Hopson signs LOI with Tennessee

Scotty Hopson, the Associated Press Kentucky Boys High School Player of the Year, has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Tennessee beginning with the 2008-09 season, head coach Bruce Pearl announced Wednesday.

“Timing is everything,” said Pearl, who has led the Vols to Sweet 16 appearances in each of the last two seasons. “We needed a player who could help cover the losses of JaJuan Smith and Chris Lofton at that position. Scotty is not only a player who can step right in to play a key role for us, but he is also a terrific student-athlete who has remained hungry and humble throughout the process of being named a McDonald’s All-America. My coaching staff of Tony Jones, Steve Forbes and Jason Shay needs to be commended for the job they did recruiting Scotty. They did a great job of letting Scotty know how much the entire state of Tennessee wanted him here.”

A 6-foot-7, 185-pound guard, Hopson averaged 24.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, three blocks and three assists in leading University Heights in Hopkinsville, Ky., to a 30-5 record this past season. The Blazers won the All “A” Classic title and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the state tournament. A McDonald’s All-America selection, he finished third in the dunk contest and scored 10 points for the West squad. A second team Parade All-America, Hopson had a team-high 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting to lead the Blue team to a 124-114 victory at the 2008 Jordan Brand Classic April 19 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Hopson, who is rated the No. 11 player in the Class of 2008 by Scout.com, will become the first McDonald’s All-America to suit up for the Vols since Vincent Yarbrough (1998-2002). He joins Allan Houston (1989) as the second McDonald’s All-America from the state of Kentucky to sign with Tennessee.

Hopson is the fourth member of Tennessee’s 2008 signing class, joining Philip Jurick (6-0, 250, Center, Chattanooga, Tenn.), Daniel West (6-1, 165, Guard, Saginaw, Mich.) and Renaldo Woolridge (6-8, 205, Wing, North Hollywood, Calif.).