The next JaJuan?

The next JaJuan?

Not every shooting guard who enrolls at the University of Tennessee hopes to be the next Allan Houston or Chris Lofton. At least one future Vol is hoping to be the next JaJuan Smith.

Galen Campbell is unlikely to match Smith's remarkable rise from non-scholarship player to All-SEC player but the two have some notable similarities:

Both grew up in East Tennessee - Smith in Cleveland, Campbell in Knoxville.

Both were high-scoring guards at the prep level - Smith averaging 25 points per game as a senior at McMinn County High, Campbell averaging 24 points per game as a senior at Fulton High.

Both are in the 6-3, 190-pound range.

Both grew up dreaming of playing for Tennessee.

Both elected to walk on with the Vols after being snubbed by major-college recruiters.

Given these common traits, it's little wonder that Campbell's all-time favorite Vol happens to be JaJuan Smith, who wound up starting for two years, making 253 three-pointers, ranking 20th on UT's career scoring list and earning second-team All-SEC honors as a senior in 2008.

"I grew up with JaJuan and looked up to him," Campbell said. "I might wear No. 2 (JaJuan's number) next year."

Campbell says he attracted mid-major scholarship offers from Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee State, Murray State and Dayton but had his heart set on playing for the hometown Vols.

"I was going to be an invited walk-on when Coach (Bruce) Pearl was here," he said. "Then, when he left, I changed my mind a little bit."

Shortly after meeting new head man Cuonzo Martin, however, Campbell reaffirmed his decision to walk on with the Big Orange.

"When I met with Coach Martin, I really liked the feel," the player said. "He's a good man who seems like he's good by his word. Also, I want to be close to my church, so I made my decision to attend Tennessee."

This is a good time for an invited walk-on to be joining the Vol program. The Big Orange roster is a bit thin after losing six seniors and two underclassmen from the 2010-11 team. Campbell believes he has the skills to be an asset.

"I'm a good outside shooter and I can get to the rim pretty good," he said. "And I think my defense is real good."

Campbell combined with Vol signees Quinton Chievous and Josh Richardson to help Larry Smith & Associates go 4-2 in Rocky Top League action. He hit 9 of 13 shots and scored 20 points in the third-place game Wednesday night. For the summer he made 53.2 percent of his field goals (25 of 47), 30.8 percent of his 3-pointers (4 of 13) and 50 percent of his foul shots (3 of 6) en route to averaging 9.5 points per game.

"This is a good ball league," he said. "It keeps you in shape, lets you work on your moves and stuff. Plus, it's good entertainment for the fans."

And, just maybe, it will prove to be a springboard for a guy hoping to be the next JaJuan Smith.

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