Undrafted Vols seek alternate paths to NBA

It's time to explore options

Things are moving fast for the departing Tennessee basketball players who weren’t selected in Thursday night’s NBA draft.

“I remember talking with my agent as soon as the draft was over, and he was making calls and looking for deals,’’ said former UT player C.J. Watson, who worked his way into the NBA through stints in Europe and the NBA D-League after not getting drafted in 2006. “It’s both a hard time and an exciting time, but more hard because you still don’t know for sure what’s going to happen.

“You just have to be confident in your abilities, and try to go out and work hard to get the respect you deserve.’’

None of the Vols eligible for Thursday night’s draft — Wayne Chism, J.P. Prince, Tyler Smith and Bobby Maze — were selected.

They worked hard over their careers to help establish the UT program. Now, it’s about establishing themselves in the pro ranks, stateside or overseas.

Only six UT players have been drafted during the past 22 years, since the NBA went to its current two-round format in 1989. Watson is the only former Vol currently in the league.

Marcus Haislip and Vincent Yarbrough were the most recent Tennessee players drafted, in 2002, with Haislip going in the first round (13th overall) to Milwaukee and Yarbrough selected in the second round by Denver.

“You look at what some of the teams Tennessee has beat are putting into the NBA, and (Coach) Bruce (Pearl) has done a helluva job there,’’ said one NBA scout.

But there’s not much more Pearl can do for his departing seniors; it’s in the hands of the players’ representatives to find the best deals.

Jared Karnes, a former Bearden High School basketball standout who represents Chism and Smith with the a3 sports agency, planned on working the phones late Thursday night and into the early hours of Friday morning in the event neither was selected.

“The (NBA) summer leagues get filled up right after the draft, so it will be a long night,’’ Karnes said prior to the draft. “Players like the warm, fuzzy feeling associated with hearing their name announced (at the NBA draft). They’ve dreamed about that moment their whole lives.

“But you’ve also got to realize there are a lot of paths that can get you into the NBA.’’

Watson was cut by San Antonio after signing a free-agent deal out of UT and went to play in Italy, Greece and eventually the NBA D-League before the Warriors signed him in January of 2008.

The current crop of outgoing Vols face more of a challenge out of the gate.

Karnes explained that the possibility of an NBA lockout — the collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2010-11 season — has led to a frenzy of sorts, with more young players entering the draft than normal.

“So while you look for an (NBA) free-agent deal, trying to get your player into a good summer league position to make a team camp, you realize that some spots overseas are being filled, too,’’ Karnes said. “You don’t want to miss a good opportunity there.’’

Chism, Smith, Prince and Maze could make six figures playing overseas, but not all leagues are created equally, and money isn’t the sole factor to be considered.

Former UT star Chris Lofton plays in Spain’s ACB League, which is generally regarded as Europe’s best.

Other top leagues in Europe include Lega Basket Serie A (Italy’s top league), as well as the leagues in Greece, Turkey and the Russian Superleague.

After that, it’s Germany, Belgium, Japan, China and Korea, among others.

“I’d like to keep my guys in the traditionally visible, high-level European leagues,’’ Karnes said. “I feel more comfortable placing them where it is easier for them to adapt; I know Chris Lofton really likes Madrid.

“With Wayne and Tyler both NBA-caliber players, I prefer to shop them to premier and valued leagues where they aren’t out-of-sight, out-of-mind.’’

Both Chism and Smith already have six-figure deals on the table from European teams, according to Karnes, and Chism had a provisional summer-league offer from an NBA team before the draft started.

The NBA D-League is another option, but it’s not without risks.

“The advantage is you stay stateside and you can get called up within 24 to 48 hours with no buyout,’’ Karnes said. “But the money is drastically lower.’’

Only a handful of NBA D-League players approach making six figures, with many making less than a quarter of that.

John Prince, a former collegiate coach, said there wasn’t any firm contingency plan in place for his son, J.P., going into Thursday night.

“We’re prepared to sit down after the dust clears and help J.P. make the best decision for his future,’’ the elder Prince said. “His goal, of course, is to play in the NBA. But you have to be realistic about your decisions. This is about money, and your future, and how you’re able to provide for yourself.’’

“You only have so much of a shelf life.’’

Pearl believes one or more of the most recently departed Vols will find their way to the NBA.

“Not getting picked in the draft isn’t the end of the world,’’ Pearl said. “It’s not devastating, because through other channels of free agency and other teams you can make it into the NBA.

“But if a couple or a few of them aren’t playing in the NBA in the next year or two, it would be disappointing.’’

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Comments » 91

Fryinpansvols writes:

I think teams would be silly not to look at any of the four players. Tyler and Wayne I think have the best shot to get the league within the next year. JP is very athletic and Bobby handles the rock well. Good luck guys and GBO!

GerryOP writes:

Interesting. Our '09-'10 basketVols had 3 seniors, none of them drafted, yet Bruce Pearl led them to the Elite 8. Any questions about Pearl's coaching ability? And, oh yeah, don't forget about that little incident 1/1/10 with the 4th guy ... and Pearl still took them to the Elite 8.

ATH writes:

Yet another year without any Vols being drafted. Some things never change. Bruce simply can't develop talent. Chism and Smith are just the latest two to learn this fact. Hopson will eventually learn this, and if Harris stays more than one season, he'll learn it, too. Your coach may or may not be able to "coach;" that's debatable. What isn't debatable is the simple fact that he can't get kids to the league, and that will prevent Tennessee from bringing in the top kids as this trend continues.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to ATH:

Yet another year without any Vols being drafted. Some things never change. Bruce simply can't develop talent. Chism and Smith are just the latest two to learn this fact. Hopson will eventually learn this, and if Harris stays more than one season, he'll learn it, too. Your coach may or may not be able to "coach;" that's debatable. What isn't debatable is the simple fact that he can't get kids to the league, and that will prevent Tennessee from bringing in the top kids as this trend continues.

I believe, with all sincerity, you are the biggest dumba## ever to hit these boards.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

Sad to say no surprise. There is just SO much talent out there, and these guys are all 'bit' players as far as the NBA is concerned:
-Wayne, too short for a post, too slow for a wing
-Tyler, can't shoot the 3
-JP, can't shoot, period
-Bobby, not really even a contender

If these guys are smart, they will go to Europe and enjoy themselves. You only get to be young once, and to be young in Europe with some money...not a a bad gig.

After that, they can be working stiffs like the rest of us.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

You look at the teams we've beaten over the past few years: Memphis, UF, UK, Kansas, Texas....

it is just damned amazing when you look at what little real talent we have had. good players, sure, but not like these other schools have had.

ATH writes:

in response to always_vol:

I believe, with all sincerity, you are the biggest dumba## ever to hit these boards.

Wow. After one comment? Really? I've read some of the comments on this site before, and it's amazing that some readers were even able to graduate high school.

That being said, I'll concede that I'm not the smartest person to read this site; however, that doesn't change the fact that I'm right. Or the fact that you know it.

osbymartin#581730 writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

says the guy who cheers for the team that had 5 first round picks thats right 5 and got beaten pretty soundly by WVU and yet again failed to make the Final Four with 5 first round picks on the team!! LOL...its all in good fun! but there are at least 5 or 6 coaches that would have won it all with that talent and none of them are named John Calipari

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to ATH:

Wow. After one comment? Really? I've read some of the comments on this site before, and it's amazing that some readers were even able to graduate high school.

That being said, I'll concede that I'm not the smartest person to read this site; however, that doesn't change the fact that I'm right. Or the fact that you know it.

People are 'right' that the earth is flat...from a point of view.

To criticize a coach for not developing average players into NBA draft picks....pretty big stretch.

Yeah, I took the bait, but unwarranted criticism bugs the hell out of me sometimes.

ATH writes:

in response to always_vol:

People are 'right' that the earth is flat...from a point of view.

To criticize a coach for not developing average players into NBA draft picks....pretty big stretch.

Yeah, I took the bait, but unwarranted criticism bugs the hell out of me sometimes.

I agree that all 4 Tennessee seniors were average players, with Maze and Prince bordering on below-average. However, how do you explain that Smith and Chism had a better chance to get drafted a few years ago, but their stock went down by staying at Tennessee? Or Lofton? Or that Hopson is looking dead in the face at being picked in the second round of 2011, if he's lucky?

It's pretty evident that the longer you play for Bruce Pearl, the worse off your NBA career will be. Any "dumba##" can see that.

osbymartin#581730 writes:

in response to ATH:

I agree that all 4 Tennessee seniors were average players, with Maze and Prince bordering on below-average. However, how do you explain that Smith and Chism had a better chance to get drafted a few years ago, but their stock went down by staying at Tennessee? Or Lofton? Or that Hopson is looking dead in the face at being picked in the second round of 2011, if he's lucky?

It's pretty evident that the longer you play for Bruce Pearl, the worse off your NBA career will be. Any "dumba##" can see that.

Smith shot himself in the foot after 1/1..if he had stayed out of trouble he may/may not have been drafted..Lofton's size and health were the issues with the NBA..it wasn't his development as a player. Some coaches do less with more..all we have to do is look at some boys in blue to see that...those 5 players would have been 1st rd. picks anywhere..2 of them would have never stepped on a college campus if not for the one yr NBA rule. And you just kinda fed our arguement that he can coach because you admitted that 2 srs were avg and 2 borderlined on below-average yet we were a basket away from the Final Four! Mighty UNC didn't make the tourney, KU fell in the second rd, WVU handed it to UK just to name a few teams that had above avg to great players..

osbymartin#581730 writes:

in response to ATH:

I agree that all 4 Tennessee seniors were average players, with Maze and Prince bordering on below-average. However, how do you explain that Smith and Chism had a better chance to get drafted a few years ago, but their stock went down by staying at Tennessee? Or Lofton? Or that Hopson is looking dead in the face at being picked in the second round of 2011, if he's lucky?

It's pretty evident that the longer you play for Bruce Pearl, the worse off your NBA career will be. Any "dumba##" can see that.

And WHO said that their stock went down by staying at UT? I know that we all have opinions but that doesn't make them fact...you have your opinion which is fine...

dbc5361 writes:

in response to always_vol:

You look at the teams we've beaten over the past few years: Memphis, UF, UK, Kansas, Texas....

it is just damned amazing when you look at what little real talent we have had. good players, sure, but not like these other schools have had.

And Vandy had even less talent and beat the Vols by a combined 30 points last season so what is your point? Oh yeah, that was in the "Fire Bruce Pearl month" that comes around yearly from the "knowledgeable" Vol fans. . Rinse, Repeat in 2011.

ATH writes:

in response to osbymartin#581730:

Smith shot himself in the foot after 1/1..if he had stayed out of trouble he may/may not have been drafted..Lofton's size and health were the issues with the NBA..it wasn't his development as a player. Some coaches do less with more..all we have to do is look at some boys in blue to see that...those 5 players would have been 1st rd. picks anywhere..2 of them would have never stepped on a college campus if not for the one yr NBA rule. And you just kinda fed our arguement that he can coach because you admitted that 2 srs were avg and 2 borderlined on below-average yet we were a basket away from the Final Four! Mighty UNC didn't make the tourney, KU fell in the second rd, WVU handed it to UK just to name a few teams that had above avg to great players..

No, it was Lofton's development (or lack thereof) as a player that cost him an NBA contract. Had he declared after his junior season (before his health issues were made public), all of the mock drafts had him as a potential lottery pick. While I admire him for not using cancer as an excuse for a disappointing finish, that is absolutely NOT the reason he went undrafted. He came back and played a year too long under Pearl.

And you're kidding yourself if you think that Tyler Smith was getting drafted after this season, regardless of his gun possession. He sealed his own fate by coming back two seasons ago. He should have left after his sophomore year, when he, too, was projected as a late first-round pick. Thus, his stock plummeted after he came back, and his off-the-court issues had absolutely nothing to do with it.

And, if you read my earlier comments, which may be a rather difficult task for you considering the dribble contained in your previous comment, I was simply making the point that Pearl cannot develop players and get them to the NBA. You may be correct - that he can "do less with more" - but that won't get elite players to come play at Tennessee. As this becomes more and more clear, the elite high school kids will simply go elsewhere so they can get to the NBA. That's ultimately what they care about, and Pearl cannot help to advance that dream. He can, however, do a lot to derail it.

ATH writes:

in response to osbymartin#581730:

And WHO said that their stock went down by staying at UT? I know that we all have opinions but that doesn't make them fact...you have your opinion which is fine...

Uh, every mock draft had Lofton, Chism, and Smith listed on their boards earlier in their respective careers. They all stayed too long and went undrafted. That's "WHO."

ArealVolFan writes:

Lofton was far more developed his senior season skill wise, than when Pearl first got there. Much better around the rim and as a defender. Two things kept him from being able to land in the NBA straight out...height and his cancer. Don't be a tool and act like Chris Lofton didn't improve in his time with Bruce. Also, Wayne and JP have both improved since their first years here. Fact. Both also have physical and technical limitations that will keep them out of the league for a time. The one player I can say really has never improved was T. Smith. And the jury is still out on Hopson. Acting like Wayne, JP, or Lofton didn't improve is down right dumb though. A couple of years ago the only one slated to be drafted was Tyler Smith.

osbymartin#581730 writes:

in response to ATH:

No, it was Lofton's development (or lack thereof) as a player that cost him an NBA contract. Had he declared after his junior season (before his health issues were made public), all of the mock drafts had him as a potential lottery pick. While I admire him for not using cancer as an excuse for a disappointing finish, that is absolutely NOT the reason he went undrafted. He came back and played a year too long under Pearl.

And you're kidding yourself if you think that Tyler Smith was getting drafted after this season, regardless of his gun possession. He sealed his own fate by coming back two seasons ago. He should have left after his sophomore year, when he, too, was projected as a late first-round pick. Thus, his stock plummeted after he came back, and his off-the-court issues had absolutely nothing to do with it.

And, if you read my earlier comments, which may be a rather difficult task for you considering the dribble contained in your previous comment, I was simply making the point that Pearl cannot develop players and get them to the NBA. You may be correct - that he can "do less with more" - but that won't get elite players to come play at Tennessee. As this becomes more and more clear, the elite high school kids will simply go elsewhere so they can get to the NBA. That's ultimately what they care about, and Pearl cannot help to advance that dream. He can, however, do a lot to derail it.

I am so sorry..I didn't mean to question your vast knowledge of why they didn't get drafted..because of course you were in all the GMs offices while they were evaluating the reasons why they weren't developed in college. Can I please see all these mock drafts and projections that you are using in your arguement.....it is absolutely easy to say this one and that one was projected to be a lottery pick or a late first round pick but their coach cost them that potential spot. Can you explain why 3 player of the year candidates went undrafted? Sharron Collins, Scottie Reynolds, Jon Scheyer....I'm sure from your vast knowledge of the reasons players aren't drafted that you can answer that one as well..

mcgink2 writes:

For all you posters complaining about CBP because players didn't get drafted, I personally don't care as long as the VOLS ARE WINNING. Are you more concerned about winning or getting players drafted? Do you get a bigger thrill by watching the NBA draft or watching our Vols team play? Having players drafted (aka, Haislip and Yarbrough) sure didn't equate to success for the Vols program in the past, and it sure didn't equate to success for Kentucky this year either...

uwishuwereassmartasme (Inactive) writes:

in response to ATH:

Yet another year without any Vols being drafted. Some things never change. Bruce simply can't develop talent. Chism and Smith are just the latest two to learn this fact. Hopson will eventually learn this, and if Harris stays more than one season, he'll learn it, too. Your coach may or may not be able to "coach;" that's debatable. What isn't debatable is the simple fact that he can't get kids to the league, and that will prevent Tennessee from bringing in the top kids as this trend continues.

Pearl can't develop talent? That's too bad. I guess that Vol fans will have to settle for kicking KY and Florida' rears every year.

I wish that idiots like you would realize that the coach's job is to win games.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I thought you were going to say there's always X-Box.

VOLinDAWGland writes:

in response to ATH:

Yet another year without any Vols being drafted. Some things never change. Bruce simply can't develop talent. Chism and Smith are just the latest two to learn this fact. Hopson will eventually learn this, and if Harris stays more than one season, he'll learn it, too. Your coach may or may not be able to "coach;" that's debatable. What isn't debatable is the simple fact that he can't get kids to the league, and that will prevent Tennessee from bringing in the top kids as this trend continues.

It has more to do with NBA politics and network than Pearl. The perennially strong programs like Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, UNC have been successful for so long that the NBA is stocked with current and former players on the court and in the front offices and they choose their own in huge numbers. UT hasn't been a factor for a long time so we don't have the inside pull that these other power schools have.

Slystone writes:

in response to ATH:

No, it was Lofton's development (or lack thereof) as a player that cost him an NBA contract. Had he declared after his junior season (before his health issues were made public), all of the mock drafts had him as a potential lottery pick. While I admire him for not using cancer as an excuse for a disappointing finish, that is absolutely NOT the reason he went undrafted. He came back and played a year too long under Pearl.

And you're kidding yourself if you think that Tyler Smith was getting drafted after this season, regardless of his gun possession. He sealed his own fate by coming back two seasons ago. He should have left after his sophomore year, when he, too, was projected as a late first-round pick. Thus, his stock plummeted after he came back, and his off-the-court issues had absolutely nothing to do with it.

And, if you read my earlier comments, which may be a rather difficult task for you considering the dribble contained in your previous comment, I was simply making the point that Pearl cannot develop players and get them to the NBA. You may be correct - that he can "do less with more" - but that won't get elite players to come play at Tennessee. As this becomes more and more clear, the elite high school kids will simply go elsewhere so they can get to the NBA. That's ultimately what they care about, and Pearl cannot help to advance that dream. He can, however, do a lot to derail it.

Your comments are on point and what many say OUTSIDE the Big Orange circle.

77VolFS writes:

in response to ATH:

I agree that all 4 Tennessee seniors were average players, with Maze and Prince bordering on below-average. However, how do you explain that Smith and Chism had a better chance to get drafted a few years ago, but their stock went down by staying at Tennessee? Or Lofton? Or that Hopson is looking dead in the face at being picked in the second round of 2011, if he's lucky?

It's pretty evident that the longer you play for Bruce Pearl, the worse off your NBA career will be. Any "dumba##" can see that.

Sorry ATH, the issue of NBA draft stock going down the longer you stay in school for most players is not a CBP issue, it's a NBA reality. A big topic for ESPN talking heads last night during the draft was when a college senior would finally be drafted - ended up I believe 25th in the first round which approx. doubled the previous record. They clearly spoke of a trend where teams would rather draft a younger kid with upside. No ATH, what last night's draft reminded me was how great CBP is as a Coach. Someone who can take no draft-ready players and beat #1 Kentucky who set a record with 5 first round picks. Someone who can take 6 remaining scholarship players with some walk-ons and beat #1 Kansas with 2 first round picks and a returning All-American (Collins) who didn't get drafted. Now that is a Coach. And don't kid yourself, it takes time to build a house. CBP is now starting to build consistency of winning and recruiting in a program that is becoming nationally known. Success breeds success - just enjoy the ride and keep the number of "dumba##" posts to a minimum.

77VolFS writes:

in response to listentothemusic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LOL, that's good music - Coach Cal took 5 raw kids that had no skills and developed them into NBA first round picks in a year. LOL !!! I'm sure they went to UK for their undergrad program in Political Science or something until Coach Cal changed everything. Amazing! LOL !!! If kids weren't forced to go to at least one year of college, then how many did he develop? Patterson's stock went down the longer he stayed. I'll agree with anyone that says Coach Cal can sell ice to an Eskimo, but don't try to pass off on anyone that line about Coach Cal developing talent. You crack me up, man. LOL !!!

hillsborovol writes:

in response to ATH:

Uh, every mock draft had Lofton, Chism, and Smith listed on their boards earlier in their respective careers. They all stayed too long and went undrafted. That's "WHO."

ATH...Every mock draft had Chism listed???? You mean some mock drafts had Chism listed. This was even true this year. Chism's problem has to do with his size and lack of vertical leap. I suppose Coach Pearl is the culprit for these issues. I also suppose you are also blaming Pearl for Lofton's cancer which is the primary reason for his stock falling between Jr and Sr years. As for Smith, Pearl is to blame for the Jan 1 incident which cost him dearly in the draft.

So, Pearl failed to get a player drafted in the NBA from his FIRST recruiting class. A bit early to determine what he can or can't do, don't you think? Maybe you'd rather have Coach Cal who had 5 drafted in the first round, yet failed to advance any further than Tennessee who had none.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Varnado and Orten taken over Chism is questionable.Anybody with eyes saw Wayne make some unbelievable baskets off the dribble that Orten couldn't even think of doing..A lot of great players weren't taken like Sherron Collins(probably the most clutch shooters Ive seen in years)) Scheyer((led Duke to NC));Tasmin Mitchell LSU;;Raymar Morgan Mich.St; Dyson UCONN; Bouldin Gonzaga

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to ATH:

Uh, every mock draft had Lofton, Chism, and Smith listed on their boards earlier in their respective careers. They all stayed too long and went undrafted. That's "WHO."

Micheal Beasley left early and went to the Heat; He just went on record saying it was the worst mistake of his life..He hates NBA life and the Heat have grown tired of his BS and lack of production; He got the money but it didn't buy him happiness; Soon to be traded for more misery..

voiceofreason writes:

college basketball is a team game and the NBA is a game of individuals with the exception of the Lakers and Celtics. Pearl is a great developer of teams, which most of the time means a very talented player or two doesn't get to shine as much so that the team can win more. The classic example - Did Duke have more talented players than Kentucky this year? Who would you rather have coaching your college team - Coach K or the crook in Lexington?

nonewsisgoodnews writes:

It is staggering the few players that actually get a shot at the NBA. If these guys can make a few bucks in Europe, they should do so. They're career will be similar to strippers, child actors and actresses. Get the money now, if it's there.

Sure hope they got that piece of paper for which they were all given scholarships to UT.

Tenn_Dawg writes:

I was surprised that at least one did not get drafted as well. All this talk about BP not being a good coach is just plain dumb given his stellar record at UT so far. Personally...his style is not my favorite but his coaching is very good.

I agree with the poster above that playing in Europe making six figures is not a bad deal at all. If they are smart they will save most of their money while doing so and come back state side with a pockets full of money, culturally minded and many good memories.

MBEACHVOL writes:

in response to always_vol:

I believe, with all sincerity, you are the biggest dumba## ever to hit these boards.

untamed - I concur

arkyvol writes:

in response to always_vol:

I believe, with all sincerity, you are the biggest dumba## ever to hit these boards.

amen!

orangecountyvols writes:

ATH aka "Always the hallucinator"

8ball writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Southland writes:

in response to ATH:

Yet another year without any Vols being drafted. Some things never change. Bruce simply can't develop talent. Chism and Smith are just the latest two to learn this fact. Hopson will eventually learn this, and if Harris stays more than one season, he'll learn it, too. Your coach may or may not be able to "coach;" that's debatable. What isn't debatable is the simple fact that he can't get kids to the league, and that will prevent Tennessee from bringing in the top kids as this trend continues.

you must be a Kentucky fan. What an idiot you are.

Colliervol writes:

in response to ATH:

No, it was Lofton's development (or lack thereof) as a player that cost him an NBA contract. Had he declared after his junior season (before his health issues were made public), all of the mock drafts had him as a potential lottery pick. While I admire him for not using cancer as an excuse for a disappointing finish, that is absolutely NOT the reason he went undrafted. He came back and played a year too long under Pearl.

And you're kidding yourself if you think that Tyler Smith was getting drafted after this season, regardless of his gun possession. He sealed his own fate by coming back two seasons ago. He should have left after his sophomore year, when he, too, was projected as a late first-round pick. Thus, his stock plummeted after he came back, and his off-the-court issues had absolutely nothing to do with it.

And, if you read my earlier comments, which may be a rather difficult task for you considering the dribble contained in your previous comment, I was simply making the point that Pearl cannot develop players and get them to the NBA. You may be correct - that he can "do less with more" - but that won't get elite players to come play at Tennessee. As this becomes more and more clear, the elite high school kids will simply go elsewhere so they can get to the NBA. That's ultimately what they care about, and Pearl cannot help to advance that dream. He can, however, do a lot to derail it.

I guess, in your definition, then Tom Izzo isn't very good either. (I don't see loads of Michigan State players in the draft every year, do you?) It boils down to whether you want a great coach or a great recruiter because it is rare that you get both. You think that Calipari "developed" those 5 kids in their one year at Kentucky? Please. No question that he is the best recruiter in the country but those 5 are no different now than when they came out of high school. (His recruiting "methods" are subject to debate but that's a separate subject.) I agree that Bruce may not get the "elite" ones but I don't really care. The "elite" recruits are only going to stick around for one year and I don't care if we get those players anyway. As somebody put it earlier, what Pearl did is take a bunch of "bit" players and turned them into a team that can beat teams that have "elite" players. And that, my friend, is the sign of a good coach.

Player development? Well, you can put a ribbon on a pig's ear, and it's still a pig. If the players have basic deficiencies like lack of height for their position or quickness, no coach can fix that to the point where they are NBA ready. The NBA is so far removed from college ball that it is ridiculous when it comes to talent. What he can do is coach them up and get maximum production out of them and I believe he does that. That is all you can ask of a coach.

Coaching? I'll take BP or Tom Izzo anytime over that dim bulb at Kentucky. The fact is that Calipari had a team last year that had FIVE first round NBA draft choices (first time it has ever happened) and he can't win an NCAA title with that collection of talent???? If I was a Kentucky fan, I'd be hopping mad this morning knowing he had that kind of talent and couldn't coach them up. Same thing happened at Memphis and it doesn't matter how much "elite" talent he brings in, the same thing will happen year after year. His lack of coaching accumen will shine through at some point to mess it up.

ATH writes:

Wow, you guys are so quick to assume that I'm a Kentucky fan, and so quick to point out that Bruce had less talent and went just as far as Calipari did this season. So what? If you guys would just read my original comment, and all of my subsequent comments, you would realize that I'm not questioning Pearl as a bench coach. I'm simply stating that he will not keep signing kids like Harris or even be in the mix with kids like Selby because he cannot put kids in the league. Period. Oh, and I love the "conspiracy" argument, too. Pearl doesn't have the NBA connections. Please. I hear that same type of argument every football season: ESPN "hates" Tennessee.

Now, I absolutely despise John Calipari with every ounce of my being. I hope he gets bone cancer and dies. Just kidding; I hope he already has it. And while I absolutely do NOT give him credit for getting Wall, Cousins, Bledsoe and Orton drafted tonight, Cal is the reason that Patterson went in the first round. 77VolFS suggests that Patterson's stock went down the longer he stayed at UK? Seriously? Then, you don't know basketball. Patterson was able to add a new dimension to his game under Cal, which translated into a first-round pick. Conversely, none of the Tennessee players were able to do that, and you can blame the players themselves, but that lack of development ultimately falls on the coach.

I also give Cal no credit for Rose or Evans being drafted; those kids were lottery picks out of high school. However, as much as it pains me to admit it, Cal absolutely puts guys in the league. He put Earl Barron, Rodney Carney, Antonio Burks, Joey Dorsey, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Antonio Anderson in the league. Hell, Barron's got a damn championship ring! The fact is, kids see players whom no one wanted out of high school playing the NBA. Sure, Cal gets kids like Rose, Evans and Wall; but, it's the lower tier 5-stars and upper tier 4-stars who want to play for him because they know he'll get them to the NBA.

Pearl cannot do that; that's why Tennessee signing kids like Harris will not continue in the future.

Ironcity writes:

in response to ATH:

I agree that all 4 Tennessee seniors were average players, with Maze and Prince bordering on below-average. However, how do you explain that Smith and Chism had a better chance to get drafted a few years ago, but their stock went down by staying at Tennessee? Or Lofton? Or that Hopson is looking dead in the face at being picked in the second round of 2011, if he's lucky?

It's pretty evident that the longer you play for Bruce Pearl, the worse off your NBA career will be. Any "dumba##" can see that.

Lets see Lofton had cancer, Smith had a gun violation and was kicked off the team or he is drafted and Chism was even in the conversation until this year. As for Maze, he never was ever considered an NBA type player. Ath, have some fun firing up the base but understand this, who ever you root for coach Pearl and the Vols will likely kick there tail again and again and again

GerryOP writes:

Maybe Coach Pearl has found the secret to success in college basketball. Take kids with some talent, bring 'em to K'town, coach 'em up, make them local heroes, and win a bunch of ball games!

I really don't have a problem with that.

Smokey91 writes:

in response to always_vol:

I believe, with all sincerity, you are the biggest dumba## ever to hit these boards.

Amen!!!

budd#207344 writes:

in response to ATH:

Yet another year without any Vols being drafted. Some things never change. Bruce simply can't develop talent. Chism and Smith are just the latest two to learn this fact. Hopson will eventually learn this, and if Harris stays more than one season, he'll learn it, too. Your coach may or may not be able to "coach;" that's debatable. What isn't debatable is the simple fact that he can't get kids to the league, and that will prevent Tennessee from bringing in the top kids as this trend continues.

I need to point out that CBP is paid to win college games not develop players for the NBA. This is the NCAA not the NBADL. Your critique of CBP just proves the point he is a very good college coach. As long as he wins I don't care if the players go to the NBA or not. That will also keep us off probabtion and help us even more when ky goes back on probabtion

bowlinggreenvol writes:

in response to osbymartin#581730:

says the guy who cheers for the team that had 5 first round picks thats right 5 and got beaten pretty soundly by WVU and yet again failed to make the Final Four with 5 first round picks on the team!! LOL...its all in good fun! but there are at least 5 or 6 coaches that would have won it all with that talent and none of them are named John Calipari

Are we really using another team now in order to disparage what UK did this year and to take light off the fact that once again we had nobody drafted? I hate UK as much as the next guy but bringing WVU into your argument is beyond ridiculous.

volpreacher writes:

in response to ATH:

Yet another year without any Vols being drafted. Some things never change. Bruce simply can't develop talent. Chism and Smith are just the latest two to learn this fact. Hopson will eventually learn this, and if Harris stays more than one season, he'll learn it, too. Your coach may or may not be able to "coach;" that's debatable. What isn't debatable is the simple fact that he can't get kids to the league, and that will prevent Tennessee from bringing in the top kids as this trend continues.

Kentucky doesn't develop talent either. They just get the better players who stay a year or two and then jump. But if you look at it, these kids want to win championships too. And Bruce did much more with much less. 5 first rounders for Kentucky and didn't even make the final four? Now who's a good coach?

Porterhouse writes:

in response to ATH:

Yet another year without any Vols being drafted. Some things never change. Bruce simply can't develop talent. Chism and Smith are just the latest two to learn this fact. Hopson will eventually learn this, and if Harris stays more than one season, he'll learn it, too. Your coach may or may not be able to "coach;" that's debatable. What isn't debatable is the simple fact that he can't get kids to the league, and that will prevent Tennessee from bringing in the top kids as this trend continues.

Go read my comment about this prior. "Developing talent" is so much BS. Pearl's job hinges on winning or not winning. The players play hard for him and they win, period. If they are good enough to make it in the NBA, they will make it. If they're not, they won't. Has nothing to do with Pearl. Serious, click my name and read back. Interesting take on Duke and the amazing K.

Porterhouse writes:

2/25/10 (someone said Scotty would be a lottery if he went to Duke and I replied:)
Not defending Pearl's development (or not) of players....but how many "developed" players come out of Duke these days? I'm sure there are some, I just can't think of any right now....

Porterhouse writes:

and ATH this is for you
again on 2/25/10 (didn't feel like researching it again, easier to copy & paste, haha):

Another thing about "developing" college players (assuming for the NBA), and speaking of Duke because they were the example used prior:
Duke has had 13 players drafted into the NBA this decade. I see one who has had a modicum of success and that is Boozer. Battier is a spot starter for bad teams, Deng is okay. The rest??? Not so much success. Guess they weren't developed?? Or did K get as much out of them as they could produce at Duke, thus winning a lot of games?

Pearl wins games at what was a graveyard before he came. "Developing" players is so much BS. These players produce what they can for Pearl, and that is what makes him a winner.

JMO

Porterhouse writes:

in response to bigorangekoolaid:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No kool-aid, here. You're just a troll who knows nothing. Funny to read, though!!
If you want to bounce facts back n forth, I will make you look bad.
But my first question to you is: Who "develops" talent into the NBA right now?
My answer: summer leagues, definitely not NCAA

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to dbc5361:

And Vandy had even less talent and beat the Vols by a combined 30 points last season so what is your point? Oh yeah, that was in the "Fire Bruce Pearl month" that comes around yearly from the "knowledgeable" Vol fans. . Rinse, Repeat in 2011.

Did you really, seriously post this?? Vandy had less talent by WHAT measure?? Both of us where middle-level teams.

Vandy is always a tough out for us.

You need to listen for the 'pop'. It's the sound of your head coming our of your butt. UT is, and really always has been, a mid-level to low-level SEC team depending on the year. We usually have a 'star' or two, but not, say, 8 NBA guys on the team.

In good years, we earn some wins with hustle and teamwork. What the hell is wrong with that??

I've enjoyed every basketball season under Bruce except 2008-2009. The rest have been fun. You don't like it?? Root somewhere else.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Cat, I'm going to take you to task on this one:

I don't GIVE A DAMN what Cal does for future NBA players. I really, really don't. Let them all go do their one and dones at UK. What I want at UT are the Loftons, Jajuan Smiths, Chisms, guys like that who play four years and get us some exciting play.

As for player development...most people of a certain age remember Michael Jordan as being 'less-exciting' than Dominique Wilkins, and of being drafted behind UK's Sam Bowie. Now, we all know Kean Smith was a real piker of a coach, couldn't develop NBA talent to save his life...but, damn, the guy did make UNC fans pretty happy, didn't he??

dlobh writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Scratch, the only fact about Cal is that he can recruit. If he didn't advance any further than the Elite 8 (poor old uncoached UT did that) with 5 first round draft picks on his team, when will he? The fact is that he cannot coach at the college level. When is he going to win an NC if he didn't last year?

Nobody's doubting UK's ability to put players in the pros, but Joe B and Tubby were better bench coaches than Cal - they've got rings. What do you really think will happen first - Cal gets a ring or UK goes on probation for recruiting violations?

And, again, on another subject, I've forgotten, what is the current longest streak of wins against an oppponent in football right now?

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