Dane deserves five more assists

Several people contributed significantly as Tennessee signed a top-five recruiting class in basketball for 2006-07.

Head coach Bruce Pearl and associate coach/recruiting coordinator Tony Jones did a great job of identifying quality players.

Those two, plus assistants Scott Edgar, Jason Shay and Ken Johnson, did a terrific job of making targeted prospects Marques Johnson, Wayne Chism, Duke Crews, Josh Tabb and Ramar Smith feel at home during their visits to the campus.

Vol football coach Phil Fulmer helped by making himself available to meet with several visiting hoops prospects.

Jones and Pearl then did an excellent job of closing the deal and getting the five prep stars to sign.

An unsung hero in UT's recruiting success, though, was rising senior Dane Bradshaw. Forced to play power forward at 6-4 and 200 pounds last winter, Bradshaw somehow played bigger and better than his size/athleticism suggested he should. That impressed several of the Vols' top recruits.

"Dane Bradshaw is a 6-4 kid that some people perceive as not being talented," Jones said. "But we (coaches) are getting the most out of him, talent-wise and effort-wise. Prospects see that and say, ‘Hey, they can make us better also.' "

Thus, it's quite possible that Dane's five most important assists of 2005-06 didn't show up on the stat sheet.

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