The 6-9, 235-pound Canadian-born power forward announced Tuesday he has committed to the Vols, spurning heavy recruitment by Mississippi State, Ole Miss and LSU to play for Tennessee. Kasongo is Tennessee's second commitment of the day after combo guard Lamonte Turner chose the Vols over a host of SEC schools and Louisville.
The Toronto native originally planned to play at Oregon coming out of high school, but didn’t meet the school’s academic standards to qualify for admission. Kasongo was forced to move on to Southern Idaho, where he played in 34 games last season, averaging 6.0 points and 5.2 rebounds a contest. He also shot 59.2 percent from the field and blocked 75 shots — good for 17th nationally in the junior college ranks.
The big man gives Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes his second commitment since he’s been in Knoxville and is expected to immediately help shore up the Vols’ thin frontcourt. Kasongo visited on the weekend of April 24 to take in the 2015 Orange and White Game, which is where Barnes and his staff locked up their first post presence of a 2015 class which includes Scout three-star forward Admiral Schofield and Scout three-star guards Shembari Phillips and Turner.
The journey of Kasongo's path to Tennessee is a winding one filled with potholes. He bounced around between two different Kentucky high schools (East Ridge and Pikeville) and was dismissed from a military school before landing at Phase 1 Academy in Arizona.
Now he's hoping to stick somewhere for good, specifically with a Tennessee program that, like him, is hoping to rebuild. Kasongo will have three years of eligibility remaining, and Barnes is hoping his newest player will give the Vols a true post presence with his length, athleticism and shot-blocking ability.