Kenny Hall accepts challenge of leadership role with Vols

Center working on game in Rocky Top

Tennessee basketball player Kenny Hall, left, playing for DeRoyal Industries in the Pilot Rocky Top League, goes for a rebound against DeMario Curry of R. Larry Smith Insurance during their game Monday at Bearden High School.

Photo by Lisa Norman-Hudson, Special to the News Sentinel

Tennessee basketball player Kenny Hall, left, playing for DeRoyal Industries in the Pilot Rocky Top League, goes for a rebound against DeMario Curry of R. Larry Smith Insurance during their game Monday at Bearden High School.

Kenny Hall insists there's not any pressure on him.

Never mind that he's the projected starting post on the inexperienced, smallish Tennessee men's basketball front line this season.

"I play aggressive, and I can bang with the best of them,'' said the 6-foot-9, 225-pound Hall. "The sky is the limit, I think. I want to get a ring.''

Former UT post Wayne Chism said he likes Hall's approach, in games and in the practice gym.

"Kenny has gotten stronger, more aggressive and his shot has improved,'' Chism said. "He's really grown up a lot, especially on defense.''

Hall had his hands full with professional overseas veteran Boo Jackson Wednesday night in Pilot Rocky Top League action at Bearden High School Monday night.

Hall was 7-of-11 shooting, but his DeRoyal team needed more, falling 111-101 to Larry Smith Insurance.

As much as Hall plays to win, he knows the true value of the league for him is to continue to develop his game.

"It's not just working on my post moves; I want to expand my game,'' Hall said. "Out here, I can work on putting the ball on the floor, my face-up game and my perimeter game.''

Hall, like all of the UT players, has already put in a full-day's work by the time he comes to play in the league games.

But he shrugs off the 6:30 a.m. workouts and full day of classes as business as usual.

"It's what we've been doing since I've been here,'' Hall said. "The only thing that's different about this summer is they want me to step up and be more of a leader.''

Chism, who like Hall shared minutes early in his career, said leadership is one of the most important elements of the game for a center.

"I know it has been tough for him not playing as much as he'd like, and I remember how that is,'' Chism said. "You feel like you're just getting in a groove,and they take you out.

"But this year he'll be ready, and he'll see that when you play hard, the whole team is going to play hard behind you.''

It seems the only element of his game that Hall can't work on in the PRTL league is avoiding fouls; the only centers taller than Hall are Chism and former UT player John Fields.

Chism said only SEC experience will help Hall in that department, and Hall didn't get much playing time last season, averaging two points and 1.5 rebounds in the seven minutes per game he averaged.

"Fouls are frustrating,'' said Chism, who like Hall was plagued with foul trouble early and often in his career. "But as you get more experience, you learn how the refs call it, and they learn you.''

Jackson, who at 6-8 is only an inch shorter than Hall, said he purposely tested the rising junior in their match up.

"I know Kenny's going to be the starting center, so I wanted to play him rough, just to see how far I could push him before he realized it,'' Jackson said. "He kept his head and he kept coming at me, and that's just courage and heart.''

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Comments » 25

Chris4Vols22 writes:

I went to the games tonight and I'm a little more confident with Kenny now. He's really committed to his fade-away jumper and he made some good shots. I hope he can do that when the real season starts. Also, Richardson scored 35. Nice.

LJS1984 writes:

in response to Chris4Vols22:

I went to the games tonight and I'm a little more confident with Kenny now. He's really committed to his fade-away jumper and he made some good shots. I hope he can do that when the real season starts. Also, Richardson scored 35. Nice.

Be careful, last season it seems like Tatum was unstoppable in this league. So I wouldn't get too excited about Rocky Top League performances. However, if Kenny Hall listens and learns from Wayne Chism he will be fine. Chism is probably the most underappreciated Tennessee basketball player ever. They guy was the guts and glue of the best Tennessee basketball team ever (the Elite 8 team). Personally, I would like to see the number 4 above the court at Thompson Boling Arena.

TheOpinion writes:

"the only centers taller than Hall are Chism and former UT player John Fields."

For most NBA teams Chism checked in at 6'8 and John Fields is 6'9. That means Chism is shorter than Hall, who is listed at 6'9. And Fields is the same height. I'm not sure where KNS gets these lines from.

VolunteerLifer writes:

Last season Kenny looked like a fish out of water when he was on the floor, especially on defense. I hope that was just coaching and Kenny not knowing his role, etc, and not an indicator of his talent and development. Here's hoping that his hard work and the new coaching staff will bring out the guy we saw in his freshman year.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

He's talking a lot like Brian last year. Hope he comes through better than Brian.

Chris4Vols22 writes:

in response to LJS1984:

Be careful, last season it seems like Tatum was unstoppable in this league. So I wouldn't get too excited about Rocky Top League performances. However, if Kenny Hall listens and learns from Wayne Chism he will be fine. Chism is probably the most underappreciated Tennessee basketball player ever. They guy was the guts and glue of the best Tennessee basketball team ever (the Elite 8 team). Personally, I would like to see the number 4 above the court at Thompson Boling Arena.

Lol you don't have to school me on RTL semantics. Chism played with heart and fervor, but just one half of one season where he played outstandingly doesn't mean his number needs to be retired.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

The VOLS will certainly need some leadership from someone this fall and winter! Hope he can carry over some of his RTL to the SEC!

Chris4Vols22 writes:

Sorry guys. Richardson did not score 35. I got that info from his Facebook, but he said that someone else posted that and it was not his real points total.

VOLliven2it writes:

We will need K Hall and I hope he is up to the task. Whatever the RT League means it is good that he is hanging tough in it. This could be a very tough season but we also may end up better than a lot of folk realize. We wait and see.

brod writes:

hall is ready for the starting role. he has his strengths and weaknesses. he really stepped up during the kentucky game in knoxville this year. too bad the rest of the team couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.

UsoCRAZY writes:

Is Tatum still around? If so I want to know his progress, cause it will be needed.

tmartin writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

He's talking a lot like Brian last year. Hope he comes through better than Brian.

No, hall just says he is committed to getting better and being a leader on floor. . . BW said he was going to be the go to guy like chism was and everyone knew that was a joke

tmartin writes:

"I know it has been tough for him not playing as much as he'd like, and I remember how that is,'' Chism said. "You feel like you're just getting in a groove,and they take you out.

There you have it. Just like everyone else was saying. Now you have proof from a former player. Pearl screwed the teams up with his substitutions; especially when he put baby pearl in. No wonder we had a scout team comprised of 4 stars.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I'm not really sure what Chism meant exactly about being taken out when he got goin'! Lol the way I remember it is he was taken out for foul trouble and being winded at times. I didn't understand the substitution game we often used though! Chism became a great player as I hope Hall will.

givehim6 writes:

If Chism likes him that is good enough for me.

Ironcity writes:

in response to wallandhiker:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Pearl graduated but your point is accurate. The player that will need to step up the most is Golden. We can't have the point play we had last year and expect anything different. I would like to see UT use two true backcourt players instead of trying to play Tatum in the two spot. I do think this team will be fine but again unless we improve our recruiting over what we did this year, we have a lot of long seasons in front of us.

Chris4Vols22 writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Pearl graduated but your point is accurate. The player that will need to step up the most is Golden. We can't have the point play we had last year and expect anything different. I would like to see UT use two true backcourt players instead of trying to play Tatum in the two spot. I do think this team will be fine but again unless we improve our recruiting over what we did this year, we have a lot of long seasons in front of us.

I think Tatum is the who absolutely needs to step up the most, but I agree with you on Golden. As a sophomore, he really needs to be a leader. Our team is young so he needs to take charge and give 110% every time. In order to be effective, he's going to need to be a leader as a PG more so than Maze and Goins were.

CarbonCopy (Inactive) writes:

in response to CrippledCoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agree about no defense in the RTL. But I will assure you that Coach Martins team WILL play defense and play it well. IMO, scoring consistently will be our greatest challenge next year.

Ayres_Hall writes:

How do you spot leadership in the Rocky Top League? I hope Kenny is growing up and improving but for him to go from near zero to team leader is a bit difficult to believe.

LJS1984 writes:

in response to Chris4Vols22:

Lol you don't have to school me on RTL semantics. Chism played with heart and fervor, but just one half of one season where he played outstandingly doesn't mean his number needs to be retired.

I seem to remember four years of big wins with Chism making big plays on the court.

acworthdave writes:

in response to tmartin:

"I know it has been tough for him not playing as much as he'd like, and I remember how that is,'' Chism said. "You feel like you're just getting in a groove,and they take you out.

There you have it. Just like everyone else was saying. Now you have proof from a former player. Pearl screwed the teams up with his substitutions; especially when he put baby pearl in. No wonder we had a scout team comprised of 4 stars.

Tony Jones was responsible for the UT substitutions during games.

For all you Pearl haters out there....would you be happy if CM had the same record after 6 years as BP? My guess is you would give body parts for it. Do you even begin to realize how stupid you sound when you attack the coach who was more successful than any other coach in school history? You are exactly the types of fans who are never satisfied and cause these coaches to break the rules and win at all costs. How about looking in the mirror when you decide to point your fingers at someone to blame.

volfan2k2#309412 writes:

I'm not so concerned with effort and defense. Offensively though, someone (or two) need to surprise. Something like this would go a long way...

Trae Golden: 8-10ppg, 4apg, 2spg, 47%fg/80%ft
Cam Tatum: 13-15ppg, 2apg, 2spg, 45%fg/70%ft
Jordan McRae: 10-12ppg, 2apg, 1spg, solid %s
Jerrone Maymon: 6-8ppg, 6-7rpg, solid %s
Kenny Hall: 13-15ppg, 7-8rpg, 54%fg/65%ft

Renaldo Woolridge: we'll see, don't expect much
Skylar McBee: 6ppg, occasional 3
Josh Richardson: 6-8ppg, mediocre %s
Quentin Chievous: don't expect too much
Wes Washpun: don't expect too much
Dwight Miller: don't expect too much
Yemi Makanjoula: a few minutes to spell the bigs maybe

johnlg00 writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

He's talking a lot like Brian last year. Hope he comes through better than Brian.

I know what you're saying, but you had better believe CCM would give a LOT to have Brian on next year's team. He saved their butts in more than a few games in his career. I know he fell on his face in several more, but if we can get his production out of Kenny or anybody else, the team will be a lot better than some are thinking right now.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Pearl graduated but your point is accurate. The player that will need to step up the most is Golden. We can't have the point play we had last year and expect anything different. I would like to see UT use two true backcourt players instead of trying to play Tatum in the two spot. I do think this team will be fine but again unless we improve our recruiting over what we did this year, we have a lot of long seasons in front of us.

I agree with you about Golden, but I think you might be coming down a little hard on CCM's first recruiting class, as late in the recruiting calendar as he came on the job. If he is still signing guys like this year's class NEXT recruiting season, it might be time to start getting concerned, but not right now. This year probably will be pretty long, but let's not predict perpetual gloom-and-doom just yet. I don't care where Tatum plays as long as he has shaken off last year's sleep-walking bouts.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What a stupid comment! No one on here imagines that he or she is an actual member of the team, but most true fans use "we" and "our" and such all the time as shorthand when speaking about "their" team. Most people don't seem too confused or contemptuous about this.

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