Point guard drops UT

Tennessee basketball's bid to lock up another of the state's elite point-guard prospects has fallen a little short.

Even with a public commitment from 5-foot-10 Chris Jones of Memphis Melrose already in hand, the Vols were very much in the hunt for 6-foot-4 Kedren Johnson of Marshall County High in Lewisburg. Johnson, however, recently crossed UT off his list of college options.

"Kedren has eliminated Tennessee," Marshall County High coach Jason Tigert told InsideTennessee.com by phone from Lewisburg earlier tonight. "It's down to Vanderbilt, Alabama, Florida and Memphis."

Jones is rated a 4-star recruit by Scout and ranked No. 13 nationally among point guards. Johnson is rated a 3-star recruit by Scout. The prospect of the two combining to form UT's backcourt of the future was intriguing while it lasted.

"That would've been intriguing," Tigert conceded, "because they're two completely different styles of point guards. Chris Jones is more of a scoring point guard. Kedrick is probably more of a distributor. He has a pass first/shoot second mentality."

The coach said Johnson's greatest attributes are that "his court awareness and strength are unrivaled. He's a 6-4 powerful point guard. His court vision and savvy offensively are very, very, very skilled.

"He's a guard who can get in there and mix it up on the boards. He can post smaller guards, if necessary."

Tigert said the fact UT already has a high-profile point guard committed for its 2010 signing class had no bearing on Johnson's decision.

"It wasn't that," the high school coach said. "He just felt some of these other schools might be a better fit. It wasn't an easy decision but he and his family wanted to cut the list down going into the summer, be as upfront and honest with schools as they could.

"He didn't want to lead anybody on."

Johnson attended Tennessee's upset of top-ranked Kansas last January in Knoxville, subsequently commenting on the rousing noise level at Thompson-Boling Arena. With a 3.4 grade-point average and point guard skills, he seemed a good fit for the Vol program.

When Tigert and Johnson sat down last week to discuss the player's college options, however, Johnson decided he was no longer considering the Big Orange. Tigert promptly telephoned the Vol basketball office and relayed the information to assistant coach Jason Shay.

"He loved the staff there at UT," Tigert said. "He just decided that he's more than likely going to attend somewhere else."

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