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Auburn transfer Justin Powell commits to Tennessee

(Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

(Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Auburn transfer Justin Powell will not be a Kentucky Wildcat. Instead, the former North Oldham star will head to Knoxville to play for Rick Barnes at Tennessee.

After entering the transfer portal back on March 9, Powell announced this morning that he will be committing to Tennessee.

After weeks of speculation that Powell favored Kentucky and would likely commit with an offer, that scholarship reportedly never came, with KSR’s own Matt Jones writing late last night that Tennessee was the new favorite and an announcement was on the horizon.

Powell, a 6-foot-6 guard originally out of Prospect, KY, averaged 11.7 points on 42.9% shooting and 44.2% from three to go with 6.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists per contest for the Tigers. His freshman campaign was limited to just ten games due to a concussion that held him out of competition since January 2.

Out of high school, the former in-state standout originally chose Auburn over offers from Cincinnati, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and Xavier, along with interest from Kentucky, Ohio State, Purdue and Syracuse. He was rated as a four-star prospect by ESPN and a three-star prospect by 247Sports and Rivals.

As a senior at North Oldham, Powell was tabbed all-state and all-league after averaging 24.7 points on 59% shooting to go with 8.7 rebounds per game.

With Powell now headed to Kentucky’s conference rival, John Calipari will continue to explore his point guard options in the transfer portal.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

53 Comments for Auburn transfer Justin Powell commits to Tennessee



  1. BCO
    10:39 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

    If he lights us up and helps UT keeo beating us, Cal will never hear the end of it.

    Why not offer the kid? Not like we couldnt use his 3 pt shooting. Cal better get back to winning or this one will be a bad look.



    • WatchutalkinboutWillis
      11:44 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

      If Mintz returns we have three guys at pg. and at 6′ 1″ Powell would have a harder time shifting over to the two in my opinion.



    • Bigblu30
      11:50 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

      Says hes 6’6 lol



  2. TheMaxCat
    10:42 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

    As the dominoes fall….Getting Grady sealed it for Powell. I wish him well (except twice a year). We need confirmations from those still contemplating a return or not…. and a pg.



    • T-Dog
      10:46 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

      Correct. Cal haters will lose their minds over this situation. I’m certainly not a Cal apologist, but sometimes things work out like we want them to, but sometimes they don’t.



    • catfan838
      10:55 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

      Well said! You can’t get them all and honestly after this season it is very apparent getting the right point guard for Cal’s system means everything. Prior to the season could anyone have named one player beside Juzang on UCLA and look at them now.



    • trumpetguy
      10:57 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

      TMC, probably right re Grady, along with Mintz possibly returning….IMO Cal doesn’t want another instate kid unless he is 100% positively sure plenty of minutes await.



  3. 2andToodleLoo
    10:57 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

    Chris Lofton 2.0



    • Big Bry 1
      11:33 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

      Perfect comparison. Tubby’s failure to recruit Lofton was his Waterloo



    • ClutchCargo
      12:06 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      Tubby’s failure to recruit overall was his Waterloo. Of Joe Crawford, Ramel Bradley and Rondo, which of those do you drop in favor of Lofton without the benefit of hindsight? Plus, we already had Patrick Sparks at that position as well.



  4. channell
    11:01 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

    For Powell’s future and getting playing time, he made the right choice. He will scorch UK. . Barnes is no coaching genius but he does get his team ready to play UK.



  5. WILDCATS1968
    11:23 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

    Would have liked to have had Powell, but keep in mind it was only a 10 game sample size. The kid from Davidson is a 4 year sample and he averaged 16+ points or better all 4 years. He is a better overall player and I do not think anyone would deny that. Well except the ones who have this dream of ALL KY boys on the team.



    • neat1ky
      11:40 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

      Yep



    • Corder
      5:34 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      I do agree for next year he is the better option. That said Powell could have been here for three years if my math is right. I think that should be taken into consideration. I don’t have a problem either way though.



    • zoupman
      8:52 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      Cal knows what he is doing. If this kid could help, he would have gotten him. UT come on?



    • TBW3011
      12:51 pm April 4, 2021 Permalink

      Does he? 9-16 and no PG.



  6. bbn606
    11:27 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

    He was not a good fit as he prefers to stand for the National Anthem.



  7. JT55
    11:35 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

    Ouch, this hurts.



  8. BlueBanker18
    11:36 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

    If Mintz comes back, we’ll be fine. I’ll take the trio of Mintz, Allen and Grady over anyone else.



  9. BobbyBlue
    11:40 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

    No way for Cal to win with Ky kids unless they are can’t miss, lottery picks.
    Sign a Ky kid and he fails,Cal is vilified. Sign a Ky kid and he sits, Cal is vilified. Don’t sign a Ky kid that is not good enough for Ky’s level, and Cal is vilified.
    The fake Ky fans, actual haters , and band wagon jumpers,are drooling right now,over this announcement.



    • nocode96
      12:37 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      Well said



    • TBW3011
      12:52 pm April 4, 2021 Permalink

      He’s shown he’s good enough. And we have no PG.



  10. Eddiemcwildcat
    11:47 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

    No big loss



  11. katmandue2you
    11:55 am April 3, 2021 Permalink

    Tennessee has been better than us…certainly head to head…in recent years. If he’s good enough for Tennessee why is he not good enough for us. Actually Auburns been better recentky too. If he’s good enough for Auburn why’s he not good enough for us? Must be because he’s one of us. Thats how John Calipari rolls!



  12. mashman 93
    12:01 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

    Wish him the best. Cal must have better options or he would have offered. GO CATS!!!!



  13. makeitstop
    12:02 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

    A bird in the hand (Grady) is worth 2 in the bush. We’ve seen what happens when we go all in on a guy who’s supposedly a lock and then fate or a bag of money intervenes and we’re left scrambling for a Quade Green caliber player or a reclassified HS kid. Take the kid who can play and wants to be here.



    • trumpetguy
      3:40 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      makeitstop, Probably be that way moving forward. The GLeague/pro option no doubt makes it very difficult for college coaches to zero in on the very best prospects.



  14. CahillsCrossingNT
    12:03 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

    At least he’ll learn from another coach how to inbound the basketball, something he wouldn’t learn here.



    • neat1ky
      2:04 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      Please, we don’t have a problem there, u evidently watch someone else and u r unhappy all the time so go pull for UL they’ve got it going on for fans like u



  15. kydrummer
    12:12 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

    Is the SEC going to allow the inter conference transfer?



  16. VirginiaCat
    12:17 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

    It would be helpful to know why Cal didn’t offer Powell. Some insider information is needed. Silence feeds the narrative that Cal let another top player slip through his fingers.



    • ClutchCargo
      12:50 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      Read TheMaxCat’s comment below. No insider info needed, just the simple facts of the matter.



  17. Lip Man 1
    12:27 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

    We shouldn’t be surprised should we?



    • katmandue2you
      12:31 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      No Lip we shouldn’t. The odds were against him from the beginning. First he was born in Kentucky. Second it was known he wanted to come to Kentucky and third he would’ve very likely been in our program for more than one year. STIIIIIIIIRIKE THREEEEEE!!!!!



    • 4everUKBlue
      5:44 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      You guys make a good comedy team.



  18. TheMaxCat
    12:41 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

    Cal didn’t offer Powell because he didn’t need a 3rd 2 guard @ 6’5, 6’6. He already has Grady and Allen and he’s not the type pg we need. He’s not a penetrator or creator. We might be starting a 5th yr. and 6th yr. backcourt in Mintz and Grady with Askew and Allan as backups along with Hickman. A 3rd 6’5 guard isn’t as desirable as a pg that can brings some quicks and break down defenses. Not knowing if Mintz/Brooks/Jackson are staying or going and not knowing what the SEC will do in terms as the transfer rule are hindering us as well. Tn is losing Springer and Johnson and probably Baily so Barnes had that need to fill. It’s unfortunate but a good decision by all.



    • BobbyBlue
      1:05 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      I believe Cal is confident that Mintz will return, and offering Powell could derail that. I mean who would you rather have — a 5 th year senior combo guard that had a year in the program or another guard only proven by playing ten games ?
      As TMC said Powell is
      not the type PG that Ky needs for next season. I also believe that the PG at Minnesota, if he does not go pro, and some other PG’s that are going into the portal but have not yet announced are involved,in the decision not to make the offer to Powell.



    • trumpetguy
      3:32 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      TMC, seen PG Hickman kid couple of times on TV and he looks to be penetrate/pass first PG. Cal may want a little less flash if TOs become a problem. If Grady went elsewhere, then kid from Auburn might have been an option IMO. I bet Cal leery of any instate kid going forward unless he is sure big minutes are available. It is a difficult situation for the kid/family AND Cal if instate kid (according to BBN) not getting legit chance at minutes.



  19. WILDCATS1968
    1:02 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

    COIULD BE Cal knows Mintz is coming back. Maybe ???



  20. Bigblu30
    1:11 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

    No reason to not even offer him. If mintz is not coming back this will be a very dumb move.



    • katmandue2you
      1:45 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      What it does as much as anything is help facilitate the continual turnover and lack of continuity within the roster. So even if Mintz comes back after next year he and Grady will be gone and we would have Askew Hickman and Allen Be nice to have Powell coming back with a year under his belt. And that’s assuming the three I named all return. I’m in to roster building and roster continuity. I thought you couldn’t have enough good shooters. Powell is the only name mentioned that’s shot 40+% from the three point line.



    • 4everUKBlue
      5:49 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      Powell shot well in 10 games….



    • Rixter
      7:54 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      It’s a great point, 4everUKBlue. Powell has played in 10 college games, and shot 40 pct. Mintz (I have to assume Cal knows he is returning) has played in 122 college basketball games. Let’s see how he shot in any random 10 games. Lets just take his last 10:
      Seems Mintz shot 32 / 77 from 3-pt range over his last 10 games, that rounds off to 42%. That’s pretty good, huh?



  21. dcforuk
    1:24 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

    You all make good comments in both sides of this issue. I think the whole “state” of college basketball has coaches in this zone of uncertainty; hence, Roy deciding forget this stuff. Cal has to figure out his new strategy quickly given the consumption of some good will this past season. That Davidson kid is a good start. Perhaps Powell would have helped, too. I just hope it’s not Chris Lofton v2!



  22. katmandue2you
    1:49 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

    I’m trying to figure out if Cal has a new strategy. Looking like “meet the new boss…same as the old boss” to me.



    • Keith Branstetter
      2:23 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      Kat, could the new strategy be kinda like the new offense Cal studied last summer while watching NBA games and we were going to be thrilled about ? Inset laughy face here…



    • dcforuk
      1:24 pm April 4, 2021 Permalink

      Yep, he must figure it out for sure



  23. Bigblueswami
    2:24 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

    Hate to lose his to Tennessee. Was he a left or right guard? Not sure which side “point” is.
    😉



  24. peaches76
    3:16 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

    Even with Mintz back we still lack that dynamic PG needed to win a championship



    • Rixter
      7:57 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      Even with Powell and Mintz, we still lack that dynamic PG needed to win a championship. Signing him doesn’t change that.



  25. runningunnin.454
    3:52 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

    So what happened to no intraconference transfers? They just hoping the SEC grants a waiver?



    • Skooms
      7:38 pm April 3, 2021 Permalink

      Exactly RG, as of right now, he’ll be sitting next year. I guess everyone forgot about the SEC rule.



    • TBW3011
      12:55 pm April 4, 2021 Permalink

      They’ll change it this month most likely.