Pearl's frontline challenged

Hall, Woolridge part of depth chart moves

Tennessee lost a piece of its puzzle when it was announced Tuesday that sophomore power forward Emmanuel Negedu will not play for the Vols for the 2009-10 season and is unlikely to continue his basketball career.

But UT coach Bruce Pearl believes the Vols' frontline can hold strong this season.

"I think our depth chart will still be fine this year,'' Pearl said on the Sports Page radio show. "It moves Kenny Hall into the picture much sooner, and it may mean Renaldo Woolridge moves from the three (wing) to play the four (power forward). Steven Pearl has an opportunity to move up the depth chart.''

Negedu underwent a surgical procedure on his heart Tuesday. The 20-year-old suffered a sudden cardiac arrest on Sept. 28.

Senior Tyler Smith will continue to start at power forward while also playing some minutes on the wing.

Negedu brought an almost freakish athletic tangible the Vols' simply can't replace.

The 6-foot-7, 219-pound Negedu had a 44-inch vertical leap and a 40-yard dash speed of under 4.4 seconds.

"There had been some talk of him running on the track team in the spring," Pearl said, adding that Negedu ran a sub-10 second 100 yard dash. "Emmanuel was a world-class athlete learning basketball."

Hall, a 6-9 true freshman, needs to pick up on the learning curve as his role shifts from prospect to potential impact player.

"Kenny has a toughness to him, and he has an edge,'' Pearl said. "He's grown a little bit and put on 25 pounds. Fans will like his ability to run to the offensive boards.''

For now, senior Wayne Chism anchors the post with junior Brian Williams ready to step in when Chism needs a breather or shifts to power forward.

"I would say Brian has made good strides, not great strides,'' Pearl said. "I'm OK with his progress, but I'm not satisfied. I'm not calling him out, I believe in him. He's very good with ball screens, but he needs to score more.

"Big guys who don't want to get fouled and go to the free throw line don't score a lot of baskets.''

Pearl said UT coaches have worked with Williams to get him shooting the ball in front of his body - rather than starting with the ball behind his head - to put him in position for more easy put-back baskets and three-point plays.

Woolridge, at 6-9, is another option at power forward.

"Renaldo has got to find contact at both ends of the floor, rebounding or getting to the foul line a bit more,'' Pearl said. "He's a big man that can really shoot the basketball. In our system, the four is a friendly position for a big man that can shoot the basketball.

"Where you play is who you can cover. I look for Renaldo to be able to make that transition. He's got a terrific body, but his body has not held any weight yet.''

Woolridge's ball-handling skills and 3-point shooting prowess, however, make him ultimately better-suited to play on the wing.

Walk-on Steven Pearl will likely get some playing time at power forward as well. Pearl, 6-6, was the only UT player who could match up with Negedu in the weight room, and while Pearl's offensive skills are not polished, he's an energetic defender who provides a spark off the bench.

Bruce Pearl said Negedu will remain active in the Vols' team activities.

"The ball stops bouncing for all of us at some point,'' Pearl said. "It is very difficult. Emmanuel's reaction to this event was more about living for his family and wanting to play for his teammates.''

The Vols first full practice is Oct. 16 with an opening exhibition at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, against North Alabama.

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Comments » 35

AceVentura writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I mean seriously dude? I just don't get what you and the other trespassers get by coming to our website and pretending to be UT fans then bash every story about UT. Ok so you got us to respond to you, now what? I mean really brah? Really? Brah you can't be serious dawg? You sat at your computer and said "oh i got 'em with this one haha these dudes are gonna be pissed lol." Really? haha You mean to tell me that you've got nothing better to do? Man life must have not turned out the way you had hoped. Well I guess if this is the biggest joy you get out of your day then keep it up. Pretty sad in my opinion but I guess if you don't see it then it won't matter.

V0LUNT33R writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow, first comment, and it's from a Florida fan. You're here more than UT fans. Are you sure you're not a self hating VOL? Maybe, and I think this is far more likely, you're a 40 year old, Mom's basement living, pathetic loser with nothing better to do than cruise the internet and pretend you matter. Your ability to talk trash on the internet doesn't make you cool or important. Get a job.

mytrifecta writes:

From a confidential source I heard Crompton kidney punched Negedu and caused this episode! Seriously, I wish Negedu the best for a quick and complete recovery. Too bad to see a great athelete go through something like this.

Volsforbetterorforworse writes:

I truly beleive this team will be better by battling through adversity with each other. Much better than year before where we lost players to thier own stupidity.

hillsborovol writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ignorance must be bliss.

CoverOrange writes:

A 6'9" wing and a 6'6' power forward. Pearl doesn't believe in stereotypes does he.

txvolsfan writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LOSER

lomas98 writes:

in response to AceVentura:

I mean seriously dude? I just don't get what you and the other trespassers get by coming to our website and pretending to be UT fans then bash every story about UT. Ok so you got us to respond to you, now what? I mean really brah? Really? Brah you can't be serious dawg? You sat at your computer and said "oh i got 'em with this one haha these dudes are gonna be pissed lol." Really? haha You mean to tell me that you've got nothing better to do? Man life must have not turned out the way you had hoped. Well I guess if this is the biggest joy you get out of your day then keep it up. Pretty sad in my opinion but I guess if you don't see it then it won't matter.

Just ignore and don't comment on anything he posts.

kevin151 writes:

JP Prince is the Crapton of UT basketball

DC_Vol writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You do realize the pleasure you constantly derive by taking pleasure in the ill fortunes of UT football is a sickness? You are a very insecure/unhappy/lonely person who derives a sense of superiority over Vol fans simply because Florida is ranked #1. Only small minded individuals like yourself actually believe they are superior because there team is successful. Normal people feel good about themselves by successes experienced in their own lives and spend their time trying to build up the confidence of those around them. Abnormal people, like you, constantly look to put others down, to make your pathetic life seem better than others. The truth is whether UT or Florida wins or loses you are still a loser with serious mental issues. Didn't Jeffrey Dahmer enjoy inflicting pain on others?

DC_Vol writes:

in response to volfromfla56_did_I_hurt_your_feelings:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

VolFromFlorida,

Yes, I agree with you he is obviously a sociopath or someone who derives pleasure from the suffering of others.

gbeejr#1354500 writes:

No offense intended to Steven Pearl, I'm sure he is a fine young man, but I've seen better intramural players. If Steven has to play because of need and not mop-up, we are gonna be in real trouble. But irregardless, good luck Steven and Go Vols.

oldvolsfan writes:

dman it is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are stupid than to open it and prove you are stupid

Highlands_Whisky writes:

More evidence of the Vols firm entrenchment in the heads of Gator fans everywhere!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to V0LUNT33R:

Wow, first comment, and it's from a Florida fan. You're here more than UT fans. Are you sure you're not a self hating VOL? Maybe, and I think this is far more likely, you're a 40 year old, Mom's basement living, pathetic loser with nothing better to do than cruise the internet and pretend you matter. Your ability to talk trash on the internet doesn't make you cool or important. Get a job.

He may be all those other things you mentioned, except a Florida fan, but your third sentence was one right answer. In other places, he has claimed to be a long-time football season-ticket holder and donor. He has repeatedly proclaimed his undying love for Fulmer--and Pearl, curiously enough--and his undying contempt for CLK, whom he apparently somehow blames for Fulmer being fired. You will see ample evidence of both sides of his hopelessly-split personality as the year goes on.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to volfromfla56_did_I_hurt_your_feelings:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well, he did grow up as a soccer player in Nigeria, where there is no American football but a growing presence of basketball. I guess learning one unfamiliar American sport at a time was enough, even if he had had the exposure to football.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to volfromfla56_did_I_hurt_your_feelings:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The only reason I respond to him as often as I do is to prevent others from being taken in by his insanely-biased but eerily plausible-sounding drivel. As you say, classic sociopathic symptoms.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to gbeejr#1354500:

No offense intended to Steven Pearl, I'm sure he is a fine young man, but I've seen better intramural players. If Steven has to play because of need and not mop-up, we are gonna be in real trouble. But irregardless, good luck Steven and Go Vols.

Steven is rather limited offensively, but he excels in many of the little things that a coach wants done on the floor but which often escape the notice of casual fans. He will never make the highlight reels, but if all the OTHER guys played as hard as he does--setting screens, diving for loose balls, blocking out under the boards, etc.--the team will be very good indeed. He is at least good for a few minutes while other guys rest. The real burden left by E-Man's absence is on Brian Williams. He will either have to play more minutes or be more effective when he is in there. If he can't be more effective more often than he has shown so far, all the rest of our returning talent won't mean as much.

1vavolfan writes:

This is very bad news for the basketball team.Negedu was one of the few prospects Pearl has brought in that was going to live up to the hype. It is a tremendous downgrade to go from Negedu to Pearl and Woolridge. I really like Kenny Hall's game but it may be too soon to count on him.

Laydbakvol writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What everybody else said.

JoeVols writes:

DaMan,
Put the candy down and let the little girl go!!!

CoverOrange writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

True, but Magic had a 7 footer named Karem as well. Kind of raised the level for everyone. Was there anyone shorter than 6'7" starting for the Lakers in the 80s?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

True, but Magic had a 7 footer named Karem as well. Kind of raised the level for everyone. Was there anyone shorter than 6'7" starting for the Lakers in the 80s?

Jamaal Wilkes, 6'6" small forward, to name one. Seems their shooting guard was about 6'2" or so, but I can't pull out his name right now. Magic was a whole other kind of player with his skills at his size.

Rockygrass writes:

in response to kevin151:

JP Prince is the Crapton of UT basketball

Say what? Maybe he can't hit anything behind the arch, but Prince is still an asset to this team. Nobody on are team besides Tyler takes the ball into the lane like Prince does. Did you actually watch any games last year?

ctexorange writes:

Big loss for Bruce and team. Looking forward to BB to start this year. Last year was not a good year for BP with the teams lackluster play. Hope he can generate the energy of early BP teams this year. UT needs some excitement on the sports page.

TrouserCough writes:

Steven Pearl is going to play more... Woolridge is a good shooter... Really! This staff can't recruit and Buzz's players are all but gone

CoverOrange writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Jamaal Wilkes, 6'6" small forward, to name one. Seems their shooting guard was about 6'2" or so, but I can't pull out his name right now. Magic was a whole other kind of player with his skills at his size.

Your may be thinking of Byron Scott at 6'3". I remember the late 80s so I don't remember Wilkes.

bernardking writes:

Norm Nixon and after him, Byron Scott

doctorfingervol writes:

I have met Steven Pearl in person and he is more like 6 ft. 4 and a half not 6 ft. 6. If he gets significant playing time this year over our other post players then we are in trouble. Not bashing him but it is what it is.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to bernardking:

Norm Nixon and after him, Byron Scott

Right. Norm Nixon was the one I was thinking of, but Byron Scott succeeded him, and then Michael Cooper at 6'5" or so, IIRC.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to doctorfingervol:

I have met Steven Pearl in person and he is more like 6 ft. 4 and a half not 6 ft. 6. If he gets significant playing time this year over our other post players then we are in trouble. Not bashing him but it is what it is.

I would be very surprised if Steven plays more than a couple of minutes at a time, and probably not over five to six minutes total per game, depending on match-ups. If the team is pressing a lot, his height won't matter as much in an open-court game.

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

such and idiot dude

VOLKING writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, that's it. You're in our heads. You are more like a tick or gnat. Somebody get a flyswatter.

Ironcity writes:

in response to A_VOICE_OF_REASON:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Voice of Reason, as usual you come with nothing. Woolridge wasn't ready for the move up to college. That doesn't make him a bad player. Anyone with brain can see the guy can shot. As for being soft, that's what the weight room is for. I am not going to come here and tell you Woolridge will be a stud this year but by the time he is a Senior he will be one of the top guys on the team. Anyone who judges a players future based on his freshmen season shows a complete lack of understanding of the game. Just an FYI when UF had their big run, Noah was a total brick his first year as was Torean Green. I think those two did OK the next couple of years don't you? As for Prince he is what he is. He is an asset when he plays within himself, his defensive quickness isn't there but his anticipation and long arms make him an asset against most of the guys he plays. He will struggle against guy who can dribble drive to the basket especially since we really don't have a shot blocker behind him. If we had a big shot blocker, we wouldn't even notice that he gets beat off the dribble so much.

oldsmokey67 writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

the sooner you vanish off the face of this earth the better the world will be loser.GO VOLS AND GO KIFFIN.

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