Pearl 'troubled' by arrests of four players

Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl yells at a nearby official which resulted in a technical foul called against Pearl during the game against ETSU.

Photo by Saul Young

Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl yells at a nearby official which resulted in a technical foul called against Pearl during the game against ETSU.

— The Tennessee men's basketball team opened the New Year with half of the top eight players in its rotation in hot water.

Senior captain Tyler Smith, junior backup post Brian Williams, redshirt sophomore wing Cameron Tatum and junior backup point guard Melvin Goins were arrested Friday on a series of misdemeanor drug and weapons charges after a routine traffic stop late Friday morning.

UT coach Bruce Pearl told the News Sentinel on Friday night that all four players have been suspended and likely will not practice with the team today. It's possible all four will be suspended for at least one game, too.

"I'm deeply saddened and troubled by today's news,'' Pearl said. "Accordingly, I'm suspending Melvin, Cameron, Tyler and Brian pending further information.

"I apologize for the embarrassment this has brought to the university."

Pearl hopes to minimize the net effect of the suspensions on the court as the No. 14 Vols (10-2) prepare for Wednesday's 7 p.m. home game against Charlotte (10-2).

The 49ers handed Louisville coach Rick Pitino his worst home loss with the Cardinals earlier this season, 87-65.

The four suspended players account for 46 percent of the Vols' assists, 42 percent of the team's scoring and 38 percent of UT's rebounding.

Smith, an All-SEC forward, is the most irreplaceable in the group, leading the Vols in minutes played and assists, and ranking second with 11.7 points per game.

Tatum, Williams and Goins each have had key performances and contributions at different times. A slashing wing and streaky 3-point shooter, Tatum had started six games before senior J.P. Prince reclaimed the starting job for the Vols' 66-59 win over Memphis on Thursday.

The 6-foot-10, 278-pound Williams is the biggest player on the team, and he has been a rebounding force playing nearly 17 minutes per game off the bench.

Goins, who transferred from Mt. San Jacinto (Calif.) Junior College last summer, has provided a physical defensive presence at point guard and came up with clutch points in the win over Memphis.

If the players are suspended for the game against Charlotte, Pearl would obviously have to shake up his rotation.

Sophomore Renaldo Woolridge likely would get his first start of the season in place of Smith. Woolridge ranks 10th on the team in minutes played, but his time has increased over the past five games. Pearl likes the athleticism and energy the 6-8 Woolridge plays with, and he has displayed 3-point shooting range.

True freshman Kenny Hall also would likely see a significant increase in minutes played, assuming Williams' role as the backup post. Hall, 6-8, 220, played double-digit minutes the first three games of the season, but an illness limited his playing time into mid-December. Hall is particularly effective on the offensive boards.

Josh Bone, who has sat out a year after transferring from Southern Illinois, could see his first significant minutes backing up starter Bobby Maze at point guard. Bone, 6-3, has played in two games for a total of seven minutes after completing the fall semester and being declared eligible.

Steven Pearl, a 6-5 junior forward, also would see a bigger role in support at the power forward position.

Prince likely will also see minutes at point guard in addition to his time at small forward in the event the four players are suspended for the Charlotte game.

Senior post Wayne Chism, averaging 22 1/2 minutes per game, also would see his minutes increase, spending more time at power forward than he already does.

Both Prince and Chism have proved capable of shouldering the load in the past, and both are coming off one of the finer performances in their careers at Memphis.

The Vols need to regain the momentum they lost with Friday's arrests quickly: No. 1-ranked Kansas (12-0) comes to Thompson-Boling Arena for a Jan. 10 showdown and UT opens the SEC season with a home game against Auburn on Jan. 14.

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Comments » 159

vet4ut writes:

Hopefully Pearl being troubled will lead to a heightened level of discipline for his players.

Ringside writes:

Your program is on thin ice Pearl. Tolerance just hit zero.

rvtnvols writes:

someone better get in control of all of this. What an embarrassment to the University, the other players, supporters, and donors. I will not continue to support players that can not tell the difference between right and wrong. The universtiy comes after the donors for money and we come throught with the support. If this does not change, donations will.

Laydbakvol writes:

Troubled? Deeply saddened? Sounds like the Secretary of State talking about Iran or North Korea's nuclear program. Why not say how you really feel coach? P**sed off! Outraged! Through the roof, unbelievably angry! At least we hope you are.

vet4ut writes:

in response to FreeTDTN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I expect to see you at campus tryouts. I'll know it's you if you're wearing the "little blue headband".

volsoutwest writes:

We may actually become a better team in the long run without these guys. I have been a little disappointed in the play of Smith over the last 2 years and more especially this year. Williams has trouble hitting any shots though he is a decent rebounder. The other 2 guys can be replaced as well. In any case, maybe the remaining team members can use this as motivation, even though it is hard to see any real good in this situation.

Ringside writes:

in response to FreeTDTN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hows he viagra working for you?

vut56#231073 writes:

While it is premature, the comments seem to indicate Pearl and (prehaps) the Admintration see this as only a "disapointment" with a slap on the wrist of a "game or two" suspension.

What a farce! What does it tell the world when we condone behavior such as this? Does not matter what happens in Memphis, the NBA or on the street corner. These thugs are representing our university and if winning a basketball game is more important than the integrity of the school...where have we gone? Prehaps we are there, already.

Puffin' pot and toting heat may be common place but one is more likely to commit felony murder when impaired and carrying a weapon than when sober with an empty holster. So what? The law may say the former is just a misdermeanor but the former leads to the latter.

I would rather see us forfeit the entire season than appear to pamper these non-fine young men.

utfpmd writes:

I, as a donor, am quite "troubled" as well, especially by a mere 1 game suspension.

Drug use, illegal gun possession (Smith's offense having the gun with the serial number removed is a felony) -- Hamilton needs to step up and deal with these thugs if Pearl will not.

mrvica#308650 writes:

As stated in another post, "You can't fix stupid". Since you can't fix it, get rid of it!

utfpmd writes:

in response to vut56#231073:

While it is premature, the comments seem to indicate Pearl and (prehaps) the Admintration see this as only a "disapointment" with a slap on the wrist of a "game or two" suspension.

What a farce! What does it tell the world when we condone behavior such as this? Does not matter what happens in Memphis, the NBA or on the street corner. These thugs are representing our university and if winning a basketball game is more important than the integrity of the school...where have we gone? Prehaps we are there, already.

Puffin' pot and toting heat may be common place but one is more likely to commit felony murder when impaired and carrying a weapon than when sober with an empty holster. So what? The law may say the former is just a misdermeanor but the former leads to the latter.

I would rather see us forfeit the entire season than appear to pamper these non-fine young men.

Well said!

volsoutwest writes:

in response to utfpmd:

I, as a donor, am quite "troubled" as well, especially by a mere 1 game suspension.

Drug use, illegal gun possession (Smith's offense having the gun with the serial number removed is a felony) -- Hamilton needs to step up and deal with these thugs if Pearl will not.

"Ditto"

TommyJack writes:

Bruce, do you ever really TALK to these kids? I mean, advise them what STUPID reall is?

easttnvol21 writes:

1 game suspension???? Are you kidding me?? Boot their asses off the team and play with what you got----if you don't win another game this year big deal. Not very good in the first place.

rootin4volz writes:

The stupidity of these guys, and I don't mean just these four, is astonishing!

FlyFishingVol writes:

Mike Hamilton must march in our out-of-control atheltic programs to access, dicipline and make changes. This damage control will sting in the short run, but necessary for image and ultimate success. One change........look hard at our recruitment criteria, including individual character. Players represent our university to the public.

volnbig11land writes:

Handle it CBP! Innocent until prove guilty, but you have to at least suspend them during the process!!

That means no practice, no games, nothing!!!!

p.s. what a disgrace. Unfortunately, I never cease to amaze at how STUPID young MEN (NOT KIDS) can be.

Guess I'm getting old because the world seems to be going to heck in a hand cart

CrankE writes:

Gump:
Mama always said, "Gangsta is as gangsta does."

volnbig11land writes:

in response to CrankE:

Gump:
Mama always said, "Gangsta is as gangsta does."

Post of the day!

hogan writes:

Possibly suspended for 1 game!!!!!!!! I am totally speach less, they should never be allowed to have any activity with this school what so ever!!!!!

dwolfcreek#397971 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Bruce, do you ever really TALK to these kids? I mean, advise them what STUPID reall is?

ATTACK STUPID WITH STUPID , BRUCE QUALIFIES .

volnbig11land writes:

in response to A_VOICE_RETURNS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So it's ok to drive around with guns and drugs as long as it's not a felony.........

Glad you're not a "brain" donor!

volnbig11land writes:

What say ye naffy about this one?

volnbig11land writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Bruce, do you ever really TALK to these kids? I mean, advise them what STUPID reall is?

I always like your posts TJ, but gotta point out that it's not CBP job to RAISE the kids.

Comes DIRECTLY back on the parents (or lack thereof)......

GerryOP writes:

If nothing else, they should be suspended for a game for being stupid. Really, doing 80 in 40 while drinkin', puffin', and totin' is dumb.

volnbig11land writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I understand your intent, but don't blame UT.

This type of phooey started when they were little and far removed from UT!

TkelynN writes:

I recommend a 4-step program...
Step 1: Kick off team & out of university
Step 2: Public apology
Step 3: Payback scholarship used & forfeit remainder
Step 4: wash hands!

Mikeah writes:

Character character character. We have to recruit young men that have character and deserve to attend and graduate from a great school like the University of Tennessee. As an Alumni I'm ashamed and don't want to be associated with young men like these even if we go 0 - 28.

NobodyCares (Inactive) writes:

in response to listentothemusic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Oh geeze, here come the Gata trolls. This is really special, UFelons trying to portray UT as thugs! LOL!

martinvol34 writes:

in response to vet4ut:

Hopefully Pearl being troubled will lead to a heightened level of discipline for his players.

You took the words right out of my mouth with that comment. It is all about the coach and whether the kid's fear him. It's obvious that Pearl rules with a loose rod. How many times did it take for Ramar Smith to be axed? And anyone that didn't know that Tyler was a weed head obviously has his head where the sun only shines when you're tanning on your stomach. His eyes have permanent spots from the constant eye drops and his lips are black.

I am still a CBP fan and think that he has done wonders for TN men's basketball, but coaching has to be like parenting. I have never coached, but I know that my son knows that drugs are not allowed. There will be no rehab and I will be the first one in court telling the judge to lock him up.

MBEACHVOL writes:

in response to volsoutwest:

We may actually become a better team in the long run without these guys. I have been a little disappointed in the play of Smith over the last 2 years and more especially this year. Williams has trouble hitting any shots though he is a decent rebounder. The other 2 guys can be replaced as well. In any case, maybe the remaining team members can use this as motivation, even though it is hard to see any real good in this situation.

I don't know that we will be better, but I don't think it will hurt us that much. As uninspired as Tyler has played I am with you on the disappointment. This team is a carbon copy of last years, and without some kind of shake up would have most likely lost in the first or second round of NCAA's. Maybe now we will not just step on the floor and expect the other team to lay down for our unfounded NBA abilities.

WytheVol writes:

in response to vut56#231073:

While it is premature, the comments seem to indicate Pearl and (prehaps) the Admintration see this as only a "disapointment" with a slap on the wrist of a "game or two" suspension.

What a farce! What does it tell the world when we condone behavior such as this? Does not matter what happens in Memphis, the NBA or on the street corner. These thugs are representing our university and if winning a basketball game is more important than the integrity of the school...where have we gone? Prehaps we are there, already.

Puffin' pot and toting heat may be common place but one is more likely to commit felony murder when impaired and carrying a weapon than when sober with an empty holster. So what? The law may say the former is just a misdermeanor but the former leads to the latter.

I would rather see us forfeit the entire season than appear to pamper these non-fine young men.

Well said. Particularly the last statement!

DaveVol writes:

Incredibly disappointed. I have often wondered why Tyler's performance has been poor this season...maybe we know. If he is a senior leader he needs to go. Sounds like all of them are guilty and need to go. Remove these and other bad apples, so that the good ones stay GOOD. Are we forced to take guys with marginal character to compete? I am so disappointed in Tyler, particularly about his dad and the circumstances that got Tyler at UT. I don't expect these guys to be angels. I am really angry over this.

vol98champ writes:

I once thought that I would like to be a college coach. That was when a can of beer was about the worse thing you found in a young person's car. No amount of money is worth the grief these idiots cause today. Speeding, liquor, weed, guns, sheer stupidity, and illegality. What do you do? I really don't know the perfect answer, but a start would be Pat's rule. If you have a tramp stamp it better be covered with clothes. I have wondered. Surely Pearl has wondered. Smith is no where near the player he was as a sophomore. Williams looks lost when he does anything but rebound, Tatum is a totally different player than he was a year ago, and Maze isn't the player he was touted to be when recruited. Will we be worse without them? Probably. Can they be rehabilitated? Maybe. Can UT sports thrive with this happening? NO.

chazz25 writes:

get rid of all 4......nuff said

bigorangeskrew writes:

in response to FreeTDTN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You should take the viagra before the game--it might help your press defense. Give them the big orange skrew!

richvol writes:

Pearl is troubled? Let me tell you what troubles me. Pearl chose Tyler to be the captain and leader of this team and just where did he lead them? To guns,drugs,alcohol and driving double the speed limit after one of the teams signature wins. Hey boys...this is how we celebrate at Tennessee.

What is doubly dissapointing is Pearl having no better judgement than to place the mantel of leadership on an idiot that has no sense of propriety about what constitutes a leader. This is the appointed LEADER of the Tennessee men's basketball team not only approving of these actions but leading them.

There is a culture of permissiveness that has existed at UT athletics that is far beyond just now becomming a problem...it has existed for years.

My kids are grown but I have a grandchild that will NEVER have me take him to a UT sporting event if Hamilton doesn't do something to immediately clean up this mess. The ATTITUDE that allows this to be played out by the schools premiere athletes after a big game is beyond explanation and excuse.

gbeejr#1354500 writes:

BP has to get all the facts first but when he does I think it will be "hammer time". What possible excuse can their be for driving around smoking dope and packing heat? I'm going to Memphis to see my auntie?? Or, let's go to the KFC and check out the new grilled chicken receipe?? I'm a big Tyler Smith fan and am terribly disappointed in him - he knows better. We'll struggle without these players, but if we have to depend on arguably the worst bb player in Division 1 basketball (Steven Pearl), then God help us!

TommyJack writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think he was talking about relative tupidity, BB. And they ARE relatively tupid. If Bruce doesn't get a handle on this thing, it's gonna get away from him.

FWBVol writes:

I wish that Bruce Pearl was more than troubled by this fiasco. I would like to know that he is angry, outraged and that he's had enough. This is the second or third incident involving basketball players and drugs in the last year or two.

As others have stated, these players represent the University of Tennessee and Mike Hamilton, Bruce Pearl, all the coaches and the others in authority must put an end to this type of behavior.

Three strikes and you're out in baseball is a nice rule, but the punishment needs to fit the offense and this is a pretty bad offense involving guns and drugs whether it's a felony or misdemeanor.

Bring in the character kids and winning will take care of itself.

UKblue02 writes:

Sad news indeed, i hate to hear about young people who have the chance to make a better life for themselves thru sports make such silly decisions. I was looking forward to the UK/UT rivalry going to the next level this year, but it remains to be seen how the rest of your team responds, hopefully this will make the team pull together and be stronger and play better. Good Luck UT fans.

1vavolfan writes:

You guys need to stop kidding yourself. This is big time college basketball. It is a multi million dollar business. This is a misdemeanor and you don't throw a first team All SEC player off the team for that. I'm not saying I agree, I'm just saying that's the way it is.

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to Laydbakvol:

Troubled? Deeply saddened? Sounds like the Secretary of State talking about Iran or North Korea's nuclear program. Why not say how you really feel coach? P**sed off! Outraged! Through the roof, unbelievably angry! At least we hope you are.

i agree---I'm disappointed i that comment truely represents the extent of his true feelings over this---lets hope not

newportvol writes:

If these 4 guys are in the lineup for Kansas.. Should we as Tn fans/ supporters.. Boycott or should we still support the guys that are clean and playing?

Homermoosevols writes:

Cut off the head and the body will die. Hamilton being the head. Hamilton you need to get every single UT Athlete in Thompson Boling Arena and lay down the law. EVERY SINGLE ATHLETE, COACH, TRAINER, CHEERLEADER, GRAD. STUDENT, anyone involved in a sport. You need to put an end to this now! I will no longer support the new U! This is the University of Tennessee not Sing Sing! Get this together now. Not tomorrow not next week. TODAY DAmmmmN IT!

NashvilleVolsincebirth writes:

I know a lot of people on here just hate weed/pot but there is a whole culture of society interested in the stuff. Not only is it being legalized all over the world and many places in the USA it has been recently shown to make your brain cells GROW FASTER. Apparently stupid people need it and a lot of athletes are STUPID! I worry more about drinking really. But the driving fast, partying and having a gun without a permit are asking for suspensions. If we want to understand these kids we have got to draw the line at violence but with the whole planet rethinking weed smoking, we need to back off and study our own reactions to this concept. Besides, how many of our college buddies 'hopped' up on weed ever did anything violent? No way they should be playing basketball AND smoking anything but Basketball players have pretty much done that since the 50's and governments are starting to understand that victimless crimes are really unconstitutional. We have loaded up the jail with drug users and yet they still come. They let out the thugs who are violent so they can keep pot heads in. Talk about mixed up priorities. It is 2010 people, wake up and be free. Realize that freedom means some people will stink in your estimation but as long as they do not hurt you or me in the process it should be none of your or my business. I voted for Ron Paul because I realize that freedom is a high price to pay and failure to demand it is how we get Nazi's running our government! Please, consider what freedom really is before you condemn these kids too immature to be considered adults just yet. Support Bruce and these 4, it could be your kid or a neighborhood kid you know next time. Punish them , yes, but if Bruce goes overboard over their stupidity we could lose future prospects. He has to be considerate of the talent pools perception of these lifestyle choices. NOBODY wants a thug, but kids make mistakes. They did not pull the gun on someone and demand money. It is a fact that one of them had it or we would not be discussing it. The only thing Bruce can do is give them tough love, but not so tough they are thrown under the bus.

10SE writes:

I am still trying to figure out what warrants all of the recognition for Tyler???? He has not played to the potential of an All SEC and potential NBA player. Now we know what kind of leader he is. I say we get rid of all of them. We have got to make a stand. The press we have been getting lately is killing what is left of our integrity.

kd45music writes:

Give these morons their day in court and then dismiss them from the university. I'm totally fed up with this kind of bullcrap! It's student-athlete, not athlete-non-student. And don't tell me running a decent program can't be done - you don't see any of this going on in Pat Summit's teams and look at the success of that program.

MBEACHVOL writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

You guys need to stop kidding yourself. This is big time college basketball. It is a multi million dollar business. This is a misdemeanor and you don't throw a first team All SEC player off the team for that. I'm not saying I agree, I'm just saying that's the way it is.

I agree with what you are saying, but I have watched or been to almost every game this year and I have not seen a first team all SEC player on the floor.

volinflorida2 writes:

Look on the bright side. This could help recruiting. An immediate chance to play with several players in jail!

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