Cuonzo Martin talks about the future for Tobias Harris and Scotty Hopson
Tobias Harris said he might return to Tennessee for another season.
"I think the coaching staff is really a great group of guys; they are pretty much amazing,'' said Harris, who met with the media Tuesday for the first time since Martin was hired on March 27.
"I think people need to give them more respect,'' he said. "Coach Martin, he's tough, and a lot of people don't know that. He's pushing me, not only in these workouts, but as a person, also.''
Harris and All-SEC junior shooting guard Scotty Hopson have said they'll declare themselves eligible for the NBA draft before the April 24 deadline, work out for teams and get evaluations on their draft stock.
Harris is projected as the No. 20 pick in the first round to New Orleans by NBADraft.net, the No. 26 pick to New Jersey by Draftexpress.com, and is ranked as the No. 29 player by ESPN.com.
Hopson is projected as the No. 60 pick (second round) to San Antonio by NBADraft.net, the No. 48 pick (second round) to Atlanta by Draftexpress.com and is ranked No. 48 by ESPN.com.
The players have until May 8 to declare their intentions to UT athletic director Mike Hamilton if they wish to return for another year of eligibility, provided they have not signed with agents.
Harris has been going through UT workouts, but he also went to Houston last weekend to work out with former NBA coach and current NBA pre-camp director John Lucas.
"I'm just here because there's a chance I could come back,'' Harris said. "I'm just going to work out with the team and do everything with the team because the workouts we're doing are pretty much like pro workouts.''
Hopson has gone through individual workout drills in New Jersey and South Florida, but he also has kept up with his UT studies, according to Martin.
"I text him quite a bit and call often," Martin said Tuesday. "He's traveling a lot of places doing skill work."
Hopson told the News Sentinel he has yet to make a decision on his future.
"I'm still exploring my options,'' Hopson sent via text to the News Sentinel on Tuesday.
Harris said his draft stock won't be the only determining factor in his decision.
"My deciding factors?'' Harris asked rhetorically, "Where I'd be picked, just how I feel about myself, and my game, and if I'm ready to go or not.''
Harris said he has been working on his jump shot, creating space and challenging his body to get more athletic.
The NBA projects him as a wing, and he's been working out at UT with the shooting guards and wing players.
McRae Calls: Freshman Jordan McRae said he has been in contact with signee Chris Jones and former signee as well as long-time friend Kevin Ware of Conyers, Ga.
"I've told them that coming here would be a good move for them,'' McRae said. "I think the system and the new coach would do them well.''
Chism Likes Martin: Wayne Chism, the winningest player in UT basketball history, came away with a great impression of Martin and his staff.
"They are great guys, and you can see how they're building relationships,'' said Chism, who just finished a season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League. "It's tough what happened with Coach (Bruce) Pearl, and he will always have a bond to this community, but you've got to give the new staff a chance. I'm glad they are here.''