If Cuonzo Martin isn't dressed in bright orange at an AAU basketball tournament in July, it can only mean one thing.
"It means I couldn't get to a washer and dryer at the hotel,'' the Tennessee first-year coach said Tuesday. "If I'm out of orange, I'll wear my whites, but that's OK because my clothes will still have enough orange in them.''
Martin's recruiting challenge began on Wednesday in Philadelphia at the Reebok Breakout Challenge. On Thursday, the venue shifted to Akron, Ohio, to the LeBron James Skills Academy.
Today, Tennessee is at the adidas Invitational in Indianapolis, and Martin is on to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the Big Shots Challenge on Saturday.
"We're covering a lot of ground,'' said Martin, who's trying to keep the Vols in the running for big-shot recruits. "We're trying to finish strong in 2012, but also 2013-14, because those guys are the program's future.''
Martin's orange apparel helps Tennessee stand out from the pack - but so do the pending sanctions the NCAA is expected to hand down in mid-August.
UT is expected to be placed on probation and could lose scholarships and/or face additional sanctions as a result of NCAA recruiting violations committed by former coach Bruce Pearl and the previous coaching staff, all of whom were terminated on March 21 - six days before Martin was hired.
As excited as Martin and his staff are about the program's future under new leadership, a level of uncertainty will remain until collegiate sports' governing body issues a judgment.
If the prospects aren't thinking about Tennessee's plight, rival coaches will be quick to remind them.
Martin's philosophy of operating on the level at all times offers him little defense.
"When a kid asks me what's going to happen, I tell them the truth, that I don't know for sure,'' Martin said. "I hate to speculate, and I would never want to say what I think the NCAA will do, because what if a kid commits, and then the NCAA does something different?
"Then the kid says 'Coach, you told me so-and-so,' and you've got a potential problem.''
Tennessee's personnel problems - chiefly, a lack of size and experience on the front line - might actually work in the Vols' favor; playing time is a resource UT can offer.
Martin said he and his staff have an idea of the players they will pursue, but a keen eye for talent can still make a difference.
"It never fails, 10 or 15 guys get under that radar going into their junior or senior year,'' Martin said. "So for us, we want to identify those guys and get those relationships built before that happens.
"It's funny, I've heard a couple of times people wonder if I can recruit big-time players,'' he said. "I recruited in the Big 10 for eight years. I've seen talent, and I know what I'm looking for.''
Martin said successful recruiting goes beyond looking at the five-star prospects and a McDonald's High School All-American.
"On paper, they might not be a top-ranked guy, but you can see the talent,'' he said. "It's amazing from one year to the next how those guys' confidence and toughness can develop.''
Still, Martin's not so naive as to think he can take a player lacking skills and turn him into a productive SEC player.
"Talent is first and foremost, after that, you look at the kid's level of toughness and athleticism,'' Martin said. "Does he have good length, does he get in the passing lanes, can he defend multiple positions?''
Martin uses Purdue All-American JaJuan Johnson as an example. Johnson, who Martin recruited to the Boilermakers, was recently picked 27th in the first round of the NBA draft by the Boston Celtics.
"I remember the first time I saw JaJuan Johnson he was a skinny 6-foot-6, 160-pound kid,'' Martin said of the 6-10, 220-pound Johnson, Purdue's only first-round pick since Glenn Robinson in 1994. "You look at him now, and you see what hard work, discipline and confidence can do.''
Purdue's E-Twaun Moore, another player Martin recruited to the Boilermakers, was also drafted, going 55th overall to Boston.
After Martin's time at the talent-rich Peach Jam tournament in North Augusta, S.C., (July 11-15), the UT staff will huddle during the ensuing NCAA-mandated quiet period, when the coaches come off the road.
"We'll sit down as a staff, start X-ing off guys, picking out guys we like,'' Martin said. "Then we'll go back on the road and starting honing in on guys we want to bring to campus in the fall for official and unofficial visits on football weekends.''
The second part of the July evaluation period runs from July 22-31, but Martin will detour off the recruiting trail on July 28 and head for the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., for the USA Basketball Junior National Team tryouts and training July 29-Aug. 7.
Martin, who along with Butler coach Brad Stevens will be assistants to Purdue coach Matt Painter, will go directly from Colorado to Shenzhen, China, for the World University Games from Aug. 13-23.
"Jon (Harris), Kent (Williams) and Tracy (Webster) will finish it off on the road,'' Martin said of his UT assistants. "The good thing about this is, it's just a matter of doing your homework and watching guys play. Unless it's a new kid, we should have a pretty good idea about them by early August.
"For us, it's identifying guys that can help us do what we need to do to be successful.''