Vols better or worse?

You always get our best, which is the best available, when you come to InsideTennessee for your Big Orange coverage. Check out this story comparing the eight players who left the Vol basketball program with the eight replacements:

Tennessee's basketball program lost eight players and gained eight since the 2013-14 season ended, so the question naturally arises: How do the eight arrivals compare to the eight departures?

Pretty well, actually. Here's a player-versus-player look at that topic:

Senior Jarnell Stokes (6-feet-8, 260 pounds) versus senior Eric McKnight (6-feet-9, 210): Stokes would've been a senior in 2014-15 if he hadn't opted for the NBA Draft. McKnight is a graduate transfer from Florida Gulf Coast who will be a senior in 2014-15. Projected as a second-round draft pick, Stokes averaged twice as many points (15.1 to 6.9) and twice as many rebounds (10.6 to 5.1) last year for Tennessee as McKnight did for FGCU. McKnight is a nice pick-up who should fit well in Donnie Tyndall's pressing defense but he's no Jarnell Stokes. ADVANTAGE: Stokes

Sophomore A.J. Davis (6-feet-10, 210) versus freshman Willie Carmichael (6-feet-8, 195): Struggling with the transition from perimeter player in high school to power forward in college, Davis averaged just 1.3 points and 1.6 rebounds as a freshman last season. Carmichael, though unranked by Scout, is a scrappy power forward with the advantage of having played inside in high school. Davis has more length but Carmichael has an amazing motor and considerably more toughness. ADVANTAGE: Carmichael

Sophomore Darius Thompson (6-feet-5, 180) versus junior Kevin Punter (6-feet-4, 170): Though similar in terms of build, the two are dramatically different in terms of style. Thompson is a pass-first point guard who recorded 87 assists last season but averaged just 2.6 points per game, despite making 10 starts. He also struggled defensively with quick opponents. Punter earned first-team Junior College All-America honors by averaging 20.3 points as a shooting guard for State Fair Community College in Missouri. Blessed with quick feet, he is a solid defender. Thompson was the Vols' heir-apparent at point guard but Punter can play the position in a pinch. ADVANTAGE: Punter

Freshman C.J. Turman (6-feet-8, 250) versus freshman Tariq Owens (6-feet-10½, 215): Both are three-stars, with Scout ranking Turman No. 28 among center prospects and Owens No. 27 among power forward prospects. Both excel as shot-blockers but Owens really blossomed in recent months and appears to have the greater upside. His length and quickness should make him a better fit for Tyndall's press and zone defenses, too. ADVANTAGE: Owens

Freshman Jordan Cornish (6-feet-4, 200) versus freshman Detrick Mostella (6-feet-3, 170): Cornish is rated a three-star shooting guard by Scout, Mostella a four-star. Cornish signed with UNLV after vacating his Vol scholarship. Neither player is nationally ranked at the position. Cornish is much more physical but Mostella is way more dynamic, thanks to superior quickness and explosive jumping ability. ADVANTAGE: Mostella

Freshman Phil Cofer (6-feet-8, 210) versus freshman Jabari McGhee (6-feet-8, 210): Both guys are three-star power-forward prospects but unranked at the position. Cofer signed with FSU after backing out of his commitment to Tennessee. Cofer is a terrific leaper but McGhee spent a year at prep school and probably boasts a little more polish at this stage. ADVANTAGE: draw

Freshman Larry Austin (6-feet-1, 180) versus senior Ian Chiles (6-feet-1, 200): Austin is a three-star prospect rated America's No. 29 point guard by Scout. He signed with Xavier after getting a release from Tennessee. The Vols did not sign a high school point guard to replace him, instead adding combo guard Chiles as a graduate transfer from IUPUI. Austin has the advantage of being a natural point guard but Chiles has the benefit of three years' college experience. He also is a proven scorer at the Div. I level, averaging 15.8 points per game last season. ADVANTAGE: draw

Junior Quinton Chievous (6-feet-6, 214) versus junior Devon Baulkman (6-feet-5, 200): Chievous elected to transfer after playing just 32 minutes in 2013-14, fewest on the team among scholarship players. Baulkman scored 48 points in a JUCO game for Gulf Coast College last season. Chievous scored 4 points all season for Tennessee. ADVANTAGE: Baulkman


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