Recruiting in Year 2

One reason Tennessee's basketball team landed a top-five recruiting class for 2006 is that the coaching staff could sell the idea of immediate playing time. Now that the roster has been strengthened in both quality and quantity, that is no longer such a strong selling point.

By signing five excellent prospects – 6-9 Wayne Chism, 6-7 Duke Crews, 6-6 Marques Johnson, 6-4 Josh Tabb and 6-2 Ramar Smith – the Vols addressed their needs, upgraded their athleticism and bolstered their depth with their '06 freshman class.

That raises the question: Will the heralded freshmen who make up this signing class scare off prospects for the 2007 and 2008 signing classes?

Tony Jones, UT's associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, doesn't think so. He believes quality prospects will have enough self-confidence to sign with the Vols, rather than fret about who already may be on campus.

"I go back to a statement Marques Johnson made after the Derby Classic," Jones said. "The question was posed to Marques: What does the signing of Ramar Smith do to you? Marques answered: ‘I hope we get better players each and every year because that's going to make us a better team.'

"Hopefully, in subsequent recruiting years, the top players will have that same type of mindset. They'll want to come in and play with great players, come in and play with accomplished individuals.

"Then we can get this thing going, like a Kentucky or a Connecticut or a North Carolina or a Kansas or a Duke that perennially signed top-notch players, integrated them into a system and enjoyed success."

Inside Tennessee Top Stories