Josh Pastner must really hate Cuonzo Martin.
In less than two years, the Tennessee coach has snagged two 5-star recruits from Pastner’s backyard (with a strong possibility for more). The latest being Memphis-area native Robert Hubbs III (Dyer County, Tenn.), a 6’5”, 185-pound guard who seemingly came out of nowhere in his junior season.
It’s an obvious win for Martin to land such a superior talent over powerhouse programs Duke, Memphis and nearly every other SEC school.
More importantly, though, it’s another move to shore up the Vols’ weaknesses in the backcourt. Hubbs is now the sixth straight scholarship Martin has awarded to a guard or wing player, with Jarnell Stokes being the lone exception.
Hubbs went largely unnoticed in the recruiting world during his freshman and sophomore years but exploded on the scene last season and drew national attention during the summer while playing with his AAU team in Las Vegas.
With Jeronne Maymon and Kenny Hall graduating and the possibility of Stokes entering the NBA draft after this upcoming season, Hubbs signing could mean the 2013 Vols could more closely resemble Missouri’s 2011-12 four-guard starting lineup.
Martin’s rotation could look something like this two seasons from now:
PG: Trae Golden/Armani Moore
SG: Hubbs/Josh Richardson
Wing: D’Montre Edwards
Wing: Jordan McRae/Derek Reese
PF/C: Jarnell Stokes/Yemi Makanjuola
However, Martin is pushing hard for power forwards Austin Nichols and Johnathan Williams III, who, like Hubbs, are Memphis-area players. Williams made an official visit to Knoxville alongside Hubbs the same weekend ESPN’s College GameDay gave a live broadcast from campus, and Nichols will likely visit next month for the Alabama game.
If Martin is able to pull off the impossible and land both Nichols and Williams, Pastner might be forced to build a wall around Memphis to keep out his rival to the east.
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