Vols get needed big man

Vols get needed big man

May 11th, 2011 by Patrick Brown in Sports - College

KNOXVILLE - Even after landing three new players, Cuonzo Martin's late-spring recruiting efforts had one big glaring need.

Tennessee's new basketball coach met that need Tuesday, when the Volunteers received a commitment from Yemi Makanjuola, a 6-foot-9, 230-pound center out of Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C.

Martin had landed a trio of perimeter players, but the Vols needed another player with size for next season. Kenny Hall (6-8) and Renaldo Woolridge (6-9), who is more of a swingman than a post, were UT's tallest returning players.

Makanjuola, a native of Nigeria, enrolled at Oak Hill Academy last spring before spending this season at the same school that produced former Kentucky star John Wall. He went on a visit to Indiana before taking an official visit to UT last weekend.

UT also officially announced last Friday's signing of Quinton Chievous, a 6-5, 200-pound wing out of Notre Dame College Prep in Niles, Ill., just north of Chicago.

"I just feel comfortable there," Chievous said in a UT release, "But the main thing that really drew me to Tennessee was Coach Martin. I felt like he could help me improve and succeed at the next level, both on and off the court. Coach Martin is all about turning young men into men, and I like that a lot. I think at Tennessee I can really, really grow on the court and as a person."

The son of Derrick Chievous, who left Missouri as the school's all-time scoring leader before playing three years in the NBA, averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds per game as a senior in just his third year of playing organized basketball.

"Quinton has a lot of the characteristics coaches love," Martin said. "He's a hard worker who's dedicated to putting time in to continue to enhance his skills. He's very athletic and is a great competitor. He has the tools to be a really good player because he can do a lot of different things."

Point guard Wes Washpun from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and wing Josh Richardson from Edmond, Okla., are the Vols' other two signees in the 2011 class.