Nov. 9, 2011
The Tennessee basketball team started building its 2012 signing class Wednesday, as head coach Cuonzo Martin announced that Derek Reese of Orlando, Fla., and D'Montre Edwards (pronounced: duh-MAHN-tray) of Charleston, S.C., signed National Letters of Intent to attend UT and play for the Volunteers beginning with the 2012-13 season.
Reese, a 6-7, 205-pound guard, currently attends Orlando's Olympia High School, where he is coached by Mark Griseck.
"Derek is a versatile wing who shoots the ball well and he's a good athlete," Martin said. "He has a good feel for the game, and he can really stroke it from 3-point range. He's primarily a perimeter player, but he's also really skilled around the basket.
"Derek's a high-character kid from a good family. I'm excited about what he's going to bring to our program."
As a junior last season at Olympia, Reese averaged 13 points and eight rebounds per game. He shot close to 48 percent from the floor and 41 percent from beyond the arc.
He blossomed this past summer on the AAU circuit, where he plays with the Florida Rams Q6 All-Stars program coached by Willie Anderson and Reggie Tucker, each of whom played basketball at LSU in the late 1990s.
"I was looking for coaches who could help me continue to develop the way my AAU coaches helped me develop," Reese said. "When I got to know coach Martin, he really reminded me of them, and I started to feel like he could help me grow. And after I took my visit, I just knew Tennessee was the place for me.
"The fan support really opened my eyes, too. Tennessee fans are crazy about the program, and the support they give the team is incredible."
Reese plans to enroll this summer and hopes to major in Sports Management.
A 6-6, 210-pound guard who attends Brevard Community College in Cocoa, Fla., Edwards will have two years of athletic eligibility remaining upon his enrollment at Tennessee.
"With his experience, athleticism and quickness, D'Montre will be ready from day one," Martin said. "He competes at a high level. He can defend, rebound and score. I think he's going to be a really good player for us. He will fit in well."
Edwards was a first-team All-Southern Conference honoree last season and also made the Florida Community College Activities Association All-Tournament Team after averaging a team-high 15.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He also shot 37 percent from 3-point range and 79 percent from the free-throw line. He is coached at Brevard by Jeremy Shulman.
"When I went on my visit, I just fell in love with the coaching staff and really liked all the guys on the team," Edwards said. "I knew right away it was the place I needed to be. I was really impressed with the academic center. I want to get my degree from UT."
Edwards, who chose UT over Texas A&M, DePaul, College of Charleston and UAB, graduated from West Ashley High School in his hometown of Charleston. As a senior in 2009-10, he was named to the All-Region 8-AAAA Team, and he also garnered All-Conference honors. He was coached at West Ashley by Ronnie Dupree. Edwards played AAU ball with the TMP program, which was coached by Antoine Saunders.
Edwards plans to select an academic major that will allow him to pursue a career in athletic broadcasting.