In the current landscape of college basketball, Memphis certainly doesn’t take a backseat to the University of Tennessee. However, one of the Tigers’ most valuable returning players will reportedly take his talents to Knoxville in order to play with the Volunteers next season.
Senior guard Antonio Barton, brother of NBA player and former Memphis standout Will Barton, is set to transfer to Tennessee in search of a more prominent role. Barton started 31 games over his first two seasons with Memphis, but was relegated to bench duty during his junior campaign, and as a result, averaged career-lows in minutes (16.7 per game), field-goal percentage (39.7%), points (5.6 per game), and assists (1.1 per game).
Barton is reportedly on track to graduate this summer, and as such, will take advantage of the NCAA transfer rule that allows for graduated players to pursue post-graduate work at a different university without sitting out a full season of their individual sport. He will join a newly-depleted Tennessee backcourt, as Trae Golden left the program earlier in the month, and Barton will be in pole position to claim the starting point guard job under Cuonzo Martin.
It isn’t everyday that a potential impact player transfers between in-state rivals, but in Barton’s case, the move seems to make sense. Memphis remains one of the most dangerous “non-major” programs entering 2013-2014, but they’ll be at least partially weakened by the loss of one of their experienced guards.