Being a player didn't prevent Alexis Hornbuckle from sounding like a coach Thursday afternoon.
The day after returning from playing in Turkey, the former Tennessee standout assisted UT with its women's basketball workout at Pratt Pavilion.
"Older people helped me,'' she said, "so I'm just trying to return the favor."
The program's all-time steals leader, who played a key part in back-to-back national championships, was doling out advice. When asked if the current Lady Vols were receptive, Hornbuckle said, "Some of them, we'll work on it."
Thursday's session was the second basketball-related workout following Tennessee's 71-55 loss to Ball State in the NCAA tournament. The ripple effect from Sunday night's setback, Tennessee's first loss in a first-round game, felt like a shock wave when it reached Hornbuckle overseas.
"I wanted to throw my computer,'' she said. "I just wanted to throw it somewhere. I was just surprised. I was upset."
The workouts also have created a stir with some internet chatter, fueled by conflicting NCAA bylaws, speculating whether these sessions are within the rules. UT coach Pat Summitt said that Todd Dooley, the Lady Vols assistant athletic director for compliance and operations, has fielded phone calls on the matter.
"We're not going to break any rules,'' Summitt said. "So we had to get what we could do and that's what we did. That's why we're doing what we're doing now."
Summitt said that she has taken phone calls from coaches at Texas, Georgia and Duke and assumed that these schools are at least considering a similar approach.
If anything, Summitt felt compelled to further explain these workouts to the players, especially after their energy level was relatively low Tuesday.
"I think part of it was they were down,'' she said. "They just lost. Obviously they were a little wounded. And maybe I didn't do a good job of explaining why we're here. It's to get better."
Summitt reiterated that final thought to the Lady Vols after their conditioning workout Wednesday.
"The point I wanted to make to them is this is not punishment," said Summitt, who was happier with Thursday's workout. "It's an opportunity for us to go back in the gym and look at the skill work that's going to benefit us the most."
Hornbuckle, who is beginning to train for her second season with the WNBA defending champion Detroit Shock, made some points herself on Thursday. She gave an earful to freshman forward Glory Johnson, who was struggling with some fatigue.
"Glory has so much athleticism and so much potential but you have to get that laziness out of her,'' Hornbuckle said. "That lackadaisical attitude, you have to get that out of her."
As for the team in general, Hornbuckle advised: "They have to be tough and ready to play the whole time. They don't have that. It comes in spurts. It comes and goes."
Notebook: Freshman forward Amber Gray suffered a left shoulder injury Thursday and will be examined. ... Tennessee's 41.3 field goal percentage, its 837 field goals and its 249 steals were all-time season lows. ... Before losing to three unranked teams this season, UT had lost to 32 unranked teams in 34 seasons. ... The Lady Vols finished with a program-worst 4-8 record against ranked teams.