Long-armed and dangerous

Thanks to a lanky 6-5 frame and an almost freakish 7-foot wingspan, one Tennessee basketball signee looks like a human "T" when he extends his arms parallel to the floor.

In Wednesday night's Rocky Top Summer League action, however, Jordan McRae looked more like a human scoring machine. The electrifying freshman made 19 of 32 shots from the field, 2 of 7 from 3 and 2 of 4 from the foul line en route to 42 points. He scored on tomahawk dunks. He scored on windmill dunks. He scored on dunks off lobs. He scored on driving dunks and rebound dunks. He made some acrobatic layups, too.

In other words, McRae put those long arms to excellent use. And, when he wasn't soaring for points in the paint, he was setting up teammates with some laser-like no-look passes.

"I'm getting a feel for the game," McRae said of his six-game RTSL experience. "I did some positive things and some negative things but, overall, I think I did all right."

He did enough things "all right" to help DeRoyal Industries (4-2) reach tonight's RTSL title game against The News-Sentinel (5-1). McRae had plenty of help, though. Two fellow Vols, senior post Brian Williams and senior point guard Melvin Goins, also represent the DeRoyal Industries entry.

"I've learned a lot about my teammates," McRae said, "and that's real important. Working with Baby (Williams) and Mel (Goins) has been fun.

"Melvin has some flashy moves, and you never know what he's going to do with the ball. But now I have a little bit of an idea."

McRae clearly is talented enough to play Southeastern Conference basketball. Whether he is physically mature enough for the rigors of SEC ball remains to be seen. Packing just 185 pounds on his slender frame, he occasionally finds himself outmuscled by older, more physical players.

"I'm trying to gain weight," he said. "I'm going hard in the weight room. I'm trying to adjust right now because I'm not used to putting on weight."

As a result, McRae struggled at times against some of the more physically mature athletes he faced in the Rocky Top League.

"Playing against college players is real fun," he said. "It's not like high school; everybody's good here. I need to get stronger but this is a good learning experience - getting beat up a little bit."

Clearly, McRae is learning to neutralize opponents' strength with his dynamic quickness and his dazzling leaping ability. That's how he scored 42 points Wednesday night.

"And I have a seven-foot wingspan," he said. "That helps out a lot."


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