Any piece basketball coach Rick Barnes can add to his 2018-19 basketball team that will play critical minutes on a team that should make a deep run in the NCAA tournament is important. That’s why Monday night’s news that graduate transfer point guard Khwan Fore of Richmond was big news.
The Vols earned Fore’s pledge over Auburn and a host of others following the guard’s visit to the Plains this past weekend where coach Bruce Pearl tried to lure him to play for the Tigers.
In the end, the Vols won a rugged SEC battle of the top two regular-season teams as both look to put finishing touches on quality groups returning next season.
Fore made his decision public over Twitter.
— FORE (@khwanfore_said) May 1, 2018
The 6’0″, 175-pound guard is a pivotal piece who should step in nicely for the departed James Daniel, who transformed his game from a big-time scorer at Howard to a table-setter during the 2017-18 campaign for the Vols. Daniel split time with explosive point guard Jordan Bone and was an integral part of UT’s resurgent team.
Fore, though, is more of a pure point guard; something UT has been missing in recent years. The former Huntsville, Alabama, native will joint fellow North Alabamian Lamonte Turner on the Vols roster. Tennessee has enjoyed success in that area in recent years, also landing former guard Detrick Mostella from the area. Fore is an experienced player who’s appeared in nearly 100 games for the Spiders. He started 26 games this past season and averaged 11 points per game.
Though Fore isn’t known for his marksmanship, he is a quick guard who can slash to the basket and whose game thrives on penetration, much like Bone’s.
A couple of weeks ago, Fore told VolQuest.com’s Rob Lewis:
“I definitely want to go somewhere where we’re going to be able to win and make the tournament, with the kind of success they had here already they’re definitely set up to do that,” Fore said in an interview following his trip to Knoxville two weeks ago.
“The coaches told me that they need a guy like me, someone that can penetrate, finish and play tough on the ball defense. Those are my strengths.
“One thing that I really liked about Coach Barnes was that he didn’t just talk about the things I could do, he talked about my weaknesses and how they could help me get better.”
Though Barnes’ high school recruiting hasn’t landed many marquee names, he’s shown a propensity for evaluation, development and fit. The Vols are thriving because of it. Barnes also is proving he knows how to go out and add important missing elements to his team. Daniel was a major part of the success of the past season, and though JUCO guard Chris Darrington didn’t pan out, Darrington’s transfer led to the opportunity to sign Fore.
He’ll be a vital piece this year, and the Vols could go a long way. Getting another guy who can penetrate and dish to a group of players poised to win big is big news.