Bruce Pearl still seeking someone to 'step up'

Boost needed because 'Vanderbilt is better than Georgia'

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl looks on as the Vols play the Georgia Bulldogs at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011.  Georgia defeated Tennessee 69-63.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl looks on as the Vols play the Georgia Bulldogs at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011. Georgia defeated Tennessee 69-63.

The call is out. Coach Bruce Pearl is looking for some "step up" to shore up Tennessee's sagging postseason basketball prognosis.

After watching Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris account for 50 of UT's points in a 69-63 loss to Georgia on Saturday, Pearl called for reinforcements for Tuesday's visit to Vanderbilt.

The Vols (16-11, 6-6 SEC) have lost four of their past five games and Memorial Gym will be a tough place to stop the bleeding. The Commodores (20-6, 8-4) are 14-1 at home.

Tipoff is 9 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

Other than Hopson and Harris, the rest of the team was 6-of-24 shooting against Georgia and no one had more than one basket.

"In order for us to fix what's ailing us, I need some step up,'' Pearl said.

Then he ticked off the roll call: Melvin Goins, John Fields, Cameron Tatum, Skylar McBee, Kenny Hall and Josh Bone.

"If we don't get more from each and every one of them,'' Pearl said, "these (unsatisfactory) games are going to continue, because Vanderbilt is better than Georgia.''

Another tell-tale sign of UT's offensive woes is that no one other than Hopson or Harris attempted a free throw against Georgia.

McBee and Bone concurred after Sunday's practice that it's difficult for the complementary scorers to strike the right balance.

"You have to find that fine line where he wants you to take those shots,'' McBee said, "but you also have to get the ball to your best players and let them do what they need to do.

"That's a tough thing.''

McBee had three 3-point baskets in an overtime loss to Alabama but has only one field goal in the four games since.

Bone was a surprising 5-of-6 from the field in a loss at Kentucky but has had more than two baskets in only one other game (he was 3-of-3 at Connecticut).

He knows his strong suit is defense and takes pride in avoiding turnovers. But he also realizes he can't be dead weight on offense.

"I can't be a robot out there,'' he said. "I can do a lot more on the offensive end to help. But the ball's not coming to me a lot.

"I do need to be more aggressive because I feel like I can take my man off the dribble and do more things.''

Tennessee's starting lineup has been hit-and-miss in providing scoring to help Hopson and Harris.

Cameron Tatum has scored in double figures in seven SEC games but has had either one or zero baskets in four others.

"We need more from Cam,'' Pearl said. "Part of that is Cam's responsibility and part of it is my responsibility.''

Point guard Melvin Goins has four double-figure SEC games, but six others where he had one or zero field goals. He was 1-of-7 against Georgia.

Center John Fields hasn't recorded a basket in the past four games as his minutes have declined. Brian Williams, who plays starter minutes in the post, saw a fairly productive run of games end against Georgia, when he had only one basket.

"Bottom line,'' said Pearl, "it's all of us.

"Scotty had a brilliant offensive game against Georgia but at the same time he's got to do better than an 0-for-5 start and he had some defensive missed assignments.

"It's everybody.''

McBee agrees, saying, "I think we're best when everybody contributes.

"When a player like Scotty is on a roll you do have to give him the ball. But you've also got to pick your spots where other players have good looks.''

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Comments » 83

rockytopnation16 writes:

Who cares, just win a game.

zigvol writes:

Anybody else miss Maize,Prince and Chism?

wazzya69vol writes:

in response to zigvol:

Anybody else miss Maize,Prince and Chism?

I do! GBO!!

give_him_6 writes:

Yep

born2ride writes:

Bruce needs players to step up.

The players need Pearl to step down.

Oenoboy writes:

in response to born2ride:

Bruce needs players to step up.

The players need Pearl to step down.

We wouldn't have these players without Pearl. Brilliant post...not.

tlc3wp#268997 writes:

If we are looking for someone to step up at this time of the season we are in really big trouble.This team is full of players who are thinking too much and not playing basketball. Watching some of the "elite tems" on TV I see teams working a real offense and everyone taking shots and knowing what offense they are running. Have not seen it with this years team.

tnvol4ever writes:

We have to fight on defense like crazy to get thru all the picks, screens, and movement our opponents use. Then we come down on offense and stand around passing the ball on the perimeter or playing one on one basketball. Then if Hopson don't free himself the best we can hope for is a put back by Williams or Harris. CBP insists on playing all this "depth" but we do not use it in any way to our advantage. No D, no press, etc.

FeelVol writes:

To me its the distribution of the minutes and the timing of, that drives me crazy.Fields needs more than five minutes a game, how can anyone gain any flow to the game this way and Bone could probably split time with Tatum, bottom line we need others to be more aggresive taking the ball to the basket and these guys for example are decent defenders as well.Just my take.

iowavol writes:

This year is a disaster and it starts with all the off court distractions. Obviously, this team "can" play with anyone in the country and times this season we have seen some of the best defense, high energy, constant offensive movement as any team Pearl has had. At the same time, we've seen lack luster effort, no defensive intensity, total confusion on offense and dismal free three performance. Where is the focus? Where is the chemistry? Coach, love you man, but this year is on you. Better sell the big house and ditch the female dog - go back to what brought you here.

CrankE writes:

Outside of Hopson and Harris, the team was 6-24 FG and nobdy else took a FT.

The two problems are one. UT is not driving into the paint. We saw it against Alabama and Florida and others this season. Drive in and either take the high percentage shot at the bucket or draw the foul. For whatever reason, UT can't or won't do this.

The bleeding will continue.

As far as somebody stepping up, coach here's your mirror. Show me a team that's 6-7 in the conference and hustling like the 2006 team did and I'll watch them all day long. But this bunch? Not so much.

Volz4ever writes:

While I am as disappointed as anyone with the team's performance this year, I find it ridiculous that people are asking Bruce to step down. Seeing as how 6 years ago we were lucky to have 10000 fans at TBA. I can remember going to games and picking up tickets off the concrete before the game, yet we have one bad season and everyone is calling for CBP to leave. Wake up vol fans you expect to win the SEC every year now? Take a look at Michigan State, wonder if their fans are callin for Izzo's head?

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

TREVOR BAYNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to Volz4ever:

While I am as disappointed as anyone with the team's performance this year, I find it ridiculous that people are asking Bruce to step down. Seeing as how 6 years ago we were lucky to have 10000 fans at TBA. I can remember going to games and picking up tickets off the concrete before the game, yet we have one bad season and everyone is calling for CBP to leave. Wake up vol fans you expect to win the SEC every year now? Take a look at Michigan State, wonder if their fans are callin for Izzo's head?

V4ever,

I think we have to remember that what's posted on this board constitutes so little of the thinking of Big Orange Nation. The vast majority support CBP, and understand what he's done for this program. I really laugh the loudest at those who say that it's because most of his success was with Buzz's recruits. The fact is, he's taken this program to new heights, and I'm confident that when this witch hun....er, investigation is over, he'll still be coaching @ UT.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to born2ride:

Bruce needs players to step up.

The players need Pearl to step down.

Give it up, dude... not gonna happen.

Volz4ever writes:

in response to usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid:

V4ever,

I think we have to remember that what's posted on this board constitutes so little of the thinking of Big Orange Nation. The vast majority support CBP, and understand what he's done for this program. I really laugh the loudest at those who say that it's because most of his success was with Buzz's recruits. The fact is, he's taken this program to new heights, and I'm confident that when this witch hun....er, investigation is over, he'll still be coaching @ UT.

Agreed but between the trolls and so called "fans" this site sometimes becomes quite rediculous yet amusing.

vols37 writes:

When do the Tennessee fans realize that Mike Hamilton is a joke. With all of the money and facilities its kind of sad that the best thing we have to talk about every year is lady vol basketball. That's not a knock on lady vol basketball, but when are Tennessee fans going to make a big enough stink over lack of production under Hamilton to get rid of him. Very weak athletic director.

volaholic45 writes:

It's a lost season.

Slive should see that he got his pound of flesh, as he intended. The NCAA should take note, too, although you never can tell with them - seems to depend on how crappy of a mood they're in the day they issue a ruling.

The team is in disarray. The players sound like they have no clear idea of what to do. What's so hard about working for and taking good shots, not forced, contested ones? And McBee, it isn't that you're shooting too much, it's that you're missing too much. See the difference? And our offense seems to be to work it around the perimeter until someone (usually Scotty) decides to go one-on-one, or two, or three. That kind of offense is offensive to basketball fans who realize that March is upon us, but not so much to opposing teams.

But it starts with BP, who is racing with a flat this season. Let's get through it as best we can, and give it another go in November.

eduardo writes:

Get this over with.

Pullingguard writes:

Write what you might... But, the question has to be...What happened to a team that was expected to do so much? Did Pearl's goof-up take the steam from them? Do they perform better with the even handed approach of the assistant rather than the whomping-stomping of Pearl? Whatever, there is a problem to be identified..

GoVols025 writes:

in response to usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid:

V4ever,

I think we have to remember that what's posted on this board constitutes so little of the thinking of Big Orange Nation. The vast majority support CBP, and understand what he's done for this program. I really laugh the loudest at those who say that it's because most of his success was with Buzz's recruits. The fact is, he's taken this program to new heights, and I'm confident that when this witch hun....er, investigation is over, he'll still be coaching @ UT.

"The vast majority support CBP...?" Really? You got numbers to support this claim?

sheep writes:

Kinda hard to "step up" from the bench. If pearl wants players to step up, he needs to play them more. Moving Mcbee from shooting guard to point had a positive effect in the game against South Carlina, but Goins killed us during the Georgia game, and as usual he wasnt taken out. He stole the ball and dunked the ball, but in usual showboat fashion, he got a technical which caused a 4 point swing. Also, he had 2 turnovers and only 3 assists. As for Tatum, he is the amazing invisible man. Pearl cant expect much production from Skylar and Bone if he is not going to run plays that feature them as he does the other players. Skylar only has 1 field goal in the last 4 games because he has only shot 3 times. He made a big three in the south carolina game, but he dosent force shots, so he has to wait till he is open, which is hard because no one wants to throw the ball to him when he is open, and he seems not to be allowed to drive the lane and pull up and shoot, when he did that against nova, he made the shot, but was taken out and didnt play again. Pearl is one sided with some of his players, and expects to much from others. If pearl wants more out of Skylar, he needs to turn him lose and let him create his own shot, because he has the ability. Bone is very athletic, and very good on defense, but as Skylar, he dosent get to shoot, and at this point he should be starting over Tatum. This team is done, Pearl is done, and if we dont win at least 3 more games we will not go to the NIT, the NCAA is already out of reach.
BAAAAAAAAAAAA cue the Fat lady Says the Sheep.

AHoffman writes:

It is time to end the Pearl / Hamilton era at UT and move on.

scvols writes:

in response to sheep:

Kinda hard to "step up" from the bench. If pearl wants players to step up, he needs to play them more. Moving Mcbee from shooting guard to point had a positive effect in the game against South Carlina, but Goins killed us during the Georgia game, and as usual he wasnt taken out. He stole the ball and dunked the ball, but in usual showboat fashion, he got a technical which caused a 4 point swing. Also, he had 2 turnovers and only 3 assists. As for Tatum, he is the amazing invisible man. Pearl cant expect much production from Skylar and Bone if he is not going to run plays that feature them as he does the other players. Skylar only has 1 field goal in the last 4 games because he has only shot 3 times. He made a big three in the south carolina game, but he dosent force shots, so he has to wait till he is open, which is hard because no one wants to throw the ball to him when he is open, and he seems not to be allowed to drive the lane and pull up and shoot, when he did that against nova, he made the shot, but was taken out and didnt play again. Pearl is one sided with some of his players, and expects to much from others. If pearl wants more out of Skylar, he needs to turn him lose and let him create his own shot, because he has the ability. Bone is very athletic, and very good on defense, but as Skylar, he dosent get to shoot, and at this point he should be starting over Tatum. This team is done, Pearl is done, and if we dont win at least 3 more games we will not go to the NIT, the NCAA is already out of reach.
BAAAAAAAAAAAA cue the Fat lady Says the Sheep.

Dumb sheep, Skylar has the lowest FG% of the team. If you are going to post a page at least know what you are talking about.

Vols_Epiphany writes:

in response to Makeing_The_Call:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Anyone who cant even spell the word "making" correctly, especially in his/her screen name, shouldnt have any right to criticize anyone else about anything. So just shut up.

dwolfcreek#397971 writes:

in response to rockytopnation16:

Who cares, just win a game.

NOOOOOOOOOO POINT GUARD , THATS THE POINT .................

12Hours writes:

in response to vols37:

When do the Tennessee fans realize that Mike Hamilton is a joke. With all of the money and facilities its kind of sad that the best thing we have to talk about every year is lady vol basketball. That's not a knock on lady vol basketball, but when are Tennessee fans going to make a big enough stink over lack of production under Hamilton to get rid of him. Very weak athletic director.

Hamilton is not on the floor for these basketball games.
This post is irrelevant in this context!
You all loved Hamilton when he hired BP and told Hamilton to "write the check" to keep BP when you feared he was leaving.Now, because some very capable players and a capable coach don't know how to get in the paint and finish a shot, you blame it on Hamilton.
Maybe somethings can be pinned on him, but not this poor play!

scvols writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No way, I talked to a major booster and he said Pearl is not going anywhere.

sheep writes:

in response to scvols:

Dumb sheep, Skylar has the lowest FG% of the team. If you are going to post a page at least know what you are talking about.

4th on the team in 3 point percentage, and less shots and minutes than the three above him. Now who knows the facts? Hard to make twos when you dont shoot them. He has had five of his attempts from two blocked, and has not been allowed to drive and create.
BAAAAAAAAAAAAA now who is dumb and dosent know the facts says the Sheep.

volcycle writes:

Umm... Maybe coach someone into being a leader?

PeeEllthree writes:

in response to Pullingguard:

Write what you might... But, the question has to be...What happened to a team that was expected to do so much? Did Pearl's goof-up take the steam from them? Do they perform better with the even handed approach of the assistant rather than the whomping-stomping of Pearl? Whatever, there is a problem to be identified..

Expected by whom? They were picked 4th in the east. Lost 3 big srs. Have no pg, no shooters and no post play. The only reason for fans to have big expectations coming into the year is because BP got this program to new heights and raised expectations after nibbling at the final 4 last year.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Makeing_The_Call:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That's because no one--not even his biggest fans, of which I am one--expects him to be any more than a complementary player. The thing is, no team needs more than one or at most two of that type, and the others listed, except maybe for McBee, were expected to be much more than that.

Tatum in particular has been a major disappointment to me. I thought he would be a reliable double-figure scorer to help share the load with Harris and Hopson, but he just...hasn't been. Goins has had MUCH more difficulty finding his rhythm as a PG than I expected. Hall and Bone were seriously derailed by their injuries; both could have been SO much more productive this year if they had been healthy from the beginning.

Of course, I can't believe I'm actually giving you a serious response, since about all I've seen from you all season is snarky, half-witty digs at everybody in sight. Try giving an opinion that isn't a lame one-liner for a change, if you can.

gglardon50#417841 writes:

in response to Volz4ever:

While I am as disappointed as anyone with the team's performance this year, I find it ridiculous that people are asking Bruce to step down. Seeing as how 6 years ago we were lucky to have 10000 fans at TBA. I can remember going to games and picking up tickets off the concrete before the game, yet we have one bad season and everyone is calling for CBP to leave. Wake up vol fans you expect to win the SEC every year now? Take a look at Michigan State, wonder if their fans are callin for Izzo's head?

Michigan State fans are not calling to replace their couch.But he's not a cheat and a lier .

PeeEllthree writes:

in response to gglardon50#417841:

Michigan State fans are not calling to replace their couch.But he's not a cheat and a lier .

He was suspended for a game this year for a violation and I believe Izzo does lie down from time to time. Good luck on the ged test.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Just exactly where have YOU supported any claim you've made? At least one guy said he knew a booster, flimsy as that was, more proof than you have ever offered.

sheep writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nice use of the explicatives, shows your education, and vocabulary. Fifth, or fourth, dosent matter, he will never get a fair shake at TN the school for black athletes only(it seems). His play is still better than Golden in most games he has played. I never said he is a PG, that is not his natural position. I agree that Bruce is a fraud. Skylar has attempted 57 3s I believe, and made 18, those who are above him in percentage, have taken more shots than him, except maybe Bone. He has not shot as well as he should have, and he also said that when he was interviewed, but to blame him for the way this team playes when he only averages 13 minutes a game, is a little off base. I am well avare of his limitations, and know he will never be a superstar, but he has earned his scholarship by his work effort and play, unlike Mcrae who cusses like you, and has yet to impress anyone with his attiude and play. We do not need your filthy mouth to have an interesting dialogue, so if you want to cuss and hate people without cause, then go to KY's website and post there.
BAAAAAAAAA Does your mom know you talk that way? Says the Sheep

Pullingguard writes:

Know what will get Pearl...Vol fans only turn out for winners...When those black seats start being covered and attendance drops and wins are scarce then Pearl will be ushered out, and that time is not far off.,..Next year will be disaster.

cargen#1339565 writes:

If BP could use all the info in these posts, we would go undefeated and win the big ring. The most critical ones have never been on a basketball team,but know how to play the game. It seems to me every college team loses games and the cry does not go out to throw the coach in the ditch,We'll get them the next time used to be in vogue.Spred the rock, play lose as a goose,enjoy the ride.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

in response to zigvol:

Anybody else miss Maize,Prince and Chism?

Exactly right! That is a great deal of EXPERIENCE to replace in a line-up!

GatorintheKnox writes:

Please don't crucify me for posting but as a Gator fan, I was ready to jump ship on Billy D after two national titles and two NIT's but with time and recruiting, Donovan has at least made the Gators competitive again and I think with time, Pearl will do the same. He may have lied but he's the best available guy out there. You won't find a better coach.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

in response to Makeing_The_Call:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I believe he is speaking on the offensive side of the ball. If he had included his son on the list, then he would have been blasted about wanting him to be a scoring leader also! Say what you want about SP, but he usually maximizes his talents when he's in the game! And he also knows what his role is on the team! Put his heart in Woolridge's body and I'll show you an all-SEC player!

VolsToTheWall writes:

when you have no heart you are in. con. sis. tent.

volaholic45 writes:

in response to ztoshiningz2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm not blaming the SEC or NCAA, nor am I denying that it's all BP's doing. You must be suffering from BP derangement syndrome, Zito, if you got the opposite out of my post.

Volz4ever writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Exactly, one of the most consistent coaches in recent history and is getting blown away. Everyone can say what they want about CBP, but when he was getting to the tourney with subpar talent everyone had floorburns on their knees. Now the Vols are struggling on the court and have the pending investigation and you can't wait to run him out of town. If you haven't realized there are two kinds of coaches out there, those who cheat and those who get caught. If you think that we will find someone worth a sh*t to replace if we get stuck with sanctions you're highly mistaken. There isn't a solid coach in the country that would want this job.

VOL1972 writes:

This has got to be a frustrating year for CBP. Did you see the article (before the GA game) about our scout team (Golden, McRae, Hall, Woolridge, & Maymon) being all 4 star recruits? Only three played in the GA game (for a total of 12 minutes and 0 points). The only other 4 star player we have, as far as I know, is Tatum. He scored 0 points.

You have to wonder how CBP can get so much out of players who aren't that talented and get nothing out of "can't miss" guys.

The NCAA investigation/distraction has got to have something to do with it, but that is the way the NCAA works. They leave you twisting in the wind, unless you are Auburn and playing for a National Championship (or ND where one dead student assistant = nothing), for the entire season.

VolunteerLifer writes:

Realistically, who would be the one or ones to 'step up'? Other than Hopson and Harris, no one else on our two-deep has really stepped up this season, despite multiple chances to do so, and especially of late.

Why not give Hall, Maymon, Woolridge, and McRae a few more chances to 'step up?' Maybe one of them is ready to contribute. What do we have to lose? How could they do worse? And even if they do worse, what would the difference be in the outcome of the games. Any different? I doubt it.

Ironcity writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Pearl did not have any phone violations at Wisconsin. Have you not figured out that just because you make it up doesn't make it true. Your obsession with coach and your hatred towards this university is in the range of Harvey Updyke. You need help!!!!

samvol writes:

in response to Makeing_The_Call:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Why is Kenny Hall being called out, most of his time is sitting on the bench…. WTH...LOL

hikerdude writes:

Unfortunately, we don't have anyone to step up at the #1 and #5 where we desperately need help. I'm afraid that we won't make the big dance this year.

samvol writes:

in response to VOL1972:

This has got to be a frustrating year for CBP. Did you see the article (before the GA game) about our scout team (Golden, McRae, Hall, Woolridge, & Maymon) being all 4 star recruits? Only three played in the GA game (for a total of 12 minutes and 0 points). The only other 4 star player we have, as far as I know, is Tatum. He scored 0 points.

You have to wonder how CBP can get so much out of players who aren't that talented and get nothing out of "can't miss" guys.

The NCAA investigation/distraction has got to have something to do with it, but that is the way the NCAA works. They leave you twisting in the wind, unless you are Auburn and playing for a National Championship (or ND where one dead student assistant = nothing), for the entire season.

Hall had 2 points and 1 rebound in 5 minutes...

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