KNOXVILLE – With Tennessee overbooked by one scholarship for the 2013-14 squad, at least one player currently scheduled to be on scholarship next season won’t be.
The odd man out won’t be three-star point guard signee Travon Landry, according to Rob Fulford, who coached Landry at Huntington (W.V) Prep in 2012-13.
“There is no change on Travon,” Fulford said in an emailed statement to Nooga.com, when asked if anything had changed since Landry signed his letter of intent to attend UT in November. “Travon is a competitor and has played with pros all year here.”
Huntington Prep is one of the top high school basketball programs in the nation. Landry opted to leave Madison, Ala., for the opportunity to play with some of the best young players in the country during his senior campaign.
The roster included the likes of forward Andrew Wiggins, the top-rated player in the nation for the class of 2013, according to Rivals.com, Dominic Woodson, a Baylor signee, and guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who is Florida State-bound next season. That's just a sampling of the talent. Nearly every player on the team is a collegiate prospect at some level.
That star-studded lineup took care of much of the scoring, allowing Landry to run the point and focus on his defense. Landry (per MaxPreps) finished with just 2.8 points per game, but dished out 2.7 assists, had 3.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals per contest.
Those aren’t standard numbers for an SEC signee, but given his level of competition and his role on the team, Fulford sees Landry having no problem with his transition to Tennessee.
“He is not a big-time scorer, but didn't need to be at Huntington Prep,” he said. “If he is asked to do more for his college team than his high school team, then PG isn't UT’s main problem. Travon will be a very good PG and player in whatever conference he is in.
“He played at the highest level of high school with and against pros all year. The transition for him will be easier than kids that played at local schools and dominated playing against lesser competition.”
Two-year starter Trae Golden returns at the point for UT in 2013-14, but the Vols have struggled to find a consistent backup for him. That’s a role that Landry will likely battle for with recent three-star commitment Darius Thompson of Murfreesboro, Tenn.
And with Golden’s coming departure after the 2013-14 season, the job could be open for either in the near future.
Perhaps Landry’s defensive prowess, a trait that always satisfies Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin, and his experience playing with and against top talent in high school, could give him an advantage in the competition.
“The point guards that are at UT and coming in will hate the sight of Travon every single day of practice because he is coming at them every single second of practice,” Fulford said.
“He is a lockdown defender that shut down every single kid we put him on. He played with wings here better than he will in college when he arrives. When you play with better players, it makes you better.”
Daniel Lewis covers University of Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga