Vols Lose Forwards

A pair of small forwards Tennessee was recruiting, and had offered, chose other colleges over the weekend, with Chandler Parsons, 6-8, 180, of Winter Park, Fla., pledging to the home state Gators and James Johnson, 6-8, 215, of Cheyenne, Wy., committing to faraway Wake Forest.

Hickman, who plays at East High School, is rated the nation's No. 6 prospect at his position, while Parsons checks in at No. 12 among that same group. Both players enjoyed highly productive summers on the AAU hardwood circuit and grew significantly in stature as prospects.

The Vols discovered Parsons and Hickman last month, and simply weren't able to close enough ground. Parsons visit to Gainesville was hastily arranged and came a week before he was scheduled to be in Knoxville for an official visit.

"Coach Pearl did a good job," Parsons said. "He came on a little bit late. I've been talking to Coach Shay a lot recently I just never got a chance to get up there and see the campus for myself. With Florida I've been on their campus, I know all their players and coaches. It seemed like that was the best fit for me. I can't wait to play for all those great coaches and and with all those great players."

Parsons had long dreamed of playing for Florida and his best friend, as well as, Lake Howell High School and Team Florida teammate, Nick Calathes, is already committed to the Gators' Class of 2007.

Parsons ability to shoot over zones and play in transition makes him a good fit for the run and gun Gators, who like to push tempo, and create mismatches.

Johnson is a physical player with excellent athleticism. He is the son of the 1996 World kickboxing Champion, and has a 21-0 record in the challenging sport himself.

Tennessee's attentions will be focused on five-star center prospect J.J. Hickson, 6-9, 220, of Marrietta, Ga., and power forward DeJuan Blair, 6-7, 240, of Pittsburgh, Pa. Hickson is rated the nation's No. 3 center prospect and Blair checks in at No. 12 among power forwards.

Hickson averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds per game as a junior at Wheeler High School, He is scheduled to make official visits to Florida (Sept, 9), Arizona (Sept. 16) and to Tennessee on Sept. 23. He plans to visit Georgetown for Midnight Madness.

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