Class of 2019 Tennessee basketball commit Davonte Gaines knew playing for the Vols and Rick Barnes was the right decision. Gaines didn’t wait around and second-guess himself either.
The 6-foot-6, 175-pound Gaines from High School for Health Careers and Sciences (New York) committed to the Vols on Saturday because the timing was right.
— DAVONTE GAINES (@Ticket_number13) July 1, 2017
“Just to get it out of the way going into my [junior] year,” Gaines said in an interview on WNML’s Sports Talk with John & Jimmy. “A lot of people wait until their senior year and they don’t have a lot of options. I got mine out of the way now so I have everything in place for after I graduate.”
The commitment helped raise Gaines’ profile, too.
“I feel blessed,” Gaines said. “I was a 2-star before and after the commitment, I was moved to a 4-star.”
The relationship Gaines made with Vols assistant coach Rob Lanier helped bring Gaines in. Lanier also hails from New York, which helped the bond grow.
Rick Barnes and his staff have created a culture where recruits feel welcomed.
“I know they have a good coaching staff,” Gaines said. “They play their young players and give them a chance to show what they got on the big stage. I just feel like it’s going to be a good spot for me away from home.”
Tennessee forward Grant Williams posted the second-best points per game average at 12.6 last season as a freshman. The SEC coaches named him to the All-SEC Freshman team.
Gaines hopes he can take advantage of his opportunities in a similar fashion.
Gaines held offers from Buffalo, Canisius, Hampton, Kent State, Monmouth and Niagara. The Vols were Gaines’ only Power 5 offer.
“They are the best fit for me as far as growing as a player and a person,” Gaines said. “I appreciate the coaches giving me a chance to go down and play for Tennessee.”