The story of the 2018-19 Tennessee Lady Vols is still being written. Unfortunately, it comes at the expense of new head coach Kellie Harper.
Sophomore point guard Evina Westbrook has decided to transfer from Tennessee. The former All-SEC performer averaged a team-high 14.9 points and 5.3 assists per game for the Lady Vols this past season. Earlier this month, Westbrook entered her name in the NCAA transfer portal. A player entering herself in the transfer portal does not inherently mean they are transferring.
Accordingly, NCAA rules requires a player who is transferring to sit out one season.
“Evina and I met to discuss her future, and she shared with me that she has decided to transfer,” Harper declared in a statement. “We wish her well.”
The former McDonald’s All-American leaves a gaping hole in the Lady Vols rotation next season. Westbrook had the highest usage rate (26.1%) on the team last year. Not only that, it was clear that she was the primary playmaker for Tennessee.
Nevertheless, this begs the question about who the focal point in terms of the decision making on the floor will be. Rennia Davis and Zaay Green were tremendous players for the Tennessee last season. Unfortunately, we did not see enough of them as the lead guard on the floor.
Green is the closest to being that playmaker. Last season, the All-SEC freshman performer assisted on 15.5% of the team’s field goals. On the other hand, Davis did most of her damage scoring the basketball.
Tennessee will be a getting a quality guard next season in Jordan Horston. The McDonald’s All-American is not seen as a playmaker just yet because it will be her first season in college basketball.
So much attention has been given to Evina Westbrook since the Lady Vols were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament. She had some comments about offseason steps following the loss.
“I just think off-the-court stuff, steps need to be taken with our staff and just overall off-the-court with this team,” stated Westbrook.
The former No. 2 overall recruit from 2017 also had doubts about the status of Holly Warlick at the time. “I don’t know. I really don’t know,” Westbrook answered when asked if she expected Warlick to be back for an eighth season.
Holly Warlick was dismissed as head coach four days later after the loss to UCLA in the NCAA Tournament.
Regardless, the hole being left with Evina Westbrook transferring has now become a dire need for Kellie Harper to figure out going into next season.
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