Making All-SEC was harder for Smith

Tyler Smith was one of only two repeaters from last year named to the SEC Coaches’ 2008-09 First-Team All-SEC basketball squad that was announced Tuesday.

Getting there this year might have been harder than it was last year for Tennessee’s junior forward.

“I don’t want to say it’s harder but it’s been different,’’ Smith said Tuesday. “It’s been a challenge to come with my game every night.

“Last year I didn’t have to come with it every night. I might have tried but I didn’t have to because Chris (Lofton) and JaJuan (Smith were there to have my back.’’

If Smith won’t say it was harder the second time, his coach will.

Bruce Pearl acknowledged how much attention Smith was paid by opponents because Lofton and Smith weren’t camped on the wings spreading the defense with deadly 3-point shooting this year.

“Tyler has been option number one,’’ said Pearl. “Last year he was option number three, and there’s a different freedom and a different pressure and the lane is wide open.

“Now, Tyler is still getting the ball in situations but it’s much more closed down and the bodies are just as big or bigger.’’

Smith was one of five unanimous choices on the eight-man first-team that was announced leading up to the start of the SEC tournament on Thursday in Tampa, Fla.

Devan Downey of South Carolina was the other repeater.

UT’s Wayne Chism was chosen to the All-SEC second team. Scotty Hopson was on the eight-man All-Freshman team.

As SEC East co-champions, the Vols earned a first-round bye and play Friday at 7:30 p.m. against the winner of Thursday’s Vanderbilt-Alabama game.

Smith improved or maintained his numbers in virtually every statistical category from last year to this one.

He boosted his scoring from 14.9 to 17.1 points a game and his rebounding from 4.9 to 6.0.

His field-goal percentage was almost identical to last year. This season Smith made 44.4 percent of his shots (173 of 390) compared to 44.2 (174 of 394) last season.

His 3-point accuracy improved from 25.4 percent to 29.6 and his free-throw percentage jumped from 72.7 to 75.1, despite getting significantly more attempts this season.

“The best thing Tyler has accomplished this year,’’ said Pearl, “is that he was so worried about not winning a championship this year and that we’re not as good as we were last year.

“We managed to do that (win the SEC East) and his leadership off the court has been better down the stretch.

“It wasn’t as good at portions of the season as it needed to be but it was better (later) and I give him a lot of credit for that.’’

Walk The Line: The Vols spent considerable attention on free throws Tuesday after making only 45.5 percent in a 70-67 loss to Alabama on Sunday.

“That situation has got to be fixed,’’ Pearl said. “We had lots of contests and ran a lot when we didn’t make ‘em and we didn’t shoot ‘em any better today than we did against Alabama.’’

On Top of Kentucky: The Vols made SEC history by finishing ahead of Kentucky in the regular-season standings for the fourth consecutive season.

No team had held that distinction on the Wildcats since the league opened in 1933.

In Need of Seed: Pearl said it is essential for UT to have a good showing in Tampa to improve its NCAA tournament seed.

ESPN.com Bracketologist Joe Lunardi had the Vols as a No. 6 seed on Monday.

“If we win the SEC we’d be a four seed at worst,’’ said Pearl. “If we don’t, we place ourselves in a very difficult situation to advance.’’

To illustrate Pearl’s point, Jerry Palm of Collegerpi.com has UT as a No. 8 seed, which would mean an almost-certain second-round game against a No. 1 seed. Not a good scenario for advancement.

More Smith: Smith was named Tuesday to the U.S. Basketball Writers of America District IV team. Jodie Meeks of Kentucky and John Calipari of Memphis won district player and coach awards, respectively.

THE TEAMS

First Team All-SEC

*Nick Calathes, Florida – G, 6-6, 194, So., Casselberry, Fla.

*Jodie Meeks, Kentucky – 6-4, 208, Jr., Norcross, Ga.

Patrick Patterson, Kentucky – 6-9, 235, So., Huntington, W.Va.

Tasmin Mitchell, LSU – F, 6-7, 240, Jr., Denham Springs, La.

*Marcus Thornton, LSU – G, 6-4, 205, Sr., Baton Rouge, La.

Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State – F/C, 6-9, 210, Jr., Brownsville, Tenn.

*Devan Downey, South Carolina – G, 5-9, 175, Jr., Chester, S.C.

*Tyler Smith, Tennessee – F, 6-7, 215, Jr., Pulaski, Tenn.

Second Team All-SEC

Alonzo Gee, Alabama – G, 6-6, 219, Sr., Riviera Beach, Fla.

Michael Washington, Arkansas – F, 6-9, 239, Jr., McGehee, Ark.

Korvotney Barber, Auburn – F, 6-7, 225, Sr., Manchester, Ga.

^Garrett Temple, LSU – G, 6-6, 190, Sr., Baton Rouge, La.

David Huertas, Ole Miss – G, 6-5, 200, Jr., Humacao, Puerto Rico

Terrico White, Ole Miss – G, 6-5, 211, Fr,. Memphis, Tenn.

^Dominique Archie, South Carolina – F, 6-7, 200, Jr., Augusta, Ga.

^Zam Fredrick, South Carolina – G, 6-0, 203, Sr., St. Matthews, S.C.

Wayne Chism, Tennessee – F, 609, 242, Jr., Jackson, Tenn.

A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt – C, 6-11, 250, So., Sydney, Australia

SEC All-Freshman Team

*JaMychal Green, Alabama – F, 6-9, 220, Fr., Montgomery, Ala.

Courtney Fortson, Arkansas – G, 5-11, 180, Fr., Montgomery, Ala.

Erving Walker, Florida – 5-8, 161, Fr., New York, N.Y.

Trey Thompkins, Georgia – F, 6-8, 245, Fr., Lithonia, Ga.

*Terrico White, Ole Miss – G, 6-5, 211, Fr,. Memphis, Tenn.

*Dee Bost, Mississippi State – G, 6-2, 170, Fr., Concord, N.C.

Scotty Hopson, Tennessee – G, 6-7, 185, Fr., Hopkinsville, Ky.

Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt – G/F, 6-7, 210, Fr., Norrkoping, Sweden

SEC All-Defensive Team

^Quantez Robertson, Auburn – G, 6-3, 200, Sr., Cincinnati, Ohio

Garrett Temple, LSU – G, 6-6, 190, Sr., Baton Rouge, La.

Chris Johnson, LSU – C, 6-11, 210, Sr., Montross, Va.

*Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State – F/C, 6-9, 210, Jr., Brownsville, Tenn.

^Dominique Archie, South Carolina – F, 6-7, 200, Jr., Augusta, Ga.

Devan Downey, South Carolina – G, 5-9, 175, Jr., Chester, S.C.

SEC Coach of the Year: Trent Johnson, LSU

SEC Player of the Year: Marcus Thornton, LSU

SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Justin Knox, Alabama

SEC Freshman of the Year: Terrico White, Ole Miss

SEC Sixth-Man of the Year: Brandis Raley-Ross, South Carolina

SEC Defensive Player of the Year: Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State

*-Unanimous selection

^-Ties are not broken

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Comments » 27

Ironcity writes:

Scotty made first team all SEC Freshman

CoverOrange writes:

My worthless advice that no one asked for, to Tyler, et al? Get the shooting percentage up. Eschew the "and one" and finish the basket. Too many times he forced contact that resulted in a missed 2 and a missed or no "and one".

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

I don't see UT as an 8 seed regardless of tourney

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Chism 2nd team and Hopson I think 2nd team all freshmen.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I believe Pearl about a 4 seed but I don't understand it. Even winning the SEC tourney I don't understand a 4 seed? I hope so. Long shot but we can do it (i.e. win the tourney).

Tiger_Jokes writes:

Tyler had a lot of pressure on him this year, a lot of expectations, he did a nice job and deserves any accolades he receives.

A six seed or above would be great considering the inconsistent year. Less pressure, though UT will still have to bring their best to make the 16.

The comment about UT finishing ahead of UK for the 4th consecutive season was an interesting bit of trivia.

Tiger_Jokes writes:

Tiger Dust: Readily available and frequently snorted, smoked and injected in miserable memphis.

stayingorange writes:

I don't mean anything negative about this, just interesting that this season Tyler is the #1 go-to guy and the team doesn't have JaJuan and Lofton scoring, yet Tyler's total shots attempted are actually 4 less than last year.

ALSO

The Vols made SEC history by finishing ahead of Kentucky in the regular-season standings for the fourth consecutive season.

No team had held that distinction on the Wildcats since the league opened in 1933.

That's quite a statement. I think lots more records are ahead for the Bruce Pearl Vols.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

A lot of people misread posts,thus the stupid things some of them post.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

A lot of people misread posts,thus the stupid things some of them post.

ahhh wh at a shtupidsd thing ta shu ay!! Oh wait. I missread that.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

For instance there was no "2nd team all freshmen". Only 8 players, it said. Get it right.(me)

murrayvol writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

I don't see UT as an 8 seed regardless of tourney

If they go one and done, an 8 seed is realistic.

stayingorange writes:

in response to itsme53792#1349745:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Truthfully I'd rather see Memphis win than most ACC, Big East or Big 10 teams, but they can't ever prove anything until tourney time every year. 2009- strength of schedule is 64, they are 1-2 against top 25 and 2-3 against top 50 - BIG DEAL. You should thank UT, that's the Vols not UTEP, for helping them have any top RPI success.

Tiger_Jokes writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agreed on both counts.

thirdsaturday writes:

Did you guys see what Kellie Jolly (former Lady Vol) did in the SoCon Tourney this year? Holy phooey! http://www.3sib.com/2009/03/10/former...

peerless writes:

in response to itsme53792#1349745:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

AND? Memphis is in Arkansas.

Volumnus writes:

in response to itsme53792#1349745:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hmmmm, if all of you tiger fans were all that secure in your greatness, why do you feel the need to post on this site and show your insecurities repeatedly. I pulled for Memphis in the regional in San Antonio, yelled as loud as I could sitting among a sea of Texas Aggie Maroon. I have never felt the need to log on to a rival site and trash talk. I hope you wake up tomorrow and enjoy being a Memphis fan as much as you seem to enjoy hating UT and Vol fans.

Volumnus writes:

in response to Tiger_Jokes:

Tyler had a lot of pressure on him this year, a lot of expectations, he did a nice job and deserves any accolades he receives.

A six seed or above would be great considering the inconsistent year. Less pressure, though UT will still have to bring their best to make the 16.

The comment about UT finishing ahead of UK for the 4th consecutive season was an interesting bit of trivia.

Tyler had a lot of double teams, double downs and traps all season. This team is slower(much) than last year, devoid of the outside threat and as such allowed the defenses to deny Tyler the ball much of the time. That accounts for the fewer shots. Winning the tourney would have two benefits, it might improve the seed 1 or 2 spots and it might project us into a more favorable regional. I would take the latter over the former, rather be in the eastern or central time zone than the pacific.

Gillespe was over rated at TAMU and UK bought into the myth. I hope they keep drinking the koolaid!!!

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

Several problems pop up:

-Tyler should NOT be the goto guy. With all the attention, he should be the ASSIST guy, and let his points come on rebounds, fastbreaks, and garbage. UT isn't doing as well becasue too often Tyler is jacking stuff up.

-Look at all the other schools with multiple players on the awareds team, then look at us....one first-teamer, one second-teamer....adn that's it. Hopson is all-freshmen, but not all-cnference.

-Of our recruits, only Hopson has developed. Negedu, Woolridge, Jurick all have miles to go to be effective players.

I think Bruce has done wonders witth some of the talent he's pulled in. HOWEVER, he is disappointing me with his recruiting. Look at the detail
first class:
Childress; valuable for one season
second class:
Johnson, Chism, Tabb, R. Smith, Crews;
Chism is good, Tabb is a sub/role player, everyone else is gone
Third class:
Negedu, Hopson, Jurick, Woolridge, Maze;
Maze is a sub/role player, Jurick is unknown, Woolridge and Negedu are years away; only Hopson is a quality player now, and he's very unrefined.

Those of you who read my stuff know I don't bash, this is as objective as I can be. Bruce has GOT to re-evaluate his approach to bringing in talent. We are, to be honest, not all thlented this year, and in fact are winning BECAUSE BRUCE IS A GREAT MOTIVATOR!!! The man is winning with no outside shooting, weak FT shooting, and spooty inside play. The defense is at times awful. Yet, Bruce still wins.

To sum up this long, long post, Bruce is a great coach in 2 or 3 main areas: he is great at motivating, and he is great at winning with what he has. He just sucks at recruiting.

BTW, the '4 in a row' ranking over a UK is a real testament to UK basketball. Then again, most of the SEC conceded basketball to the Cats for many, many years, as did the conference. the reffing in UK games used to be so one-sided that, even if you where in the NEIGHBORHOOD with the quality of your tema, you would not win.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to cliffjumper50#205931:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't really disagree but add that both are skills that either need maintenance or work to get better! I have seen some improvement in Chism and Smith this year. But it seems they revert to old habits at times. I really think the team was just tired against Alabama. I hope that was it.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to thirdsaturday:

Did you guys see what Kellie Jolly (former Lady Vol) did in the SoCon Tourney this year? Holy phooey! http://www.3sib.com/2009/03/10/former...

I almost skipped over your post! Glad I didn't. Awesome!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Just one more post today. MParker you did a good summation of Pearl and the team. I think Pearl is adjusting to a different level of talent and is smart enough to figure out the recruiting thing. We'll see. If not I hope he uses his staff well for this or hires some great recruiters.

Volumnus writes:

in response to Timed_vol:

Several problems pop up:

-Tyler should NOT be the goto guy. With all the attention, he should be the ASSIST guy, and let his points come on rebounds, fastbreaks, and garbage. UT isn't doing as well becasue too often Tyler is jacking stuff up.

-Look at all the other schools with multiple players on the awareds team, then look at us....one first-teamer, one second-teamer....adn that's it. Hopson is all-freshmen, but not all-cnference.

-Of our recruits, only Hopson has developed. Negedu, Woolridge, Jurick all have miles to go to be effective players.

I think Bruce has done wonders witth some of the talent he's pulled in. HOWEVER, he is disappointing me with his recruiting. Look at the detail
first class:
Childress; valuable for one season
second class:
Johnson, Chism, Tabb, R. Smith, Crews;
Chism is good, Tabb is a sub/role player, everyone else is gone
Third class:
Negedu, Hopson, Jurick, Woolridge, Maze;
Maze is a sub/role player, Jurick is unknown, Woolridge and Negedu are years away; only Hopson is a quality player now, and he's very unrefined.

Those of you who read my stuff know I don't bash, this is as objective as I can be. Bruce has GOT to re-evaluate his approach to bringing in talent. We are, to be honest, not all thlented this year, and in fact are winning BECAUSE BRUCE IS A GREAT MOTIVATOR!!! The man is winning with no outside shooting, weak FT shooting, and spooty inside play. The defense is at times awful. Yet, Bruce still wins.

To sum up this long, long post, Bruce is a great coach in 2 or 3 main areas: he is great at motivating, and he is great at winning with what he has. He just sucks at recruiting.

BTW, the '4 in a row' ranking over a UK is a real testament to UK basketball. Then again, most of the SEC conceded basketball to the Cats for many, many years, as did the conference. the reffing in UK games used to be so one-sided that, even if you where in the NEIGHBORHOOD with the quality of your tema, you would not win.

Really good post! Salient points. Maze is a good kid, good player but not where a junior needs to be going into the SEC tourney. Hopson is good, could be great, but he just runs too hot and cold. I don't know that Bruce is the problem at recruiting, it could be the assistants, after the play this season, one could make an argument for one or two of them to be enjoying a new venue next year. CBP has made a living coaching blue collar players, now he has a bunch of blue chip recruits, and if you look around the country only a few coaches build a team that way, Roy Williams and Coach K are two that come to mind. Most will have a bunch of good blue collar players and one or two stars. It is easier to manage the ego's that way.

Whether it was a miscalculation on CBP's part or the advice he was given by the respective assistants, or just bad chemistry, he needs to go back and "Dance with the one what brung him" and get some hard working blue collar kids with speed and Defense and who can pass the ball and move the ball without losing it. A little outside shooting (SKYLAR MCBEE) wouldn't hurt either. The Clabough kid on Ray's ESG played about 10 minutes in one RTL game. He had at least 4 steals and 3 rebounds, started 3 or 4 fast breaks and hit Scotty and Maze with crisp clean passes that were assists, probably 3 or 4. He covered the court in 6 to 7 strides(and he is short) and was a step faster than anybody else. He only scored a couple of points but geezum, we don't have anybody who has turned in a game long performance like that. He is guick and fast. I was sitting in those stands thinking that if we had Skylar's shooting and somebody with that kid's pure hustle on the floor together, dressed in orange it might be a good thing. Heart and hustle are a good thing.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to Volumnus:

Really good post! Salient points. Maze is a good kid, good player but not where a junior needs to be going into the SEC tourney. Hopson is good, could be great, but he just runs too hot and cold. I don't know that Bruce is the problem at recruiting, it could be the assistants, after the play this season, one could make an argument for one or two of them to be enjoying a new venue next year. CBP has made a living coaching blue collar players, now he has a bunch of blue chip recruits, and if you look around the country only a few coaches build a team that way, Roy Williams and Coach K are two that come to mind. Most will have a bunch of good blue collar players and one or two stars. It is easier to manage the ego's that way.

Whether it was a miscalculation on CBP's part or the advice he was given by the respective assistants, or just bad chemistry, he needs to go back and "Dance with the one what brung him" and get some hard working blue collar kids with speed and Defense and who can pass the ball and move the ball without losing it. A little outside shooting (SKYLAR MCBEE) wouldn't hurt either. The Clabough kid on Ray's ESG played about 10 minutes in one RTL game. He had at least 4 steals and 3 rebounds, started 3 or 4 fast breaks and hit Scotty and Maze with crisp clean passes that were assists, probably 3 or 4. He covered the court in 6 to 7 strides(and he is short) and was a step faster than anybody else. He only scored a couple of points but geezum, we don't have anybody who has turned in a game long performance like that. He is guick and fast. I was sitting in those stands thinking that if we had Skylar's shooting and somebody with that kid's pure hustle on the floor together, dressed in orange it might be a good thing. Heart and hustle are a good thing.

you are right about maze. if he had started his career here, he'd be light years ahead of where he is now. you can't fault his hustle or his attitude. he has the tools.

I felt like Bruce tried to recruit to be a second 'louisville'. he really admired the way UL kicked out butts last year. Thing is, UL had shooters, too, and ballhandlers.

Bruce is a tough, proud guy; I expect to see him change up a bit on the recruiting.

Vol_Jokes writes:

cgreer, how does ut own Memphis? The last 4 years it's 2 to 2. The last 5 meetings it's 3 to 2 Memphis. Just this year we beat you. Cal's not going anywhere. He's bringing in one of the best if not the best recruiting classes in the nation next year. He has no plans to leave. I'm afraid you haven't done your homework. So, tell me where do you think the Vols will be seeded this year? I believe you were #8 in the rankings when the season started. I haven't seen the name Tennessee on those ratings lately. This was suppossed to be Memphis's off season. I believe we are in the top 5. Who knows maybe you'll end up a 15 seed and we'll be a 2 and we can play in the tournament again. Neutral court meeting would be nice and so would sending the vols home.

Volumnus writes:

in response to Timed_vol:

you are right about maze. if he had started his career here, he'd be light years ahead of where he is now. you can't fault his hustle or his attitude. he has the tools.

I felt like Bruce tried to recruit to be a second 'louisville'. he really admired the way UL kicked out butts last year. Thing is, UL had shooters, too, and ballhandlers.

Bruce is a tough, proud guy; I expect to see him change up a bit on the recruiting.

I hope you are right. I fear however that the results are 2 to 3 years down the road for a fix. The thing is I see some people who don't really fit the Bruce Pearl protypical player and with the hit we took by cutting Ramar and Duke, we just can't afford the APR penalties to move someone out. I think we are down to 11 scholarhips now, move out some more deadwood and we are down to 10. I am sure Bruce wild do what he can to correct the situation. And we just need to remind ourselves that we have still had a very respectable year.

Vol_Jokes writes:

What's been going on over here today. Sorry, i've not been able to get on today. I live in South Carolina and i've been pumping gas all day long.

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