Cuonzo Martin makes message clear to Vols

ETSU's zone could turn out to be 'funky'

Cuonzo Martin talks about the upcoming ETSU game

The message on Cuonzo Martin's game notes for East Tennessee State was easy to read from a distance.

"DON'T GO HOME UNTIL THE JOB IS DONE,'' was written in bold print, in all capital letters.

The Vols (4-6) play host to the Buccaneers (5-5) at 7 tonight at Thompson-Boling Arena. The game will not be televised, but a free live video stream will be available at www.UTsports.com.

Martin's more concerned about the hybrid 2-3 zone defense East Tennessee State uses than his players looking past the game and toward their brief holiday break.

"In our case, we're trying to get better and having fun getting better, so I don't think that will be an issue,'' said Martin, whose team will return to practice on Monday.

It has been a quick prep for East Tennessee, as the Vols are coming off a 72-68 win over UNC Asheville on Tuesday night that snapped a four-game losing streak.

The good news for UT fans is that this isn't the first time Tennessee has seen this particular zone look.

The bad news is the first time the Vols saw it, in a Nov. 3 exhibition game against Division II Carson-Newman, the team struggled early.

UT won the game, 73-52, but it didn't hold its first lead until the 8:06 mark of the first half and appeared sluggish and confused running its motion offense against the hybrid 2-3 look.

Center Jeronne Maymon, who was limited to two field goals against Carson-Newman, explained the zone as "funky ... almost like a 1-2-2 or 1-3-1 (zone) at times,'' and said, "it was hard to find who to screen.''

UT figures to be better prepared this time, though Maymon said the team would just prefer to score in transition.

"We've been working on our continuity against zone, getting our passes in and penetrating the zone, not settling for outside shots,'' said the 6-foot-7, 263-pound Maymon, who leads the SEC in field goal percentage (60.5) while ranking second in offensive rebounding (3.6 per game).

"We'd like to get up and down the floor and hopefully score before they set up in the zone.''

That could play into the hands of the Buccaneers, who will use a 1-2-1-1 press to speed the tempo with hopes of neutralizing UT's distinct size advantage.

Tennessee's ability to protect the ball will also be key, as the Vols turned the ball over 18 and 16 times, respectively, in their two most recent losses, to Austin Peay (Dec. 10) and the College of Charleston (Dec. 14).

Charleston also used a 2-3 zone look to bother the Vols in the second half in rallying from a 37-33 deficit for a 71-65 win as UT managed just 9-of-29 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc despite getting open looks.

Martin said he's confident in both the Vols' ball-handling and shooting, and he indicating it's a case of identifying the right personnel to keep on the floor.

"You get a feel for that by the energy the players bring to the floor,'' said Martin, who has maintained the same starting lineup since the start of the season but varied playing time and rotations. "An example is (backup point guard) Wes Washpun and the great job he did last game coming off the bench and playing with energy that sparked us.

"With your starters, it's a case of their mindset coming into the game, their body language, and how they attack early.''

Hence Thursday's message, "Don't go home until the job is done.''

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32

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Comments » 26

johnlg00 writes:

The UT website is NOT currently streaming the ETSU game. There was a note saying that the requested content hasn't yet been archived, whatever that means. I guess all the video people have gone home for the holidays. I can't even find an icon for the audio feed. Way to feed that brand loyalty, UTAD.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to BlueTickHound4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor say this the only game Witch Doctor ever root against the Vols. Witch Doctor a Buc at heart. Go Bucs!
Bones never lie.

thevoice writes:

Welcome to Rocky Top Mr. Stokes.

mdvol writes:

STOKES!!!! Merry Christmas!!!

Bigger_Al writes:

Way to go Cuonzo!

Stoked for Stokes!

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

Stokes to UT!!!!!!!! But wait...Coach Martin can't recruit, LOL. So what will the chicken littles say about this?? HA HA.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mdvol:

STOKES!!!! Merry Christmas!!!

Where did you get that news? It certainly hasn't appeared on here yet. You would think news like that would rate a "Breaking News" banner. BTW, the ETSU stream on the UT sports website has at least graduated to "loading...loading...loading", for about three minutes before I got hacked and came back here for a Stokes update.

mdvol writes:

The ETSU game is Friday. Article posted early.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Where did you get that news? It certainly hasn't appeared on here yet. You would think news like that would rate a "Breaking News" banner. BTW, the ETSU stream on the UT sports website has at least graduated to "loading...loading...loading", for about three minutes before I got hacked and came back here for a Stokes update.

Because Mike Griffith and the KNS have not gotten over the divorce with Pearl yet. I'm with you... this is HUGE! Should be on here for the rest of the Volnation by Christmas.

cparay#1346966 writes:

GAME IS FRIDAY NIGHT

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

our masses of idiots claiming Coach cant coach or recruit and is on the hotseat after just 10 games looks dumber than can be tonite---totally laughable to judge so soon after inheriting this mess------the stupidest fans in America reside here--------time will tell and be the judge of Cuonszo

FanNotSheep writes:

in response to yabadabadoo1026:

our masses of idiots claiming Coach cant coach or recruit and is on the hotseat after just 10 games looks dumber than can be tonite---totally laughable to judge so soon after inheriting this mess------the stupidest fans in America reside here--------time will tell and be the judge of Cuonszo

I don't think true Vol fans felt that he couldn't do those things, but that he hadn't shown he could. This shows me something. I hope he continues to do so.

My feelings had little to do with Martin and were all about how UT handled the Pearl situation. I know some people said they had no choice but I do not believe it. I won't be satisfied until they print a T-shirt that admits "We back Pat, but we back-stabbed Bruce"

LJS1984 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say this the only game Witch Doctor ever root against the Vols. Witch Doctor a Buc at heart. Go Bucs!
Bones never lie.

Being a Tri Cities native, I find myself rooting against ETSU every time they play a game in the mighty Atlantic Sun Conference. I get fired up so much for a Bucs matchup against North Florida, Florida Gulf Coast, and Kennesaw State that I can hardly stand it. Paul Stanton was such a joke. You have a student body of around 15,000 and no football program thanks to Paul Stanton. Meanwhile, tiny little Vanderbilt with an enrollment of about 6,000 plays in the SEC and schools like South Alabama, Georgia State, and ODU (with great success) have all added football. Hopefully, the new President at ETSU will try and fix the large junior college that it currently is. Maybe he will at least move the Bucs to a more respectable conference?

carbonzip writes:

Martin is being respectful in how he has handled his returning players. He is teaching Hall how to move his feet and look for his shot. McRae is learning that the team can play without him. Woolridge is coming around. Tatum starting to shine and Maymon can be a star with a little support from Golden.

bucfaithful writes:

Looking forward to traveling to Knoxville for this one. I suspect this game will come down to the wire.
Watch out for Marcus Dubose. He's big-time scorer who's coming off an injury.

IBAVolFan writes:

I don't know that Martin had as much to do with it as Stokes girl friend, brother and best friend being at UT. All odds were in UT's favor.

harveyupdyketreehugger writes:

in response to IBAVolFan:

I don't know that Martin had as much to do with it as Stokes girl friend, brother and best friend being at UT. All odds were in UT's favor.

Matters not how Jarnell got here. The jury is out on Coach Martin, but he came in with a NCAA cloud looming over him and a bunch of over-rated players all with low basketball IQ. He was the primary recruiter for several big time recruits at Purdue (E'twan Moore,Robbie Hummell, and others) Let's savor this recruiting coup and hope that Jarnell is a catylst for many more!

FeelVol writes:

in response to carbonzip:

Martin is being respectful in how he has handled his returning players. He is teaching Hall how to move his feet and look for his shot. McRae is learning that the team can play without him. Woolridge is coming around. Tatum starting to shine and Maymon can be a star with a little support from Golden.

I like and agree with your post carbonzip.

Sir_Spanky writes:

Looks like Tennessee BB's getting ready to get STOKED.

dgcarter43 writes:

Coach Martin has done a terrific job recruiting Jarnell Stokes, and, like Derek Dooley, deserves the support of the fans in trying to rebuild this program. I believe Dave Hart will make the tough choices when necessary if either doesn't prove out to be the man for the job. I expect CCM to pull other good recruits to make the program competetive once again. Go Vols!!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

I don't think true Vol fans felt that he couldn't do those things, but that he hadn't shown he could. This shows me something. I hope he continues to do so.

My feelings had little to do with Martin and were all about how UT handled the Pearl situation. I know some people said they had no choice but I do not believe it. I won't be satisfied until they print a T-shirt that admits "We back Pat, but we back-stabbed Bruce"

Look, most people on here, myself included, were big Pearl fans. What you seem to be saying is that UT should have just spit in the NCAA's faces and DARED them to do something about it. Don't we have enough evidence that the NCAA is full of power-hungry people who WILL NOT be openly defied by any member institution?

It is easy to say from behind an anonymous keyboard, with no responsibility for the outcome, that the administration should have just stood up to the NCAA and accepted the consequences, not knowing what those consequences might be. That is just not a confrontation a member school can win. If the UTAD had come across that way, the NCAA would have opened a permanent branch office at UT and hired ex-FBI agents to probe into every aspect of UT sports on an ongoing basis. What would THAT have done to our ability to hire coaches and recruit players? It is easy to say NOW that we MIGHT have gotten away with it, but I'm glad we didn't take that chance.

We should have a fair idea by this time next year whether the Dooley and Martin hires--neither of whom had anything to do with the real or imagined excesses of their predecessors--have been successful or not. There is, IMHO, ample evidence that they at least CAN be successful. In the meantime, I will do what I can to support them, the coaches of my alma mater's teams, unless or until they demonstrate that they no longer deserve such support.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mdvol:

The ETSU game is Friday. Article posted early.

Thanks for letting me down easy! Since I have been one to jump on others for not noticing that the articles on here are often written to appear in the NEXT day's paper, imagine how stupid I felt when I realized that I had made the same mistake. In my own defense, I can only say that this week, with all the holiday-related errands, plans, calls, etc., I literally didn't know what day of the week it was at times. Or maybe it was just another increasingly frequent "senior moment". My sincere apologies to any I may have offended by correcting them on this in the past, and I wish a Merry Christmas--or other winter holiday of your choice--and a Happy New Year to the whole Big Orange Nation!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Wow. I DON'T have anything to say!!?

I DID notice though that WitchDoc is a Buc fan. Man a Buc? ok Doc. Alright I guess. except there once was a time when the Bucs and the Mocs. were huge rivals. Is ok I still despect you.(not a typo, a new word?)

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to RockyMountainVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Too true. I'd laugh out loud if it wasn't. However I for one am willing to forgive John who seems to me to be a really smart person...though he may have us all fooled. His dog may write his stuff for all we know. ruff ruff.

calvolfromkingsport writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say this the only game Witch Doctor ever root against the Vols. Witch Doctor a Buc at heart. Go Bucs!
Bones never lie.

Me too Doc!

calvolfromkingsport writes:

in response to LJS1984:

Being a Tri Cities native, I find myself rooting against ETSU every time they play a game in the mighty Atlantic Sun Conference. I get fired up so much for a Bucs matchup against North Florida, Florida Gulf Coast, and Kennesaw State that I can hardly stand it. Paul Stanton was such a joke. You have a student body of around 15,000 and no football program thanks to Paul Stanton. Meanwhile, tiny little Vanderbilt with an enrollment of about 6,000 plays in the SEC and schools like South Alabama, Georgia State, and ODU (with great success) have all added football. Hopefully, the new President at ETSU will try and fix the large junior college that it currently is. Maybe he will at least move the Bucs to a more respectable conference?

Not to mention South Florida!

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