A.J. Caldwell plans to continue his basketball career at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, giving coach Lamont Paris and the Mocs their first addition for the 2019-20 season.
In late March, Caldwell posted on Twitter that he was leaving after one season at South Alabama due to its change in head coaches this offseason. On Wednesday, he used the social media platform to announce he is coming to UTC, where he will join his brother Dominic, a Mocs quarterback who will be a sophomore next football season.
A 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard, Caldwell was in line to be in the playing rotation in his lone season with the Jaguars, but he broke his nose during the preseason, then had a knee injury that required surgery. He played in four games, totaling four points and three rebounds.
Caldwell must sit out the 2018-19 season because of NCAA transfer rules but will have three seasons of eligibility remaining after that and could apply for another.facebook
He was a three-star prospect coming out of Riverview High School in Sarasota, Fla., scoring more than 2,000 points in his prep career. He was the 50th-ranked guard in the country and a top-20 recruit in the state of Florida, according to ESPN, and was listed by both Scout.com and Rivals.com as the No. 1 shooter in the state.
UTC coaches have been in the process of completing an overhaul of the roster, with seven players gone from the 2017-18 team that went 10-23 in the program's first season under Paris. This fall, 10 players will take the floor in a Mocs uniform for the first time.
Lewis leaving, too
James Lewis is among the exiting players for the basketball Mocs and plans to transfer to Appalachian State, according to verbalcommits.com. On Thursday, Lewis retweeted the website's report of his intention to join the Mountaineers.
The 6-6 forward played in 27 games (21 starts) as a freshman this past season, averaging 7.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 25.9 minutes. He had 15 points and 11 rebounds against Tennessee Tech on Dec. 17, becoming the first UTC freshman to record a double-double against a Division I opponent since former Bradley Central standout Alphonso Pugh had 11 points and 11 rebounds on Nov. 30, 2002.
The move would put Lewis closer to Mount Holly, N.C., listed as his hometown on last season's UTC roster. Appalachian State is in Boone, N.C., about a two-hour drive away from Mount Holly.
Lewis is the fifth player leaving the program to announce what's next in his career.
Makinde London, a 6-10, 220-pound forward, has declared for the NBA draft and hired an agent. Guard Nat Dixon has said he intends to graduate and transfer, and he recently announced he plans to attend Southern Methodist University. Two more guards, Rodney Chatman and Makale Foreman, will attend Dayton and Stony Brook, respectively, where they will have to sit out a season.
Jonathan Bryant, the first of the group to announce his intentions to transfer, has yet to make his future destination known.
Wrestling Mocs add Smith
Tanner Smith is coming to UTC from the disbanded Eastern Michigan wrestling program. He posted his intention to transfer to Twitter on Wednesday.
Eastern Michigan cut wrestling, women's tennis, softball and men's swimming and diving in March due to "overall budget restructuring efforts," according to a post at emueagles.com, the university's athletics website.
Smith redshirted as freshman last season, so he will have four years of eligibility remaining and can begin competing in 2018-19. He went 22-0 wrestling unattached as a 149-pounder for the Eagles, winning the Michigan State, Eastern Michigan, Cleveland State, Alma and Edinboro open tournaments while recording two pins, five technical falls and four major decisions.
Mocs wrestlers went a combined 32-35 at the 149-pound division in 2017-18.
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