McRae ready to give Vols fans hope

The Knoxville News Sentinel's Jordan McRae drives the ball around ChoiceSpine's Jeronne Maymon during the Men's Pilot Rocky Top League championship game at Bearden High School Wednesday, June 29, 2011.

Photo by Adam Brimer, Adam Brimer

The Knoxville News Sentinel's Jordan McRae drives the ball around ChoiceSpine's Jeronne Maymon during the Men's Pilot Rocky Top League championship game at Bearden High School Wednesday, June 29, 2011.

UT sophomore wing Jordan McRae discusses the Pilot Rocky Top League

Tennessee rising sophomore Jordan McRae shattered the Pilot Rocky Top League scoring record this summer, but more importantly in his mind, he sent a message.

"My mindset coming out here this summer was to give the fans something to look forward to,'' said McRae, who averaged 45.7 points per game for the News Sentinel. "We read the blogs and chatboards, and we (UT players) want to let the fans know it's not gonna be one of those years.''

The basketball preview magazines and top 25 polls are a few months from coming out, but it's safe to say the Vols won't be projected to make the NCAA tournament nor finish in the top half of the SEC.

This summer at Bearden High School, however, select Vols like McRae and projected starting point guard Trae Golden shined bright.

A panel of media, coaches and league officials voted Golden the Pilot Rocky Top League MVP after the sophomore point guard led his Choice Spine team to an undefeated record and averaged nearly 30 points and 10 assists per game. McRae was named the Most Outstanding Player.

Former UT coach Bruce Pearl said McRae's talents were obvious from the onset of his recruitment. But like many of the other former backups who will likely start for new Vols coach Cuonzo Martin, McRae needed some seasoning.

"Jordy has the athleticism, and the quickness and the skill package,'' said Pearl, who watched McRae and Golden face off in the Pilot Rocky Top League championship game Wednesday night. "It was hard not playing him, but you've got to look at it long-term; taking the ball away from him made him mature.

"I really wanted to redshirt him, but he didn't want to,'' he said. "It's also important to point out that Jordy did a great job in the classroom, and I was very proud of him for becoming a Vol Scholar.''

Pearl said another reason the 6-7 McRae didn't play more was that UT was loaded on the wing with veterans Scotty Hopson, Cameron Tatum and Josh Bone.

"You look at Trae, and he's taking better care of his body - he learned a lot of that from Tobias (Harris),'' Pearl said. "Trae is more fit and he's quicker. He has a terrific offensive game, and he's very good with the ball on the fast break.''

Former Vols player Jon Higgins, who holds UT's single-season record for 3-point field goal percentage (2000-01, 48.6 percent), said UT's backcourt looks promising with Golden and McRae.

"This is the Rocky Top League, but Trae has shown a lot of growth since last year with his decision making and how he controls the team,'' said Higgins, who was a teammate of Golden's this summer and took a turn at guarding McRae in both of the teams' meetings. "Jordan was the most explosive scorer the Rocky Top League has ever seen. He has all the tools; he can shoot it, and he's one of the best finishers I've seen come through UT in a long time.

"This can be a very good perimeter team, especially if Skylar (McBee) gets to hitting the three,'' he said. "The key for all of them is to keep improving, and Jordan needs to keep adding strength and weight.''

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Comments » 17

murrayvol writes:

Thanks Jordan. We could use a little.

Orangeblood13 writes:

make starting 5 then we will talk

Orangeblood13 writes:

from what I see, no one asked you

this team does have alot to prove, but guess thats why we play the games

Bigger_Al writes:

Good time to be optimistic.

HtownVol writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You lose any cred if you say that those two would not start for ANY non power school.
Maybe not last year at all SEC schools but I think they would start this year at most SEC schools (not UF or UK). But then again, UT did not start them last season so whats the point?

Golden was Mr Basketball in Ga and McRae and Golden were both 4 star top 60 recruits.

How many times have the schools you mentioned recruited better players?

Hopefully the coaching change makes them better. Golden had to be the worst shooter I ever seen play PG for any school, and McRae seems to be his biggest fan.

Golden has a great ball handle and has the tools, just needs to learn to make a jumper.

And McRae I compare to Hopson. From what I read McRae is as athletic and can shoot just as well. If McRae can keep from dribbling the ball with his feet and hold on the ball not having a turnover at crucial moments then he will fill Hopsons role.

The single worry I have of this team is we have no size. Hall will be the smallest starting 5 in the SEC, maybe the country. And Maymon is much smaller, he will get minutes at 5 also. The Fr we have are not ready to bang with any True Center.

Hope CCm has a good gameplan to hidse the lack of size.

GO VOLS

tennrich1 writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm thinking of running for political office...any chance you're available for campaign manager? Man, you could deflate a World Championship party....kinda funny though...and easy to say all those things...because the truth is....YOU DON'T HAVE A CLUE....I DON'T HAVE A CLUE....let's wait and see....I know there are a lot of teams banking on us being down and out because of the beatdown they have taken the last few years with Bruce....THIS MAY BE THERE BIG CHANCE....at least they HOPE so...

tennrich1 writes:

Lets not forget...this team is STILL LOADED with talent...now whether they jell together and fit the new system is yet to be seen....But the talent is there....except maybe for the middle....

HtownVol writes:

in response to tennrich1:

Lets not forget...this team is STILL LOADED with talent...now whether they jell together and fit the new system is yet to be seen....But the talent is there....except maybe for the middle....

Exactly.. UT has talent, just NO SIZE or SHOOTERS!
4 star top 100 recruits-
Hall
Maymon
McRae
Golden
Tatum
Woolridge

Each of these players could be on the roster of any SEC team, except the blue team that buys only NBA talent. We all know those NBA talent players go to UK to be a backup because they know Calipari has won so many championships, I mean..Calipari has always ran a clean program, I mean..Calipari always takes the most talented team in the Nation (by far) to the championship game, I mean... I guess they go because even if they dont go to the NBA they will still have money in the bank.

GO VOLS!

VolunteerLifer writes:

I'll believe it when it happens. We've been told that Scotty will take the reigns, this time for sure. Then we've been told that Cam wants to lead. Then we heard that Brian Williams wants to carry the team, then Melvin Goins, etc, etc. Don't get me wrong, I want someone to really, actually get that attitude and keep it, but I'll believe it when it happens, I no longer want to hear just talk.

Chris4Vols22 writes:

This one time, I dropped 88 and 22 assists against Kobe, LeBron, and Kareem. But it was just a pickup game....doesn't count.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to CrippledCoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor been assigned "Witch Doctor on man" and you'd had 5pts. Witch Doctor say lock down D wins championships. Witch Doctor say dont be bringing that stuff in here Coon!
(lol.)
Bones never lie.

murrayvol writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

I'll believe it when it happens. We've been told that Scotty will take the reigns, this time for sure. Then we've been told that Cam wants to lead. Then we heard that Brian Williams wants to carry the team, then Melvin Goins, etc, etc. Don't get me wrong, I want someone to really, actually get that attitude and keep it, but I'll believe it when it happens, I no longer want to hear just talk.

Talking the talk is infinitely easier than walking the walk VL.

carbonzip writes:

I don't want to hear Pearls views on the players he threw under the bus.

drussell2k2#580001 writes:

"who averaged 45.7 points per game for the News Sentinel."

I'll settle for 1/3 of that average in the SEC play...Go Vols!!!

FIELDGOALTN writes:

in response to KingsportVol88:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I've been reduced to just a fieldgoal by KNS.

FIELDGOALTN writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor been assigned "Witch Doctor on man" and you'd had 5pts. Witch Doctor say lock down D wins championships. Witch Doctor say dont be bringing that stuff in here Coon!
(lol.)
Bones never lie.

Witch Doctor is a witty poster, but he couldn't hold my Grandmother to 5 points.

FIELDGOALTN writes:

in response to KingsportVol88:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I scored twice on your momma. Does that count?

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