published Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Another 5-star picks hoop Vols

KNOXVILLE -- Cuonzo Martin did it again.

Tennessee's second-year basketball coach followed up the coup that landed him five-star forward Jarnell Stokes last December with another relentless effort that Monday brought him the commitment of another five-star prospect from across the state.

Robert Hubbs III, a shooting guard from Dyer County High School in Newbern, pledged to the Volunteers less than two days after taking his official visit to Knoxville this past weekend.

"The key was Coach Martin and his coaching staff," his father, Robert Hubbs II, said late Monday morning. "He really liked the way they had been recruiting him, and all summer they had been there. They've been there every game pretty much showing their love and their want for my son.

"When Coach Martin wasn't able to make it, he would let us know and who was going to make it and who was going to be there. They communicated well with us. When he said he was going to do something, he did it."

Wherever Hubbs played, Martin made it a point to be in attendance. The Vols' coach made his in-home visit to the top target in his 2013 recruiting class last week and followed up by hosting the 6-foot-5, 180-pound prospect on campus.

Duke had offered Hubbs a scholarship, as had Vanderbilt, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri and others. Later in the process, Kentucky, Kansas and UCLA came calling. Hubbs' rising stock put him 12th in Rivals.com's rankings.

"He told me from day one, 'I'm putting all my eggs in one basket,'" Hubbs II said. "It was a gamble that a lot of coaches won't take. He put all his eggs in one basket saying, 'I want your son.'

"Other coaches said the same thing about, 'We want you to be a scorer for us and we want you to be a big impact when you first get here.' He'd done the same thing, and the thing that stood out was he said, 'Man, if you don't shoot the ball, you've got to come sit down by Coach over here. I'm going to take you out if you don't shoot the ball, because I'm getting you to score, son.' "

Martin proved he could recruit against college basketball's top programs when he landed Stokes, but the Memphian's early enrollment created an unusual circumstances that worked in Tennessee's favor. With Hubbs, though, it was simply Martin's effort.

Hubbs' father said he was a little surprised by his son's choice but knew he had long liked Tennessee, and the official visit, especially the reception at the open practice before the football game against Florida, put the Vols over the top.

"We knew from day one that's what he really liked," Hubbs II said. "It was just a different atmosphere, and it made him feel at home. Meeting the rest of their coaching staff and their family, it just felt like we wanted to be a part of that team and part of that family.

"I asked him, 'What about Kentucky? What about these others schools [like] Vanderbilt? What about Auburn? What about Duke?' He said, 'Dad, I want to play for Tennessee.'"

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com or 901-581-7288. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/patrickbrowntfp

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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