“I don't think anything was done (Saturday) to dishonor our school's tradition. This will always be Big Orange Country."
Tennessee baseball has worn black as an alternate color for years, the football team broke out black jerseys on Halloween night, so now the ball bounces to men's basketball.
Coach Bruce Pearl told the News Sentinel on Monday he's considering putting his team in black jerseys for a game this season, too.
"Here's the deal: to this point, I have declined it as an option,'' Pearl said. "But I think it's now open for discussion.''
Pearl and his director of basketball operations, Ken Johnson, have had samples of alternate colored jerseys sent to them over the past three seasons by adidas, both black and gray.
Pearl has steadfastly held on to the Big Orange tradition, donning the orange blazer once worn by legendary coach Ray Mears, bringing back candy-striped warm-ups of an earlier UT basketball generation while declining an alternate-colored uniform.
But after seeing the response Saturday night in Neyland Stadium, Pearl said he is intrigued by the black uniforms.
"The fact that the guys all like it is a factor,'' Pearl said. "I don't think anything was done (Saturday) to dishonor our school's tradition. This will always be Big Orange Country.
"I think some folks need to understand that it was entertaining to see us in those uniforms, and to see the response of the crowd and the students.''
It was effective, too: Pearl garnered a verbal commitment from five-star basketball recruit Kevin Ware after the Georgia prospect attended Saturday night's football game.
Ware said he thought the football team's black jerseys were "cool,'' and that it was "very exciting" to see Tennessee in the alternate color on Halloween night.
Sophomore shooting guard Scotty Hopson said he would like the opportunity to wear a black uniform once this season.
"I think we should do a black-out with our fans for the Kansas game,'' Hopson said, referring to the Vols' January date with the nation's preseason No. 1-ranked team. "It would be fun - it's definitely something different and I think it would look nice.''
UT junior college transfer Melvin Goins agreed.
"It's not like it would necessarily affect our performance,'' Goins said. "It's just a nice look.''
Former UT All-American Chris Lofton said he would like to see the men's basketball team get the opportunity to wear black uniforms for a game.
"I think it's a great idea,'' said Lofton, who's overseas playing in Spain. "They looked good on the football team, and I think I would have looked good in a black uniform with my black-and-orange adidas shoes!''
Pearl said black uniforms for his team have yet to be ordered, but it is up for discussion.
"My initial reaction would be, if we were going to wear (black uniforms), we would wear them at home,'' Pearl said. "On the road, we're representing Tennessee, and I want them to see the Big Orange.''
In basketball, unlike football, the Vols wear white uniforms at home and orange on the road.
Brandon Crump, who played for UT 2001-05, said he'd like to see the black jerseys come out for a game against an SEC rival.
"I love the black jerseys and I definitely want to see the basketball team wear them,'' said Crump, who played in South Korea the past two seasons and will play in China this year. "I want to see the basketball team wear them against Florida or Kentucky.''
Pearl said he just wants to make sure the Vols and their fans keep their priorities in the right places.
"The only thing about Saturday night is that lost in all the talk about the black jerseys was a dominating win over a top-25 football team,'' Pearl said. "That's why I'm not talking about this again. So don't even ask.''