It started with an email.

About three weeks later, Dee Oldham has a new college basketball home.

The former UT-Martin player recently completed his paperwork and now is a member of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team. He will start competition after the first semester of the 2015-16 season as a senior.

The versatile 6-foot-4 Oldham, who played at Wilson Central High School in Lebanon, averaged 9.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and over a steal a game for the Skyhawks his sophomore season.

It wasn't until Oldham's first UTC practice Friday that Mocs coach Will Wade knew really what he had. There had been no prior recruiting of him. After Oldham was granted his release from the UT-Martin program, he sent out a series of emails in hopes of finding a suitor.

"He's solid," Wade said Saturday. "He's a driver who has good body control, and a good defender. Everybody we'd talked to spoke about his work ethic; he really works on his game and his craft, and that stuff is important to us. Martin played him at the 4, but he can play the 1 through the 4. We envision that he can play multiple spots for us, but we'll play him more at the 2 or the 3.

"He can make big plays for us off the bounce."

Oldham also can make plays from the perimeter. He hit 58 3-pointers in 66 career games with the Skyhawks, who went through a coaching change after last season.

"I was surprised to see how the (UTC) team took my transfer," Oldham said. "They welcomed me with open arms, so that was comforting. I like that the coaches are young guys that I can relate to, that are eager to learn. The guys here use their length to their advantage; I'm a little long and wiry myself and like to play up and down, so I like that."

Oldham watched the Mocs lose 68-58 at Middle Tennessee State on Dec. 19, and it gave him an idea as to what to expect.

"Coach Wade lets you play," he said. "We're not robots; he lets you play and do what you do, and that builds confidence. They play the dribble-drive, and that's one of my strong points -- spacing-the-floor action."

Now will come the hard part for him: sitting out. He will be a practice player for the next few months and won't have a chance to contribute in a game until grades have been recorded for the fall 2015 semester.

"If I go into it with a positive mindset, it'll be OK," Oldham said. "It's time to get bigger, stronger. I'll spend time with Coach (Greg) Goldin (associate director of athletics performance) and get in the gym, work on my game and learn the system, so that when the times comes that I can play, I'll be ready.

"If I have a positive mindset, it won't be bad."

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