South Carolina’s most sought-after prospect in the 2019 class came off the board today as he spurned traditional powers Duke and Michigan State as well as the local favorite Clemson to choose Rick Barnes and the Tennessee Volunteers.
At the end of the day, the decision is not much of a surprise if you knew much about the recruitment. Tennessee was the first high major program to offer Josiah, and at that point Assistant Coach Mike Schwartz jumped in head first with the recruitment. Schwartz made it his personal mission to use this head start to get to know Josiah and his family. Schwartz first had Barnes watch Josiah at Phenom’s Summer Havoc Live in July of 2016. Barnes offered on the spot and Schwartz was off to the races.
At the end of the day, it was that relationship that won out. Of course Josiah had to feel comfortable with the program and his development within that program (of course which all passed with flying colors).
The fact that Tennessee is a public school, a major public school played a role as well. Duke felt a lot of Porter Gaud, the school in downtown Charleston, South Carolina that Josiah had gone to since middle school. He loves that school, but Tennessee (being a public university) offered something different.
The facilities are out of this world as is the fan base. Even with Tennessee putting out a bad football product currently, Neyland Stadium has over 100,000 raucous fans really digging in for their beloved Volunteers.
In a short time, Rick Barnes has built Tennessee into a Top 10 program in the country. A program that returns all five starters this year, which includes the reigning SEC Player of the Year, off a team that finished 26-9 last year.
That is at Tennessee, in Rick Barnes career, he has coached numerous NBA players, which is the ultimate goal for Josiah. He has produced 23 NBA draft picks, 13 of which have been first rounders.
At the end of the day, if you paid attention, Tennessee was the clear choice here. Led by the comfort he felt with the staff and love he had for the area, school and facilities. The fans showed a lot of love and the coach has produced pros at an alarming rate.