Hope on the hoops front

Tennessee's basketball program remains in the running for one of the state's premier prospects.

Brandon Powell, a touted 6-4, 190-pound guard for Memphis Mitchell High School, lists the Vols among eight schools he is considering heading into his senior season. The others are Memphis, Alabama Birmingham, Florida, Arkansas, Ole Miss, USC and Colorado.

Powell, who turned 18 last month, is a natural shooting guard with excellent range and penetrating abilities. He reportedly has the ballhandling skills to play the point in a pinch.

"He handles the ball well and has great 3-point range," Mitchell coach Jerry Johnson told ScoutHoops.com national recruiting analyst Jeff Goodman earlier this year.

Though often overshadowed by Mitchell teammate Thaddeus Young, Powell is a standout in his own right. He is rated No. 16 nationally among shooting guards by ScoutHoops.com and recently helped lead Memphis Pump ‘n Run to the championship of the Real Deal on the Hill tournament.

Tennessee has one outstanding shooting guard in sophomore Chris Lofton but there isn't much proven depth behind him. JaJuan Smith is a former walk-on. Jordan Howell scarcely played last season and Dane Bradshaw may be a tad slow for the frantic pace new Vol coach Bruce Pearl likes to maintain.

Moreover, UT's incoming signing class consists of two post players – 6-9 Damion Harris and 6-8 Ryan Childress. However, there is still a good chance the Vols will sign Anthony Passley, a 6-5 wing from Indianapolis by way of Redlands (Okla.) Community College.

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