Woolridge early odd-man out in Pearl's rotation

Injuries sideline sophomore . . . for now

Tennessee sophomore Renaldo Woolridge is trying to find his groove on the men's basketball team.

A combination of his injuries, a position change and the surprising play of freshmen Kenny Hall and Skylar McBee have prevented Woolridge from making the Vols' 10-man rotation at this time.

"Renaldo practiced very well early on, and the first couple of weeks he was in the 10-man rotation,'' UT coach Bruce Pearl said Monday. "But right now Renaldo is injured, and Kenny Hall has really come on.

"It could be temporary; it is what it is. We have a scrimmage (today); he could step up.''

Pearl said UT students are invited to attend the scrimmage at Thompson-Boling Arena from 4 to 6 p.m. today, and he plans to meet with the students afterward.

The 10th-ranked Vols also are offering fans $10 seats in the 300 level for Friday's 9 p.m. home opener against Austin Peay, an in-state opponent which reached the NCAA tournament last season.

UT will offer $10 seats in the 300 level for all non-conference home games, with the exception of Kansas, which is sold out.

Woolridge hopes to be back in the mix by the time UT tips off against the Governors.

So far, Woolridge's college career has been a mixed bag; he's best known at this point for making creative videos and rap songs under the name 'Swiperboy'.

Basketball, however, is Woolridge's first love, so he has put his artistic talents on hold while dedicating himself to his sport of choice.

"I'm just trying to find my niche,'' said Woolridge, who at 6-foot-8 and 215 pounds is the Vols' No. 3 option at power forward and on the wing. "I'll just have to keep working hard and stay ready.''

Woolridge spent most of his youth playing point guard, honing his impressive 3-point range in addition to developing guard-friendly ball skills.

But as Woolridge has grown, his role has shifted closer to the basket, and he's still learning the intricacies of posting up and playing more physical in the paint.

Woolridge's nagging injuries have made the transition more difficult.

A strained knee slowed him from the start of the Pilot Rocky Top League last summer, and then a loose-ball scramble with former UT All-American Chris Lofton left him with stitches in his chin that sidelined him for two summer league games.

Woolridge got off to a strong start in UT's fall camp, but he caught a nasty elbow to his right wrist two weeks ago, straining ligaments.

"Hurting that wrist was a tough break for me,'' Woolridge said. "I feel like once it's better, if I deserve to play, Coach will play me.''

But where?

Pearl said McBee has solidified himself as Scotty Hopson's backup at shooting guard, and that has led to Cameron Tatum getting more repetitions on the wing with incumbent J.P. Prince.

Woolridge's athleticism and increased strength (he has gained 15 pounds since arriving at UT a little more than a year ago) led Pearl to give him more work at power forward. But with Hall emerging as a force at the post, and Brian Williams showing improvement, starting center Wayne Chism could see more work at power forward.

"Renaldo is third behind Cam (Tatum) and J.P. (Prince) at the three, and he's third behind Wayne and Tyler (Smith) at the four. He has a very bright future.''

Home Crowd: The Vols have averaged 20,689 for Pearl's four previous home openers against East Tennessee State (2005, 21,280), Middle Tennessee State (2006, 17,798), Temple (2007, 21,817) and Chattanooga (2008, 21,864).

"This is a big game for us,'' Pearl said. "This team was in the NCAA tournament, and we always count on our fan support.''

Pearl said the only in-state Division I basketball team the Vols have not played in his tenure with UT is Tennessee State, and UT has tried to schedule the Nashville-based school.

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Comments » 35

VolinCalif writes:

He'll get there. He's a hard working kid and Forward is a little new to him. By march the whole team will be shining.

Chris4Vols22 writes:

He needs to step up.

richvol writes:

He was so soft last year he stayed completely away from the basket and would not mix it up. He's got to toughen up to play in this league. A 6'8",215lb. player should be banging the boards...not floating around three point land.

GreerVol22 writes:

in response to scknowsit:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Transfer? better yet can you say "receiver"

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

hes always going to be the odd man out--hes more interested in developing his rapping that in developing his BB game----a waste of talent

Bloodrunzorange writes:

Man I hope he develops...He could be a stud! Go Vols!

UTfaninYankeeland writes:

in response to yabadabadoo1026:

hes always going to be the odd man out--hes more interested in developing his rapping that in developing his BB game----a waste of talent

Don't be such an arse. You don't know what he is doing or not doing to improve his game. Adding 15 pounds of muscle didn't happen by sitting around working on his rap career. I doubt you have spent any time improving yourself as a person or moneymaker so you sit around bashing others. Get a life douche bag.

eduardo writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Why dont you go and worry about Cal working the grey area at Kenlucky!! John Wall for player of the yr, are they serious?? My goodness he hasnt even played a game!!!

VolsFanInNC writes:

Maybe he can perform at Half Time?

VolunteerLifer writes:

Prince, Smith & Chism will be gone after this year. That will mean he can compete for starting small forward or power forward in his junior year. With Goins, McBee, Tatum, Hopson(hopefully), Williams and Hall coming back, I would think the most likely opening for him will be at power forward. He seems to understand that his task this year is to "work hard and stay ready." His time will come.

jasonn1970 writes:

Is this game on tv?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to marc_ash#231781:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good post. For myself, I have been impressed that Chism and Williams have improved every year they have been here. I couldn't say that CBP is entirely responsible for that, but he certainly hasn't hurt. Same for Hopson; if he is a good deal better this year, as he well could be, CBP should get some credit for that as well. I must say that the idea of redshirting Woolridge is a pretty good one. He is lost in the numbers shuffle right now, but he could be a key guy next year IF he continues to develop his body and game. I confess he hasn't shown me much so far.

bill#1374014 writes:

If he can't beat out a walkon he should transfer to Maryville College.

voluntitan23 writes:

in response to scknowsit:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well he is. Wait and see, the kid is a player, we have promised him a scholarship when one is available (which with Tabb's exit I guess one is). Renaldo way too soft for SEC play

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to bill#1374014:

If he can't beat out a walkon he should transfer to Maryville College.

GOOD POINT!!!!

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I thought Brian was a just a junior..and speaking of him, he has slimmed down and has been in the gym it looks like....I didn't recognize him on the court during the exhibition game...We will have the ones you mentioned plus Cam Tatum and Scotty Hopson....and we also lose Bobby Maze

I have heard from a reliable source about two great round ball players from Hew York that has committed to UT..Hopefully, that will stick!! Anyway, GBO!!!

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to marc_ash#231781:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree that Pearl has done a good job so far!!!! Plus, he has won 3 SEC East Championships and 1 regular season SEC championship(not the tourney)....As far as winning percentages go(active coaches), isn't he 3rd or 4th??I can't remember which one.

volsunited writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

hey genius go back and look at buzz petersons last year and players like jajuan smith, stanley asunu, dane bradshaw, and major wingate! Look at the improvement they had then come back and talk know something about the program b4 u put in 2 cents. Go Vols

CleverUserNameVol writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dude, get a new tune. The one you're singin' is starting to remind me of standing in like for "It's A Small World After All". We get it, ok? You think Pearl is a bad coach, even though he's done more for the program than any other coach in recent history. Do you remember the students in the crowd wearing paper bags on their heads when Buzz was the coach? Because I sure do! I guess we should have just stuck with him, right? Geez, you're a moron.

CleverUserNameVol writes:

line, not "like"...but you get the point.

roobomb writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Gosh, you are spot on!!! Because UT got to the #1 ranking so many times before Pearl got here, and we won so many SEC Championships.

Doofus.

CleverUserNameVol writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

IT'S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL....IT'S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL...blah blah blah

roobomb writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah!!! Like that weak Florida team that we beat 3 out of 4 times in the years they won NC's.

Take your whiney, bitter comments to UK's fan site. That way you have a new coach to complain about every few years.

NashvilleVolsincebirth writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It is safe to say the cupboard has been bare for years, with a few Green exceptions, he did recruit some talent. But until Bruce took some no names and walk ons to recent school glory, we looked like we were running out of fan base and out of gas. Basketball is easier to make a turn when one kid turning into an MJ can make you final four all by himself but that kid is rare. We did have some good talent develop off that first years team in Lofton and Smith. If we start bringing in top classes like the football team has been known to do, Bruce will get a lot of tourney opportunities in March and that is awesome to this UT fan. So, I say he is doing it well compared to the anything we were used to before!! I especailly love the whole "all out approach on the little things with dfence" concept he teaches. He wants to take it to the next level and I hope he does.
I too appreciate your comments on this board as they seem insightful and not antogonistic, just in support of your favorite team, the wildcats. GBO!

BillVol writes:

He also needs to drop the Twitter. Surprised Bruce hasn't put a stop to this yet before it becomes a problem.

volsunited writes:

its a small world after all!! LOL!! we get it you dont like the vols u have never said anything good about UT on these boards now go wash up for dinner young'un grown-ups are posting now!

CleverUserNameVol writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

MorristownVOL=Queen of the snappy comeback. Hey, why don't you tell us what you think of Bruce Pearl?

CleverUserNameVol writes:

in response to A_VOICE_OF_REASON:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

*yawn* You should change your name to A Voice of Repetition. You're singin' the same ol' song just like your girlfriend, MorristownVOL. Bring something new and constructive to the table, or excuse yourself to your room.

Chris4Vols22 writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are too ignorant to see what Bruce has done. Do you realize that you are the only one who is genuinely upset that UT is winning basketball games? You are the only one who was happier when we had a coach that could NOT get 20 wins in one season. Do you realize that from 2001-2005 UT didn't have any 20 win seasons? Only 1 of them was more than 14! When CBP got here, we've had nothing but 20+ win seasons, and even a 31 win season.
Not to mention we weren't getting any NCAA Tournament invites before. So, you're also mad that UT has recently had the opportunity to play for the NCAA Championship. No one but you and Buzz cared about the NITs, I guess.

Bruce Pearl has taken this basketball program to places it's never been. If you SERIOUSLY think the acquisition of CBP is somehow a downgrade from what we had before, then that's just sad, baffling, and ignorant.

BreatheUT writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How to you feel about Cal just rolling the ball on the court and saying, "Here, just dribble and drive." The douche doesn't have a plan so he tries to illegally get as much talent as he can and quanders it because a lack of coaching acumen. That used car salesman would lie to his mama. And how do you feel about one of your assistants being one of the biggest dope smokers when he was in the NBA? Sitting on that bench he looks like he just lit up a Black and Mild with a little Jamaican. I betcha he got incense in his living room. And you call this a good example for young kids?

wayoutwill writes:

"Swiperboy" will be "in the mix" when his wrist gets healed up!That young man is a "romper stomper" that will play on the next level somewhere!

martinvol34 writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Get off our site!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to wayoutwill:

"Swiperboy" will be "in the mix" when his wrist gets healed up!That young man is a "romper stomper" that will play on the next level somewhere!

Oh, come on, Will! Woolridge is a "romper-stomper"? Seems a description like that should refer to a glass-cleaning rebounder, a lock-down defender, or a guy who dives on the floor for every loose ball. I haven't seen ANY of that out of Woolridge! He is--based on his play so far--soft, weak on the boards, and reluctant to mix it up anywhere on the floor. The most I can say for him at this point in his career is that he has decent form on his shot, but he doesn't have very good judgment about when to take it, and it doesn't seem to go in much.

As far as the "next level" is concerned, right now he might make it for a year or two on some foreign second-rate semi-pro team just on his looks--he is what Dickie Vitale calls an "all-airport" player who looks great off the court but not so great on it--and what many will see as his "potential", but so far he just hasn't produced on the court at all. I don't hate the guy as a person but I am very underwhelmed by his on-court accomplishments so far. I would be thrilled for him to prove me wrong.

CleverUserNameVol writes:

in response to A_VOICE_OF_REASON:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You need to look up the word "objective" because you obviously have no grasp of what it means. Here's a cold, hard fact for you: You are an @$$hole.

CleverUserNameVol writes:

in response to A_VOICE_OF_REASON:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I LOVE it when MORONS like YOU have to CAPITALIZE words in order to make your POINT. Would you just choke on Buzz Peterson's member, already, and stop bothering ACTUAL Tennessee fans with the GARBAGE you post.

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