Injury makes Kenny Hall odd man out

Tennessee's Renaldo Woolridge, Scotty Hopson and Kenny Hall, left to right, celebrate the Vols' 67-64 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee's Renaldo Woolridge, Scotty Hopson and Kenny Hall, left to right, celebrate the Vols' 67-64 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011.

Vols doing well off the bench

Sophomore Kenny Hall said he didn’t select the No. 20 for any particular reason when he came to play for the Tennessee men’s basketball team 1½ years ago.

But it wasn’t long after Hall donned the number that he became aware of its significance in Vols basketball history.

“Back in the day, Allan Houston was the biggest deal in Tennessee basketball,’’ Hall said Monday. “Then he was a superstar with the New York Knicks.

“We all respect his reputation here, for sure.’’

Hall wondered aloud if this would be his last season wearing the No. 20 for the Vols with Monday’s announcement that Houston’s jersey will be retired in a March 6 ceremony prior to UT’s game with Kentucky at Thompson-Boling Arena.

When informed that Houston had given his blessing for Hall to finish his career with the number, Hall said he might change his number to honor Houston, anyway.

“I’ll try to carry out the number as good as I can,’’ Hall said. “But he deserves to have this number retired.’’

Hall would like to be doing more to honor the No. 20 on the floor this season.

A foot injury that put Hall in a walking boot late in fall camp left him the odd man out of the rotation at the post.

Hall has played sparingly in UT’s past two games, and there’s no guarantee he’ll see the floor when the Vols play at Auburn on Thursday (TV: 9 p.m., ESPN2).

“This season has been as hard on Kenny as any because he had the anticipation to play,’’ UT coach Bruce Pearl said. “I think his foot injury was a factor, and now Brian (Williams) and John (Fields) are ahead of him playing with the urgency you often see from seniors.’’

Pearl said that being out of the rotation hasn’t prevented Hall from having a valuable presence.

“Kenny hit five out of six free throws in our win against Belmont in the NIT,’’ Pearl said. “Without those shots, we don’t go to New York.

“It’s his job to stay right and ready, and there’s no question he can be a factor in more outcomes this season.’’

Pearl said Hall’s role is expected to increase significantly next season with Williams and Fields graduating.

“Kenny will show some perimeter abilities to shoot the ball next year that we’re all excited about,’’ Pearl said. “As soon as we get Kenny more explosive, and get him to practice and play with greater intensity and energy, he’ll become a very productive player.’’

Hall admits it’s hard not having a spot in the rotation.

“It might have been one of the toughest pills I’ve had to swallow in my basketball career,’’ he said. “It’s not something I wanted to deal with or go through, but the fact is I’ve got to do it, and it is what it is.

“At the end of the day, it’s a team thing, and we all have our roles. Right now, my role is to stay ready and help get the other guys ready to play.’’

Hall weighed 210 pounds as a freshman at UT and now is up to 225. He said his goal is to play between 235 and 240 pounds next season.

“It’s hard to add weight during the season because of all the conditioning and running we’re doing,’’ Hall said. “But when I do get my chances, I’ll do something with them.

“Any time you see me on the court, it’s a meaningful moment to me, and I’ll play every play like it’s my last.’’

Williams, who goes against Hall every day in practice, said the sophomore is handling the situation as well as anyone could.

“Kenny works hard when the lights aren’t on, and that’s what it takes to be successful,’’ Williams said. “He’s our best low-post scorer, and I guarantee you he will be a star here.’’

The Flat Top: Vols junior Scotty Hopson revealed that his barber sold him on his current flat-top hair style by dropping Allan Houston’s name.

“Allan Houston was an influence on my haircut,’’ Hopson said. “The guy who cut my hair suggested the old-school flat top and told me Allan Houston wore it when he was at Tennessee.’’

Short Practice: Pearl said there was a strategy behind him limiting Monday’s practice to an hour.

“It’s a long season,’’ Pearl said. “Starting Thursday (at Auburn), we’ll play three games in six days.

“We went as hard for an hour as we’ve gone in a long time. It was a tremendous conditioning burn.’’

Tobias Out: UT freshman Tobias Harris, named the SEC’s freshman of the week earlier Monday, didn’t practice with the team because of the ankle injury he suffered Saturday against Ole Miss.

“Tobias will be day to day,’’ Pearl said. “He probably won’t practice (today).’’

Harris said he rolled his ankle with just under 13 minutes remaining in the Vols’ 74-57 victory at Ole Miss.

Harris returned to the game, finishing with a team-high 12 rebounds.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 18

esarmstrong#231516 writes:

I think we got a preview of what Kenny Hall can do for UT when he gave us superb play last season while Tyer Smith, Melvin Goins, Brian Williams and Gerald Tatum (IIRC?) were suspended. If he puts forth more of the effort his coaches want he can be a real force on the inside for us starting next year.

KC_Vol writes:

I really believe Hall will be a factor before this season is through. And next year we need him to play 25 minutes a game. I hope Maymon sticks it out too. We need him next year.

eb502us#225637 writes:

Hall needs to bulk up and add some low post moves to his game. Right now, he's got the body of a high schooler and that doesn't work in the SEC.

The bench is where he belongs for now but I hope it happens for him.

PeeEllthree writes:

in response to MrPearl_STILLHERE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So Hall has a starter role and 30 minutes a game staring him in the face next year and he is bolting? Hopefully he has guidance to help him not make a bad decision.

samvol writes:

Hall and Mcrea need to be on the first thing OUT of knoxville

tmartin writes:

in response to samvol:

Hall and Mcrea need to be on the first thing OUT of knoxville

Only if steven pearl is driving the taxi

Futurecoach16 writes:

Despite the proof that Steven Pearl makes a difference when he's the game, people STILL are calling for his out. Just pathetic.

richvol writes:

UT has got to sign a big center in the spring...hopefully Stokes. Kenny cannot carry that position full time next year.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I like Hall's potential...just a sophomore! I forgot about his foot injury...I hope that's healed well for the post season.

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to samvol:

Hall and Mcrea need to be on the first thing OUT of knoxville

dumb statement

they will be orange and in rotation spots next year

smokeyvol1 writes:

When will KNS and other media idiots stop reporting on Hopson's haircut? Its getting old and I can't for the life of me see where this is news worthy! Am I missing something here? Does it make his game better or worse? Whats next, a report on new tatoo's or piercing's?

brod writes:

hall is limited in his ability, but can help himself greatly with a few more of those 5 of 6 from the stripe games. that was his weakness last year.

samvol writes:

in response to brod:

hall is limited in his ability, but can help himself greatly with a few more of those 5 of 6 from the stripe games. that was his weakness last year.

"Hall didn't disappoint, leading the team in field-goal percentage (.578) in 35 appearances during his first year on Rocky Top"

just how is he limited?

Ironcity writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

Hall needs to bulk up and add some low post moves to his game. Right now, he's got the body of a high schooler and that doesn't work in the SEC.

The bench is where he belongs for now but I hope it happens for him.

I agree but I do think he has all the potential in the world. He just has to go out develop it.

PeeEllthree writes:

in response to samvol:

"Hall didn't disappoint, leading the team in field-goal percentage (.578) in 35 appearances during his first year on Rocky Top"

just how is he limited?

He's too light to play the 5 and not quick enough for the 4. He's got a nice turn around shot going left but not another go to move. No up and under, no jump hook, no right hand move, no power move. Not great hands. A half step slow off the floor on the D rebounding end.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to PeeEllthree:

He's too light to play the 5 and not quick enough for the 4. He's got a nice turn around shot going left but not another go to move. No up and under, no jump hook, no right hand move, no power move. Not great hands. A half step slow off the floor on the D rebounding end.

Hard to argue with any of this on the face of it. Still, I do think he has potential. For one thing, I expect the Vols to go back to the full-court game next year. He shouldn't have to bang constantly in the post in that kind of system and he should be able to beat his man down the floor most of the time.

No question he needs to develop on offense. Maybe he can go to a big-man camp this summer. Even if the Vols can sign some kind of big man between now and next season, Hall will still have a major role. I agree with the poster who said he would be crazy to leave and have to sit out a year at another D-I school when he could be a key guy here next year.

carbonzip writes:

Hall stepped in and held his own against some pretty big centers last year. What happened to Maymonn? Why keep McCrae out of action?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to carbonzip:

Hall stepped in and held his own against some pretty big centers last year. What happened to Maymonn? Why keep McCrae out of action?

In coach-speak, McRae apparently has "maturity issues". It is also said that he isn't good enough on defense yet. Finally, his position is one of the deepest on the team and there are more-experienced players ahead of him. As for Maymon, much the same, except that I haven't heard anything negative about his character or personality. He and Hall both have better and/or more-experienced guys ahead of them, especially as defenders. Since the rotation has shortened a bit, some guys are going to be left out. I hope all three of the guys I mentioned manage to stay positive, work in practice to get better, and continue to help the other guys prepare. Your day will come! It might come sooner than they expect if Hopson and Harris miss significant time or are less than 100% for awhile.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features