Hours after losing one of the team's more important players during the 2017-18 season, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball program picked up a huge commitment.
Kevin Easley, rated a four-star prospect by ESPN and a three-star by 247Sports, pledged to the program after a weekend visit at the university. According to 247, the 6-foot-7 forward is rated as the highest prospect to ever pick UTC out of high school, topping former Moc Chris Early, a 6-foot-7 forward who initially signed with Oklahoma but was dismissed in the summer before school started and transferred to UTC.
Easley — ranked the No. 9 player in the state of Indiana — played at Lawrence North High School, averaging around 18 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Wildcats and earning Indiana Basketball Coaches Association/Subway Supreme 15 Senior All-State honors. He had initially committed to Virginia Commonwealth University in January of 2017, but backed out three months later after then-VCU (and former UTC) head coach Will Wade departed for LSU.
Since then, Easley has visited Georgia State, and been offered by East Carolina, Massachusetts (coached by another former UTC coach, Matt McCall) and current Final Four participant Loyola-Chicago. He also had offers from Butler, Cincinnati, Indiana, Nebraska, Purdue, Temple, Bradley and IUPUI.
His announcement comes on the heels of the news that Nat Dixon, who would have been a senior this upcoming season, plans to graduate and transfer. Dixon led the Mocs in scoring (13.8), minutes per game (36.5) and 3-point percentage (39.5).
Easley's addition gives the Mocs the top recruiting class in the Southern Conference. He joins 6-foot guard Maurice Commander (currently ranked as the fifth-best signee in school history); 5-9 guard Donovann Toatley and 6-foot-7 forward Keigan Kerby as prep additions to the program.
In addition, the Mocs have 6-2 Fairfield transfer Jerry Johnson and 6-foot-9 Arizona State transfer Ramon Vila, the latter of whom won't be available until after the first semester.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.