Head coach Cuonzo Martin today announced the signing of two lanky wings known for their scoring range. Derek Reese is a 6-8, 200-pounder from Olympia High School in Orlando, Fla. D'montre Edwards is a 6-6, 210-pounder from Brevard (Fla.) Community College.
"The big thing (Tennessee needs) is the perimeter skill level — from the standpoint of being able to defend but also make shots and make plays off the dribble," Martin said at a Wednesday news conference. "I think that's the biggest key.
"When you've got guys that can do multiple things on the perimeter, it will open a lot of things up for your program. In what we try to do with a motion offense and a ball-screen offense, you have to have guys who can make individual plays."
Despite his height, Reese is more of a perimeter scorer than an inside scorer.
"Derek's a guy that's 6-7, maybe 6-8, who can really stroke the basketball," Martin said. "It's probably his biggest strength. He's a good athlete but one of his biggest assets is that he can shoot the ball from the perimeter and knock down 3-point shots. He can shoot from deep, he can put the ball on the floor. Because he can jump, he doesn't get the credit (he should) for his ability to really shoot the ball."
Reggie Tucker, Reese's AAU coach with the Florida Q6 Rams, agrees that the young man's greatest attribute is his long-range marksmanship.
"He can shoot it," Tucker said. "That's most definitely his strength. Through the years he's improved drastically his ball-handling and posting up, though."
Mark Griseck, coach at Olympia High, also pinpoints Reese's perimeter scoring abilities as a major asset.
"He's an excellent 3-point shooter, good rebounder, handles the ball well," Griseck said. "He's a good defender who can guard post players or can guard the wing. He's a tough matchup for his size, and he's probably going to grow a little more. He may be 6-9 before it's over. He has big upside."
Martin thinks so, too.
"He's a quality young man," the Vols' head man said of Reese. "I think he has a great future if he continues to get better. He has a great frame right now ... 200 pounds, maybe 205. I think if he continues to work he's got a chance to be very successful."
Like Reese, Edwards brings length, agility and versatility to Tennessee's program.
"With his experience, athleticism and quickness, D’Montre will be ready from day one," Martin said. "He competes at a high level. He can defend, rebound and score. I think he’s going to be a really good player for us. He will fit in well.”
A first-team All-Southern Conference honoree last season, Edwards also made the Florida Community College Activities Association All-Tournament Team after averaging a team-high 15.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He shot 37 percent from 3-point range and 79 percent from the free-throw line.
"When I went on my visit, I just fell in love with the coaching staff and really liked all the guys on the team," Edwards said. "I knew right away it was the place I needed to be. I was really impressed with the academic center. I want to get my degree from UT.”
Edwards, who chose UT over Texas A&M, DePaul, College of Charleston and UAB, graduated from West Ashley High School in Charleston, S.C.
Tennessee also hopes to add a prospect who can upgrade its inside game. The Vols supposedly still have their eyes on 6-8, 250-pound Jarnell Stokes (Memphis) and 6-8, 240-pound Landen Lucas (Portland, Ore.).
"One of the biggest things is low-post scoring — not a face-up guy but a guy (who scores) with his back to the basket," Martin said. "He demands the ball on the block, demands the double-team on the block. That's probably one of the biggest keys ... to get that low-post production."