Kemp Falls to Tigers

There's good news and bad news regarding UT's recruitment of Bolivar point guard Willie Kemp. The good news is that he is staying in the Volunteer State. The bad news is he won't be a Volunteer.

Sources close to the situation say Kemp has informed the basketball staffs of Tennessee, Arkansas and Kentucky of his intention to sign with Memphis during the early signing period in November.

Rated the nation's No. 6 point guard and No. 39 overall basketball prospect in the Class of 2006 by Scout.com, Kemp was a primary target for Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl, who received a commitment from his Bolivar teammate Wayne Chism last month. Kemp took his official visit to UT for the Vols season opener against UAB along with Chism, but the allure of playing closer to home proved too strong to overcome.

Memphis was believed to have taken the lead in recent weeks and even an official visit to Kentucky over the weekend didn't sway the talented play maker.

Kemp led Bolivar to a 29-5 record and the Class-2A state title last season, and continued to improve his stock in AAU play through the summer as a member of Memphis Pump N' Run. He was named MVP of the Real Deal on the Hill tourney and made the Rumble on the Ridge all-tournament team.

In addition to Chism, a power forward, Tennessee has a commitment from shooting guard Marques Johnson, of Fort Wayne, Ind., who can double as a lead guard. The Vols have offered shooting guard Verice Cloyd, 6-3, 180, of Genesis One high school in Mendahall, Miss., who can also play some at the point. Additionally, Tennessee has offered Doneal Mack a 6-5, 175, three-star prospect from Stateville, N.C., who appears to be strictly a shooting guard. However, there don't currently appear to be any other pure point guards UT is closely pursuing.

The Vols will get an official visit from power forward Duke Crews, of Bethel High School in Hampton, Va., this weekend. The 6-51/2, 225-pound Crews is rated the nation's No. 9 prospect at his position by Scout.com. He is also considering Wake Forest, Georgetown and North Carolina all of which he has visited. He was also offered by Florida, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Virginia, Xavier, Illinois and St. John's among others.

A four-star prospect, Crews averaged 18 point per contest as a junior. He is also an outstanding rebounder with quickness around the basket and the ability score inside. Undersized for his position, he compensates with athleticism and plays with rare passion on both ends of the floor.

Getting a commitment from Crews would help offset the loss of Kemp, and keep UT on course to posting a top 10 class in Pearl's first year on the job.


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