The Tucker Topics: Tennessee hosts a big recruiting weekend, the evolution of Chase McCarty & notes from the Thompson Hoops Combine
It’s a couple of days late, but the Tucker Topics are back! In this week’s edition, our resident hoops expert Garrett Tucker breaks down a big recruiting weekend for Rick Barnes and the Tennessee Volunteers, 2024 wing Chase McCarty’s evolution, and some quick notes from Thompson High School’s Hoops Combine.
TENNESSEE ENJOYS BIG RECRUITING WEEKEND
We’re officially a week removed from Tennessee taking down Alabama on the gridiron — and my, oh my, talk about a crazy atmosphere in Knoxville! It was obviously a big recruiting event for Josh Heupel and the football team, but Rick Barnes and his staff took full advantage of the opportunity for their program, too.
Tennessee commits Freddie Dilione and J.P. Estrella headlined the list of visitors for the Volunteers, but they had plenty of top-shelf talent on-hand, too. In fact, the bulk of that talent resides in the state of Georgia.
Ace Bailey and Derrion Reid, both ranked in the top five of our 2024 HoopSeen Georgia rankings, were on campus, as well as 2025 big man J.D. Palm, who may end up being the top player in the 2025 class.
Cam Scott, one of the top players in South Carolina’s 2024 class, was also in town for the game.
It’s still early in the recruiting process for a couple of these names, but I have to say, an atmosphere like that in Neyland Stadium can’t hurt the Volunteers’ chances going forward. Tip of the cap to all the Tennessee fans on an electric and unforgettable atmosphere.
THINGS ARE TAKING SHAPE FOR 2024 WING CHASE MCCARTY
It’s been fun to sit back and watch the evolution of 2024 wing Chase McCarty. Granted, I remember seeing him play as a middle schooler and the physical development and literal growth has been staggering.
Now a legit 6-foot-6 wing man with the ability to really stretch the floor, McCarty has had an assortment of high-major schools involved in his recruitment. His skill-set and shooting ability are the main reasons for that attention.
Over the last few weeks, McCarty has taken unofficial visits to Georgia and Tennessee, as well as an official visit to Houston. Gonzaga dispatched an assistant coach to come see him at school following late September scholarship offers from Kansas and Notre Dame.
As you can see, the interested schools are all over the map for McCarty. The junior’s recruitment has blossomed into a national recruitment with high-major powers from coast-to-coast showing interest. It’s going to be fun to sit back and watch how things go.
That also brings me to this: I don’t think Alabama's top prospects have ever had national recruitments quite like the Class of 2024 is shaping up to be. Labaron Philon, Ty Davis, and McCarty have drawn their share of interest from every conference in college basketball.
I’ll dive into this more next week, but it’s food for thought till then…
NOTES FROM THOMPSON HOOPS COMBINE
I made the trip to Alabaster on Friday evening for the Thompson Hoops Combine, a practice event that coach D.J. Black and his staff opened up to college coaches and recruiting services. Samford, UAB, and Huntington made the trip to see some of the Warrior’s talented roster.
Here’s some quick notes and thoughts from what I saw…
- The senior backcourt of Xzayvion Childress and Tre Adolphus is going to cause problems for a lot of opposing teams this season. Childress, who transferred in from Calera, has a history of being a big-time scorer. However, he was extremely impressive getting others involved and running the show as a point guard. Adolphus, a quick lefty, is wired to score the basketball. His quickness and microwave scoring ability should serve him well this season.
- The more I see senior forward Carson Pringle, the more I like him. Despite being a little undersized, I can see him having a really successful career in the right situation. I like Pringle as an undersized 4 man that outworks the opposition. His footwork and mobility set him apart, too. Montevallo is set to host Pringle for a visit next weekend, so it will be interesting to see where his recruitment goes as we head into the season.
- Keep an eye out for senior wings Damien Woolley and Jose Gonzalez. They’re both skilled, lengthy wings that can extend the floor. They’ll both be recruited by college programs.
- I was blown away by freshman wing Colben Landrew. The 6-foot-4 wing made several three-pointers that didn’t even touch the rim during live 5-on-5 play. However, that wasn’t the most impressive part of his practice. He can obviously shoot it at a high clip, but the most impressive part of Landrew’s game was his feel for the game and effortless passing ability. It’s still really early but I think it’s safe to say he will be one of the top prospects in Alabama’s 2026 class.