's recruitment increased steadily in recent months as schools became enamored with his backboard prowess and his all-out effort. Hargrave head man A.W. Hamilton calls him "the hardest-playing kid" the program has produced, noting that his effort level is "through the roof." That's saying something because Hargrave has four alumni currently involved in the NBA playoffs – Jordan Crawford and Marreese Speights (Golden State), Mike Scott (Atlanta) and David West (Indiana).

McGhee committed to Auburn while in high school but didn't qualify for admission. He was playing in an AAU event when Hargrave coaches spotted him last summer.

"It's funny because when we went and recruited Jabari we were watching him play at an AAU game and he got 19 rebounds," Hamilton told GoDanRiver.com. "We're looking around – my staff and I – making sure there're no other prep schools watching him because we knew he wasn't going to qualify at a high school. Luckily, no one else was there to watch him. We knew we found a diamond in the rough."

McGhee's prowess as a rebounder and shot-blocker helped Hargrave go 32-8 last season, finishing the regular season ranked No. 2 among prep schools by one source.

The commitment of McGhee gives Tennessee eight scholarship players for 2014-15. The only returning starter is 6-foot-6 small forward Josh Richardson, a rising senior. The backups due to return are 6-foot-5 rising sophomore point guard Darius Thompson, 6-foot-5 rising junior small forward Armani Moore, 6-foot-6 rising sophomore shooting guard Robert Hubbs, 6-foot-8 rising junior forward Derek Reese, 6-foot-10 rising sophomore A.J. Davis and 6-foot-10 rising senior center Rawane Ndiaye.

Quinton Chievous, a 6-foot-6 rising junior small forward, has not decided whether to return for the 2014-15 season. The Vols have two walk-ons returning – 6-foot-3 shooting guard Galen Campbell and 6-foot-1 point guard Brandon Lopez. Campbell will be a junior in 2014-15, Lopez a senior.


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