Breakdown of Tennessee basketball players

Scotty Hopson

Good: Stronger with the ball, better shooting touch inside arc, better defensive awareness.

Needs: More defensive intensity, more work on free throws.

Renaldo Woolridge

Good: Playing more physical, appears more intense.

Needs: More work on shooting and ball handling.

Cameron Tatum

Good: Smooth 3-point shot healthier knees, improved quickness.

Needs: Stronger defensive presence, could be more vocal.

Jordan McRae

Good: Tremendous vertical leap and athleticism, high-energy player, strong off the bounce.

Needs: More strength and size, better court awareness, more consistency on 3-point shot and free throws.

Kenny Hall

Good: Strong work ethic and attitude, effective offensive rebounder.

Needs: More strength, better box-out skills, more rebounds out of his area, improvement from free throw line.

Brian Williams

Good: Soft hands, great interior passer, good defensive rebounder.

Needs: More muscle definition, more authoritative presence down low, improvement from free-throw line.

Trae Golden

Good: Explosive to the basket, effective penetrator, good court vision, reliable free-throw shooter, adequate perimeter shot.

Needs: More defensive intensity, better defensive footwork, more accurate passing skills.

Melvin Goins

Good: Strong leadership skills, great ball handler, effective scorer.

Needs: Better court vision, improvement from free-throw line, more consistency on perimeter shots.

Steven Pearl

Good: Aggressive on both ends of the floor, strong, physical defender, improved vertical leap.

Needs: Better free throw shooting, extended shooting range.

Skylar McBee

Good: Improved ball-handling, steady shooter, great court vision and awareness.

Needs: More aggressive approach offensively and defensively.

Josh Bone

Good: Steady perimeter shooter, strong defender.

Needs: Improved penetration, better ball-handling, decision making.

- Mike Griffith

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Comments » 23

Flabbergasted writes:

Tobias Harris better be really, really good. That lineup doesn't look all that great.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

I didn't get up for any of the Rocky Top League games, so I'll take this as accurate. Just glad some teamwork/getting-to-know happened with 2010-11's team.....

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Sounds like a lot of defensive practice is in order!! We need a lot of improvement with the starting 5 to keep up the 20 win seasons string.

HtownVol writes:

No worries. This team will be in te top 15-20 all year. We all know the only big weakness is Big post scoring. BW is our best post player and can hold it down for us. My worry with him is he has never had to play long stretches. He has to do a lot of running to get ready.

I really see us going back to the full court pressure. We have so many athletes on the roster and can rotate 10 players easily and ware down other teams.

Dont worry about Tobias. I have seen him a few times and he scores with ease. If Scotty can live up to his ability and takecharge this team can very well make a final four run. It is really up to Hopson. We need one leader and sure scorer. We have plenty of players that can score, but Scotty needs to be the guy to make a shot (ala Florida).

Tennessee 25 wins, #3 or #4 seed in the tourney.

Oh I have to live up to my rep... Man I hope SP has developed a shot. JK, SP has become a descent role player, whom we need very much (because of his heart and effort). But I honestly do hope he is only needed to perform his role. 5-10 minutes per game. I have no issue with that, I only get worried when he is in for 15-20 minutes. And if we have any more Jan 1 type issues he just may be pushed into that (again).

GO VOLS

tenndave writes:

Rocky top is not about defense. IT is about NBA one on one offensive skills development. BP will handle the D. They will learn it of sit. And I disagree, This lineup looks great. Hold on to your seats. It will be a fast ride.

nola_vol writes:

We always worry about defense after the RockyTopLeague is over--but it simply reveals how necessary team defensive schemes are against quality competition (given the current rules for offensive players).

It's more chess than checkers out there these days, and the ability of a ball-handler to drive to the basket from the wing is determined as much by how the guys in the paint are guarding their guys as how quick-of-foot the immediate defender is.

J.P. Prince's defensive successes came more from his understanding of the game than from his height or wingspan. Our new guys may look impressive in the first several games, but by the time conference play begins, their inexperience will have been exposed.

So let's be ready with some grace and encouragement when our new, young stars-to-be begin their "walk through the valley of the shadow of doubt."

DaddyVol writes:

Aren't there some names missing from the list?

eb502us#225637 writes:

in response to AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons:

I didn't get up for any of the Rocky Top League games, so I'll take this as accurate. Just glad some teamwork/getting-to-know happened with 2010-11's team.....

I didn't go to any games either (live in FL) but I stopped reading after Griffith listed the needs of both Hopson and Woolridge. It's plain as day the man hasn't a clue. Perhaps he should stick to football.

I'm to assume that Hopson all the sudden has a sure handle with the ball in his hands (his biggest weakness last season) and that Woolridge all the sudden has added an inside game to his repertiore and is no longer a one dimensional (3 pt. shot) player?

This is the Rocky Top league we're talking about, where what you see isn't necessarily what you'll get once the season starts. I don't care what they did in this league, both these guys haven't miraculously eliminated their main weaknesses in the 90 days since the season ended. A 5 yr. old could figure that out.

Perhaps one day the KNS will actually hire someone that knows alittle about the sport their writing.

Ironcity writes:

Jordan needs more size? That might be tough to work on. Go Vols

Razor784 writes:

This is only half of the team, where are Harris, Pearl, Bone, and McBee. Come on Griff

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to HtownVol:

No worries. This team will be in te top 15-20 all year. We all know the only big weakness is Big post scoring. BW is our best post player and can hold it down for us. My worry with him is he has never had to play long stretches. He has to do a lot of running to get ready.

I really see us going back to the full court pressure. We have so many athletes on the roster and can rotate 10 players easily and ware down other teams.

Dont worry about Tobias. I have seen him a few times and he scores with ease. If Scotty can live up to his ability and takecharge this team can very well make a final four run. It is really up to Hopson. We need one leader and sure scorer. We have plenty of players that can score, but Scotty needs to be the guy to make a shot (ala Florida).

Tennessee 25 wins, #3 or #4 seed in the tourney.

Oh I have to live up to my rep... Man I hope SP has developed a shot. JK, SP has become a descent role player, whom we need very much (because of his heart and effort). But I honestly do hope he is only needed to perform his role. 5-10 minutes per game. I have no issue with that, I only get worried when he is in for 15-20 minutes. And if we have any more Jan 1 type issues he just may be pushed into that (again).

GO VOLS

I agree with you that this team will be a good one. We have talent, experience, coaching, and tremendous depth. All players have strengths and weaknesses, of course. The RTL gives them the chance to work on their weaknesses and improve their skills, and in an organized setting of competition. These players have four months of further conditioning and Pearl's preseason practices to go yet. I see a very successful season ahead.

I disagree with you about Hopson. He needs to step up his intensity, his production, and his participation on the floor, but he does not need to be a team leader. He's not naturally inclined to be that way, and I think the seniors will assert themselves in that role. It would be great if he wanted to be the straw that stirs the drink, but it isn't necessary.

osbymartin#581730 writes:

in response to DaddyVol:

Aren't there some names missing from the list?

yeah we have more than 8 players..guess he was too tired to do the rest

DandyVol writes:

I saw two of the games this summer. Melvin was awsome with his passing and performed on the receiving side a pass and dunk. I didn't know he could jump that high. Tatem was unbelievable, shooting good and blocking every where. Scotty shot extremely well, but he has a maturity issue as when his team lost, he took off his shirt and threw it on the floor and walked off the court. Brian played fairly good making dunks, running and passing, however he also has some issues. After being blocked and winding up on the floor, he lays there and pouts while the play moves to the other end.
Sorry, I have to call it as I saw it. I know BP won't put up with this. Skylar did not look very good, but Steven was really hustling and was making some shots. Still can't hit a free throw. Trae appeared to be overwhelmed although he did make a couple of threes. Jordan is going to be a great addition to the team. BP will have a tough time keeping him on the bench. Granted, I only saw two games and thus did not see all of our players so the evaluation is based only on what I saw.
Hope thay have a good season.

nitneylion writes:

Don't forget the new grad student.... 6'9" John Fields from UNC Wilmington. He can play defense, rebound and dunk, not much more.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to nitneylion:

Don't forget the new grad student.... 6'9" John Fields from UNC Wilmington. He can play defense, rebound and dunk, not much more.

We don't really need him to do much more than that. One of the only real weaknesses of this upcoming team, aside from inexperience, is lack of depth in the post. With Fields, the team will still have an inside defensive and rebounding presence when Brian sits. If those two rotate every five minutes or so, the post game should be adequate. We weren't going to have a big inside offensive game anyway. If Hall can take it up a notch, we will have enough inside to complement what should be an awesome perimeter and transition game. Fields also brings another five hard fouls inside per game when we play a team with some size.

vol_till_i_die writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Skylar McBee IS a great player, and Steven Pearl has improved a LOT since last year. I would say that you probably haven't even watched them play since last season. They have done great and have been working very hard in the off season to improve.

vol_till_i_die writes:

in response to Flabbergasted:

Tobias Harris better be really, really good. That lineup doesn't look all that great.

The lineup looks GREAT for this year, actually. Everyone has been working really hard to improve their game for this season.

KNSsports (staff) writes:

Pearl, McBee and Bone have been added to the list. They were inadvertently omitted in the editing process.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

what was really funny was all the 'non players' (according to your definition) who where in the NC game last season.

Musta been a fluke, huh.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

Folks, I gotta admit to some worries. This team, to me, seem more like the one from 2 years back, the year just after Chris and Jajuan (and everyone else) left.

Wayne, JP, and Bobby gave us a solid group of smart ballplayers. It also meant we had good kids like Cameron, Josh, and Melvin coming off the bench.

Now, we are looking at rookies for depth and spark. By definition, they WON'T know the system and WON'T play good defense.

So, I see some bumps and bruises.

My hope is that some of the older players coming in can give the new guys a push, and also that Woolridge matures and follows his father's path (his dad really matured and played well his last 2 years, good enough to be an NBA guy).

tmartin writes:

Freshmen better step it up. . . We are in trouble if Scotty is our go to player and Steven and big Brian are seeing significant playing time

johnlg00 writes:

in response to always_vol:

Folks, I gotta admit to some worries. This team, to me, seem more like the one from 2 years back, the year just after Chris and Jajuan (and everyone else) left.

Wayne, JP, and Bobby gave us a solid group of smart ballplayers. It also meant we had good kids like Cameron, Josh, and Melvin coming off the bench.

Now, we are looking at rookies for depth and spark. By definition, they WON'T know the system and WON'T play good defense.

So, I see some bumps and bruises.

My hope is that some of the older players coming in can give the new guys a push, and also that Woolridge matures and follows his father's path (his dad really matured and played well his last 2 years, good enough to be an NBA guy).

Those are certainly reasonable concerns. Any time a team loses three senior starters, it almost automatically means that new leaders have to step up. Unless or until they do, there will be room for a certain healthy concern, but there is enough talent to warrant some cautious optimism, too. As long as these guys find a way to pull together, they should be a lot better at the end of the season than they may be at the beginning.

coxo921 (Inactive) writes:

If you guys read something other than this krapp asss paper you would realize that we also have a transfer from marquette comming in that is a beast as well.

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/20...

Trevor Maymon who Tony Smith had some pretty colorful things to say about in the spring. So with him and Brian Williams as the bruisers and solid point scorers....and Fields and hopefully Hall providing the shot blocking deterent / rebounding. WE have a very solid looking post to go with what will be a very exciting perimeter with SIZE....and you know how important that is not only in BP's system but the later rounds of the NCAA. So just chill and enjoy the fall semester....hopefully the football team will be keeping us delightfully distracted. Jan-Feb and especially March is when this team will shine!

If you want to learn more and read a decent breakdown of players/talent unlike here where you get a few repeative words.....check:

http://www.rockytoptalk.com/2010/5/14...

This paper and its lazy hacks are a pathetic excuse for sports journalism.

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