Hopson back to attack mentality

Output matching hype for junior

Pearl pleased with Vols' effort and energy

Tennessee junior Scotty Hopson might still have his share of doubters, as he has throughout the highs and lows of his basketball career with the Vols.

But Hopson no longer questions himself, and he believes that has been the biggest difference in his current eight-game streak of scoring 15 points or more.

Hopson hopes to extend that streak when Tennessee (12-6) plays at No. 10 Connecticut (15-2) on Saturday (TV: WVLT, 2 p.m.) in Hartford, Conn.

"It's like I don't ask permission any more, I ask for forgiveness, if you know what I mean,'' Hopson said. "I just go out and play and do my best, and if I mess up, I'll apologize and take accountability.

"When I was deferring and second-guessing myself, I wasn't making the right decisions.''

Hopson admits that deferring to talented upperclassmen over the past two seasons at UT affected his confidence.

"In high school, I was a leader, but I got away from that the past two seasons,'' said Hopson, who earned McDonald's All-American honors at University Heights High School in Hopkinsville, Ky. "I didn't have to carry the load at Tennessee because we had other great players.

"But now Coach ( Bruce Pearl) says we go as I go, so I just try to stay in that attack mentality.''

Hopson's ability to carry that mentality to the defensive end has been key in the past two games, as he has gone head-to-head with Vanderbilt star Jeffery Taylor and Georgia's Travis Leslie and outplayed both.

"There have been days I've been sore, or tired, and didn't really want to go hard in practice, but that happens to everyone,'' Hopson said. "I've just learned I have to compete and get my mind right every day to lead.''

Tough Tobias: Freshman Tobias Harris has made a good case for himself to win SEC freshman of the year, and his performance in the Vols' 59-57 win at Georgia on Tuesday did nothing to hurt that.

Harris had 15 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals and a career-high five blocked shots against the Bulldogs.

It's Over: UT guard Josh Bone had no idea at the time that the shot he hit with 2:20 left to put the Vols up 55-54 came after the shot clock had expired.

"I knew the shot clock was going down, but I didn't know it was at zero,'' Bone said. "I saw the replay later, and I was like 'Ohhh!"

"But it's over now.''

Big Baby's Big Day: Brian "Big Baby" Williams enjoyed an exciting 24 hours after his game-winning, buzzer-beating shot against Georgia made ESPN's SportsCenter.

"My phone has been going crazy, so has Twitter and Facebook,'' Williams said. "Shoot, I can't even accept any more Facebook friends.''

Williams began Thursday's practice by chanting "Kobe-Bryant,'' followed by, "Big Baby."

Bench Mob: UT's bench outscored Georgia's 20-10, marking the seventh consecutive game the Vols' so-called "Bench Mob" has done so dating back to a win over UT Martin.

The Vols' bench was out-scored in seven of the first 11 games this season.

Forbes' Big Week: UT assistant coach Steve Forbes saw the fruits of his work in two areas: recruiting and coaching.

Signee Chris Jones of Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy was named the MVP of the prestigious high school Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Mo., last weekend.

Forbes served as the primary recruiter for Jones, a lightning-quick guard who scored 29 points in the tournament's championship game.

Forbes also had the scout for the win over Georgia, a game that saw UT's scheme lead to a 24-22 advantage in points in the paint and 34-28 advantage on the boards.

Bulldogs' preseason player of the year Trey Thompkins was held to 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting - his worst shooting performance of the season.

3-2 Zone: One of the plans in place before the Georgia game was for the Vols to pull a seldom-used defense out of their arsenal, the 3-2 zone.

"We had shown it once, all season, against Vanderbilt,'' said UT associate head coach Tony Jones, who handled the bench duties with Pearl serving the fourth game of his eight-game SEC suspension. "We used it five times (against Georgia), and they scored once against it.''

Zero-for-Georgia: All four UT players from the state of Georgia played Tuesday night, but none of them scored.

The players - Cameron Tatum, Kenny Hall, Trae Golden and Jordan McRae - played a combined 33 minutes and were a cumulative 0-for-8 shooting.

Tatum, who starts at the wing, got the lion's share of those minutes with 21.

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Comments » 37

BigVolinCarolina writes:

Hopson shows flashes of having it in him, but the question is whether he can do it consistently. If you think about it, I guess each of us has to answer the same question in whatever we do (work, school, etc...).

Glad that we have some guards coming in next season, but it'd be nice to sign a legit "big man". Perhaps it's me, but I'm not seeing or hearing about any that we're gonna sign. That's not good.

TennVol01 writes:

Harris is the best now. Hopson is a follower.

eduardo writes:

Show us Hop!!!

flatrock writes:

Scotty's biggest doubter is Scotty.

LiveFaith writes:

in response to flatrock:

Scotty's biggest doubter is Scotty.

Whew. I dunno, he's got a lot of helpers around here. :-(

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to LiveFaith:

Whew. I dunno, he's got a lot of helpers around here. :-(

You got that right.

I really liked what I saw from Scotty in this last game. If he keeps that aggressive attitude about him, he'll do well and so will the team.

I don't think he is a natural leader. But he is a terrific athlete and a gifted ball player. And there's nothing wrong with that. If he focuses on playing his position and playing as hard as he did against Georgia, that's good enough for me. Others can take the leadership roles. That's what seniors are for.

It's reasonable to expect this talented player to lead the team in scoring, but its counterproductive to expect him to lead the team, too, given his natural proclivities.

Bigger_Al writes:

Hopson is the key to our team.

SuckTheseVols98 writes:

in response to BigVolinCarolina:

Hopson shows flashes of having it in him, but the question is whether he can do it consistently. If you think about it, I guess each of us has to answer the same question in whatever we do (work, school, etc...).

Glad that we have some guards coming in next season, but it'd be nice to sign a legit "big man". Perhaps it's me, but I'm not seeing or hearing about any that we're gonna sign. That's not good.

I agree man, we gots to get some bigs!

born2ride writes:

Now if Hopson could make a shot.

flatrock writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

Hopson is the key to our team.

I believe the 5-spot is the key to Vols. When
Vols get decent low post play, it is easier for
others to get their shots in an inside-out
flow. What has happened to Kenny Hall?

chrisw2967 writes:

If Tn can pull off this win Sat that means they are the Big East champs.
I just hope they can keep Kemba from going Jodi Meeks on us.If they can control him then Tn has a heck of a chance of winning this game.Maybe BW can continue doing what he has been doing the last 2 games.

rclarkvols#224537 writes:

Hopson is not the problem, never has been. The problem is Tatum. You can't have your starting
wing player score zero points. And it's not the first time either. He has got to pick it up for us to be as good as we can be.

VOL75ga writes:

The title of this article is Hopson back to attack mode. Does that mean he has decided (again, again, again) to play like he is supposed to be able to? I still think the big difference maker in the games is Williams. If he plays aggressively the team seems to win. Harris will be the scoring leader before the season is over because he hasn't waited for permission to play like he can and does.

richvol writes:

Tatum has got to get his rear in gear. His lack of performance and zoning out on defense is hurting the team. He also commits dumb fouls. Bone is more effective and boxes out.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to rclarkvols#224537:

Hopson is not the problem, never has been. The problem is Tatum. You can't have your starting
wing player score zero points. And it's not the first time either. He has got to pick it up for us to be as good as we can be.

I hoped Tatum was gonna help lead this team this year...he's had a coupla good games and is a good athlete. He 's a little like Hopson's been at times by forcing things instead of letting the game come to him. He also at times needs to pick his D up a little. Overall he's been a steady, but avg. player. I think he has an upside that's waiting to blossom!!

Biggie writes:

Goins is the worst PG we've had in years. Why are we dribbling out at half court with 12 secs left on the shot clock? UNless the coaches are playing that type of offense, he needs to get in close and dish it off. We know you can dribble but that's not worth much if you can't make an assist off of it

tmartin writes:

UT is dependent on Scotty to carry us and therein lies the root of the whole problem.

Also, dont have a legit big man, point guard or shooting guard. Tobias is the only solid player.

lomas98 writes:

in response to richvol:

Tatum has got to get his rear in gear. His lack of performance and zoning out on defense is hurting the team. He also commits dumb fouls. Bone is more effective and boxes out.

Tatum had a horrible game against GA but that is more the exception for him. The zoning out on defense you are referring to is probably the ONE play where Leslie followed up a three with a dunk. He played very well Saturday against Vandy and has played well in other games too. He is not going to score 30 points and is not going to carry a team. He is just a good college player who will get hot every now and then. He scored zero points and we still won on Tuesday.

crappieking writes:

Good game Scotty. You are playing well right now. Don't listen to some of these morons here. Keep it going. We need you! GBO.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

Hopson is the key to our team.

Respectfully, I just don't see how a team can make its shooting guard the key to the team's performance. Shooting guards are up and down from game to game. Most teams make the low post or point guard the team key. And we have seniors at both of those spots.

Given Pearl's system, I think the key is the #4 spot, and this year that spot is being held by a freshman. Even though Harris is putting up terrific numbers and I have no complaint at all about his play, he may not understand the offense well enough to be the key guy, and that may be why our offense seems to bog down so much.

eb502us#225637 writes:

in response to Biggie:

Goins is the worst PG we've had in years. Why are we dribbling out at half court with 12 secs left on the shot clock? UNless the coaches are playing that type of offense, he needs to get in close and dish it off. We know you can dribble but that's not worth much if you can't make an assist off of it

I've been saying this since day one, Goins is a horrendous point guard and I'd much rather see Bone in his place.

How many point guards are hesitant and don't know what to do with the ball once they get into the lane? Not that he gets into the lane often.

Also, I'm sick and tired of watching him dribble the shot clock down to nothing before taking a wild shot or making a desperation pass. We were lucky to win the UGA game because that's exactly what he did the last two possessions. If not for Brian Williams being alert both times, Goins would have both dribbled it and thrown it away.

He needs his minutes majorly cut.

tennrich1 writes:

I dont know if you guys saw Chris Jones play in that tournament, but man is he quick...and can shoot...and oh yeah, he plays a little defense...If we keep CBP and Chris stays with us...I feel he will be a game changer...He has dominated other players since he was a junior in H.S...look forward to seeing him in orange.

tulelakevol writes:

I think the fact that none of the players we recruited from GA scored hurts us. We need points from Tatum, Golden, Hall and McRae when they play, even if they only get one bucket apiece, that is 8 points. I am super happy with the win, but come March, we need these guys to step up a notch. Go Vols!

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

I was confused for a minute...thought that recruit Chris Jones was MVP of a fishing tournament...wondering why we needed to know that.

Keep it going, Scotty! We all give you permission to score to your heart's content against UConn! You, too, Big Baby! GBO!!

BigVolFaninSC writes:

Goins may have some scoring issues, but he plays very well on the defensive side! And to those that are saying he's the worst, first of all - that is just an overreaction, and secondly - he has improved his FG and FT shooting from last year!

We surely do need more scoring from the block area, though. I think Harris can do it, but he seems to be getting the "Chism" syndrome of falling in love with the trey! We need him near the basket to score, rebound and block shots! Hopson shows flashes, he just needs to do it for 40 minutes! How about some more screens for him to get open?

jbocap writes:

I sure wished Pat Summitt could cause these boys (Scotty) to grow up and be a man on the court!

Dont look now Scotty, but Tobias is a freshman; and does not seem to have the mental fear you seem to have...and look how he plays!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Respectfully, I just don't see how a team can make its shooting guard the key to the team's performance. Shooting guards are up and down from game to game. Most teams make the low post or point guard the team key. And we have seniors at both of those spots.

Given Pearl's system, I think the key is the #4 spot, and this year that spot is being held by a freshman. Even though Harris is putting up terrific numbers and I have no complaint at all about his play, he may not understand the offense well enough to be the key guy, and that may be why our offense seems to bog down so much.

Some decent points here, except I don't think you give Harris quite enough credit. He has said he came here because he liked UT's offensive system and everybody says he is the hardest worker on the team. I think he understands the offense perfectly well; the biggest problem, IMHO, is that he doesn't handle the ball ENOUGH in the half-court offense.

I would like to see them feed him more at the high post where he can be a true triple-threat player on as many offensive possessions as possible. That would give the team more chances to score at any point in the shot clock instead of looking ONLY for the quick-hitter, which we rarely get, or waiting until the shot clock has almost expired to try to get something at the last second.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to tulelakevol:

I think the fact that none of the players we recruited from GA scored hurts us. We need points from Tatum, Golden, Hall and McRae when they play, even if they only get one bucket apiece, that is 8 points. I am super happy with the win, but come March, we need these guys to step up a notch. Go Vols!

I agree. Increased production from these guys, especially Tatum and Golden, will have a lot to do with how this team goes the rest of the season and beyond.

SunshineVol writes:

Connecticut can be beaten by UT. Connecticut does play hard the entire 40 minutes and presses. Walker will get his points and is an excellent passer. Goins must do what he does best and elevate his defensive game against Walker, and other UT players must drive the basket to get Connecticut’s forwards in foul trouble early, then the Huskies become very one dimensional because Walker is not an outstanding 3-point shooter.

Connecticut does not shoot well, with the exception of free throws, as a team but are very talented on defense where they excel at rebounding on both ends of the court and are excellent shot blockers. UT needs to get into a running game.

Revised Big East Standings:
Tennessee 2 - 0
Pittsburgh 6 - 1
Syracuse 5 - 1
Louisville 4 - 1
Villanova 4 - 2
Connecticut 4 - 2
Marquette 4 - 2
West Virginia 3 - 2
Notre Dame 4 - 3
St. John’s 4 - 3
Cincinnati 3 - 3
Georgetown 3 - 4
Seton Hall 2 - 5
Rutgers 1 - 4
USF 1 - 5
Providence 0 - 6
DePaul 0 - 6
Providence 0 - 6
DePaul 0 - 6

murrayvol writes:

in response to flatrock:

I believe the 5-spot is the key to Vols. When
Vols get decent low post play, it is easier for
others to get their shots in an inside-out
flow. What has happened to Kenny Hall?

Kenny has flatlined...and it may be a permanent condition.

murrayvol writes:

in response to rclarkvols#224537:

Hopson is not the problem, never has been. The problem is Tatum. You can't have your starting
wing player score zero points. And it's not the first time either. He has got to pick it up for us to be as good as we can be.

Tatum can get you 15 one night and 0 the next....just seems to leave the building.

All he had to do at UGA was step in front of Leslie on his missed 3/rebound/slam and we get that rebound. Go figure.

kevin151 writes:

This means Scotty won't show up Saturday... Uconn big

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

!!!!!??????

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Tatum can get you 15 one night and 0 the next....just seems to leave the building.

All he had to do at UGA was step in front of Leslie on his missed 3/rebound/slam and we get that rebound. Go figure.

While I understand your statement...I'm not sure the stats will agree(though I won't look it up). I think he's averaging double figures? Maybe our Georgia players are Ga. fans?lol I hope not.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

While I understand your statement...I'm not sure the stats will agree(though I won't look it up). I think he's averaging double figures? Maybe our Georgia players are Ga. fans?lol I hope not.

Tatum also had 0 against Ark. His 3rd lowest was 5...his high was 21 against Fla. He's for the MOST part been consistent on offense. I actually agree with you somewhat. He does seem to disappear at times.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Some decent points here, except I don't think you give Harris quite enough credit. He has said he came here because he liked UT's offensive system and everybody says he is the hardest worker on the team. I think he understands the offense perfectly well; the biggest problem, IMHO, is that he doesn't handle the ball ENOUGH in the half-court offense.

I would like to see them feed him more at the high post where he can be a true triple-threat player on as many offensive possessions as possible. That would give the team more chances to score at any point in the shot clock instead of looking ONLY for the quick-hitter, which we rarely get, or waiting until the shot clock has almost expired to try to get something at the last second.

I agree. The offense should go through Harris because of his skills and because of the design of Pearl's offense. He was recruited to fill that very role - the straw that stirs the drink. I would like to see more of that, but I presume that won't be the case for awhile because Harris is a freshman. Coaches just don't trust freshmen enough to put the fate of their team in a freshman's hands. But Harris is a natural leader, and no one else on the team is, so I say - freshman or not - give more and more of it to Tobias and let him emerge as the team leader.

slee writes:

hopson better get an education at tennesssee, he want make it as a pro.

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