USA Today Images/Reinhold Matay

Rick Barnes targets JUCO standout

Rick Barnes didn't waste time locating his top target for replacing departing point guard Kwe Parker.

Tennessee coach Rick Barnes found his top target to replace departing point guard Kwe Parker.

Barnes called and offered junior college standout Chris Darrington on Sunday.

Darrington is a 6-foot-1 point guard from Vincennes University in Indiana.

“I was honored to have coach Barnes personally call and offer," Darrington said Sunday night.

The Tennessee staff first made contact with the sharp-shooter during the middle of the 2016-17 season and just recently that contact became much more serious.

Tennessee assistant coach Desmond Oliver traveled to Kansas last week to see Darrington compete in the NJCCAA national tournament and the sophomore didn’t disappoint, scoring 33 points on 7 of 14 shooting from outside the arc.

“I consider myself a point guard, but I will move off the ball if my team needs that to win,” Darrington told InsideTennessee. “Tennessee hasn’t told me a specific position yet.”

After putting up 40 points his senior year at Scott High School in Toledo, Ohio, against now-Wisconsin small forward Khalil Iverson, Darrington knew Vincennes was the place he wanted to go.

Vincennes is one of the top junior colleges in the nation and Darrington knew that Todd Franklin was the right coach to take him where he wanted to go — the Division I level.

Darrington currently hold offers from Bradley, Evansville, Loyola, Memphis, Nebraska, Seton Hall, Toledo, UNLV, Western Kentucky and now Tennessee. He was quick to point out, “I have no order or favorites.”

The process is just getting started as he hasn’t made any of his five allowable official visits and he says he will “sit down with family and those I trust early this week and start to get more serious about a plan going forward.”

Darrington enjoyed a stellar sophomore year for the Trailblazers, averaging 21.0 points and 5.0 per game while making 43.8 percent from 3-point range. The ball-handler owned better than a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

“I want to start but not have anything given to me,” Darrington said.

As the Vols look to add one more key piece of the puzzle to a roster that returns an experienced core group pf players, Darrington would certainly be a boost to a team that lacked 3-point shooting threats. He also would bolster a point guard position that saw its struggles this past season.

Darrington appears to be a fit Tennessee fans should be excited about and one that this roster needs.

http://www.scout.com/player/216204-chris-darrington/news?year=2016&s=7


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