Tyndall strikes again

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One way or another Willie Carmichael was going to play college basketball for Donnie Tyndall in 2014-15.

Six months after signing to play for Tyndall at Southern Miss, Carmichael has signed to play for him at Tennessee. The 6-foot-8, 200-pounder went public with the news on Tuesday evening.

Carmichael is the seventh player Tyndall has committed and/or signed this spring and the third in a 12-hour span. Junior college transfer Devon Baulkman (Gulf Coast State College) cast his lot and signed with the Vols Tuesday morning, then IUPUI transfer Ian Chiles committed in early afternoon.

Carmichael, soon to graduate from Wekiva High School in Apopka, Fla., is the 40th-ranked senior in Florida by SourceHoops.com and the state's 41st-ranked player by FloridaHoops.com. He averaged 11.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game as a junior, then 13.6 points and 8.9 rebounds as a senior.

Shortly after signing him for Southern Miss last November, Tyndall described Carmichael as "a long, athletic front-line player," adding: "He can play a couple of different positions. He's a great athlete who plays with a high motor."

Tyndall recalled coaching a similar high-energy, under-the-radar forward during an earlier six-year stint as head man at Morehead State.

"He reminds me of a young Kenneth Faried, in that he plays extremely hard," Tyndall said of Carmichael. "He runs the floor, and is not afraid to compete at the highest level."

That's high praise, since Faried went on to a first-round NBA Draft pick and a quality player for the Denver Nuggets. Tyndall apparently thinks Carmichael has a lot of tools, as well.

"Willie has had a great high school career," the Vol coach said last November. "He plays for one of the best high school coaches in Florida in Scott Williams. We feel like he has the ability to contribute as a freshman."

Carmichael was tabbed All-Metro West Division Player of the Year by The Orlando Sentinel following his senior season at Wekiva High. When Tyndall left Southern Miss to take the Vol reins last month, Carmichael requested a release from the Southern Miss letter of intent he signed last November. Upon receiving that release, he decided to follow the coach to Knoxville.

Tyndall now has secured five signees and two commitments since becoming Tennessee's head coach on April 22.

Already signed are Carmichael, Baulkman, 6-foot-8 prep school forward Jabari McGhee (Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia), 6-foot-4 Junior College All-American shooting guard Kevin Punter (State Fair Community College in Missouri) and 6-foot-3 prep school shooting guard Detrick Mostella (Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts).

The commitments are from Chiles and fellow post-graduate transfer Eric McKnight, a 6-foot-9 post player from Florida Gulf Coast University.

Even with seven newcomers added, Tennessee has just 12 players on scholarship for 2014-15, one below the NCAA limit of 13.

Only five 2013-14 scholarship Vols are committed to returning for 2014-15 – rising senior wing Josh Richardson, rising senior center Rawane Ndiaye, rising junior forward Derek Reese, rising junior wing Armani Moore and rising sophomore wing Robert Hubbs III. Rising sophomore point guard Darius Thompson is considering a transfer. Rising junior forward Quinton Chievous is no longer planning a return to The Hill for the 2014-15 season.

Tennessee signed four players last November – point guard Larry Austin (Springfield, Ill.), wing Jordan Cornish (New Orleans), post C.J. Turman (Madison, Ga.) and post Phil Cofer (Fayetteville, Ga.) – but all four secured releases to search for new schools when Cuonzo Martin left to become head man at Cal in April.

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