KNOXVILLE – Tennessee should know on Sunday if it will be receiving help at point guard by way of transfer.
Former Memphis point guard Antonio Barton has named UT, Kansas State, Texas A&M and Maryland his four finalists and will make a selection on Sunday afternoon, according to CBSSports.com.
He will be eligible to play his senior season at any school next year that offers a graduate program not offered at Memphis since he got his undergraduate degree from Memphis in three years. Any of his finalists would satisfy that requirement.
Maryland appears to be the odds-on favorite for the Baltimore native, who also has a daughter who lives in the state. Freshman Roddy Peters is expected to start at point guard for the Terrapins, but Barton would give them a veteran option to help him develop.
The Vols are in a similar situation with incoming freshman Darius Thompson as the only true point guard available for 2013-14. Tennessee entered the chase for Barton after Trae Golden’s sudden departure from the program earlier this month.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Barton is leaving Memphis after appearing in 69 games with 31 starts. He averaged 7.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game during his career with the Tigers. He opted to leave in search of more playing time after the emergence of guards Chris Crawford and Joe Jackson.
Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin isn’t permitted to directly speak about unsigned transfers, but he hinted that the Vols are in the market during a Knoxville radio interview on May 8.
“We keep working – it’s part of your job,” Martin told WNML. “We have some pretty good leads and we’ll see.”
Breaking down the options:
Tennessee: The Vols offer playing time at point guard with the departure of Golden. Barton is also familiar with the Vols, having played UT four times in the last three years.
Maryland: The Terps have the home-field advantage since Barton is a Maryland native and has family and friends still there. Though incoming freshman point guard Roddy Peters is a Top-50 prospect, the Terps could use a veteran option to split minutes with him.
Texas A&M: Former Memphis assistant coach Glynn Cyprien is now the associate head coach for the Aggies.
Kansas State: The Wildcats need point guard help after former starter Angel Hernandez transferred to Miami this offseason.
Daniel Lewis covers University of Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga