Hopson: 'I had to take over'

Hopson, Watson duel in opener

Scotty Hopson had a headline performance for the News Sentinel team, scoring 49 points in a 130-123 victory Monday in the Pilot Rocky Top League's opening night.

"I had to take over, it was getting close,'' said Hopson, who scored nine points over the final 2 1/2 minutes after Ray's ESG cut a 15-point deficit to two points. "C.J. (Watson) was telling me he was going to take it over, and I couldn't let that happen.''

Watson led Ray's with 31 points and countless assists, many of them to his former Tennessee teammate Jon Higgins. Higgins hit for 23 points while Ryan Westbrooks added 15 for Rays, Steven Pearl 14 and Kenny Hall 11.

"This was pretty good, and it was a really good turnout,'' said Watson, who plays for the NBA's Golden State Warriors but is back at UT to finish his degree. "I just have to play hard and try to avoid playing to the level of the competition.

"Once I get to know everyone on my team I'll be more effective, and when (Ron) Slay gets here we'll be better.''

Slay is expected to join the Ray's team on Wednesday night.

The News Sentinel (1-0) plays Choice Spine (0-1) at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Richardson Construction (1-0) and First Tennessee (1-0) play at 7:30 p.m. and Ray's (0-1) plays the HT Group in the 9 p.m. game.

Hopson took over late, but early on it was the Michael Blue show. Blue, who played for the Knoxville Thunderbolts and before that Bearden and Roane State, used his 40-inch vertical to slam down thunderous dunks en route to 20 points.

UT's Brian Williams scored 23 for the News Sentinel and Vols walk-on Skylar McBee added 20.

First Tennessee 121, Choice Spine 110: Tennessee's Bobby Maze scored 20 points and dished out eight assists to lead First Tennessee.

Former Vol Rashard Lee and UT-Chattanooga's Ricky Taylor had 22 for First Tennessee. Vols forward Emmanuel Negedu added 14.

Former UT post C.J. Black prevented Negedu from scoring more.

"He played at UT?'' Negedu said. "That is a very strong man.''

Cameron Tatum, last year's PRTL scoring champion, scored 36 points and had eight assists for Choice Spine.

"I wanted 10 assists,'' Tatum said. "If Chris Lofton comes out and we get him, I could get 20.''

Lofton tried out for the Memphis Grizzlies over the weekend and his future status remains unknown.

Richardson Construction 114, HT Group 108: Former league MVP Damon Johnson scored 25 points to lead Richardson while Josh Tabb scored 23 and Tyler Smith 22.

But Boo Jackson, who went to Eastern Michigan and played in the NBDL, appeared to be the most impressive player in the game, dominating the boards while scoring a game-high 29 points.

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Comments » 24

Fear_The_Kiffin writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Fear_The_Kiffin writes:

sorry never been first had to celebrate, lol. If Hopson comes with the intensity to match his god given ability he will be a beast this season. Let Tatum get the green light as well. Those are probably our two best offensive weapons after Chism. Although Tyler is a leader he shouldn't ever be relied upon as a number 1 scoring option. That was our downfall last season. Hopefully he can be more like the third scoring option this season and let the young guns get the shots they need to be effective this year.

Fear_The_Kiffin writes:

Yeah, Charlie Murphy has been funny for years on the low. He was Mc Gusto on CB4, STRAIGHT OUTTA LOCASH. LOL But the Rick James, Charlie Murphy chapelle episode is pure comedic genius. Classic pretty much sums it up.

vet4ut writes:

Saw all 3 games...few thoughts;
1) Kenny Hall will not contribute next year
2) Skylar has a pretty, pretty shot and is a smart/talented player who will contribute next year
3) Tyler's ball handling and outside shooting appear unchanged from last year
4) Tatum can't get 10 assists if he doesn't pass the ball. Dribbling it off of your foot and having it bounce to a teammate doesn't count. Lots of pouting and too much of a ball-hog mentality (even for pick up games)
5) Negedu has no offensive game. Still a high energy guy that is super raw
6) Brian Williams (aka the Teddy Bear) looked pretty good - great passer but free throws still are scary
7) Hopson did drive the ball better (despite poor defense)
8) B Maze has been working on his jumper. Several times he feinted a drive with a crossover and pulled up for a long 2 or 3. Looks as if he is working on what needs to be improved

ArealVolFan writes:

in response to vet4ut:

Saw all 3 games...few thoughts;
1) Kenny Hall will not contribute next year
2) Skylar has a pretty, pretty shot and is a smart/talented player who will contribute next year
3) Tyler's ball handling and outside shooting appear unchanged from last year
4) Tatum can't get 10 assists if he doesn't pass the ball. Dribbling it off of your foot and having it bounce to a teammate doesn't count. Lots of pouting and too much of a ball-hog mentality (even for pick up games)
5) Negedu has no offensive game. Still a high energy guy that is super raw
6) Brian Williams (aka the Teddy Bear) looked pretty good - great passer but free throws still are scary
7) Hopson did drive the ball better (despite poor defense)
8) B Maze has been working on his jumper. Several times he feinted a drive with a crossover and pulled up for a long 2 or 3. Looks as if he is working on what needs to be improved

You realize, that there really hasn't been any official practices yet and we aren't deep into the offseason so players will look very similar to last year. Lots of guys will play differently than they are now by next December.

utvols420 writes:

no steve hamer?

askUncleMaze writes:

in response to Fear_The_Kiffin:

sorry never been first had to celebrate, lol. If Hopson comes with the intensity to match his god given ability he will be a beast this season. Let Tatum get the green light as well. Those are probably our two best offensive weapons after Chism. Although Tyler is a leader he shouldn't ever be relied upon as a number 1 scoring option. That was our downfall last season. Hopefully he can be more like the third scoring option this season and let the young guns get the shots they need to be effective this year.

I agre 100%... I think the guards should have plays called for them also.. I would love to see picks & ball screens for the guards..

IBleedOrange444 writes:

Looks like no one is playing defense in the the Pilot League this year either. Oh well.

bigorangesob writes:

in response to HankHill:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The milks gone bad

Mrsknowitall writes:

With scores like that they obviously haven't been working on their D. It will be same ol same ol in October--selfish on the O and NO D.

lomas98 writes:

Sounds like Watson doesn't think much of the competition he is up against.

"I just have to play hard and try to avoid playing to the level of the competition".

I hope nobody bases next year's expectations off what happens in this league. Everyone gets caught up in all of these gaudy numbers and thinks it will transfer over to the SEC.

golfballs03 writes:

in response to lomas98:

Sounds like Watson doesn't think much of the competition he is up against.

"I just have to play hard and try to avoid playing to the level of the competition".

I hope nobody bases next year's expectations off what happens in this league. Everyone gets caught up in all of these gaudy numbers and thinks it will transfer over to the SEC.

CJ Watson is an NBA point guard. I would say that the level of competition in the Rocky Top League probably isn't quite there.

tdtnsee writes:

Did anyone see if hopsons 3's were still hitting the ceiling or has he adjusted his arch? That was just awlful last year watching him shoot so high.

JamminVol11 writes:

in response to tdtnsee:

Did anyone see if hopsons 3's were still hitting the ceiling or has he adjusted his arch? That was just awlful last year watching him shoot so high.

His shot is not as high. However, his free throws were as high as last year. He missed a couple of them bad.

JamminVol11 writes:

in response to vet4ut:

Saw all 3 games...few thoughts;
1) Kenny Hall will not contribute next year
2) Skylar has a pretty, pretty shot and is a smart/talented player who will contribute next year
3) Tyler's ball handling and outside shooting appear unchanged from last year
4) Tatum can't get 10 assists if he doesn't pass the ball. Dribbling it off of your foot and having it bounce to a teammate doesn't count. Lots of pouting and too much of a ball-hog mentality (even for pick up games)
5) Negedu has no offensive game. Still a high energy guy that is super raw
6) Brian Williams (aka the Teddy Bear) looked pretty good - great passer but free throws still are scary
7) Hopson did drive the ball better (despite poor defense)
8) B Maze has been working on his jumper. Several times he feinted a drive with a crossover and pulled up for a long 2 or 3. Looks as if he is working on what needs to be improved

(1)Kenny Hall looked soft around the boards. His shot was not that good last night.
(2)Skylar did put up some shots and connected. Pearl was standing on the wall and looked pleased everytime he put up a shot and it went in.
(3)Smith said his legs were tired from three cities in four days. But looked the same to me.
(4) Tatum missed a lot of shots and looked like he was trying too hard.
5-8 I totaly agree. Negedu might be the guy who gets ready to put up a shot from outside and everyone yells NOOOO. Just like we did when we had Major on the team.

Orangeblood13 writes:

I take the energy Of Negedu anyday. Hopson and Tatum have to be agressive all the time and stop watching so much. I think we will se abetter Smmith this year, its a contract year. Kenny Hall will be a work in progress with some surpises.

I say if we have the players that can press this year, we will be much improved!

Get em boys

johnlg00 writes:

Anybody know where or if Ron Slay and C.J. Black are playing professionally these days? I will be in town in a couple of weeks and hope to catch a night or two of games. Agree that the defensive intensity and offensive continuity are lacking in the RTL, but it is pretty high-caliber pick-up ball and fun to watch if one doesn't expect too much of those other things.

twoxvols#231409 writes:

I have to admit that I am tired of people complaining about the team and defense. While I would like them to improve on D, Pearl has made our team relevant on a consistent basis and he has brought excitement to the team. The D will come. If not, they are still much more enjoyable than the Buzz years.

bigaldaddy writes:

No point guard, no championship. I'm just saying...

BasketVols writes:

in response to twoxvols#231409:

I have to admit that I am tired of people complaining about the team and defense. While I would like them to improve on D, Pearl has made our team relevant on a consistent basis and he has brought excitement to the team. The D will come. If not, they are still much more enjoyable than the Buzz years.

Couldn't agree more...

Ironcity writes:

in response to Mrsknowitall:

With scores like that they obviously haven't been working on their D. It will be same ol same ol in October--selfish on the O and NO D.

So many of you haven't a clue what summer basketball is. These are organized pick up games!

Their is no team defense. The talent level from the best player to the worst player on the floor is night and day. In some cases you have high schoolers covering all SEC performers or 30 year old men who play on weekends for fun trying to stop guys who play every day or in some cases in the show. OF course these mismatches create high scoring games. Please please try not to judge our players on what happens hear offensively or defensively. Whether they score 50 or hold their man to 2 points, it really means nothing in the grand scheme of things.

The only thing one can get out of this is the ability or lack there of to knock down open threes or the ability or lack their of to finish at the rim.

If your looking for more wait until the season starts.

By the way UT is not one of the teams here so how can you judge the individuals defensive performances.

askUncleMaze writes:

in response to bigaldaddy:

No point guard, no championship. I'm just saying...

We have a point Guard. But we take him out the game every 4 minutes..Pay attention.. CBP calls the plays & the PG takes orders..

Chris4Vols22 writes:

in response to vet4ut:

Saw all 3 games...few thoughts;
1) Kenny Hall will not contribute next year
2) Skylar has a pretty, pretty shot and is a smart/talented player who will contribute next year
3) Tyler's ball handling and outside shooting appear unchanged from last year
4) Tatum can't get 10 assists if he doesn't pass the ball. Dribbling it off of your foot and having it bounce to a teammate doesn't count. Lots of pouting and too much of a ball-hog mentality (even for pick up games)
5) Negedu has no offensive game. Still a high energy guy that is super raw
6) Brian Williams (aka the Teddy Bear) looked pretty good - great passer but free throws still are scary
7) Hopson did drive the ball better (despite poor defense)
8) B Maze has been working on his jumper. Several times he feinted a drive with a crossover and pulled up for a long 2 or 3. Looks as if he is working on what needs to be improved

Read this post...a few thoughts
1) How can you determine what any of these players will contribute after seeing them play ONE game on a high school court with only 2 (at the most) UT teammates?
2) I liked Skylar, but you can count on him averaging 0.7 minutes per game next season (if he is even still on the team by then). Where will he fit in with Maze, Tabb, Prince, Woolridge and Goins at the point?
3) After considering the previous thought, Kenny Hall, by his minutes per game ALONE, will contribute way more than Skylar. Not to mention, he's going to be under the tutelage of Tyler, Chism, and Big Baby (not the Teddy Bear).

Chris4Vols22 writes:

Correction: at the end of thought 2, Guard, not point.

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