The Vols held a private team banquet Thursday night for the players and their families.
"It was important to honor the seniors because they did some great things representing the program,'' Martin said. "Coach (Bruce) Pearl did great things, too; his teams went to six straight NCAA tournaments and were exciting and fun to watch.''
Tennessee's six consecutive NCAA appearances are a school record, and the Vols peaked at No. 7 in the national rankings in December en route to a 19-15 record.
The UT administration did not invite the previous coaching staff to the banquet, nor was the media welcome as it had been in previous years. UT associate athletic director for communications Jimmy Stanton was reached but did not provide comments on the banquet.
Attempts to reach athletic director Mike Hamilton were unsuccessful. When reached, Pearl declined comment.
Tom Satkowiak, UT associate sports information director for men's basketball, issued the following statement to the News Sentinel on Friday: "The basketball banquet this season was a private event for the student-athletes, their families and team staff.''
Senior John Fields said the event went well despite the somewhat awkward circumstances.
"Coach Cuonzo and Mike Hamilton paid the proper respects to Coach Pearl and the seniors, but at the same time they made it clear Coach Cuonzo is coming in here with a strong vision for the future,'' Fields said Friday. "It was good to see Steven Pearl there and see he was OK with everything and understood there was no ill will.''
Junior All-SEC shooting guard Scotty Hopson was en route to an NBA team workout and did not attend the banquet.
Still, Fields said, Martin made sure it was a special night for the players in attendance.
"I'll always love Coach Pearl and his staff, and I feel those same feelings when I'm around Coach Cuonzo's staff now,'' Fields said. "They have been very helpful, and it was nice to hear Coach Cuonzo say he appreciated the seniors.
"It may be the last time that team is in the same room together, but we'll always have a bond, and I left there last night with a good feeling.''