Bleeding orange

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Some big-time basketball prospects have second thoughts about their college choices. Robert Hubbs III is not one of these.

The five-star Tennessee commitment recently tweeted: "I cut myself earlier today and my blood was ORANGE!!!!"

Clearly, he is excited about officially becoming a Volunteer when the early signing period begins on Nov. 14.

"Yes, sir," he told InsideTennessee by phone from the family home in Newbern. "I'm very excited. I'll be signing on the first day."

NCAA rules kept Hubbs from visiting the Tennessee campus since he publicly committed to the Vols on Sept. 17 but he plans to attend at least two home games this season.

"I'm planning to come up there a couple of times — the Kentucky and Memphis games," he said.

Hubbs, a 6-foot-4 senior at Dyer County High School, is rated the No. 3 shooting guard and No. 19 overall prospect nationally by FOX Sports NEXT. His team recently scrimmaged Memphis Briarcrest, led by four-star power forward Austin Nichols, who spurned Tennessee in favor of the University of Memphis.

"We played Briarcrest in a scrimmage and knocked them off 72-60," Dyer County coach Derek McCord recalled. "There were a lot of Tennessee T-shirts at the game, which was kind of neat. Robert played well."

That isn't surprising. Hubbs usually plays well. He averaged 20.8 points and nearly 7 rebounds per game as a junior last season, with a high game of 42 points against Fort Walton Beach in a Christmas tournament last December.

"He'll be relied upon even more this year because we lost three starters off last year's team that are playing college or juco ball," McCord said. "He's got to carry an even bigger load."

Travon Landry's entrance in the 2013 class for the Vols should allow Hubbs to play more of his natural shooting guard.
(Danny Parker/InsideTennessee.com)
From all indications, Hubbs is capable of carrying that load. He has elevated his game dramatically in the past few months, which is why he soared from No. 77 to No. 19 on FOX Sports NEXT's prospect ratings.

"He's got a great skills set," McCord said. "He can play the 1 (point guard), 2 (shooting guard) or 3 (small forward) offensively. He needs to build up his strength for the physicality of the SEC but he's working on that."

Offensively, Hubbs is versatile and explosive.

"He's got NBA range," McCord said. "He gets to the rim. He's really developed into a good scorer around the basket, with an up-and-under move and jump hooks. You can put him in multiple scenarios."

Defensively, Hubbs is active and disruptive.

"We press and try to really put pressure on basketball," McCord said. "He's our tallest starter. We really put five guards out there, and he really thrives in our system."

Although Tennessee has a true point guard (Travon Landry) in this signing class, Hubbs is capable of filling in at that position.

"He's got a very good handle," McCord said. "Some schools recruited him as a 1. He really handles the ball well. I think he's more suited to 2 but he can bring the ball up. We put him in the post. He's so coachable that he accepts whatever role you give him. He has a good feel for the game, a high basketball IQ and he's fun to coach."

In addition to being a quality basketball player, Hubbs reportedly is a quality young man who hasn't let stardom affect him.

"He's the same Robert," McCord said. "He's the same kid he was as a freshman. He never changed through the recruiting process. He's still an easygoing guy that's fun to be around."

Unless you're trying to guard him. Then he's no fun at all.

Asked if he would like to convey any message to Big Orange basketball fans eagerly awaiting his arrival, Hubbs said, "I just want to let everybody know I'm ready to work and lead this team to championships."


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