Jordan McRae Must Step Up If Cuonzo Martin and the Vols Are to Succeed

Chase SummersCorrespondent IJuly 8, 2011

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 26: John Fields #25 of the Tennessee Volunteers celebrates with teammate Tobias Harris #12 alongside Jordan McRae #1 and Cameron Tatum #23 after they defeated the Villanova Wildcats  during the Championship game at Madison Square Garden on November 26, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Coming out of Liberty County High School in Hinesville, Georgia, Jordan McRae was ranked as a four star prospect and the 47th best player in the class. Needless to say, expectations were high for this young man.

Despite being so highly touted, McRae did not play much last year as a freshman. In fact, he only averaged 5.3 minutes and 1.8 eight points a game last year. This was through no fault of his own though, the Vols were a chock full of talent and McRae needed time to polish his game.

This year the Vols are going to need McRae's talent after losing major contributers such as Melvin Goins, Brian Williams, Steven Pearl, John Fields, Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris either to graduation or the draft.

There is no doubt the talent is there. In limited action this year, he still managed to throw down some spectacular dunks and made other very athletic plays, but can he bring that talent and take his game to the next level?

I think so.

In this years Pilot Rocky Top League McRae averaged 45.7 points per game and was named league MVP. I watched highlights of some of these games and came away impressed. McRae showed he could score and scoring is what the Vols are going to need next year after losing five of their top six scorers.

Only time will tell if McRae can be a elite player and help the Vols to victory, but with his talent, athleticism and work ethic, the smart money is on Jordan McRae to be a big factor in Tennessee's upcoming season and beyond.