Some Vols 'set in their ways'

Pearl wary of lack of energy, focus

When you've got to pull a basketball team out of a slump, it's good to have veteran leaders. Right?

Maybe, maybe not. Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl says the jury is out.

The Vols are regrouping from one of the most disappointing efforts of Pearl's tenure, a listless, cold-shooting 77-55 loss at Southern California on Saturday.

"It could be harder,'' Pearl said Monday, "because we have some guys that are set in their ways.

"I think they see it. I think they'll work to try to overcome it. It can be harder when you've got a veteran group.''

The veteran Vols (8-2) dropped seven spots to No. 16 in the new Associated Press poll. They have two days of practice to address their issues before North Carolina A&T (4-7) visits Wednesday for a 7 p.m. tipoff (TV: CSS).

The failings at Southern Cal were in some regard similar to an 88-72 loss at Temple last December.

And, personnel-wise, this is essentially the same Tennessee team as last year.

"Let's just say some of the things we saw Saturday are some of the things we saw a year ago,'' Pearl said.

"There's that, 'Uh, oh, here we go again. We really haven't turned the corner. We really haven't grown enough to be a championship team.' ''

The loss at Temple last year was an omen of a January stretch in which the Vols would lose four of five home games - Gonzaga, Kentucky, Memphis and LSU - before regaining momentum.

"We learned something from (Temple) last year,'' Pearl said, "but did we learn enough to right the ship completely? No.''

The problems at Southern Cal were multiple:

n The Vols settled for 3-point shots and then didn't hit them - 2 of 22 - against USC's packed-in defense.

UT is 6-of-42 in its past two games from 3-point range.

"I think guys have to shoot with more confidence,'' said sophomore Scotty Hopson.

"If the last shot doesn't fall, the next one will. We missed a few shots and got down on ourselves.''

n UT's defense, often a strong suit this year, was porous. The Trojans shot 61.9 percent in the tone-setting first half and 56.1 for the game.

n Free-throw shooting was chilly, 52 percent, which made it difficult to eat into USC's lead.

n The Vols got hammered on the boards.

Southern Cal's 43-21 rebounding edge was the second-largest of the Pearl Era. North Carolina outrebounded the Vols 54-30 in a 101-87 win three years ago.

After North Carolina A&T, Tennessee begins a stretch of Memphis (7-2), Charlotte (9-1) and No. 1 Kansas (10-0) to lead into the SEC season.

"We know what's coming on the other side of the break,'' Pearl said.

It's a Murderer's Row compared to what has come on this side of the break.

The Vols have frequently appeared to be on cruise control since a 73-72 loss to Purdue on Nov. 23. They've turned it on when they had to in four double-digit victories over middling opposition.

Pearl cited that so-so body of work - and lackluster practice intensity - as being worrisome. But he figured the team would step it up against Southern Cal.

"We didn't, as a coach or players,'' he said.

"If I knew why, then it wouldn't have happened.''

So now he has to wonder what kind of leadership he can expect from his four seniors.

The ones who are set in their ways.

"We still have some time to get that going,'' Pearl said. "But, obviously, we're running out of time.''

Chism Gets MRI: Wayne Chism missed Monday's practice to get an MRI. The senior has had recurring soreness in his pelvic area. Trainer Chad Newman said the test was precautionary.

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Comments » 79

MikeInTN writes:

After 4 years and they still don't get it! Very frustrating!!

TopTenn writes:

Please not another #9 seed in the NCAA tourney.

bobbytodd writes:

I don't understand how a coach with so much intensity can let his players loaf in practice and expect them to flip a switch in games. If this isn't a wake up call then they are NIT bound.

CoverOrange writes:

If the seniors are set in their ways, sit them.

armyvol22 writes:

I agree they stunk it up. Smith did not look good and he even looked timid. The team on offense still stands around, no movement and no hustle. If they keep this up they will get blown out by UK and some other teams.
They need to listen to the coach and turn the corner. GBO

hogan writes:

Scotty (SCUD MISSLE) Hopson says just shoot with more confidence. How about not shooting those jacked-up 25 footers and playing some defense then working the ball for a good shot. Oh wait thats intellegent basketball thats not what we do my mistake!!!!

eduardo writes:

Sit them down if they are set in their ways and play the ones that want to play the Pearl way. PLEASE GIVE US THE PRESSING DEFENSE THAT WE LOVE ABOUT THOSE EARLY YEARS...PLEASE!

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Coach knew what the problem was last year and didn't fix it. How can you expect to change the seniors mind set now?? I think you start your underclassmen and let them play until the seniors change their attitude. Pearl even says that Chism is his best 3 shooter. He is saying to hel with rebounding, let my post players play the perimeter. Don't blame it on the pg, if there is no post player to dish it to, it's not the pg's fault.

Ironcity writes:

in response to MikeInTN:

After 4 years and they still don't get it! Very frustrating!!

Three of the Seniors are transfers. I really believe we have way to many transfers on this team. I think it shows up in chemistry, attitude and talent.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

don't think we could have beaten Lafayette (?) if we had played them Sat.

eb502us#225637 writes:

Hate to say it but we are so overrated it's not even funny. I know we can play much better than we did against USC but lets be realistic and call a spade a spade.

Scotty Hopson hasn't improved and still plays like a freshman at times. Hence his inconsistency.

Tyler Smith has been the biggest disappointment and obviously did nothing in the offseason to help his NBA chances. At this point, I don't believe he even gets drafted as there is nothing he excels at.

JP is JP, a role player whose more apt to break the basket on one of his shots than to carry a team. If he's not slashing or rebounding, he should be sitting.

Maze and Goins are not what anyone would consider to be an SEC level point guard. Both have a shoot first mentality which is a detriment to the team. Neither understands what it means to break down a defense and make a pass, which is why we settle for so many three pointers.

Wayne, Brian and Cameron have had their moments but are still inconsistent and have improved little from last season.

All in all, we don't have a player on the team that has taken his game up a notch which is why this season is shaping up as a repeat of last, inconsistent play from game to game.

Only problem is, the SEC is much improved and so is the rest of our schedule which could be disastrous if guys don't raise the level of their play soon.

1vavolfan writes:

I coach a team of 2nd and 3rd graders. I tell our point guard to look up the court, dribble in, and pass it to an open player. Don't simply drive down the floor and shoot it. After a couple of practices the kids normally get what we are trying to do. Too bad Bruce doesn't tell Maze and especially Goins that. I really think they would understand this if it was spelled out really well for them. These have got to be the two worse point guards in the history of Tennessee basketball.

Couchdummy writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

If the seniors are set in their ways, sit them.

I agree.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

It's hard to play well when most of the team is out until 5:00 A. M. the night before the game.

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to eduardo:

Sit them down if they are set in their ways and play the ones that want to play the Pearl way. PLEASE GIVE US THE PRESSING DEFENSE THAT WE LOVE ABOUT THOSE EARLY YEARS...PLEASE!

Maybe BP will eventually realize you cant press off missed shots which we have an abundance of-- a decent make % of 15 footers instead of 10-15% of treys would allow us to press and turn them over more----this should be obvious but maybe needs to be beamed up to Pearl who I'm finally beginning to question

Agree---sit those "set in their way" non-coachable guys who want to do it their way instead of the coaches way

baldfan writes:

We really miss a leader with character and we haven't had it since Chris Lofton and Dane Bradshaw were here.

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER:

It's hard to play well when most of the team is out until 5:00 A. M. the night before the game.

missed it, where you with em?

newtonrail writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

Hate to say it but we are so overrated it's not even funny. I know we can play much better than we did against USC but lets be realistic and call a spade a spade.

Scotty Hopson hasn't improved and still plays like a freshman at times. Hence his inconsistency.

Tyler Smith has been the biggest disappointment and obviously did nothing in the offseason to help his NBA chances. At this point, I don't believe he even gets drafted as there is nothing he excels at.

JP is JP, a role player whose more apt to break the basket on one of his shots than to carry a team. If he's not slashing or rebounding, he should be sitting.

Maze and Goins are not what anyone would consider to be an SEC level point guard. Both have a shoot first mentality which is a detriment to the team. Neither understands what it means to break down a defense and make a pass, which is why we settle for so many three pointers.

Wayne, Brian and Cameron have had their moments but are still inconsistent and have improved little from last season.

All in all, we don't have a player on the team that has taken his game up a notch which is why this season is shaping up as a repeat of last, inconsistent play from game to game.

Only problem is, the SEC is much improved and so is the rest of our schedule which could be disastrous if guys don't raise the level of their play soon.

Coach Pearl needs to get rid of headbands and compression sleeves unless a real need, other than look like Iverson. I agree with most of your post except on Chism, Williams, and Tatum, and here's why: Chism has improved his overall game and looks to pass more in many games. Williams appears to have lost even more weight and is quicker, especially around the basket. Tatum was just an outside shooter, and now has developed an inside game since last year. You can see more at the games than on TV. Maze has improved, but had so far to go that he will never be effective. CBP desperately needs to re recruit Selby if possible. Golden isn't a point guard.

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

First of all, I have stated in previous posts, that I felt the same way most of you are feeling.
Then after reading ALL the posts much later that night, I asked that everybody get over it and lets just see what happens next..After reading this article.....WELL EXCUSE ME!!!!...Did CBP really make that statement???? Did he listen to himself say that???? Did he read what he said????
That was as about as stupid of a statement that I have EVER heard a coach actually, really SAY!!!
Now, I am really worried that the problem might really be more him than the players! I hope not, I happen to be a CBP fan, but acutally saying that "it will be hard, some players are set in their ways".....I still can't BELIEVE that he would make such a stupid comment. What does he think his job is, if they are set in their ways??
SIT THEIR WAYS ON THE BENCH COACH and please don't talk to the press again with statements such as that! Some things, COACH, you need to keep to yourself!!!! WHOLEY SHIATE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Vols....TCB....Keep on keeping on.......GBO!!!!!

Txvol57 writes:

Hey Bruce...here's an idea..if they shoot a 3 sit them...you have no control of this team and obviously the players we have now just think all they have to do is show up...that's your fault...tell you what, dont get anymore 5 star McDonalds All-Americans, just get guys that nobody wants and never offered a scholly...you got more with less...what you have now is garbage and its your fault

vol75 writes:

Good grief. Even the Lakers stink it up some nights. Pearl is a proven winner. Tyler smith does so many things on the court that make a team win. Hopson is an awesome talent. A little more positive energy from the fan base could only help.

ChattTownVol writes:

in response to vol75:

Good grief. Even the Lakers stink it up some nights. Pearl is a proven winner. Tyler smith does so many things on the court that make a team win. Hopson is an awesome talent. A little more positive energy from the fan base could only help.

totally agree. Although a point guard with fundamentals would be awesome to have.

Patterson8040 writes:

I cant believe how quick everyone turns on Pearl. Anyone remember how bad this team has been? We've been in the NCAA tourny consistantly, would you all rather go back to fighting for NIT invites?

rclarkfork#639958 writes:

The fans of this team are a joke. Somebody said we have played terrible the entire year. What a joke. We took Purdue to the final shot and easily could have won. Don't guess you have looked lately at how they are playing. Yes we stunk up the gym Saturday but I have seen the best teams in pro basketball stink it up so bad that if you only watched that one game you would have thought they would not win a game all year. Every team has bad games. It's going to happen. Are we playing up to our potential? No but that's why they don't have March Madness in December. It's a long season and yes we need to improve. Will we? Obviously 95% of the people on here don't think so. Oh yea that is the same ones who will be calling us world beaters when we wax Memphis. Sometimes when I read this forum I'm ashamed to be associated with such fair weather fans. And to top it off, every single one thinks they know the problem, how to fix it and if they were in charge, we would go undefeated. Heck you guys should not be on a board talking basketball, you should be coaching. Oh yea, forgot that you have not a clue when it comes to coaching a basketball team. It's a joke getting on here and reading how you don't like the fans from other teams getting on here and putting our team and coaches down. Hell they don't need to write anything, our fans do it for them. There is probably less knowledge on this forum then I could find in the stands of a 10 year old league. 75% of you have probably never played anything but rec league ball and there is probably not one percent that has ever coached a game at any level including 10 year olds. Yet you have all the answers and our players and coaches are doing it wrong. What a joke this forum is.

It was the same thing during football season. We win and everyone has known all along that Kiffin was the man. We lost and everyone has questioned his hire from the start. You make yourself look like idiots and then you wonder why fans from other teams come on here and make fun of Tenn. Most of you make it so easy it's a joke.

EAGLEMAN writes:

TN already has a true guard sitting at the end of their bench. He can play either the one or two. Now he may not play as erradic as his counterparts, but he knows how to play ball control basketball. Give him a chance Bruce, Josh Bone. Believe me, he can't do any worse than what you already have on the floor. This kid can flat out shoot the ball and can play some defense.

Ringside writes:

stupid is as stupid does....cannot believe this bunch is rated in the top 40.

Waldorf writes:

in response to rclarkfork#639958:

The fans of this team are a joke. Somebody said we have played terrible the entire year. What a joke. We took Purdue to the final shot and easily could have won. Don't guess you have looked lately at how they are playing. Yes we stunk up the gym Saturday but I have seen the best teams in pro basketball stink it up so bad that if you only watched that one game you would have thought they would not win a game all year. Every team has bad games. It's going to happen. Are we playing up to our potential? No but that's why they don't have March Madness in December. It's a long season and yes we need to improve. Will we? Obviously 95% of the people on here don't think so. Oh yea that is the same ones who will be calling us world beaters when we wax Memphis. Sometimes when I read this forum I'm ashamed to be associated with such fair weather fans. And to top it off, every single one thinks they know the problem, how to fix it and if they were in charge, we would go undefeated. Heck you guys should not be on a board talking basketball, you should be coaching. Oh yea, forgot that you have not a clue when it comes to coaching a basketball team. It's a joke getting on here and reading how you don't like the fans from other teams getting on here and putting our team and coaches down. Hell they don't need to write anything, our fans do it for them. There is probably less knowledge on this forum then I could find in the stands of a 10 year old league. 75% of you have probably never played anything but rec league ball and there is probably not one percent that has ever coached a game at any level including 10 year olds. Yet you have all the answers and our players and coaches are doing it wrong. What a joke this forum is.

It was the same thing during football season. We win and everyone has known all along that Kiffin was the man. We lost and everyone has questioned his hire from the start. You make yourself look like idiots and then you wonder why fans from other teams come on here and make fun of Tenn. Most of you make it so easy it's a joke.

So.........I should watch the exact team making the same mistakes as this time last year (that by the way would drive a 10 year old rec team league coach crazy), that didn't get (much) better last year, and believe that they are suddenly going to turn it on and play to their potential?

What a loser.

thevoice writes:

in response to compact2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Can I respectfully disagree? IMO, the head coach is responsible from recruiting to the game buzzer. It's up to the coach to get players who are 1) talented, 2) coachable, and 3) intelligent. I think CBP has accomplished 1, but that's all. Now, let's look at a couple players he coached but didn't recruit. Dane Bradshaw and Chris Lofton. Dane had everything but great talent, and look how he did his senior year... CBP said he epitomizes the collegiate athlete, and we all know he was the fire and heart on that team. Now Chris. Well, enough said. My point is this: when CBP has coachable and intelligent players on the team, he's successful. Since he's been here, his players only achieve at talent and very little else. I'd say he needs to look only for coachable and smart players, then pick the most talented from that group. Intelligent players don't jack up wild threes, get out-rebounded with inferior talent and height, play undisciplined defense, and miss 45% of their free throws. Coachable players are many times cool under pressure, set picks, run an organized offensive scheme, and out-position players for rebounds, all because they learned how.

tnboy76 writes:

Here's an idea....wait for it.........wait for it....STOP SHOOTING SO MANY 3's. You are too predictable. If you shoot 6 for 46 in your last two games for 3 pointers, it is time to bring it closer in.

brokebackvol writes:

I agree, let them "sit on the pines" and play the younger kids who are still listening to the coach. Rather lose games with heart than with lackluster effort. Dane Bradshaw where are you??

kdub writes:

what the heck does set in their ways mean? the players are running the show ala Uncle Jed? love CBP but he needs to get tough on these clowns, sit their butts and start someone who wants to compete. another thing, sick and tired of hearing about teams who dictate slower tempo, shouldn't the better team be dictating the tempo? ever see a team show Duke, UNC, KY, Kansas etc how to play, ridiculous. we have no true PG, no leader and obviously this teams lacks character, intensity and heart. we'll drum NC A&T with probably very few in attendance then will lose 2 of the next 3 if they play lackluster again. anybody in their right mind think our so called PGs can stay with Wall or Collins? gonna get ugly. oh by the way, not only ditch the headbands but also their orange panties.

samvol writes:

Come on head coach get yourself in line and the team will follow, show these players some motivation... geez........wake up, you are the head coach!....we will never see a championship with this attitude. This is just plain ridiculous.

murrayvol writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

If the seniors are set in their ways, sit them.

Well put.

murrayvol writes:

Chris Lofton was a gym rat. He spent hours on end outside of practice making himself a better player and it worked. Shooting, defending, lifting, free throws, whatever it took.

I don't see that type committment on this team. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe not.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to Patterson8040:

I cant believe how quick everyone turns on Pearl. Anyone remember how bad this team has been? We've been in the NCAA tourny consistantly, would you all rather go back to fighting for NIT invites?

I remember loseing games we should not have lost,just like we are doing now.

GerryOP writes:

I gave them a "pass" last year for not living up to expectations. Lost a bunch of starters, a bunch of new guys, Pearl having personal problems, etc. This year, I'm not so sure. It looks like the same team. Are we expecting too much from this team? I think not.

Time for Pearl to get back in fighting shape (Doubt if he will be "flashing" the Lady Vols this year!) and stop taking names ... just kick some butt.

razin55 writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Post may have been long but I agree. I'm tired of all those smiles when were getting outplayed and outhustled. No heart = no win against quality opponents

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to EAGLEMAN:

TN already has a true guard sitting at the end of their bench. He can play either the one or two. Now he may not play as erradic as his counterparts, but he knows how to play ball control basketball. Give him a chance Bruce, Josh Bone. Believe me, he can't do any worse than what you already have on the floor. This kid can flat out shoot the ball and can play some defense.

If he could,he would be doing so. He would not be warming the bench.But thanks anyway Coach.

tenacjim#211887 writes:

Did anybody else catch the replay of the 2008 Memphis game on ESPN Classic last night? What a joy to watch that team play. And yes, Chris Lofton and J. Smith were there but Lofton was doing little. The thing that caught my eye was Tyler Smith, J. P. Prince and Wayne Chism playing their guts out. Just haven't seen that much (except for maybe Chism) lately. I may be called a "fair weather fan" but from my view, TN is consistent in that it does some things well (guard the inbounds play, press after made shots) and continues to struggle in others (half court offense, jacking up 3s, trying lob/dunks at the most inopportune times, going on 5-8 minute runs without a FG and blowing big leads) Who's set in their ways?

razin55 writes:

in response to brownsvillevol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Disagree, all people want is for this team to play with heart and hustle not be kool and laid back

mmynatt writes:

Once a football school always a football school. This team looked so bad I couldn't watch more than a little of the first half. That little squirt (Gerrity) had not played in two years, was described during the game as being "winded", etc. He still ran circles around the Vols. This was worst than the Kevin McNeil (ironic isn't it) and Wade Houston days.

And I doubt that they will even come close to Kentucky, because John Wall is even faster (and bigger) than McGerrity. I want to think Pearl is a good coach, but sometimes I wonder. They still have not gone to a Final 4 or even an Elite 8; and I don't see it happening this year.

Oh well there is always next year's football team???????

Cherokee writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

If the seniors are set in their ways, sit them.

Agree with TurboFan. To me, "set in their ways" is another way of saying "won't do what coach says". Whoever that is, the quickest way to get attention is some pine time. Playing time talks like nothing else will. If you want them to do something and they won't, the only way they will believe you are serious is if you sit them.

GreeneVol_TN writes:

in response to Waldorf:

So.........I should watch the exact team making the same mistakes as this time last year (that by the way would drive a 10 year old rec team league coach crazy), that didn't get (much) better last year, and believe that they are suddenly going to turn it on and play to their potential?

What a loser.

I agree with rclarkfork's post completely and I believe you just made his point! Win or lose, great runs or during a lousy game this is our team and I'm going to support em. Be nice if we could find about 20,000 more to come to the game and do the same instead of whine and moan.

GO VOLS!

mlynn1 writes:

Players need to be puking in practice, put out the trash cans, reclaim this team Bruce. If that doesn't work, bench um. Dog wagging tail or tail wagging dog?

PennVol writes:

I wonder if Bruce and these players felt they had "arrived" as a top tier program with consecutive appearances in the big dance and just thought they could show up with a veteran team and win this year? Kinda what it looks like. The intensity seems to be gone from all involved and Bruce is just managing who's on the floor instead of the in-game strategy. I still don't know what they're even TRYING to do in their half court offense.

Time for CBP to get back to the basics and lead this tea...uh..group of individuals.

vol98champ writes:

I watched the Arizona/Lipscomb game last night on television. Either one of those teams would have killed us the way we are playing. They really wanted to win. I have no idea what this bunch of highly rated recruits want. Do you think if they saw that game they might get an idea of what needs to be done? The Memphis or Ohio State game might also give them some insight.

KevDVol writes:

With regard to the point guard situation, I agree with long_vol. Give Maze a chance at the (#2) shooting guard spot. That is what he did prior to coming here. He might give us a much needed spark from outside. We should expect every team in the country to do what USC did to us. Pack it inside and force us to make perimeter shots. We don't have any big men dominant enough to impose our will inside. All our "bigs" need space. Hell, most of our players need room to slash to the basket and/or create easy buckets (we can't shoot...sorry, but its the painful truth).

Unless Maze, McBee or Hopson become more of a threat outside, we are going to struggle against any decent well coached opponent.

GR82BAVOL writes:

It's really interesting how an entire sports nation hinges on every word and quote printed about their teams and coaches. I'm not talking about just us either. It's that way with everyone's sports media/discussion forums.

This is beginning to remind me when we were all laying the smack down on Crompton. Even the media was discussing whether or not he was a head case that the coaches didn't want to pull because of the possibility of a lifetime of mental unstability. We all know what happened afterwards cos we all ate the crow, although it somehow didn't seem so bad because we were so happy, lol. Order had been restored.

Personally, I think it's possible we're heading in the same direction here. The only difference is we're more familiar with the product on the court than we were the product on the gridiron.

Will these basketvols turn things around and regain their winning ways? I think so. Will they go to the NCAA's? I think so. Are they a better team than last year? Well? Are they? You see, this is where I'm not so sure. This is where we cut Kiffin some slack and didn't expect too much. I think we're expecting too much from the basketvols just because we have arrived at CBP's first veteran team (minus a whole bunch of talent he had no choice but to dismiss). I see a coach that wants to get there, but I don't see it in the players. If I were one of the seniors, I'd be ashamed to be 16th...I'd want to pull out of it and take all of the way to the house...I think they'll pull out of it...I just don't think they'll take it to the house.

As hard as this is for me to post, I think CBP has gotten all he's gonna get out of this team. I don't believe this is the team that'll end up taking us to the Final Four. Why you ask? Look at the talent around the country. Can you really objectively look at the Kentucky's, Texas', and Kansas' of the world and say we are as good? I don't think you'd like my answer to that. One thing is for certain though...a few of you will be there to pass me the crow if I'm wrong. I really hope I am.

AlpharettaVol writes:

Watrched the Kentucky-Drexel game last night on ESPNU and KY looked scary good. We will have to play our absolute best game to even stay on the floor with them. They are big, quick and never give the other team a chance to take a breath. Just like we thought our team should be -- but is not.

Ayres_Hall writes:

Bruce Pearl is proving to be nothing more than a promoter and motivator. He won early with guys who had skills and desire who could dribble, shoot, and pass. His defensive style and motivation got these less-than ahtletic players to compete on the national level.

Not so much now. The future is here and it looks grim. Unless, of course, you are happy making the 64 team tournament which is an improvement, I guess.

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