Victor Bailey is transferring to George Mason, where he’ll reunite with head coach and former Tennessee assistant Kim English. The Tennessee senior guard announced his commitment to George Mason on Monday morning.
Bailey, who played the last two seasons as Tennessee after transferring from Oregon three years ago, was recruited to Tennessee by English in 2019.
He entered the NCAA Transfer Portal on Sunday and will be immediately eligible with the Patriots as a graduate-transfer, taking advantage of the free year of eligibility given by the NCAA to student-athletes during the coronavirus pandemic.
English was hired at George Mason last spring after two years at Tennessee. He went 14-14 overall with a 7-8 record in Atlantic 10 play in his first season as a head coach, picking up a win over a ranked Maryland team on the road along with a win at Georgia.
Train Tennessee wing Davonte Gaines transferred to George Mason last year to play for English. He averaged 10.2 points and 8.1 rebounds in 32.9 minutes per game with the Patriots.
When Bailey decided not to go through the senior day ceremony on March 5 at Thompson-Boling Arena, Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes hinted afterward that a transfer might be a possibility for the Tennessee senior guard.
“He will have options,” Barnes said of Bailey after a win over Arkansas, “if he wants to and certainly we hope he will always be part of our program. But you know with the rules today, he can choose to go somewhere else and play.”
“We’ve discussed everything with him,” Barnes added at the time. “He still has another year left. He is not sure.”
Bailey said his goodbye to the Tennessee basketball program with a social media post over the weekend.
“Always be home sweet home #VFL,” Bailey posted along with a collection of pictures from the season.
Bailey, who transferred from Oregon three years ago, struggled to get going for the Vols this season, falling out of the rotation early on. He averaged 2.6 points in just 9.6 minutes per game, making four starts over the 34 games he played.
He shot 34.0 percent from the field on 97 shot attempts but struggled at the 3-point line, hitting just 21.8 percent of his 55 3-point shots.
Bailey started in 12 of Tennessee’s 27 games last season, averaging 10.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in 24.8 minutes per game. He shot 40.2 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from the 3-point line, where he went 47-for-139.
During two seasons at Oregon, Bailey started eight times in 73 games, averaging 7.0 points and 1.9 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per game. He shot 38.3 percent from the 3-point line with the Ducks.
Tennessee’s season ended with the 76-68 loss to Michigan in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last week in Indianapolis. The Vols finished with a 27-8 record, winning the SEC Tournament after finishing second in the league’s regular-season standings.
Bailey scored a season-high 14 points against Presbyterian in November and erupted with 11 points off the bench in a win at Missouri on February 22.
Five-star freshman point guard Kennedy Chandler declined to answer what was next for him after the loss to Michigan. junior guard Santiago Vescovi announced Saturday that he’ll go through the NBA’s pre-draft process while maintaining his collegiate eligibility.
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Barnes said every player in college basketball has a decision to make at the end of the end of the season, with the NCAA Transfer Portal and one free transfer available to players.
“Every player has a choice to make if they want to,” he said, “with the transfer portal being what it is. Going overseas to play, a lot of different things.”
Returning to Tennessee is also an option for Bailey, with Barnes leaving that door open after the senior day win.
“One way or the other, we love him,” Barnes said. “His teammates love him. … There are options for players. We love VJ. We love him being part of our program.”