Tobias Harris says 'there's a chance' he'll return to UT

Tennessee's Tobias Harris dribbles the ball as head coach Cuonzo Martin, left, and assistant coach Tracy Webster, right, look on during a workout in Pratt Pavilion on campus Tuesday, April 12, 2011.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee's Tobias Harris dribbles the ball as head coach Cuonzo Martin, left, and assistant coach Tracy Webster, right, look on during a workout in Pratt Pavilion on campus Tuesday, April 12, 2011.

Cuonzo Martin talks about the future for Tobias Harris and Scotty Hopson

Tobias Harris said he might return to Tennessee for another season.

From the sounds of it, that's largely because of the Freshman All-American forward's budding relationship with new men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin.

"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.''

Mike Griffith covers UT men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/mgrif32 and at http://blogs.knoxnews.com/askgriff/

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Comments » 52

utvols420 writes:

get'r done

BigOrangeRod writes:

Surely with all that Adidas stuff over there somebody could get CCM some shorter socks! lol

Love the pic of him coaching hard. Stay with us one more year, Tobias!

Govolsinmemphica writes:

HARRIS MIGHT COME BACK. The program could be saved!

VFL00 writes:

It would be very good for Harris to come back for one more year both for UT and for himself. If he projects as a wing in the NBA he could really use the extra year in college to work on defending the perimeter. He struggles right now in open space defending someone who is quicker than him.

MrBamSeydu writes:

Suggested removal of the "getr done" comment. Hopefully it works. My God.

zigvol writes:

in response to MrBamSeydu:

Suggested removal of the "getr done" comment. Hopefully it works. My God.

LOL

acworthdave writes:

My concern is that Tobias may get a false sense of his Pro abilities with that short fat guy guarding him.

Govolsinmemphica writes:

in response to acworthdave:

My concern is that Tobias may get a false sense of his Pro abilities with that short fat guy guarding him.

Nice lol

wazzya69vol writes:

in response to acworthdave:

My concern is that Tobias may get a false sense of his Pro abilities with that short fat guy guarding him.

Now that's funny. I noticed the same thing, no harm intended--but geeze, he's "guarding" Tobias!
Acworthdave, are you in Acworth, Ga? GBO!!!

Govolsinmemphica writes:

If Tobias comes back we are back to the NCAA. The program could be salvaged. I think after another NCAA run Cuonzo and company would be able to recruit. I hear nothing but positive stuff about this guy and from players. If he can recruit Tennessee basketball might be okay. I wouldn't mind seeing Scotty come back either. He is a good player, and you can never have enough depth.

Govolsinmemphica writes:

It would be fantastic if we could get Ware. But alas, the dreadful NCAA penalties are still pending.

seaplane#216536 writes:

Deciding factors. Did not here him say one thing about continuing his education. College basketball is just the minor league for the NBA.

TennVol01 writes:

Harris should stay. There are too many great juniors from the elite of the tournament that are going into the draft. Harris needs another year or two to get to the top 5 of the draft. Coach Martin can get him there. Harris is twice as good as Hopson, so I am not sure why Hopson has dropped out of school and is marketing himself. He will end up in Europe with Lofton. Hopson legally should no longer be on the team since he is not attending UT.

1bigvolman writes:

in response to TennVol01:

Harris should stay. There are too many great juniors from the elite of the tournament that are going into the draft. Harris needs another year or two to get to the top 5 of the draft. Coach Martin can get him there. Harris is twice as good as Hopson, so I am not sure why Hopson has dropped out of school and is marketing himself. He will end up in Europe with Lofton. Hopson legally should no longer be on the team since he is not attending UT.

You obviously can't read! The article said he's keeping up his studies, it never said he's dropped out...

voloffaith writes:

in response to wazzya69vol:

Now that's funny. I noticed the same thing, no harm intended--but geeze, he's "guarding" Tobias!
Acworthdave, are you in Acworth, Ga? GBO!!!

Short-girth challenged guy is asst coach Webster if I'm not mistaken. Ya'll show a little respect for the staff. Remember he came from Nebraska. Ya know a lot of corn fed meals to bulk up...oops that was for football players. Anyway fron Ne so adjusting to southern food again. Been few years since on Gillespies staff at Ky.

SummittsCourt writes:

Tobias Harris is the best basketball player UT has had in a long time and it would be a shame if the only season he played was this past season.

Pullingguard writes:

Three years from now people will be asking....
Bruce Who!!!!! New staff may not have the showmanship of Bruce, but will probably develope tougher and better teams...

VOL1972 writes:

in response to WildcatsOne:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

NBA lockout seems like almost a certainty. Unfortunately, it probably won't be announced until after the draft. Tobias and his father aren't stupid. I'm probably missing something because I don't know how everything works, but it seems to me Tobias' decision will be made for him. We keep him for another year.

Since Scotty is going to Europe I don't think the lockout will impact him. He can work on his game in Europe for a year or two.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to Pullingguard:

Three years from now people will be asking....
Bruce Who!!!!! New staff may not have the showmanship of Bruce, but will probably develope tougher and better teams...

Bruce will be remembered because he revitalized this program. You have obviously forgotten who preceded Bruce. And at the time we were happy to have MJ's roomie.
Bruce made mistakes but he can coach. Very well in fact. But he will not be forgotten here

haywoodchapman#383148 writes:

I'm already saying:"Bruce who"

finn writes:

Interesting how Tobias is working out with the team while Scotty is on the open road. I think that pretty much says it all. T is seeing the value the new staff can bring while Scotty is just getting a text or two. Unfortunately, his time at UT hasn't always gone smoothly and it's possible he might just be ready to move on emotionally even though his skill set could benefit from one more year. I think Harris stays and Scotty goes but wish them well either way. As for CCM, I just wish he could show a little intensity during practice.....

volsfan74 writes:

I like what I am seeing from CCM and staff also I like the comments the current players have to say about CCM and staff. All of them seem to like him Tobias, McRae etc. I will not be surprised either way on Tobias decision. Also I think a great athlete like McRae can gain a lot from a coach like CCM. I think we may be impressed at what we see from Jordan this year

Outdated writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Tobias Harris is the best basketball player UT has had in a long time and it would be a shame if the only season he played was this past season.

Bernard King was the only player I ever saw at UT who had the floor vision and understanding of the game that Tobias Harris has..I hope the current staff gets him back for at least one more year..If they do..we are going to be much better than most think..Kenny Hall may also come around with help from this staff...Hall has potential..I would rather see McRae develop as to see Hopson come back..

TeeBall writes:

Tobias is certainly a "Class Act" ... still keeping up with his studies and still working out with the team. This young man has an excellent head on his shoulders. I'd sure like to see him come back but if not, I wish him the best in the pros.

Outdated writes:

in response to volsfan74:

I like what I am seeing from CCM and staff also I like the comments the current players have to say about CCM and staff. All of them seem to like him Tobias, McRae etc. I will not be surprised either way on Tobias decision. Also I think a great athlete like McRae can gain a lot from a coach like CCM. I think we may be impressed at what we see from Jordan this year

I was not looking forward to watching the VOlS next year when it became obvious Pearl was leaving..I agree with u...I like what I'm seeing..and I like to eat crow when I'm forced to ..serve mine with garlic and onions..I look forward to seeing what happens next year...

VolsToTheWall writes:

don't let this get lost in tobias drama….Chism played for the mad ants??

PattheFlaVol writes:

memo to Scotty Hopson FROM MASTER YODA....

"READY YOU ARE NOT. COME BACK TO UT YOU SHOULD AND LEARN 2 THINGS THAT START WITH "D", DEFENSE AND DISCIPLINE....Then first round you may be"

41_14gbo writes:

in response to Pullingguard:

Three years from now people will be asking....
Bruce Who!!!!! New staff may not have the showmanship of Bruce, but will probably develope tougher and better teams...

I agree PG, I believe we will become one of those defensive teams that nobody wants to play. Hard-nosed, pressure 94 feet, shoot the three well, and energize a fan base through hustle, grit and yes, wins...hey wait a minute, that is just like Coach Pearl's first year.

carbonzip writes:

Harris should come back. Coach Martin will teach him the NBA ropes. Harris' style of play reminds me of Jerry Lucas.

Hopkins would benefit from Martin, too. The fans here have been tough on him because they want him to play to his potential. Martin was the player Hopson wants to be.

thebadsamaritan writes:

in response to seaplane#216536:

Deciding factors. Did not here him say one thing about continuing his education. College basketball is just the minor league for the NBA.

Isn't that what college is for?
To prepare you for your future career?

MusicCityVol writes:

The chance of Harris returning is far more important than anyone we will sign in the incoming class. However, if Harris returns and we add Jones, Washpun, and a big we could be better than expected as soon as next year.

Basketball Spring Signing Period 2011 (with video of recruits)
http://checkerboardchatter.blogspot.c...

TennVol01 writes:

in response to 1bigvolman:

You obviously can't read! The article said he's keeping up his studies, it never said he's dropped out...

Oh ... I read it, but I doubt it. This is a star player getting privileges average players would not be allowed. Hopson is just seeing dollar signs. He is not studying. Perhaps the school has assigned him a tutor to attend his classes and do his homework.

vols1990 writes:

in response to TennVol01:

Oh ... I read it, but I doubt it. This is a star player getting privileges average players would not be allowed. Hopson is just seeing dollar signs. He is not studying. Perhaps the school has assigned him a tutor to attend his classes and do his homework.

you're dumb if you think this is what happens for student-athletes.

VOLliven2it writes:

I like to see the word "chance". When this all came down, before we had a new head coach, it felt like Harris was gone for sure. That has changed. I hope he stays.

acworthdave writes:

in response to wazzya69vol:

Now that's funny. I noticed the same thing, no harm intended--but geeze, he's "guarding" Tobias!
Acworthdave, are you in Acworth, Ga? GBO!!!

Yes I am

phillyvol writes:

Just by the look of those socks, I can tell that CCM is OLD SKOOL.

orangeman1 writes:

I hope Hopson and Harris come back, and when Hopson lights it up and helps win games I want eveyone cheering to remember what you said about him. It funny how so many people have said that Hopson wont get drafted and isnt good enough for the NBA, yet all 3 rating systems have him getting drafted in the 2nd round. I guess some people on here dont know as much as they think they do.

iadvol writes:

Harris needs to hit the NBA if projected a first rounder. Thats a given. Hopson, on the other hand, needs to forget the NBA and come back to school yesterday. Hopson acts half the age of Harris and is not ready for prime time.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to seaplane#216536:

Deciding factors. Did not here him say one thing about continuing his education. College basketball is just the minor league for the NBA.

Isn't college pretty the same for any career?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

pretty much...

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to acworthdave:

Yes I am

LoL I've heard about Acworth HS my whole life. My dad played basketball and track there back in the 30s!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VolsToTheWall:

don't let this get lost in tobias drama….Chism played for the mad ants??

That is a pretty wild team name, isn't it? The team is named after a Revolutionary War general known as "Mad Anthony" Wayne for his fiery leadership style. Sometimes I like to look at the agate-type transactions involving minor-league teams in all sports just to see some of the, er, imaginative names they come up with.

VolNExile writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I can't believe this, but for once in my life, I'm agreeing with CantStandSaban.

If --IF --a player wants a degree, he can always come back if the pros don't work out.

We don't criticize college students who get early acceptance into med school or law school and leave without their degree. Even though there's a long sad tale of athletes who play in the pros for a year and wash out, and maybe blow their money in the process, that's on them. There are others who do very well.

If they stay and graduate, that's wonderful. If they make it into the pros early, thumbs up for them. A college degree is great, but it isn't a must-have for every circumstance.

clvolfan writes:

Tobias,you are the classiest BB player I have seen come through UT in a long time.I do not consider you gone,but if you choose to leave,you will be remembered in my mind with Chris Loften as two classy young men.Best wishes,and Go Vols.
CLM

taylorsvolfan writes:

Play ball !!

Colliervol writes:

in response to budd#207344:

Bruce will be remembered because he revitalized this program. You have obviously forgotten who preceded Bruce. And at the time we were happy to have MJ's roomie.
Bruce made mistakes but he can coach. Very well in fact. But he will not be forgotten here

Given what I witnessed for 30 years prior to Bruce Pearl, I won't forget him. He was an outstanding coach, simple as that. Trying to keep up with the other programs that are cheating like Hades is what got to him. He was just dumb enough to get caught.

Colliervol writes:

in response to toddyboy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If you can't keep Scotty motivated for more than two games in a row in college, how do you think he'll do over an 82 game schedule?

IN_Volfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

That is a pretty wild team name, isn't it? The team is named after a Revolutionary War general known as "Mad Anthony" Wayne for his fiery leadership style. Sometimes I like to look at the agate-type transactions involving minor-league teams in all sports just to see some of the, er, imaginative names they come up with.

I live in Ft Wayne and the games are fun. My impression of the D-NBA is a league for guys willing to take less money than Europe bball for better local/NBA exposure.

PS If you are ever in Ft Wayne, the "Mad Anthony's" brewery has darn fine microbrews!

back on topic: both UT and Tobias would benefit from another year together.

back off topic - dig CCM's socks, entire team should adopt them next year as a sign of unity!

JimmyJoe writes:

in response to wazzya69vol:

Now that's funny. I noticed the same thing, no harm intended--but geeze, he's "guarding" Tobias!
Acworthdave, are you in Acworth, Ga? GBO!!!

It's just the camera angle.... Webster is in reality a tall slender dude....Not!

volhitman writes:

in response to VolsToTheWall:

don't let this get lost in tobias drama….Chism played for the mad ants??

Couldn't exactly put "Pi_s Ants" on their jerseys.

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