Tennessee college basketball recruit JP Estrella

JP Estrella wears a University of Tennessee hat as he announces his verbal commitment to playing basketball for the Vols on Friday. With him is his mother, Allie, brother, Cameron, and Middlesex Magic coach Michael Crotty. Steve Craig pictures

Saco – GB Estrella, 6-foot-11 center who led South Portland High to the first state boys’ basketball championship in 30 years, He announced Friday that he will play college basketball for the University of Tennessee.

Estrella said he knew Tennessee was the place before he left for his official visit to the Knoxville campus in June. He was late in announcing his decision to allow family and coaches to be a part of the announcement, which took place at XL Sports World.

“That visit was really the only one for me that I didn’t really want to leave,” Estrella said. “It was like, ‘Is it really time to leave? After that, I was like, ‘I think this is definitely going to be the place for me.

Estrella He was Maine’s all-state pick after averaging 20.2 points and 11.8 rebounds last winter in his junior season. in South Portland. He turns 18 on Saturday and will be heading to Brewster’s Academy of Prep Basketball Strength in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, in his senior year on Sunday. He said he would make his commitment to a Tennessee official by signing a national letter of intent during the early signing period from November 9-16.

Tennessee won the Southeast Conference tournament last season. Coach Rick Barnes signed a contract extension until the 2026-27 season in March. Estrella said the Tennessee staff consider him a “great player who makes play,” “if I keep working hard he can definitely touch the ground as a freshman.

“Coach Barnes believes in that vision for me and I believe in Coach Barnes because of the relationship I built with him,” Estrella said. “I had great relationships with the other schools, but I felt like it was family on that visit there.”

Estrella also likes Tennessee’s fast-paced style and Barnes’ history of coaching big men who are dynamic offensive players, including Kevin Durant at the University of Texas.

“They are always an offensive force and a defensive force as well. They won the SEC championship last year, and they will win it again this year,” Estrella said. I hope a few more years when I get there.”

Syracuse and Iowa, two schools where he also made state visits, were the last of the three Estrella schools. He also made an official visit to Marquette and received offers from Duke and Kansas.

Joining Estrella at the table for the announcement, which was broadcast live on 247 Sports, are his parents, Allie and Mark Estrella, brother, Cameron, and club coach Abi Davids of XL Thunder and Michael Crotty of Middlesex (Massachusetts) Magic.

Former Middlesex Magic players include NBA players Pat Connaughton, Duncan Robinson, and freshman Dom Campbell of Scarborough at 6-foot-9. Crotty said Estrella could play “ultimately” on the SEC due to his ocean-going abilities, per post, and the ability to run the field “like a deer”.

“I think he would be an influential guy in Tennessee,” Crotty said. “Ten years ago, I didn’t think we would have anyone in the NBA. … I don’t think there are any limits to JP. He will have to work. The role. But I do think the sky is the limit for him.”

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