A first-team all-state pick in 2004, Tony Passley averaged 17.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game as a senior at North Central High School of Indianapolis. He signed with Pearl at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, attended a couple of summer school classes, then opted to attend Redlands Community College in El Reno, Okla.
Passley averaged 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds at Redlands in 2004-05, then transferred to Tennessee shortly after the Vols hired Pearl in March of 2005. The NCAA ruled Passley's eligibility clock had begun when he attended the summer school classes at UWM, so he was forced to sit out the 2005-06 UT season as a transfer.
After playing post in high school, the 6-5 Passley struggled with the switch to guard in college. He averaged just 1.8 points and 1.7 rebounds per game for the Vols last fall, committing 18 turnovers in just 115 total minutes of action (roughly the equivalent of three 40-minute games).
Passley's best performances came in November outings against Coppin State (7 points, 4 assists), Middle Tennessee State (6 points, 6 rebounds) and North Carolina (5 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocked shots). His playing time diminished as the season progressed, and he did not see action in Tennessee's final 13 games.
Passley will have two years of eligibility at Southern Indiana, which is located in Evansville.
In a statement released by the school, USI head coach Rick Herdes described Passley as "an outstanding athlete," adding: "He has the ability to get to the bucket and be a scorer. Plus with his size and jumping ability he will be a presence on the boards."
Passley's younger brother, Cordell, committed to UT as a high school sophomore two years ago. Beset by academic problems, he is now looking at a number of college options.