Vols get another guard

Vols get another guard

New Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin has landed his second point guard in less than a week.

Mere days after getting a re-commitment from November signee Chris Jones of Memphis, Martin got a verbal commitment from Wes Washpun of George Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. While still coaching at Missouri State, Martin offered Washpun a chance to sign with the Bears.

University of Iowa coach Fran McCaffery also has offered Washpun a scholarship. So has Paul Lusk, who succeeded Martin as head man at Missouri State.

Washpun, whose commitment has been confirmed through multiple sources, is a 6-1, 170-pound left-hander who reportedly would've been more in demand except that he just recently qualified academically. He is expected to sign with Tennessee on Wednesday, when the spring signing period opens.

Rob Howe, publisher of HawkeyeInsider.com of the Scout Network, reported that Washpun got an offer last Tuesday from Iowa, mere hours after sophomore point guard Cully Payne announced plans to transfer. Washpun visited Iowa's campus on Thursday but reportedly did not commit.

Cuonzo Martin called the prospect to offer a scholarship the very next day.

"Coach Martin called me today and said he wanted me at Tennessee," Washpun told Howe on Friday. "He said I'm his guy and if Tennessee were my choice that it would be great."

The Vols need help at point guard, since 2010-11 starter Melvin Goins has exhausted his eligibility. His principle backup, Trae Golden, was a high school shooting guard who is making the transition to point guard at the college level.

Although November signee Jones is a natural point guard, he has eligibility issues to overcome before he can enroll at Tennessee.

Washpun has decided not to visit Tennessee before signing. He already is quite familiar with Martin, along with assistants Jon Harris and Kent Williams, who followed Martin to UT from Missouri State.

"We talked about that today," Washpun told Howe on Friday. "I know pretty much the whole staff. Coach Martin said there's really not going to be anything down there that's different other than a bigger arena. He didn't want me to come all the way down there just to see a bigger arena."

Now that the Vols have two point guards in the fold, they can turn their attention to getting a big man. Lekan Ajayi, a 6-10, 240-pounder from Quality Education Academy in Winston-Salem, N.C., was being heavily recruited by the Vols before the March 21 firing of Bruce Pearl and remains on Tennessee's radar now that Martin is in charge.

The Vols also are pursuing Josh Richardson, a 6-5 wing from Santa Fe High in Edmond, Okla.

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