Vols looking at JUCO posts

InsideTennessee should be your No. 1 source for top-flight coverage of Vol hoops. Check out this story on a critical target area for the Big Orange in the upcoming spring signing period:

He fouled out 15 minutes into a Feb. 11 game with Chattanooga State, then — proving it was no fluke — he fouled out 11 minutes into a game with Cleveland State on Feb. 14.

Is Walters State’s Brandon Walters the perfect partner for foul-prone Tennessee freshman Willie Carmichael or what?

Walters, a 6-foot-9, 290-pounder, is one of several junior-college post players Vol coaches appear to be targeting for the spring signing period. The Chattanooga native remains an intriguing prospect in spite of his tendency to foul.

Walters averaged 13.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per contest as a sophomore this winter, despite playing less than half of each game (18.7 minutes). He shot 58.8 percent from the field, an impressive 50 percent (11 of 22) from 3-point range and 61.5 percent from the foul line. He produced 27 points and 15 rebounds against Motlow State on Feb. 7. He registered 16 points and 11 rebounds (seven off the offensive glass) in a 71-66 defeat of Roane State Feb. 21.

Another “big” on Tennessee’s radar is Walters State teammate Alex Hicks, a 6-foot-8, 205-pounder who averaged 15.1 points and 7.6 rebounds. More of a pick-and-pop power forward, he shot 47.2 percent from the field, 26.9 percent (18 of 67) from 3 and 66.1 percent from the foul line. He has blocked 49 shots in 29 games. He produced 22 points and 7 rebounds in a Feb. 14 defeat of Cleveland State. Only a freshman, he has three years of eligibility remaining.

Two junior-college post prospects Tennessee seems to be targeting were mentioned in a recent Gate 21 – Kyle Meyer of Eastern Florida State of Kimani Jackson of New Mexico Junior College.

Meyer is a 6-foot-10, 225-pounder who was a freshman at the University of Iowa in 2013-14. He played sparingly (no action in the NCAA Tournament play-in game versus Tennessee) before opting for the JUCO route. Originally from Alpharetta, Georgia, he is having an excellent year for EFSC, averaging 15.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game while playing 29.0 minutes per contest. He recorded 31 points and 10 rebounds in a Feb. 4 defeat of Broward Community College, then burned Broward for 27 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocks in the rematch three weeks later. He is shooting 51.7 percent from the field, 37.8 percent from 3 and 71.3 percent from the foul line.

Over his last five games Meyer has averaged 22.4 points — making 40 of 88 field goals, 7 of 21 3-pointers and 25 of 33 foul shots. He produced a season-high 14 rebounds Dec. 31 against Shelton State and registered a season-best 5 blocks Jan. 21 versus Indian River.

Jackson, originally from Arlington, Texas, is a 6-foot-8, 225-pounder who plays just 19.6 minutes per game but still averages 8.3 points and 6.0 rebounds. He is shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 58.5 percent the foul line. He has blocked 19 shots and has fouled out six times in 23 games. He is 0 for 6 from beyond the 3-point line.

Jackson missed New Mexico’s first five games but made his mark the second time he took the floor, going 14 of 18 from the field en route to a 28-point, 15-rebound effort against Southwest Texas Junior College on Nov. 14. A week later he went 9 of 18 from the field and 5 of 5 from the foul line in a 23-point, 6-rebound outing against ProVision. Because he redshirted last season Jackson has three years of major-college eligibility ahead of him.

Jackson also has a teammate getting a look from the Vols. Ray Barreno is a 6-foot-11, 265-pound transfer from Tulane who has started 20 of 28 games for the Thunderbirds. He is averaging 6.2 points and 3.7 rebounds in 17.3 minutes per game. He shoots 54.3 percent from the field and 73.8 percent from the line but has not attempted a 3-pointer. He has produced a season-high 12 points on three occasions with season highs of 10 rebounds and three blocks one time each.

In addition to these five “bigs” and the six point guards/combo guards mentioned in the previous segment of this two-part series, here are a couple of bonus notes on a junior college small forward and a JUCO shooting guard the Vols seem to be evaluating:

The small forward is Ty Outlaw, a 6-foot-6, 215-pounder from Lee College in Texas who ranks 10th among Div. I scorers at 21.9 points per game. A teammate of combo guard Shawn Smith (profiled in Part 1), Outlaw is hitting 51.4 percent of his field goals and an amazing 44.6 percent of his 3-pointers. He also averages 5.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.

Originally from Roxboro, N.C., Outlaw spent a year at UNC-Greensboro before relocating to Lee. He exploded for 44 points Nov. 19 against Lone Star-Kingwood, sinking 16 of 19 field goals, 9 of 11 3-pointers and 3 of 4 foul shots. He also posted a 36-point game, plus back-to-back 31-point outings on Jan. 17 and 21.

The final JUCO player in today’s offering is Mychal Mulder of Vincennes (Indiana) Junior College, which is 30-0 and ranked No. 1 among NJCAA Div. I schools. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard averages a team-best 14.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. He’s hitting 47.2 percent from the field, 46.9 percent from 3 and 78.6 percent from the foul line.

Mulder had a remarkable three-game stretch in November that saw him score 26 points against the Lindsey Wilson junior varsity, 20 against Lake Land College and 28 against Olney Central College. He hit 25 of 43 field goals during that run, including 10 of 19 from 3-point range.

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