KNOXVILLE – Junior college center/forward Rawane Ndiaye has signed in Tennessee'a 2013 basketball recruiting class, the school confirmed on Thursday evening.
The 6-10, 270-pound big man from Indian Hill (Iowa) Community College visited Knoxville last weekend and made his commitment to the coaching staff on Monday.
Ndiaye, who will be a junior in 2013-14, has received little fanfare thus far in recruiting after averaging 2.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 13 games last season at the JUCO level. He is ranked as a two-star prospect by Rivals.com, but is unranked by all other major recruiting services and holds no other offers.
“Pops [Ndiaye's nickname] will bring a level of physicality and toughness to our frontcourt,” Martin said. “He was limited this season with a foot injury. He’s done a good job of improving his frame, dropping close to 80 pounds in the last two years.
“He’s going to continue to develop, get even stronger and really add to our post depth.”
“[Ndiaye] has grown so much in our program since he arrived,” IHCC head coach Barret Peery said in the program’s official media guide. “He has worked very hard to get his body and his game ready and I think he now understands what it takes. He has good ability to score around the rim and rebound.
“He has also become a very good defender. If he continues to work and grow, I expect good things from him.”
His commitment causes even more confusion about who will return for UT in 2014. The Vols currently have 15 players either returning, signed for next season or committed for next season. NCAA Division-I rules permit 13 scholarship players per season.
Junior guard Jordan McRae announced his intention to stay at UT over the weekend, but sophomore forward Jarnell Stokes hasn’t made any official announcement yet. The NBA early-entry deadline is on April 28.
Even if Stokes goes pro early, the Vols would still need to shed one more scholarship player before the beginning of next season. Forward D’Montre Edwards (7.7), center Yemi Makanjuola (7.8), forward Quinton Chievous (10.2), guard Armani Moore (13.2) and forward Derek Reese (13.6) are the returning scholarship players with the lowest minutes-per-game average from 2012-13.
None, however, have indicated any intention of leaving the program as of yet.
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee football for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga