Small Forward to Big Orange?

Improving on Tennessee's 2006 basketball recruiting class, which was ranked in the top 10 among Division I colleges, won't be easy, especially if Bruce Pearl adds another top 100 rated prospect in the form of Tucker, Ga., small forward Cameron Tatum.

The 6-5, 190-pound wing has committed to the Vols and is only awaiting his qualifying test score to enroll in UT. A late bloomer, who put together a couple of impressive seasons as an upper class man at Tucker High School, Tatum is ranked No. 77 in the Class of 2006. The Vols have already signed four top 100 players in Wayne Chism, Marques Johnson, Duke Crews and Ramar Smith.

"I pretty much think I'm going to Tennessee," he told Scout.com's Dave Telep, "but we're waiting on my SAT score to see if I'm going to sign or attend prep school. I want to go to Tennessee. I think it could be known that I did commit but I haven't signed yet.

"That's where I'm going once I get a qualifying score."

Tatum averaged 20.7 points, seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocks as a junior and approached those figures again as a senior at Tucker. He committed to North Carolina-Charlotte in November, but began to reexamine his options as his stock rose steadily during his senior season. He visited Tennessee during April with Ramar Smith and has been working diligently to qualify in order to enroll.

If he doesn't receive his qualifying score he will likely enroll in a prep school to sharpen his skills and solidify his academics. If he does choose the prep school path, Tatum is expected to enroll either Laurinburg Institute or Hargrave Military Academy. He would then be free to sign with any college during the November signing period and could enroll in time for the 2007 season.

Tatum became a hot commodity during last summer's AAU season and was recruited by Tennessee, Georgia, Memphis, N.C. State and others, before deciding to stick by N.C.-Charlotte which was the first college to offer him a scholarship.

"Before we arrived, Tatum was the talk of the event, emerging as a potential high-major wing," Scout.com analyst Telep wrote before seeing him play in an AAU tournament last summer. "Athletically he's already there, skill wise he's got to continue working on being a perimeter threat. He's impressed enough teams here early in the event to warrant strong looks in the second half of the summer."

Tatum further showcased his skills this last spring at the Playaz Spring Fling in Teaneck, N.J., leading the Atlanta Celtics to the quarterfinals of the tournament. He paced the Celtics with 17 points in the loss to the Long Island Lightning.

"I've added more to my game," Tatum said. "I'm going to the hole more and taking guys off the dribble. That's my bread and butter now because my jump shot hasn't really been on lately."

The Vols are also hoping Smith gets his test score to become part of what would arguably be the best recruiting class in Tennessee basketball history.


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