Hopson makes it clear: I'm coming back to Tennessee

Tennessee sophomore Scotty Hopson ended any speculation about his basketball future following Friday's individual workout period.

"Regardless of where I'm projected, I'm coming back to Tennessee,'' said Hopson, who along with junior teammate Brian Williams submitted paperwork to the NBA draft evaluation committee. "I wasn't ready to make that decision right after the season because, as a team, all we'd been focused on was winning a championship. I hadn't really had time to think about it.''

Hopson, a 6-foot-7 shooting guard, finished second on the team in scoring this season and will be UT's leading returning scorer after averaging 12.2 points per game.

He led the Vols with 52 converted 3-pointers, shooting .333 beyond the arc, and his 36 steals ranked third on the team behind departing seniors Wayne Chism and J.P. Prince.

Hopson admitted he has spent time thinking about the potential go-ahead free throw he missed with 11 seconds remaining in the 70-69 NCAA tournament Elite Eight loss to Michigan State.

"I watched the rest of the tournament knowing we deserved to be in that position in the Final Four,'' Hopson said. "It's definitely in the back of my mind, and it's added motivation that I missed a free throw that could have put us ahead.''

Hopson has sent out occasional tweets on his Twitter account indicating he's trying to look forward and put the difficult loss behind him.

"It's just a matter of playing the cards I've been dealt as best as I can, and that's getting ready for next season,'' Hopson said. "When Tyler (Smith) left the team, my game took a step up. But I don't feel I've scratched the surface of what I can do. I know the fans see that, too.''

Hopson said the NBA paperwork is a formality that will give him feedback on what he needs to do to be prepared to "that that next step.''

The area Hopson is focusing on most in the ongoing individual workouts is driving into traffic. He was stripped on more than one occasion last season, finishing with more turnovers (78) than assists (46).

"I think that was a little bit of my inexperience taking it to multiple defenders, and getting through the second and third contact,'' Hopson said. "But that (Michigan State) game ... there were 11 seconds left, the game was tied ... it's difficult knowing it was in my hands.''

Hopson, who shot 59 percent from the free-throw line last season, hit his first free throw to tie the game at 69-69 but missed the second and the Spartans converted a free throw with 1.8 seconds left to win the game.

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Comments » 53

britt writes:

Nothing you can do about the past now. Hope to see a more agressive Scotty next year. Sometimes faded away last season

Major_Magilicutty writes:

Hope all the "fans" that post on here won't sit and deride this young man. He's playing for the VOLS, and as apathetic as he looks on the court sometimes, I have to believe he's putting forth the effort.

I'm glad he wants to get better and will be coming back to do just that.

Go VOLS!

MikeTheTiger writes:

Unless they have a 14 round draft why wouldn't he come back?

tnaseevol writes:

It sounds as if Hopson has matured somewhat in the last couple of weeks. I hope he realized he is nowhere near NBA status, and that he needs to work his butt off to be better at all aspects of basketball when next season starts.
If he puts his mind to it and his heart in it, I believe he will succeed and be a really good player.
He can live up to the expectations of him when he first came to TN and eventually have a great NBA career.

cwbytruckers writes:

I would just like to say that i really like scotty. I think he is a good player on the edge of being really great. what i think will help his game more than anything. And i pray he reads this. Everytime something bad happens on the court he gets this pouty baby face look. he needs to mature to the point that one bad thing doesnt lead to more bads things. take a bad play and turn it into a positive the next time down the floor. And most of all after a bad play hustle your butt back on D to make up for it.

Cldvols1 writes:

Atta boy SH, be good to see ya in Orange again next year!

amorris2#223382 writes:

Scotty needs about 10-15 extra pounds of muscle primarily in the shoulders and arms so he can go strong to the hole. NBA shooting guards do not shoot less than 60% (most are over 75%) from the line, and I would add that Scotty is one of the worst ball handlers I have ever seen. Despite all that, his talent/athletic ability is spectacular, so with the right work ethic, he could certainly play in the NBA one day.

SeanJean writes:

Sky is the limit for Scotty. I'm very very VERY happy to see that driving into traffic is the focus of offseason workouts. If he adds that to his game, no one can stop him. Too much talent there.

tmartin writes:

WOW, what a shocker!!

Ayres_Hall writes:

It will be great to have Scotty back. I hope he gains more confidence in his shot as he is needed to hit the three on a consistent basis.

I believe some confidence will help his attitude, as well. Swagger is over rated. Wanting to beat the hell out of someone is not.

Major_Magilicutty writes:

As a criticism, I will say this:

Scotty tends to get frustrated when he's not performing or producing in a game. When he does finally hit a shot, or get a steal, or make a block, he gets overly emotional.

More than once I saw JP and Brian Williams try to calm him down after he had a dunk when the rest of his game had been off.

He seems too frustrated a lot of the time, and he told Brian to get the F away from him when he was trying to impart some advice.

I just don't know if he has the work ethic or coachability that it will take to be great. I have to believe he's doing his best out there, but he really has to mature a great deal in order to reach his potential.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to MikeTheTiger:

Unless they have a 14 round draft why wouldn't he come back?

Now there's a name to be proud of....UH!!!!!!!

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to amorris2#223382:

Scotty needs about 10-15 extra pounds of muscle primarily in the shoulders and arms so he can go strong to the hole. NBA shooting guards do not shoot less than 60% (most are over 75%) from the line, and I would add that Scotty is one of the worst ball handlers I have ever seen. Despite all that, his talent/athletic ability is spectacular, so with the right work ethic, he could certainly play in the NBA one day.

Agreed he needs more strength and a more aggressive mindset when on the court. His coaches gave him kudos for developing into a good defensive player last season, so I figure he needs to focus on offense and especially the drive to the bucket. It was disheartening last season to watch his defenders get right up in his face to stop his jumper from being launched, never fearing he would drive around them. So if they fear his drives it will also free up his jumper more.

I see he and Cam Tatum as interchangeable in the two or the three next season. If Scotty gets his offense together, and Tatum his defense, that could be one of the best wing tandems in the college game.

When Scotty stepped to the line in the Michigan State game, I pleaded with him just to at least make one so the game could be tied, and he did that. I never felt badly that he missed the second one. Making it wouldn't have guaranteed us a win, though it would have increased the odds. I hope he is able to put it behind him and go on to a great junior year at UT. Go, Scotty, go. I can't wait til next season.

Bigger_Al writes:

Glad to see Scotty in UT orange next year.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to RichRollin:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Mike the Tiger is LSU's mascot, a real, live 450 lb Bengal Tiger who lives in a specially designed compound right there on the LSU campus.

kevin151 writes:

Wow, I cant believe they tried for the NBA. Gonna need a lot of work but it is possible for Hopson in 2 years.

utfpmd writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Mike the Tiger is LSU's mascot, a real, live 450 lb Bengal Tiger who lives in a specially designed compound right there on the LSU campus.

How does he type with those big, fuzzy paws?

tmartin writes:

Selby is coming. Write it down. You heard it here.

Colliervol writes:

Such a ridiculous idea of even thinking he's ready for the NBA. Not nearly physical enough yet and no NBA team is going to have a small forward or shooting guard that can't shoot free throws. He certainly has the potential to be in the NBA but he has a LOT to work on. Not denigrating Scotty but it is what it is.

reed11588 writes:

He can't shoot. He can't dribble. Heck he can't even catch the ball. If we were lucky he wouldn't come back. He's a D-League player at best.

volvann writes:

Remember JP Prince a few years ago, looked about like Hopson did this past year. JP blossomed into a superstar with his high flying alley-oop dunks. I am a Hopson fan who thinks he will easliy fill the shoes of what JP did this year.
He just needs a little mental training and once that happens, he could be sensational.
GBO... Next year will be fun to watch.

Voicesnmyhead writes:

in response to utfpmd:

How does he type with those big, fuzzy paws?

That made me laugh. I like to laugh.

Porterhouse writes:

Scotty was the basketball version of Hamlet in 2009-10. A year of growing tougher may do wonders. Interesting to see what 2010-11 holds for him & the Vols.

go_vols_go writes:

I'd really like to see Scotty improve behind the arc. A solid three point shooter and what appears to be a dominant inside force with Tobias Harris might be the ticket! GBO! V, B!

straightshooter writes:

in response to RichRollin:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well stated. No reason to blame one as there was at least 8-10 or more plays that should have resulted in points that didn't. Win as a team, lose as a team. In general, that game was typical of many other games in the season. And that is why there were 8 loses. If you go into the tourney with 8 regular season losses, you obviously have to step it up a notch and play better than you have all season. I think UT did but not quite enough. Consistent execution making each offensive posession, play each defensive set with the intensity as if it were the last play of the game. That was what was lacking.

bustervols writes:

Thankx Hoppy.

volscantball writes:

I don't think Hopson gets drafted based on this year's play. He needs to vastly improve improve in just about every area to even be in the conversation. I don't see it yet.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to RichRollin:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It has been mentioned a few times but it bears it again, especially if SH puts it on himself. One thing I haven't seen mentioned is the 4 or 5 times Chism was schooled by Drayton.

RoadTrip writes:

Hope Scotty grows up in his head, heart and body by next year. No way is he anywhere near the player or leader that Chism or Prince were. He has played a bunch of minutes over the past two years. It's time to step up.

Chris4Vols22 writes:

Of course the fans see Scotty's potential!! This kid would be absolutely UNSTOPPABLE if he could be even more aggressive and improve his ball handling!! I think he started to get in that mindset, but he needs more guidance. GO VOLS!!

MikeTheTiger writes:

in response to bricker865:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Only ONE TIGER>>>>>LSU. You know the one that has been to the FINAL FOUR TWICE. Get there once and we can talk.

darandkat writes:

in response to bustervols:

Thankx Hoppy.

If you're going to use the "k", then don't use the "x." I think so many times these kids are used to being the focal point at every level and when they arrive at college with the other talented players, it is difficult for them to find a way to insert themselves into games. It takes a very special player to accept that he is no longer the go-to guy. Scotty is only a Soph with, hopefully, two more years to fully develop his game and be a consistent contributor.

TommyJack writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Mike the Tiger is LSU's mascot, a real, live 450 lb Bengal Tiger who lives in a specially designed compound right there on the LSU campus.

Need to report this to PETA.

UTByrd writes:

Scotty,
We were born with the stamina to bear the weight of one day.
We are not made to bear the burdens of days gone by or the ones yet to come.
Learn from yesterday, apply that knowledge today, and plan for tomorrow.
I'm so glad you're coming back. I'm positive you will reach your potential.
Go VOLS!!!!!

kb7398#233189 writes:

This is a non-story...just fodder. Neither Williams or Hopson would've been entering the draft. Hopson could still get himself to the point where he could get drafted, but he's been alarmingly inconsistent...then again the NBA is full of inconsistent players...

hueypilot writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Mike the Tiger is LSU's mascot, a real, live 450 lb Bengal Tiger who lives in a specially designed compound right there on the LSU campus.

So you mean Mike the Tiger actually posted that entry on the computer? Wow!

FeelVol writes:

in response to dirtdobber01:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We must be about the same age dirtdobber,loved those days as well and have to agree with your comments regarding S.H...The problem is he has so much potential if he'd just give the effort I believe his game would come around,I was surprised a few times this year that Coach played him as many minutes because of this very thing.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

All I gotta say is you better come back, get an attitude and put on more weight.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to kb7398#233189:

This is a non-story...just fodder. Neither Williams or Hopson would've been entering the draft. Hopson could still get himself to the point where he could get drafted, but he's been alarmingly inconsistent...then again the NBA is full of inconsistent players...

Lots of guys submit preliminary paperwork to the NBA simply to get feedback about what the real league professional personnel people feel about them. Touted players get so much contradictory feedback about their games that they often don't know who to believe. Even college coaches don't always see the same things in their players that pro coaches see, and college coaches tell players a lot of things for motivation or other reasons that are different from what they really think. Also, players who hear the same things from their coaches day after day sometimes stop paying attention after awhile. If a pro GM tells a player, "You won't be drafted unless you get a lot better at this and that," it tends to carry a bit more weight with a player.

As for Scotty specifically, it seems to me that his biggest single problem is controlling his emotions. As others have pointed out, he gets too high when he does something good and too low when he does something bad. I use the phrase, "playing in his own head"; his attention is too much on his own mental and emotional state and not enough on what the game situation calls for. For many players, this is just a matter of maturity and experience. We all know that Scotty has tremendous potential. We all anxiously await the day he learns to get out of his own way and allow that potential to flourish.

ellerbee123 writes:

We are behind you Scotty. You were a young sophomore. Turn it on big time next season.

LadyVolsEighTimes writes:

in response to FeelVol:

We must be about the same age dirtdobber,loved those days as well and have to agree with your comments regarding S.H...The problem is he has so much potential if he'd just give the effort I believe his game would come around,I was surprised a few times this year that Coach played him as many minutes because of this very thing.

"I can FEEL YA", Scotty has been nothing but a big disappointment! Hopson came to UT as a One and Done!

My feelings, (which are silly and uneducated), Scotty has no heart! Scotty will not hit the floor, Scotty will not scrap!

If he does not pick up his game he will be a UT Junior that declares for the draft and ends up playing in Spain or the Ukrankin.

Maybe there is a rason that so many schools passed on Scotty? If he was half as good as he thought he was great, Mr. Hopson would have a future in the NBA! Right now he is a marginal performer, short streaks at best, and got lucky a few times when the regular season was on.

He is a choke artest. He is a wast of Schollie.

Southland writes:

59% free throws only works if you are 7ft and 300 lbs

richvol writes:

Hopson is saying the right things but it remains to be seen if he follows through on his words. Strength gives you a lot of confidence and as mentioned he and Woolridge need many,many hours in the weight room...Williams too. Brian gets too many shots blocked or knocked out of his hands down low. At 6'10" and 280lbs he should cram the ball and any defenders right through the rim without even slowing down. Brian showed a lot of improvement at tourney time but the three of them still need to man up.

richvol writes:

in response to dirtdobber01:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Exactly...any other coach but Pearl would have benched him for his lazy play.

b16VOLster writes:

Guess the UT - Turkey basketball pipeline will have to wait another year.

HtownVol writes:

Lets be honest. How many times last year did we hear this story from Scotty?

I know he said it at least 5 times. I will step up. I will never understand how a player can have all that talent and be so lazy. The only way he will keep his word is if this summer he is in the gym 99% of his free time and when he is in the gym give 110%.

Practice does not make perfect...
Perfect practice makes perfect.

That needs to be written on Scotty Hopsons head band.

With the talent that we have next year, if SH would take the next step UT will be a Final 4 team.

I really hope that he wakes up ( maybe that missed Free Throw did it??) and sees that he can be a lottery pick next year if he can reach his potential.

Scotty, PLEASE stop saying what you will do and do it,. So far your words mean nothing. If you do not commit your game you will go from lottery pick to a bench warmer.

You a much closer than you think to becoming a role player. The UT fans know that you are not meant to be a role player, you are meant to be the leader of the UT basketball team. And LEAD us to a championship!

peyton4prez writes:

why did he even bother to submitt the paper work. the guy couldn't play in europe. never seen a shooting guard so scared to take an open shot. pathetic.

peyton4prez writes:

dont care if hopson grows wings he will never be a lottery pick HtownVOL

bebecerveza writes:

Didn't know going pro was an option to this guy? Like it or not he is a 5 star 4 year player.

MEISTERJOD writes:

Maybe just as important as missing free throws is missing the guy you are supposed to be guarding.

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