Tennessee’s own Dyer County High School graduate Robert Hubbs was Cuonzo Martin’s first major recruit since he took over as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. He is considered a 5-star recruit by most NCAA basketball rankings and is one of the top 5 shooting guards in the country. He will immediately make an impact on this experienced Tennessee team.
Hubbs is coming into a team that is bringing back every starter except their point guard, Trae Golden, who opted for a transfer in the offseason. After playing the PG position a few times throughout the year, Armani Moore looks to be fully capable of handling the responsibility. And even if he feels more comfortable as a SG, Tennessee has Memphis transfer Antonio Barton to fill Golden’s spot.
Jordan McRae and Jarnell Stokes both return after deciding to not be early entries into the 2013 NBA Draft. Their choice to remain with the team will not only affect the chances of this season’s team to succeed but the chances for future teams to succeed. Also, last year’s preseason All-SEC player Jeronne Maymon will return after being redshirted for injury. The Volunteers return the most talent in the SEC, and Hubbs will benefit from the team’s experience.
Hubbs reminds me of a young McRae. He’s ridiculously athletic and can score from all over the court along with the defensive knowledge and length to keep other talented athletes from scoring. Defense is Martin’s top priority, and Hubbs should fit in immediately with the team.
However, he has something that McRae didn’t have early in his time at Tennessee; he has a successful player like McRae to learn from starting on day one. Hubbs will benefit from McRae’s recent success and will blossom much faster, because he has a player that actually plays his style of basketball on the roster.
While everyone is focusing on the Kentucky Wildcats‘ incoming freshmen class, Hubbs will be able to improve away from the pressure of having to make an immediate impact, which is exactly why he will make an impact in his first season for Tennessee.
Nothing is scarier than a proven scorer who isn’t expected to be the go-to-guy. He will be able to play his game without worrying about carrying the Volunteers. Expect Hubbs to be on the SEC’s All-Freshman team over some of the NBA bound Kentucky players at the end of the season.