The Tennessee basketball program announced Wednesday that it received a signed National Letter of Intent from 6-9 forward Zach Kent. He plans to enroll at UT next summer and pursue a degree in Communications. He will be a freshman for the Volunteers in 2017-18.
A native of Magnolia, Delaware, Kent is currently a senior at Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey, where he is coached by Joe Mantegna. The Bucs begin their season Nov. 14.
“Zach obviously adds some needed size and length to our frontcourt, but he’ll also elevate our overall skill level with his ability to pass and shoot the ball, as well as his high basketball IQ,” Vols head coach Rick Barnes said. “He’s got a solid inside game and is developing an ability to score with his back to the basket.
“He’s a tough, competitive kid. Playing under Coach Mantegna at Blair Academy this season will enhance his development even more.”
Prior to this year, Kent attended St. Andrew’s School in Middleton, Delaware. As a junior there in 2015-16, Kent earned All-Delaware Independent School Conference acclaim after averaging 17 points and nine rebounds per game while shooting 58 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-points range and 80 percent at the free-throw line. Kent also earned third-team status on the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association’s All-State Team.
“This was definitely a situation where I felt like choosing Tennessee would allow me to achieve my goals,” Kent said. “I want to be a pro, and Tennessee has a great staff and a great environment for me to do that. It’s a really good school. The guys on the team have all bought into Coach Barnes and what he teaches. It’s an environment I really feel comfortable with.”
Kent is one of four Blair Academy seniors expected to sign Division I NLIs this week. The school has produced several high-profile basketball alums, including Luol Deng, Charlie Villanueva and Royal Ivey, who played for Barnes at Texas before embarking on a career in the NBA.
Kent played his AAU ball with the We R 1 program, coached by Duane Coverdale. He will become the first Delaware native ever to suit up for the Vols.