KNOXVILLE - CJ Turman's relationship with Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin and the program's facilities led the 6-foot-9 forward from Madison, Ga., to commit to the Volunteers on Sunday.
The Morgan County High School senior was in Knoxville this weekend for an unofficial visit and chose the Vols over Mississippi State.
"I think it's going to be a good fit for me," Turman said Sunday afternoon. "I think we have a strong bond. Coach Martin kept calling me almost every day checking up on me."
The 235-pound Turman, who also had scholarship offers from Alabama, Georgia, Miami, Houston, South Carolina and Ole Miss, is a three-star prospect according to Rivals.com. He's rated as a four-star prospect by ESPN. He's the No. 150 player in the nation according to 247sports.com.
"Coach Martin and [assistant] Coach [Tracy] Webster did a fabulous job recruiting him, and he was able to meet the rest of the staff this weekend," Morgan County coach Charlemagne Gibbons said. "I think he kind of felt comfortable with those guys, but I think his relationship with Coach Martin and Coach Webster really stood out. Coach Martin really spearheaded the effort down the stretch of trying to get CJ to Tennessee, so I think that really stood out to him, just that personal relationship."
Turman said he will bring energy and rebounding for the Vols and "can score when I need to score."
"I think you're getting a defensive-oriented kid right that can come in and block shots and rebound, especially early in his career," Gibbons said. "I think he's got a really good offensive package that's going to continue to develop. I think he's probably a lot better of an offensive player than maybe he's given credit for right now, and a lot of that has to do with his touch."
Turman joins Springfield (Ill.) point guard Larry Austin, New Orleans swingman Jordan Cornish and Fayetteville (Ga.) forward Philip Cofer in Tennessee's 2014 class. The Vols will lose four seniors (Jordan McRae, Jeronne Maymon, Antonio Barton and D'Montre Edwards) after this season. If junior Jarnell Stokes elects to enter the NBA draft, Tennessee would have five available scholarships for the 2014 class.
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