Scotty Hopson reflecting on past to get ready for NBA future

Tennessee guard Scotty Hopson runs a drill during practice at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. Thursday, March 17, 2011.  The Vols will play Michigan on Friday during the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee guard Scotty Hopson runs a drill during practice at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. Thursday, March 17, 2011. The Vols will play Michigan on Friday during the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee forward Tobias Harris shoots the ball during the game against Michigan in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. Friday, March 18, 2011.  Harris scored 19 points and had five defensive rebounds during the Vols' 75-45 loss to the Wolverines.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee forward Tobias Harris shoots the ball during the game against Michigan in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. Friday, March 18, 2011. Harris scored 19 points and had five defensive rebounds during the Vols' 75-45 loss to the Wolverines.

Scotty Hopson has been reflecting on his past and future while flying the friendly skies the past month.

“It’s a time I can just kind of reflect,’’ said Hopson, who is in New Jersey anxiously awaiting Thursday’s NBA draft (TV: 7 p.m., ESPN). “The thing I keep coming back to is something (former Tennessee) Coach (Bruce) Pearl would always tell us, that to get the end result, you have to focus on the process.

“It’s been challenging, but I’ve been getting my rest, eating right and I’ve gotten better in each of my workouts with the teams.’’

Former Tennessee Freshman All-American Tobias Harris has been focused on the process for years, due in large part to the fact that his father, Torrel Sr., is a former NBA agent (1983-1996).

“Tobias worked out for 10 lottery teams and two others over the last month,’’ Torrel Harris said. “The two non-lottery teams were Tobias’ hometown favorite, the New York Knicks, and the Denver Nuggets, just because I think he’s a good fit for that team.’’

NBA analysts have agreed Harris will likely get picked in the second half of the first round, while Hopson has been projected to be picked anywhere from late in the first round to mid-second round and beyond.

Former Vol C.J. Watson was the only former UT player in the NBA this past season, and the most recent Tennessee players drafted were Marcus Haislip and Vincent Yarbrough in 2002.

Hopson, who has been living and conditioning in Las Vegas between visits to about a dozen teams, said he hopes he can represent Tennessee in the NBA ranks, but he knows he has more work ahead.

“I feel like I’m at my best when I have something to prove, and that’s the case right now,’’ Hopson said. “I realize it’s going to take my best no matter who the opponent is.

“At the end of the day, basketball is a business, and each and every one of these workouts have been like job interviews.’’

Hopson and Harris have kept in touch throughout the NBA draft evaluation process, even rooming together in Chicago when they arrived for the May 18 combine.

Hopson measured in at 6-foot-6, 202 pounds, with the wingspan of 6-11. Harris was 6-7, 223, and also had a 6-11 wingspan.

Hopson, who averaged 17 points per game while shooting 37.6 percent from 3-point range and 73.5 percent from the free-throw line, is projected strictly as a shooting guard.

Harris, who averaged 15.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and shot 75.3 percent from the free-throw line and 30.3 percent from three, has been viewed primarily as a small forward with a few teams also looking at him as a power forward.

DraftExpress.com projects that Harris will be selected with the No. 22 overall pick by the Denver Nuggets, while NBADraft.net has Harris going 18th in the first round to the Washington Wizards.

Hopson is projected to go 54th overall (second round) to the Cleveland Cavaliers by DraftExpress.com, while NBADraft.net does not have him as a projected draft pick.

Both of the websites said Hopson’s interviews with some NBA general managers have raised eyebrows, as he came off a tad too confident.

Hopson said he feels like maybe he was misunderstood.

“I felt like some people took that the wrong way,’’ Hopson said. “Confidence is the first part of being a great player. If you know you put the time in and dedicate yourself to the game, you will see positive results.

“There have been some challenging times over the last month, so I appreciate how the fans in Tennessee have all been very loyal and supported me.’’

Pearl, who will be at the draft tonight with his former players, said he believes Hopson will make it in the NBA.

“I think you have to understand, Scotty Hopson is one of the top 10 athletes in this draft and Scotty Hopson’s athleticism and talent are lottery level,’’ Pearl said. “The bottom line is this: if Scotty gets his motor running all the time, Scotty is an NBA player for a long, long time.’’

Pearl said Harris’ youth is an upside for him during the NBA teams’ evaluations, and most all know he will improve his game once in the professional ranks.

“Tobias’ situation has been fairly consistent in the evaluations and the range that he’s slotted for in the draft,’’ Pearl said. “Interestingly, more people are looking at him as a three, instead of a four, and that’s because he has an ability to pass and shoot it, and size wise he’s more of a three. So his situation has more stability

“But I think you’ll see both Scotty and Tobias get drafted, and that’s something Tennessee fans should be very excited for, as it reflects well on the program and will help Coach (Cuonzo) Martin in recruiting for many years.’’

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Comments » 42

MiserableFloridaVol writes:

Why on earth would Hopson leave to potentially go undrafted. It makes no sense at all.

10SE writes:

I wish him the best, but I just don't see him playing in the NBA???

V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO writes:

Meh. His loss. He states, "The thing I keep coming back to is something (former Tennessee) Coach (Bruce) Pearl would always tell us, that to get the end result, you have to focus on the process."

IMO, that process was still going on when he was ending his Jr. year here in Knoxville. I hope he succeeds, but not so he can just shove it back in all our faces that think that he won't be drafted. I have a weird feeling that he's got a mentality of "All those Vol fans think I can't hack it in the NBA--I'll show them." I hope it doesn't come back to bite him.

SummittsCourt writes:

Where was that drive the last 3 years?

huntined#565710 writes:

Just hope they both make it in the NBA one player in the whole NBA is a shame for a school like TENN.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say best wishes and good luck. VFL
Bones never lie.

murrayvol writes:

Thanks and good luck to both these guys.

We'll leave the light on for them.

eVOLved writes:

I seriously thought the draft was about a month ago, and Harris was drafted in the first round. Mock drafts shouldn't be published in the paper, IMO.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Pearl seems to really like their chances! I;d go with his thoughts on this. He knows these players. I really believe both players would have shown more consistency if they'd had a normal season without all the sideshows this past year. Oh well I hope they learned from it all and go 1st round. When Scottie's on no one stops him.

MothershipChip writes:

I like both of these guys and hope they both get the chance to live out their dream. We will be able to watch and see tomorrow night.

Go Big Orange

zigvol writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

huh?

lomas98 writes:

Although some tn fans want to see Hopson fail just because he left early and didn't really live up to all of the expectations, I agree with him that his game fits better in the NBA. He will not start or avg. 15 points a game but I do think he can make a roster and contribute some with the correct team. He showed the NBA scouts during those workouts how he can fit in the NBA, not what he did at tn. They are 2 totally different games. I wish him well.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Thanks and good luck to both these guys.

We'll leave the light on for them.

ditto.

They are Volunteers, and we'll always welcome them home, drafted or not.

PHAT_VOL writes:

I hope Scotty has a future in the NBA. Maybe in a few years after playing in Turkey.
Hang in there Scotty.
Go Vols!!

Slystone writes:

I hope Scotty does get drafted and wish him the best. So many haters out there.

LJS1984 writes:

This article is about the Norwegian Basketball Association (NBA) right? Scotty might be a first rounder over there?

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to MiserableFloridaVol:

Why on earth would Hopson leave to potentially go undrafted. It makes no sense at all.

Because he's probably tired of the Tennessee fans and their selfish bull####. Anymore questions?

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

I TRULY think some on here want Hopson to fail just so they can say they were right....You know, kinda like folks used to want us to lose just so Fulmer could get fired. What they don't know is that if Hopson gets drafted it ACTUALLY HELPS TENNESSEE!! I expect Hopson to go late in the draft to a GOOD team and do well.

MiserableFloridaVol writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Because he's probably tired of the Tennessee fans and their selfish bull####. Anymore questions?

Uhh...yes...what makes you so angry? Scotty gets no guaranteed money at all for leaving. If he gets a degree and finishes, it will open up a world of opportunity for him. Not trying to be selfish, just want to see him succeed.

AllVol52 writes:

I hope Scotty does well in the professional ranks. Like Coach Pearl said he has lottery athleticism and that will warrant six figure annual salaries + for many years to come even if he never plays a minute in the NBA. The Euroleague and other leagues overseas would pay a premium for Scotty and other "crowd pleasing" players because they provide athletic plays that aren't typical of the European player. The notion that Scotty is not going to be successful if he doesn't make it to the NBA is absurd. He will do just fine making six or maybe seven figures overseas if it comes to that. I'm sure alot of posters on here wish they could do something they love 3 or 4 months out of the year and get paid six figures to do it. Personally I think Scotty gets drafted in the 2nd round and with his set of skills he makes an NBA roster. Some team will give him a chance to prove if he can play in the league and the rest is up to Scotty. Either way if the biggest worry in your life is A.) Make an NBA roster and make low 7 figures annually or B.) Go overseas and make mid to high six figures annually then you've done well for yourself. Scotty thanks for your time here as a Vol. Good Luck in the Future. Go Vols!

TennVol01 writes:

Sorry Scotty. You do not have the talent to be a pro here in the USA. You were not that good in college. Maybe you can be a pro in Turkey or Italy. Brush up on your language skills.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

I TRULY think some on here want Hopson to fail just so they can say they were right....You know, kinda like folks used to want us to lose just so Fulmer could get fired. What they don't know is that if Hopson gets drafted it ACTUALLY HELPS TENNESSEE!! I expect Hopson to go late in the draft to a GOOD team and do well.

I do hope he gets drafted and you are right it will help Tennessee basketball if he does. Since we only have one player (CJ Watson) in the NBA now and no player drafted since 2002, having 2 players drafted this season is a good thing.

As in my comment above, I'm just wondering where all this motivation was the last three years because he didn't seem to care a whole lot about getting better. Many games he disappeared and other games he wasn't that go to player the team needed. Sure, he had some great games and he was a key to our 19 wins this last season, but he just wasn't consistent enough to be our best player like all of his hype said he would be.

tmartin writes:

I guess the whole one and done theory about Scotty was referring to his NBA career and not his college career

Outdated writes:

No question Harris will get drafted and be an NBA player for a long time..his talent and knowledge of the game are evident...I do wish the very best for Scotty and hope he is drafted and makes an NBA roster...do I think this will happen...based on what I saw this past year I don't think it will..he does not appear to have the quickness or desire to play man defense or the will to tolerate contact..they do a little of both in the NBA..

Chris4Vols22 writes:

My god, all you jerkoffs needs to stop acting like you know anything about basketball. It's glaringly obvious that you don't.

Chris4Vols22 writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

I do hope he gets drafted and you are right it will help Tennessee basketball if he does. Since we only have one player (CJ Watson) in the NBA now and no player drafted since 2002, having 2 players drafted this season is a good thing.

As in my comment above, I'm just wondering where all this motivation was the last three years because he didn't seem to care a whole lot about getting better. Many games he disappeared and other games he wasn't that go to player the team needed. Sure, he had some great games and he was a key to our 19 wins this last season, but he just wasn't consistent enough to be our best player like all of his hype said he would be.

Yeah he never got better. Just don't look at his points per game or FT percentage over the years. When was scoring ever so important in sports anyway?

Chris4Vols22 writes:

Hopson has a better chance than Harris at being a long-time NBA player. Harris is not big enough to be a PF and not quick or athletic enough to be an effective SF. Scotty has the size, skills, and athleticism of a prototypical NBA SG. There wouldn't be any debate if Pearl and his staff were any good at player development. Some NBA coaching will do him well because Pearl was the one who failed to properly discipline him.

Chris4Vols22 writes:

in response to TheKentuckyEffect:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If he stayed another year, he would probably loose ground because this year's draft is pretty weak and next year's is going to be killer. Both Harris and Hopson made the best choice to go. Unless Harris stayed for at least 2 more years instead of 1.

b16VOLster writes:

Hopson needs to concentrate more on getting in touch with C-LO to see if his apt. in Turkey is available. Maybe if Hopson is lucky, he could get Danes place in wooden shoe land.

RDW writes:

in response to Chris4Vols22:

My god, all you jerkoffs needs to stop acting like you know anything about basketball. It's glaringly obvious that you don't.

Please share your resume' with us.

SaintDeacon187 writes:

If Wayne Chism got passed up...I expect Hopson will as well. Chism had a complete game and a strong mind as well. Hopson has a partial game with a very scattered mindset. That won't fly. It doesn't matter how athletic you are if you don't have the mind to keep your head in the game or overcome adversity. Secondly, like Jeronne Maymon said after a recent Rocky Top league game, "When it comes down to it, basketball is about heart." Right on, Jeronne. I believe Hopson lacks the heart aspect. He had some good games, hit some big shots. He may have led the team in scoring in several games but never led the team...never became a leader. There's a difference. Ron Slay had some good games too.

Chris4Vols22 writes:

in response to SaintDeacon187:

If Wayne Chism got passed up...I expect Hopson will as well. Chism had a complete game and a strong mind as well. Hopson has a partial game with a very scattered mindset. That won't fly. It doesn't matter how athletic you are if you don't have the mind to keep your head in the game or overcome adversity. Secondly, like Jeronne Maymon said after a recent Rocky Top league game, "When it comes down to it, basketball is about heart." Right on, Jeronne. I believe Hopson lacks the heart aspect. He had some good games, hit some big shots. He may have led the team in scoring in several games but never led the team...never became a leader. There's a difference. Ron Slay had some good games too.

Chism didn't get picked up because he's not an NBA player. Just like Lofton. They were both able to be very effective in college, but they're skill-sets and intangibles are nowhere near NBA caliber. Scotty is the epitome of a prototypical NBA SG. He has everything to be an effective NBA player, but he just hasn't received good coaching to smooth out his inconsistencies. You're pretty much comparing apples and oranges.

factor writes:

If I were in the market for a player, I sure would not want one who "disappears" mentally and physically during a game. Scotty will find out if he is lucky enough to get himself drafted that when you are getting "Paid" to play, attitude and mental problems will not be acceptable. I hope he has learned some kind of skill to fall back on during his time at UT.

A_Voice_ofReason writes:

Any koolaid drinker that thinks hopson will be drafted should prepare for a let down. IF...and that is a big if...Hopson is drafted, he won't see the floor for one minute. Harris will be drafted in the first round, and will see some minutes as a rook.

Hopson will be playing in Turkey or Greece this season.

lomas98 writes:

in response to Chris4Vols22:

Chism didn't get picked up because he's not an NBA player. Just like Lofton. They were both able to be very effective in college, but they're skill-sets and intangibles are nowhere near NBA caliber. Scotty is the epitome of a prototypical NBA SG. He has everything to be an effective NBA player, but he just hasn't received good coaching to smooth out his inconsistencies. You're pretty much comparing apples and oranges.

I agree with you. NBA and college and two totally different games. Just because Lofton and Chism had better college careers and didn't get drafted, doesn't mean Hopson won't get picked up. His skill level for that league is the prototype NBA player. I do question his overall basketball IQ but he will fit right in that league. There are tons of very successful college players that don't do anything in the NBA. The way the NBA defends will make his game look better too. Now I don't think he will avg 20 minutes or 10 points a game in the NBA, but I think he will get drafted and be able to help a team as a small role player.

rclarkfork#639958 writes:

in response to Chris4Vols22:

Hopson has a better chance than Harris at being a long-time NBA player. Harris is not big enough to be a PF and not quick or athletic enough to be an effective SF. Scotty has the size, skills, and athleticism of a prototypical NBA SG. There wouldn't be any debate if Pearl and his staff were any good at player development. Some NBA coaching will do him well because Pearl was the one who failed to properly discipline him.

Harris may not be as quick as some but more then makes up for it with his basketball knowledge. He is a very good passer and handles the ball good enough to play the three. The offense that Tenn ran never really took advantage of the mid range game that he has and his post up game will be tough for a lot of teams to defend with their small forward. I think Harris is a sure thing to have a long NBA career as long as he can stay healthy.

okievol1 writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Could not agree with you more. Harris either rides the pine or goes D league. Hopson has zero chance in the NBA. He better start thinking European ball. Thats not all bad.

Be careful who you call Hillbilly as even a Hillbilly can work the english lanquage better than whatever planet you come from. That's for all my kinfolk in East Tennessee!

TennVol01 writes:

in response to MiserableFloridaVol:

Why on earth would Hopson leave to potentially go undrafted. It makes no sense at all.

I agree. But, if he and Tobias get drafted, and win a spot on a NBA team, they will be the only recruits that Pearl put into the NBA. That proves just how good a coach Pearl was. He won a lot of games with non-NBA talent.

VOLliven2it writes:

There are some of us who hope Mr. Hopson even HAS a future in the NBA. That appears to be a question mark.

tovolny writes:

in response to 10SE:

I wish him the best, but I just don't see him playing in the NBA???

Well, he left the college scene way too early. Never developed the team player thing. He is/was the most overated basketball player that I know about. Seemed to never turn it on. We kept waiting, waiting, waiting...now he moves on.

VolNationPride writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Funniest thing? In all the videos, there is a UT lamp sitting right there, in plain sight. But wait, he hates UT right? Or he loves UT, I can't really tell as much as he is here.

VolNExile writes:

Well, guess it will have to be some route other than the draft.

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