KNOXVILLE – Word got out in June, unofficially, about former Memphis point guard Antonio Barton’s decision to transfer to Tennessee to play his senior season.
Tennessee made it official on Wednesday, announcing the 6-foot-2, 178-pound point guard’s arrival in Knoxville as Tennessee held its first day of classes.
Barton, a senior, will be eligible to play for the Vols in 2013-14.
NCAA transfer rules allow student-athletes who earn their degree and have remaining eligibility to request a one-time transfer exemption from that institution. If granted, the student-athlete can then transfer to another institution and be eligible to compete the following academic year as long as they enroll in a graduate degree program not offered by the first institution.
Barton will enroll in graduate-level Sports Psychology classes at UT after studying sports management at Memphis.
“I’m excited to be a Vol,” Barton said in a UT release. “I look at this situation as a fresh start for me. I think I can bring a lot of experience, leadership and toughness to the table, and I look forward to building a brotherhood with my new teammates.”
“We’re excited to have Antonio on board,” coach Cuonzo Martin added. “He’s a very talented young man. He makes shots, he can make plays at the rim and he can really facilitate the offense. I like the way he defends. I’m ecstatic to welcome him to the program.”
In three seasons at Memphis, Barton made 31 starts in 95 games, averaging 21.4 mpg and 6.9 ppg. He is a career 41.7-percent 3-point shooter. The younger brother of Portland Trailblazers guard Will Barton, Antonio Barton also owns a plus-1.3 career assist/turnover ratio.
Barton played against UT twice during his Memphis career, piling up an impressive 40 combined points in the two games – both Memphis wins.
Barton is expected to immediately fill the starting point guard spot for the Vols after former starter Trae Golden left the team this spring. Golden, a two-year starter at the point, has since enrolled at Georgia Tech and is applying for a hardship waiver to play immediately in 2013-14.
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter@DanielNooga