Point guard Cory Stanton is on the move again.
Stanton, who transferred from Clemson to Lipscomb last summer and from Lipscomb to Tennessee last January, has left the Vol hoops program four months after joining it. InsideTennessee confirmed the departure through a high-placed source in the UT athletics department.
A native Tennessean, Stanton starred for former Vol Johnny Darden at Springfield High School. Playing point guard at 5-feet-10 and 175 pounds, he averaged 19.1 points and 7.5 assists as a junior, then 23.7 points and 3.8 assists as a senior. He was rated the No. 7 prospect in the state following the 2009-10 season.
Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl recruited Stanton for a while, then cooled on him when the Vols got commitments from heralded point-guard prospects Josh Selby and Aaron Craft. Both ultimately reneged but by then Stanton had cast his lot with Clemson. Stuck behind some veteran guards, he averaged 10.7 minutes and 2.4 points per game as a Tiger freshman in 2010-11. He shot a frigid 21.1 percent (8 of 38) from 3-point range.
"I'm a lot better shooter than that," Stanton told InsideTennessee last month. "It was tough playing behind DeAndre Young, who is a great point guard and was a senior at Clemson this year, and Demontez Stitt, who was a senior shooting guard last year (2010-11).
"It was tough to get high-percentage shots when you go in two or three minutes just to give those guys a rest. You don't get that many opportunities to shoot the ball. My shot is a lot better than what the stats show."
Wanting to attend school closer to home, Stanton transferred from Clemson to Lipscomb during the summer. After sitting out a semester at the Nashville-based school, however, he decided to pursue a life-long dream and enroll at Tennessee. Supposedly, paying his own way proved to be more of a financial burden than he expected.
Trae Golden started 33 of 34 games at point guard for the 2011-12 Vols and did a generally solid job. He led the team in scoring (13.6 points per game) and assists (4.5 per game), while ranking second in steals (27).
Finding a backup for Golden proved to be a season-long adventure, however. Freshman Wes Washpun proved turnover prone and transferred to Northern Iowa shortly after the 2011-12 season ended. Wings Cameron Tatum, Josh Richardson, Skylar McBee and Jordan McRae served as occasional fill-ins.
Having played point guard all his life, Stanton appeared likely to back up Golden at the position once he completed his transfer year and became eligible for the Vols in January of 2013. Based on comments he made to InsideTennessee, he felt good about his chances.
"The key is my conditioning," he said. "My conditioning is not where I want it to be. It hasn't been where I want it to be for a year and a half now. I just want to get in great shape, stay in great shape and never get out of it."
With Stanton gone, spring signee Armani Moore may be the leading contender for the No. 2 point guard job in 2012-13. Moore is a 6-foot-5 combo guard who reportedly has enough ballhandling skills to play some point.