Scotty Hopson: 'I regret not being strong enough mentally' during past season

Former UT star didn't attend NBA draft

Scotty Hopson

Photo by Adam Brimer

Scotty Hopson

Former Tennessee men’s basketball star Scotty Hopson woke up in his New Jersey hotel room Friday morning and took a long look at himself in the mirror.

“I said, 'I’m not drafted, am I O.K. with that?’ ” Hopson said, referring to being snubbed in the NBA draft in Newark, N.J. “I asked myself if I was going to let the critics win, and if I was gonna hang my head, put my chin on my chest and accept it.

“No. I’m taking the next step to become an NBA player, and I’m not going to give up.’’

Hopson’s advisor, Larry Marshall, and his agent, Alberto Ebanks, talked with a half-dozen NBA teams on Friday about potential free-agent deals that would land Hopson in a camp at the conclusion of a pending lockout.

Hopson had particularly good workouts with Miami, Sacramento, San Antonio, Boston and Detroit, though Hopson’s agent wouldn’t tip his hand as to which team will get his client’s services via the free agent route.

“Once you get to the second round of the NBA draft, being picked is just a formal invitation to attend training camp,’’ Ebanks said. “Going forward, I would be very surprised if he’s not on someone’s roster. Sometimes a setback like this motivates you and helps you in a way that you can’t identify. This is fuel for what we are trying to do.’’

Specifically, that would be to show NBA teams that Hopson, a McDonald’s high school All-American and All-SEC shooting guard, is capable of performing to the best of his abilities on a consistent basis.

Former UT coach Bruce Pearl said following Thursday’s draft that “it’s as simple as Scotty getting his motor running, and keeping it running.’’

Hopson, who looked every bit the part of a lottery pick early in the season, scoring 27 points in a win at Pittsburgh and capturing tournament MVP honors after leading the Vols to wins over Villanova and Virginia Commonwealth in the NIT Season Tip-Off, agreed with his former coach’s assessment.

“The games that I had the most success in had nothing to do with the opponent — and that’s no disrespect to any of the great teams we played,’’ Hopson said. “There were times I let myself get in my own way. Whether it was my own fears or frustrations about things that weren’t even related to the game.

“There were a lot of things on my mind, a lot of pressures, and I shouldn’t have let if affect my game,’’ he said. “I regret not being strong enough mentally to take those things on like I needed to.’’

Hopson’s dark draft night started in Detroit, when after a workout with the Pistons, his flight to New York was delayed.

“I didn’t land until 9:30 (p.m.), and they were on about the 20th pick,’’ he said. “I finally got there and called my mom, who was inside, and they were on the 28th pick. I told her I was going to see how the first round goes before going in.

“I was putting on my suit when the first round ended, and I decided I wasn’t going to go in.’’

Hopson’s mother came outside the arena to greet her son, and the two shared a long embrace. Hopson spent the rest of the night sitting in a car, listening to the draft on the radio.

“This is what Scotty needed to get him even more focused on the real world,’’ Marshall said. “He has grown up a lot in these last 16 hours.

“He told us he screwed up, and I heard him apologize to his mother and tell her that he let her down. He said, `I can’t blame anybody but myself.’ ‘’

Hopson said it was humbling to learn that players who had less ability than him were more desirable to NBA teams.

“After that 60th pick, it all hit me hard, and it didn’t matter what anyone, anywhere, had to say about it,’’ Hopson said. “I just knew there was work left to be done.

“When I made my decision to turn professional, I told myself that throughout the process I was going to go as hard as I could and have no regrets,’’ he said. “I still believe that some way or another, I’m going to play in the NBA and have a great career.

“It never occurred to me that this is the way it was going to happen. The draft is over, but the process isn’t.’’

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Comments » 81

DooleysOrangePants writes:

so do we

dwolfcreek#397971 writes:

He finally figured out his problem .

LifetimeVolFan writes:

These "so-called" advisors, current UT coach, former UT coach, etc., etc., did him absolutely no favors by telling him he was ready for the NBA. He is a head case and it's clear every team saw it and passed on him. Get your head screwed on straight Scotty or get prepared to work for a living.

V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO writes:

Bout time. I hate that he had to go thru this this way. What makes me really feel bad for him is that we, the fans--who have no professional abilities to discern what strengths and weaknesses a player has--noticed his shortcomings in his game GLARING at us all in the face. I wish him the best, but I can't help but say "Good luck, wish you the best," but also, "Wish we had you another year" at the same time.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say Bones say when you look back your biggest regret will be hiring these "NBA" clowns to advise you.
Bones never lie.
*But Witch Doctor hope you make it to NBA if you can

GerryOP writes:

Based on what he says here, he still has not learned. It's not a matter of words, it's a matter of dedication, commitment, and actions. He spent three years in K'town playing the role of superstar ... and he's still doing it. A couple of years in Europe may start the cure. Sad ... really sad. So much talent...

GreerVol22 writes:

Althought these advisors are partly to blame, Scotty was a legend in his own mind.

rockytopatl writes:

I called this shot. I said he wouldn't be drafted. I also said he will never play in the NBA. I stand by the second call as well.

joshquarles84 writes:

Scotty DIDN'T have to work hard or earn any playing time while at UHA or Tennessee. So, he really didn't know what hard work was but now as another unsigned underclassmen he's going to learn what it takes to get to the BIG LEAGUE. Don't worry Hoptown tha hometown hero will rise and he's going to have a nice NBA career.

Outdated writes:

Accepting it is your fault you were not drafted is a good start...Coach Pearl babying you did not help..I hope you come on strong and make the player we all think you can be...but you have to grow up and be a competitor..

RoadTrip writes:

"It never occurred to me that this is the way it was going to happen" Really?! Did you just surround yourself with yes people? Could you not look at the box score each game and see if you had any assists, rebounds, steals, blocks, etc.? Did you have any floor burns all year? Did you think nobody would notice that you floated along in each game?

Clueless, absolutely clueless.

murrayvol writes:

Certainly he can get to the NBA.

But if he doesn't stop whimpering about "less talented players being more desirable to NBA teams", his quest is over before it starts.

thetrollhunter writes:

Good luck scotty. Work hard.

rclarkvols#224537 writes:

Scotty represented the University well. Went to class and never got into any trouble. It would be nice to show him a little compassion as I am sure he is extremely dispondent. I will say to Scotty what I would tell my own son and that is to keep your head up and don't give up on your dreams. If it was easy critics on this message board would do it.

volfan73120#211815 writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

I called this shot. I said he wouldn't be drafted. I also said he will never play in the NBA. I stand by the second call as well.

Rocky, does this make you happy?

MrBamSeydu writes:

Scotty, you should've stayed 1 more year. Bad move. I hope you're good at whatever your degree was in.

MrBamSeydu writes:

Oh wait... what degree??? That's right. (I work with a Mississippi State fan who laughed soooo hard today about Hopson not being picked)

TennVol01 writes:

You should have listened to your fans. You were not ready for the NBA. You listed to those who could make money off you. Your only choice now is to go to Europe and change your attitude. Lower your ego and change to a team player. GROW UP.

rockytopnation16 writes:

this is sad I actually feel bad for him...he should have stayed

kjneel#238751 writes:

This is why getting a free degree is relevant. Fast money never lasts especially when you don't get picked. One more year and you were set for life. Rolling the dice for chance at fast money and sometime you get snake eyes. Sorry kid. No short cuts in life. You have to work for everything. Life lesson #1. Welcome to real world.

GerryOP writes:

in response to rclarkvols#224537:

Scotty represented the University well. Went to class and never got into any trouble. It would be nice to show him a little compassion as I am sure he is extremely dispondent. I will say to Scotty what I would tell my own son and that is to keep your head up and don't give up on your dreams. If it was easy critics on this message board would do it.

You are part of the problem, not part of the solution. "... keep your head up and don't give up on your dreams" is NOT the answer. The answer is "... work hard and MAKE your dreams come true." Tell your kids that too.

Jediphysics writes:

Wish that this was like the old rules, when that Kentucky center went undrafted and then came back for another year. Wish harder that it was more like baseball, where they can go after HS or after junior year. Let the draft be about signing rights... like the advantage that the European players have. Oh, wait, that's right... Euro players get paid right out of HS without the pretense of 'amateur' status feeding the pockets of college athletics while the athletes get nothing. NBA, NFL, naw, the real people who should be striking are college athletes.

To Scotty... yeah, you never seemed to meet the potential and expectations we had for you. But I wish you the best of luck and truly do hope you get it turned around. Wish your head coach hadn't turned the program into a circus your junior year. And wish you have a good life ahead of you with fond memories of your time in Knoxville.

And to those wishing Scotty ill-fortune and good riddance, please get a life. We'll be missing Scotty a lot next year. And possibly many years to come.

LJS1984 writes:

HE SNUBBED HIMSELF, he wasn't snubbed. It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out his game needs a WHOLE lot of work. Too bad for Scotty that the work will have to happen overseas. Enjoy the long flights, nights in far away places thousands of miles from family, wierd food, languages, cultures, etc. Was another few months of Communications 331 really that bad?

tulelakevol writes:

Yeah me too. Wish you the best, but also wish you were not such a head case, you could have been one of the best Vols ever, NBA too.

headforTheHill writes:

Seems to me Larry Marshall shouldn't be advising anybody. Bad move Scott. I believe he could have helped the transition of a new coach and proved to the scouts that he truly is a team player

Wilhelm16 writes:

hhhmm...Where is the guy that argued with me for like 2 weeks that Scotty was going to be drafted? Scotty was persuaded to make a very bad decision. Hope he enjoys Europe, because that's where he'll end up. However, he better be prepared, because his game won't hold up over there either. Dunks may look nice and energize the team and crowd and all, but at the end of the day it's still only worth 2 points.

MidTennVol writes:

Man, I feel bad for this kid. Could be the best thing to ever happen to him, though.

How much heart do you have, Scotty? It's time to show the world. God bless you.

knox7320 writes:

The last ten picks were mostly foreign players that have no shot of making those rosters. Teams are trying to cut cost to prepare for the salary cap changes that are coming in the near future. I believe Scotty would have been drafted late in the second round had this not be the case with teams trying to save money.

AllVol52 writes:

in response to TheKentuckyEffect:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Two years from now Scotty may not be in the NBA but he should be on his 2nd year of Overseas play making six figures + to do something he loves. Could it have worked out better? Yeah. Should he have come back to UT one more year. Sure. But if this is as bad as it gets in Scotty's life then he's done well for himself. Sure he wanted to get drafted and play in the NBA. But if playing in another country for 4-5 months out of the year, learning a different culture, still able to come back to the states after those 4-5 months and making six figures + to do that is bad or the equivalent of working at Best Buy then where do I apply?

claiborneh writes:

Can he not still finish college? I do not understand the rules

keepitreal4vols writes:

Scotty, Learn to play defense. You are a liability on the court otherwise.

JimmyJoe writes:

Oh Scotty... There were a lot of guys who were just as good as you... Who were twice as consistent.... And they didn't get drafted...

Rootin for ya man...but you needed as much development as possible...looks like you will get it in turkey...

Outdated writes:

in response to Jediphysics:

Wish that this was like the old rules, when that Kentucky center went undrafted and then came back for another year. Wish harder that it was more like baseball, where they can go after HS or after junior year. Let the draft be about signing rights... like the advantage that the European players have. Oh, wait, that's right... Euro players get paid right out of HS without the pretense of 'amateur' status feeding the pockets of college athletics while the athletes get nothing. NBA, NFL, naw, the real people who should be striking are college athletes.

To Scotty... yeah, you never seemed to meet the potential and expectations we had for you. But I wish you the best of luck and truly do hope you get it turned around. Wish your head coach hadn't turned the program into a circus your junior year. And wish you have a good life ahead of you with fond memories of your time in Knoxville.

And to those wishing Scotty ill-fortune and good riddance, please get a life. We'll be missing Scotty a lot next year. And possibly many years to come.

Reality (seeing things the way they are) is not wishing someone ill fortune..sympathy is seldom , if ever, the solution..Scotty appears to have had too much of this already..he needs to grow up and learn how to fight back using his tallent when challenged..I would have loved to see him stay at UT and become the best player he could possibly be..but it takes heart..what could Scotty be if he had the heart of Dane Bradshaw? What could Dane Bradshaw have been if he had the tallent of Scotty Hopson?
I don't believe any real VOL sports fan wishes our players ill fortune..they want them to be the best they can be and I hope Scotty does this for himself..NOT for the fans...

Bigger_Al writes:

Hang in there, Scotty. You've got the ability, and you've got the dream. Now is when the 90% perspiration, 10% inspiration comes into play.

vol_4_fan writes:

in response to rclarkvols#224537:

Scotty represented the University well. Went to class and never got into any trouble. It would be nice to show him a little compassion as I am sure he is extremely dispondent. I will say to Scotty what I would tell my own son and that is to keep your head up and don't give up on your dreams. If it was easy critics on this message board would do it.

Exactly,,we never had to read about Scotty getting into trouble on this site or any other. One day none of these guys will have basketball as a payday, my guess is Scotty will be a success in life and someone we should be proud to call a VFL. Go Vols!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

How is that name spelled?? I keep seeing it Scottie and Scotty?!

Anyhow, Scotty is a talent. Yes he has problems with consistency. I can't believe some needy team won't give him a shot. What he did against some very good teams is proof he can play the game. I don't think he'll be a superstar but will be a steady player if given the chance.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

YOU WERE HARSH man!haha The fact is that WE needed him this year as well as Harris. His "bed" will earn him lot's of money somewhere...?

UkJarhead writes:

in response to Jediphysics:

Wish that this was like the old rules, when that Kentucky center went undrafted and then came back for another year. Wish harder that it was more like baseball, where they can go after HS or after junior year. Let the draft be about signing rights... like the advantage that the European players have. Oh, wait, that's right... Euro players get paid right out of HS without the pretense of 'amateur' status feeding the pockets of college athletics while the athletes get nothing. NBA, NFL, naw, the real people who should be striking are college athletes.

To Scotty... yeah, you never seemed to meet the potential and expectations we had for you. But I wish you the best of luck and truly do hope you get it turned around. Wish your head coach hadn't turned the program into a circus your junior year. And wish you have a good life ahead of you with fond memories of your time in Knoxville.

And to those wishing Scotty ill-fortune and good riddance, please get a life. We'll be missing Scotty a lot next year. And possibly many years to come.

He could have still came back had he not signed with an agent.

VOLliven2it writes:

So he thinks he needed to be more mentally strong last season, just wait until he has to face what is ahead. I wish nothing but the best for him but believe it will be awhile before he dons an NBA jersey. It is not totally out of the question but even if he gets picked up a long road is ahead before he sees significant playing time. Hang tough Scotty man. You made the decision which will shape your next chapter.

rclarkvols#224537 writes:

in response to GerryOP:

You are part of the problem, not part of the solution. "... keep your head up and don't give up on your dreams" is NOT the answer. The answer is "... work hard and MAKE your dreams come true." Tell your kids that too.

You don't get to be a college athlete if you don't work hard. I pray that you don't have any children.

jone8191#247590 writes:

Never had a chance

pammyvol1000 writes:

Don't give up Scotty! I loved seeing you play at Tennessee and I wish you luck and encouragement to see your dream come true. Don't listen to the critics but go and work hard to make that dream come true.

shipperman#280095 writes:

Scotty is full of himself, that is his biggest problem. That and the fact that Bruce babied him all the time. He should have listened to the advise of more that the idiot Marshall

dwolfcreek#397971 writes:

in response to claiborneh:

Can he not still finish college? I do not understand the rules

MAYBE he can finish college , he will have plenty time on his hands . The maybe is he want have tutors to do his work .

GerryOP writes:

in response to rclarkvols#224537:

You don't get to be a college athlete if you don't work hard. I pray that you don't have any children.

I'm glad you agree with me. Work makes dreams come true. Thanks for being here.

Colliervol writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

"It never occurred to me that this is the way it was going to happen" Really?! Did you just surround yourself with yes people? Could you not look at the box score each game and see if you had any assists, rebounds, steals, blocks, etc.? Did you have any floor burns all year? Did you think nobody would notice that you floated along in each game?

Clueless, absolutely clueless.

The problem is that there are a ton of them out there now like Scotty. Clueless. So many of them coming into college now with the "entitlement" mentality like they don't have to work. So many of them with delusions of grandeur when all they've ever "conquered" is high school or AAU ball. Look at Josh Selby, the Grizzlies pick at 49. All everything in high school and the top recruit in the nation two years ago. Bad attitude, entitlement mentality and not enough time to develop and here's what you get. Wait till he runs into Zach Randolph and Tony Allen in training camp. Oh brother.

As noted many times, Scotty has NBA talent but neither the consistency nor the drive to do it. Again, if you can't stay focused for more than 3 games in a row in college, what do you expect to do for 82 of them? That's where the teams have their doubts about Scotty, not his talent. Scotty needs to take a long, hard look at a guy like Tony Allen. He gets by on grit, drive, defensive prowess and being tough as a pine knot and he's a valuable member of the Grizz and will have a long NBA career.

Volalumnus writes:

in response to Jediphysics:

Wish that this was like the old rules, when that Kentucky center went undrafted and then came back for another year. Wish harder that it was more like baseball, where they can go after HS or after junior year. Let the draft be about signing rights... like the advantage that the European players have. Oh, wait, that's right... Euro players get paid right out of HS without the pretense of 'amateur' status feeding the pockets of college athletics while the athletes get nothing. NBA, NFL, naw, the real people who should be striking are college athletes.

To Scotty... yeah, you never seemed to meet the potential and expectations we had for you. But I wish you the best of luck and truly do hope you get it turned around. Wish your head coach hadn't turned the program into a circus your junior year. And wish you have a good life ahead of you with fond memories of your time in Knoxville.

And to those wishing Scotty ill-fortune and good riddance, please get a life. We'll be missing Scotty a lot next year. And possibly many years to come.

Go ahead let them strike.

One of the biggest misguided arguments is that these athletes are making all this money for these university.

While some very special ones may sell certain numbers a little more here and there, I have yet to see a university program suddenly stop making money when these athletes leave.

Face it, these universities are providing a huge benifit to these guys to show case their talents for the pros all the while each and every one of them get the opportunity for a free education.

Do you think athletics is the only place students create a lot of money for Universities? Look at much research money gets sent to the universities so that engineering/medical/etc students can develop the latest technologies, cures, inventions. They don't get big contracts either and in some cases not even a scholorship.

However, just like with all students, if the are good enough, the private sector will reward them after they are out of school.

One of the all time greatest graduated a while back now, and UT was getting a lot of money from it's fans before Manning and now after.

Even if there is some truth to them generating money for the Universities - - - so what. If it is so important that they are playing to get paid, let them move on, I'll pay to watch the next guy who is there to play in orange.

volinky writes:

Sadly, Coach Martin probably would have been the best thing ever for Scotty...

HtownVol writes:

I have said this since Scotty declared.

Scotty was never ready for the NBA.

He is incapable of executing a simple crossover! The SINGLE biggest flaw is Scottys game is the fact that Scotty can not handle the ball without kicking the ball.

Also he has the sweatiest hands ever. A good percent of the times he was passed to the ball would go through his hands.

Scotty is as good a athlete as anyone that got picked and he can shoot the ball with the best. That does nothing though when he is a liability with his turnovers.

It is so sad that Scotty took some very bad advice. I have read a dozen comments by experts saying Hopson may have made the worst decision to enter the draft.

If Scotty had return he would be the man at UT for the first time. No Tobias, Wayne Chism or Tyler Smith to lead the team. Scotty could have very easily averaged 20 points per game this season.

Add Hopson to Yarbrough,Haslip and Tyler Smith to the list of recent Vols to leave the program for the NBA before they should have.

BTW, from what I hear about CCM, this staff would have taught Hopson the fundamental aspects that Hopson needed to add to his game. Defense,ball control and rebounding.

Good Luck Hopson.
GO VOLS!

Go4Two writes:

Not a tough call on this one. Not much need for a shooting guard that can't

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