The biggest piece of the offseason puzzle for Rick Barnes and Tennessee is now in place. The Volunteers picked up a commitment from Brandon Huntley-Hatfield today, adding a five-star piece to the frontcourt for the first time in the Barnes era.
The top 2022 prospect will reclassify into the class of 2021, meaning he will be on the floor for Tennessee next season.
Huntley-Hatfield moves to No. 19 overall in the ESPN 100. pic.twitter.com/kysnkOrWQS
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 15, 2021
Huntley-Hatfield is the fifth five-star prospect to sign with Tennessee under Barnes. He’s set to join five-star point guard Kennedy Chandler this season in Knoxville, forming yet another talented roster with plenty of NBA potential. Huntley-Hatfield joins four-star center Jonas Aidoo in the frontcourt, who committed to Tennessee on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-9, 230 pound prospect was the 6th ranked player in the class of 2022, per the 247Sports composite rankings. He was the top ranked power forward in the class, coming out of Scotland, Pennsylvania. Huntley-Hatfield transferred to Scotland last season after spending time at the IMG Academy in Florida.
Has a quintessential power forward body with length, strength and density. Power based athlete. High level body control for a player his size. Can score from all three levels. Very comfortable with the ball. Has functional ball handling skills that produce buckets in scoring range. Can get to the basket efficiently. Loves to go left as a righty. Has ability to dominate his area as a rebounder. Improving as a defender is a proper area of focus. (247Sports)
Tennessee now has answers in the frontcourt, something that was lacking last season. With Aidoo in place alongside of Huntley-Hatfield, the Volunteers could also return John Fulkerson for a 6th season in Knoxville. Uros Plavsic and Olivier Nkamhoua also remain in the program.
Rick Barnes has churned the roster this offseason, adding more talent and depth. Corey Walker Jr., E.J. Anosike, Drew Pember and Davonte Gaines have each transferred out, clearing the way for Aidoo, Huntley Hatfield, Auburn sharpshooter Justin Powell and French shooting guard Quentin Diboundje.
This remains a guess at this point, but Tennessee’s starting five next season could be Kennedy Chandler, Victor Bailey Jr., Josiah-Jordan James, Brandon Huntley-Hatfield and John Fulkerson. That would leave Justin Powell, Santiago Vescovi, Jahmai Mashack, Olivier Nkamhoua and Jonas Aidoo as your primary options off of the bench.
Rick Barnes clearly admitted some mistakes this offseason and cycled this roster to start fresh again. Expectations will be high once again, and he clearly needs to deliver more in March, but it’s tough not to be excited about what he’s been able to do this offseason.