2011 Pilot Rocky Top League
Brian "B.T." Tate is the voice of the Pilot Rocky Top League, manning the microphone with flair at Bearden High School.
Another edition of the summer basketball league tipped off Wednesday night. University of Tennessee basketball fans should be hoping Tate is more than an emcee.
They better hope he's a prophet.
Kenny Hall is Kenny "Highlight" Hall at Rocky Top. As in, "Oh! There's another highlight from Kenny 'Highlight' Hall!''
That, after a slick fast-break conversion Wednesday night in the opening game.
Jordan McRae is Jordan "Money" McRae after a tomahawk dunk or any other variety of basket.
Skylar McBee becomes "Skylar McThree" when he swishes a long one.
Renaldo Woolridge is "Swiperboy," his recording-artist handle.
I wasn't able to stay for the late game on opening night to see what tag Jeronne Maymon might acquire.
The last time I was writing about Hall, McRae, Woolridge and Maymon was fairly deep into UT's 2010-11 season. The gist was that despite the Vols' struggles, they fielded perhaps the nation's only four-star scout team in practice.
Each of the above-mentioned quartet was a four-star prospect according to the recruiting services. Yet they languished on Bruce Pearl's bench, for whatever combination of reasons.
So now Pearl is gone. So are seven other players who were regulars in the rotation.
Gone is 74.5 percent of UT's minutes played. Gone is 69.4 percent of UT's scoring.
Which means the four-star scout team has a chance to be more than a scout team.
Hall was asked Wednesday what difference UT fans would see in him next winter.
After a pause, he answered:
"They're gonna see me play. That pretty much sums it up right there. They're gonna see me play.''
The point is not to second-guess Pearl's distribution of minutes. That's history.
What matters now is that Tennessee needs its forgotten four - or at least a couple of them - to go from no-time players to prime- time players as new coach Cuonzo Martin launches his regime under adverse circumstances.
"Everybody is starting over fresh,'' said Maymon.
"We're just trying to get it right from the start. To work hard and make sure we put the right image in their head so that they know we're here to work.''
Maymon, who became eligible in mid-December, appeared in only 14 games. Hall played in 25 of 34 games as a sophomore, averaging 7.0 minutes. That's roughly half what he played as a freshman, when he even made three starts.
McRae got in 10 games as a freshman. His season's log showed 19 shots attempted.
Wednesday night, he made up for it, launching twice that many in one free-wheeling game. He finished 16-of-38 and scored 48 points in a 111-109 loss.
"At first it was hard last year going from big hopes to not playing,'' McRae said. "But it made everybody mentally tougher.''
That should apply to Woolridge. He tallied a grand total of 13 points all last season. That's one fewer than he scored in the Vols' shocking upset of No. 1 Kansas two seasons ago.
Looking to a new era, the Vols are going to need some degree of carry-over from the summer nights of Rocky Top.
Will Hall provide genuine highlights against Kentucky and Vanderbilt?
Will Swiperboy spin some hits against Florida?
And will another guy with a microphone, Bert Bertelkamp, be shouting "Money!" after McRae goes to the basket?
A fresh start awaits.