With Jarnell Stokes declaring early for the 2014 NBA Draft and Jeronne Maymon being a senior, the Tennessee Volunteers will be without marquee big men going into the 2014-15 college basketball season. Although these two players will be missed along with Jordan McRae, the Vols are in good hands with head coach Cuonzo Martin, who has already looked to address this issue by increasing his bench depth with the commitment of England-born Kingsley Okoroh.
Okoroh is 7-foot-1, 250-pounds and averaged 16 points and 12 rebounds for Westwind Prep Academy in Arizona last season. He lacks the inside power of players like Maymon and Stokes but makes up for it with his length and blocking ability. He probably will not start for the Volunteers, but he should get some time on the floor for his length alone.
Although Okoroh is just ranked at two stars by ESPN, Darius Thompson was rated just two points higher with three stars and he was the starting point guard at times during the year for Tennessee. Martin goes after players he knows will work hard and fit his style of play, not based on stars alone.
Okoroh is a good fit for a Tennessee team that is clearly rebuilding its big-men, and with the success Martin had with Stokes and Maymon, Okoroh could rapidly advance into a decent player in the SEC. He could also see some playing time very early on in his career if he shows signs of promise due to the team’s lack of marquee big-men. Overall it was a good signing for the Vols; next season may not be so bleak for Tennessee after all.