KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee basketball program received big news Friday.
Point guard Lamonte Turner has been ruled eligible to play for the Vols next season as a redshirt freshman, Tennessee officials confirmed to GoVols247.
Turner broke the news himself earlier in the day via Twitter.
“VOL NATION GUESS WHO’S ELIGIBLE!!!!” Turner tweeted.
Turner, the nation’s No. 144 overall prospect and No. 26 point guard prospect in the 2015 industry-generated 247Sports Composite, graduated a year early from Florida’s prestigious IMG Academy and enrolled at Tennessee last fall. The NCAA didn’t allow him to play last season, but it did allow him to remain enrolled at UT and practice with the Vols.
A solid academic year was needed for Turner to become eligible as a redshirt freshman, and he learned Friday that he’d gotten the job done.
The Vols will now have eight scholarship players on the 2016-17 roster that didn’t play with the team last season. They signed six players in the 2016 cycle, added Utah State fifth-year graduate transfer power forward Lew Evans and now will add Turner to the mix, as well.
Getting Turner in the mix will be a big boost for the Vols. Despite being a redshirting freshman who couldn’t play in games last season, Turner surprisingly became one of Tennessee’s best leaders and was often one of its best players on the floor in practice. Coaches and teammates love the North Alabama native’s talent, work ethic and personality, and he’ll likely be the Vols’ starting point guard moving forward. Coach Rick Barnes said several times last season that Turner would have been the team’s starting point guard if he’d been allowed to play.