Vols Hit JUCO Jackpot

Bobby Goins

Finding an experienced lead guard ready to run a high powered offense by next fall is a tall order, but just nine days after leaving the NCAA Tournament after a first round defeat the Vols have managed to address their most pressing need by adding Melvin Goins to their basketball roster.

Goins, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound prospect from Mount San Jacinto, California, originally from San Diego, he moved to Texas in middle school. He averaged 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals per game to lead Christian Life Academy (Kingsville, Texas) o a 42-8 mark as a senior. During his junior season he averaged 25 points per game.

Goins signed with Ball State out of high school and played 30 games (starting 26) for the Cardinals as a true freshman. He averaged 8 points, 2.3 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game at Ball State, but was benched the last three games, prompting his decision to transfer. While at San Jacinto as a sophomore he paced the Eagles to a 23-11 record.

As reported by Inside Tennessee last week, Goins visited UT's campus over the weekend and committed before leaving. He also considered Nebraska, Cincinnati, Kentucky and Marquette.

In order to sign Goins the Vols would need a scholarship to open up. That would indicate that one of three juniors — Tyler Smith. Wayen Chism, J.P. Prince — being evaluated for the NBA Draft will chose to leave early , or it could mean another scholarship player may decide not to return. Daniel West didn't qualify to play as a freshman and could be another candidate for departure Phillip Jurick is a 6-10, freshman center from Chattanooga, who sat out the season as a redshirt. However after the 2007-2008 season, Bruce Pearl dismissed juniors-to-be Ramar Smith and Duke Crews from the team before adding Maze and Emanuel Negedu.

Adding Goins gives the Vols a seasoned point guard with the ability to penetrate defenses in the half court and push tempo in transition. A physical player capable of scoring off the dribble or shutting down dribble, Goins should compete for playing time with Bobby Maze who joined the Vols from the Junior College ranks a year ago as a highly ranked combo guard. Maze didn't adapt to playing the point as quickly as the coaching staff had hoped, but a year in the system should help him improve his game.

Of course, a little competition never hurts either.

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