Renaldo Woolridge's scoring outburst something for UT foes to consider

Senior could add another wrinkle for Vols

Tennessee's Renaldo Woolridge attempts to score against UNC Asheville. Tennessee defeats UNC Asheville 72-68 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday, December 20, 2011.

(SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young, Saul Young

Tennessee's Renaldo Woolridge attempts to score against UNC Asheville. Tennessee defeats UNC Asheville 72-68 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday, December 20, 2011. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Renaldo Woolridge on what it takes to win

Nearly two years ago, Renaldo Woolridge stunned No. 1 Kansas on an unforgettable night at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Stunned is too strong a word for Tuesday night, but UNC Asheville's scouting report certainly didn't foresee Woolridge as Tennessee's co-leading scorer.

The Vols snapped a four-game losing streak by rallying for a 72-68 win over Asheville. They couldn't have done it without 17 points off the bench from Woolridge.

Now the onus is on ETSU (5-5) to estimate Woolridge's role in Friday's 7 p.m. game with UT (4-6) at Thompson-Boling.

The 6-foot-9 senior came into Tuesday averaging 4.4 points but notched a career high against Asheville.

Woolridge was 7-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-6 behind the 3-point line.

"He made shots he's capable of doing,'' said coach Cuonzo Martin. "In a motion offense, he's one of those guys who's really a perimeter guy and he's tough to guard with big guys who are not as mobile.

"He can pick-and-pop and do different things, so he's really helped us from that standpoint.''

His previous high was 14 points, once as a freshman and then in the upset of Kansas on Jan. 10, 2010, when the Vols were short-handed after four suspensions.

Woolridge scored only 13 points in his entire junior season due to a combination of injuries and falling off former coach Bruce Pearl's radar. It appeared he would best be remembered for his hip-hop alter ego, Swiperboy.

Martin's arrival provided a fresh start on the court. Tuesday was Woolridge's third double-figures outing of the year but first since Chaminade on Nov. 23.

His outburst was no doubt more confounding to Asheville after he went 0-of-5 in nine minutes in the loss at College of Charleston last week.

"You can't look back. Hindsight is 20/20 so you better not look at it,'' Woolridge said.

"My first shot (Tuesday) was an air ball, real long. To be honest, I thought it was going in. I had to keep shooting.''

As Martin suggested, Woolridge can be a challenge to defend. His career has morphed from a wing guard to a post due to UT's needs.

"I've played every position in basketball,'' he said. "I've taken it in stride.''

His strides in the motion offense can carry him beyond the 3-point stripe, where he's shooting 41.2 percent.

While he's had to beef up to acclimate to his inside-oriented role, Woolridge has used free time to get in the gym and maintain his perimeter skills.

"I've worked on my shot as far as my release point, just technical things to keep it consistent,'' Woolridge said. "I just want to make sure I have a complete game when the lights come on.''

If he can keep his own lights on, Woolridge could add a vital element to a team that will be challenged to match up with SEC teams.

"It's good for us to have confidence in Renaldo,'' said fellow senior Cam Tatum. "We just want him to have that same confidence.

"Now, don't draw back. Don't celebrate. Build off it.''

Follow Mike Strange at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 10

1vavolfan writes:

I hope I am wrong but if I were Murray Bartow I wouldn't lose any sleep over how to stop Woolridge.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Woolridge LIKE TATUM has always imho stopped himself. Focus, determination, desire, domination,lol are not natural from what I've seen in the past. Woolridge you do have to say has been consistent. Now if Martin can make him a consistent inside source it will be great. I think players like Woolridge want to be that short guard they were in high school. Or maybe the new Magic Johmsons at 6'9". Golly I just noted Magic's initials are MJ.lol
Anyhow. I don't think Murray B. can stop Woolridge or anyone else on this team if they are playing well.
btw let's don't give up on Golden just yet. His D has been slow but so is every team against the guards we've played. Some of them are wondering how to stop us or how to repeat what Autin Peay did. Well I hope they can't because players like Woolridge are stepping up. Tatum showed some fire and confidence last game. Golden showed some decent defense and even McBee showed some good d at times. I see improvement overall. Mainly in how we are beginning to be a team. We won't win a game in the SEC without TEAM play. But individual play like some are showing has to happen as well. MAYMON!! Man I love this kid. I'm sorry but when McRae is on I love his fire. It's a shame that refs and officials of the game are trying to take the fire out of players and not just let them play.(taunting aside of course)(well I think a little taunting's ok)(a little) Where's the fun??? I think under Martin we can learn to play AND have fun doing it. Well for instance he let's them shoot their shots. I'm still a little embarrassed(for at home by myself) at yelling at Martin and Woolridge. When Woolridge made that one shot in the beginning I thought , "oh no!" He won't stop shooting now!" I think he missed two after that and I was furious. He then proceeded to outmaneuver the other team. He won't always be on like that. He also gave up some open shots to other team members. I loved his play. Woolridge's play I think got Maymon going the second half. I don't really know what lit up Maymon but if it hadn't we'd have lost against a so so team. My point about Golden is that he didn't give up nor did he take so many bad shots and he mostly stayed in front of his man...well with the help of Washpun and McBee anyhow. If we can get Makenjuola and Miller going the defense will not know who to stop. lol give Washpun an offense and we will be hard to stop.
I'm honestly not too excited about our post season chances this year. But if we get Stokes? Maybe another? Next year is looking really good.
Too many words on this post and a little rambling I guess. But who knows? We may pull it together this year. AFTER all we did show up against solid teams in Pitt., Duke , and Memphis.

FanNotSheep writes:

How bad does he want it? The answer to that question will determine his future. Someday he may look back at the wasted seasons in Knoxville and realize what could have been.

But I think Renaldo is like a lot of American kids these days. Several interests compete for his time and attention, and so far he has chosen to dabble in each rather than work hard to achieve one goal.

It would make a great story if he decides to finally give the game what it demands from those who succeed. But I for one won't bet on it.

SIMSVOL writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That's the spirit. Way to cheer on the VOLS. Now kindly find another team and slither off into your miserable life...

Ironcity writes:

He is probably the only mismatch type of player we have. I would like to see him get more minutes. I watch him make a lot of good moves only to throw up a brick at the finish. I think more consistent playing time would make him a better player. As for defense, he is no worse then the rest of them.

TheRealDragonSlayer writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Woolridge LIKE TATUM has always imho stopped himself. Focus, determination, desire, domination,lol are not natural from what I've seen in the past. Woolridge you do have to say has been consistent. Now if Martin can make him a consistent inside source it will be great. I think players like Woolridge want to be that short guard they were in high school. Or maybe the new Magic Johmsons at 6'9". Golly I just noted Magic's initials are MJ.lol
Anyhow. I don't think Murray B. can stop Woolridge or anyone else on this team if they are playing well.
btw let's don't give up on Golden just yet. His D has been slow but so is every team against the guards we've played. Some of them are wondering how to stop us or how to repeat what Autin Peay did. Well I hope they can't because players like Woolridge are stepping up. Tatum showed some fire and confidence last game. Golden showed some decent defense and even McBee showed some good d at times. I see improvement overall. Mainly in how we are beginning to be a team. We won't win a game in the SEC without TEAM play. But individual play like some are showing has to happen as well. MAYMON!! Man I love this kid. I'm sorry but when McRae is on I love his fire. It's a shame that refs and officials of the game are trying to take the fire out of players and not just let them play.(taunting aside of course)(well I think a little taunting's ok)(a little) Where's the fun??? I think under Martin we can learn to play AND have fun doing it. Well for instance he let's them shoot their shots. I'm still a little embarrassed(for at home by myself) at yelling at Martin and Woolridge. When Woolridge made that one shot in the beginning I thought , "oh no!" He won't stop shooting now!" I think he missed two after that and I was furious. He then proceeded to outmaneuver the other team. He won't always be on like that. He also gave up some open shots to other team members. I loved his play. Woolridge's play I think got Maymon going the second half. I don't really know what lit up Maymon but if it hadn't we'd have lost against a so so team. My point about Golden is that he didn't give up nor did he take so many bad shots and he mostly stayed in front of his man...well with the help of Washpun and McBee anyhow. If we can get Makenjuola and Miller going the defense will not know who to stop. lol give Washpun an offense and we will be hard to stop.
I'm honestly not too excited about our post season chances this year. But if we get Stokes? Maybe another? Next year is looking really good.
Too many words on this post and a little rambling I guess. But who knows? We may pull it together this year. AFTER all we did show up against solid teams in Pitt., Duke , and Memphis.

Love your post. Honest, and fun to read. And I agree with most of your points.

Go Vols!

voloffaith writes:

in response to SIMSVOL:

That's the spirit. Way to cheer on the VOLS. Now kindly find another team and slither off into your miserable life...

Sad to say I don't recall a happy post from tnmanntravel#......: I wonder if he says Merry CHRISTmas to anyone.....does he ever say Happy Birthday....hope you get better....can I help you? In his lil world is the best gift a piece of coal? I hope not and that he can one day find happiness in the best gift ever given on the Earth...."Unto us a child is born.....wise men still seek Him"

johnlg00 writes:

I think most of us thought all along that Renaldo had talent, we were just disappointed that he didn't make more use of it. As some have said, he DOES have a history that makes some people skeptical that he has actually turned some kind of corner. If he has, it would surely be a big boost to the team. Maybe he was a bit shocked at Dwight Miller's outburst the other night, and decided that he had better get it in gear if he wanted to be a part of the regular rotation. The main question many of us had was whether he actually DID want to be a good player. I guess we will see if this was just a flash-in-the-pan.

wigmeister writes:

Only means something if he does it game, after game, after game - you get what I mean. That goes for everyone. If you can't perform at a high level, consistently, this team is in trouble.

samvol writes:

keep up the good work renaldo, i look forward to this being your breakout year.
Govols.....GoZo....

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