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.''