It was an inauspicious debut in the Pilot Rocky Top League for Tennessee signees Josh Richardson and Quinton Chievous on Wednesday night.
Chievous scored 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting and Richardson had six points and made 2 of 6 shots in Larry Smith Insurance's 114-106 loss to Choice Spine on the summer league opening night's at Bearden High School.
"It was good playing against the older guys and getting ready for the season,'' Chievous said. "I'm working on improving my ball-handling and my shot.''
Richardson said he feels he needs to improve on everything, but he didn't get too worked up over the loss.
"It was all in fun,'' Richardson said. "Everyone wants to win, but I'm not going to let it ruin my night.''
UT coach Cuonzo Martin said he kept his instructions brief to his players in the days leading up to Wednesday's action.
"I told them I wanted them to compete,'' Martin said, "and I told them to make sure they represent our team in the appropriate manner.''
Trae Golden (27 points) and Jeronne Maymon (20 points) did just that for Choice Spine, which controlled the action throughout.
Overseas veteran Boo Jackson, who led Larry Smith Insurance with 28 points, said that for any of the young players competing in the league to get anything out of it, they need to leave it all on the floor.
"What you do out here carries over into real life, because if you create bad habits in the summer league, I guarantee it will come back on you,'' Jackson said. "There are fans out here, and you can't disrespect the game.''
Dr. Chad Smith, a former AAU coach who coaches Larry Smith Insurance, said he could tell that Richardson and Chievous were nervous.
"Starting out in this league is one of the hardest things, because they aren't used to this kind of exposure and all the bumping going on,'' Smith said. "Their eyes were as big at the start of this game as they'll probably be for their season opener.
"It took about 10 minutes before they settled down.''
Richardson showed some impressive athleticism at times, while Chievous displayed an ability to get to the rim on his drives.
They are the only two signees, of UT's five in the Class of 2011, playing in the summer league.
Richardson Construction 107, Ralph Brown Associates 105: UT rising senior Cameron Tatum hit three consecutive 3-pointers to lead Richardson Construction to the come-from-behind victory.
Renaldo Woolridge, the Vols other senior, scored 32 points on 14-of-27 shooting for Ralph Brownand Associates and former UT post John Fields had 28 points.
Tatum's 23 points (8-of-17 shooting) led Richardson Construction, and former UT player Dane Bradshaw had 14 points.
"I'm finally on a winning team,'' said Tatum, who has not played on a team with a winning record in any of his previous four seasons in the summer league. "I won an opening night game for the first time in, what, 13 years?''
DeRoyal Industries 111, News Sentinel 109: Jordan McRae scored 48 points on 16-of-38 shooting, but with an opportunity to tie the game with 4.4 seconds left, the rising UT sophomore missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw situation.
Former Carter standout Lester Wilson, an East Tennessee signee, led a balanced DeRoyal attack with 23 points and UT rising junior center Kenny Hall scored 22.
The News Sentinel trailed 65-30 before Wayne Chism (17 points) and UT junior Skylar McBee (13 points) asserted themselves.