Scotty Hopson: 'My game is ready' for NBA

Tennessee guard Scotty Hopson (32) goes to the basket as South Carolina forward Damontre Harris (24) defends during an NCAA college basketball game in Columbia, S.C., Thursday, March 3, 2011. Hopson scored 24 points as Tennessee beat South Carolina 73-69. Hopson decided to forgo his senior season and enter the 2011 NBA draft.

Photo by TRACY GLANTZ/THE STATE

Tennessee guard Scotty Hopson (32) goes to the basket as South Carolina forward Damontre Harris (24) defends during an NCAA college basketball game in Columbia, S.C., Thursday, March 3, 2011. Hopson scored 24 points as Tennessee beat South Carolina 73-69. Hopson decided to forgo his senior season and enter the 2011 NBA draft.

Scotty Hopson

Photo by Adam Brimer

Scotty Hopson

Tennessee All-SEC shooting guard Scotty Hopson said Saturday that “the timing is right” for him to leave school after his junior season and make himself eligible for the NBA draft.

“I’ve pretty much been leaning toward leaving,’’ said Hopson, who has been working out with his trainer/advisor, Larry Marshall, since the season ended. “I just felt like the timing is right.’’

Underclassmen have until midnight today to withdraw their name from the NBA draft. The NBA draft is June 23.

Hopson, who at 6-foot-7 also can play on the wing, said there were other factors in his decision to not return for his senior season.

“With Coach (Bruce) Pearl gone, that played a lot into my decision,’’ Hopson said, referring to Pearl’s firing on March 21.

“There’s a whole new coaching staff coming in,’’ he said. “I’ve spoken with Coach (Cuonzo) Martin just about every day, and he’s been in the league he knows what it takes and there were some things he could bring out in me.

“But I feel like my game is here, and my game is ready.’’

Martin said he’ll be pulling for Hopson to make it in the NBA.

“I wish him the best of luck,’’ Martin said. “I wish we could have coached Scotty. He seems like a wonderful young man.’’

Hopson said he has spoken with a number of representatives from NBA teams, and they have been consistent in their praise and criticisms.

“Each team I’ve spoken to has liked me; the knock on me is, will I be consistent?’’ Hopson said. “I feel there are ways I can clear that up. It’s not like I don’t have the game or the skill set.

“I’m hearing that without that (consistency) question, I could be a top-five pick. I’ve got to put

together the intangibles and show my focus.’’

Hopson said his decision to leave Tennessee is not an easy one.

“It’s very tough; Tennessee is my home,’’ said Hopson, who led the Vols this season with 17 points per game, 53 made 3-pointers and a 37.6 shooting percentage beyond the 3-point arc. “It’s rough leaving all of that behind. Not just all the great fans, but my senior season, and now having to go back to finish my degree.’’

Hopson, who is projected by some as a second-round pick, said he will do whatever it takes to convince teams he’s worthy of their selection.

“I want to prove to teams that I can bring it each and every night,’’ he said. “I can be a good role player coming into whatever situation. I can do more than score points; I can facilitate, and I can help the team win.’’

Marshall said he believes Hopson can elevate his stock and be drafted in the first round. First-round draft picks are guaranteed contracts. Early picks in the second-round often get guaranteed contracts.

Freshman All-American Tobias Harris announced Friday that he, too, will not return to UT and will enter the NBA draft.

The departures of Hopson and Harris leave the Vols short on experience (one returning starter), size (two players 6-8 or taller) and scholarship players (10). Juniors Kenny Hall (6-8) and Jeronne Maymon (6-7) are the only returning frontcourt players. Senior Renaldo Woolridge (6-9) is a wing who will be moved to power forward. UT’s other returning scholarship players are: senior Cameron Tatum (6-6), sophomore Jordan McRae (6-6), junior Skylar McBee (6-3) and sophomore Trae Golden (6-1).

Martin has four players signed for the Class of 2011, but guard Chris Jones of Memphis Melrose has indicated he will attend Northwest Florida State Junior College and play for former UT assistant Steve Forbes.

The other players signed are: Quinton Chievous (6-5, Notre Dame High, Niles, Ill.); Josh Richardson (6-5, Santa Fe High, Edmond, Okla.) and Wes Washpun (6-1, Washington High, Cedar Rapids, Iowa).

“I’m looking forward to working with the guys we have signed and the guys we have coming back,’’ Martin said. “It’s basketball, and you make adjustments every year. I’m excited about the future.’’

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Comments » 179

RockyToptoNeyland writes:

boy, this martin guy is the sure thing

MrBamSeydu writes:

Good luck. That's all I'll say, Scotty.

VOLliven2it writes:

OKAY,almost a scratch beginning for Coach Martin except returners who have played. I wish Scotty the best and we will go on as does he into the NBA.

Fishpants writes:

I hope he likes souvlaki

stormblast writes:

How do you say "I agree to those terms, where do I sign" in Turkish?

Tobias goes in first round. Scotty watches the draft then boards the plane for eastern Europe.

Thanks to Scotty for playing hard as a Vol, but this could be the wrong move.

BxVol writes:

Scotty, I wish you the best and I will be rooting for you.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say best wishes..kinda think it may be bad advice, but still go make us proud
Bones never lie.

rockytopnation16 writes:

Lost both recruits. And now our two best players. 0 for 4. Scotty Hopson could not be any less ready for the draft. Tobias maybe.

Wilhelm16 writes:

Bad idea. If Chris Lofton didn't cut it Scotty doesn't stand a chance. Guys with Scotty's skill set are a dime-a-dozen in the NBA.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

boy, this martin guy is the sure thing

UUUHHHHHHHHHHHHHH?????

I_BLEED_ORANGE writes:

It's gonna be a long season next year.

Floyd302 writes:

Scotty Hopson to stay in NBA draft.

That's the best place for Hopson. Maybe some coach in the pros can teach him how to play basketball.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to Wilhelm16:

Bad idea. If Chris Lofton didn't cut it Scotty doesn't stand a chance. Guys with Scotty's skill set are a dime-a-dozen in the NBA.

Completely different types of players...SH may not have any better chance than CL did but man don't compare the athleticism....Chris mainly a spot up shooter and SH, well he can break you down...he just has trouble handling the ball on occasion...see the Pittsburgh game and compare to the Florida games....

cage952 writes:

Just for everyone out there, it's not necessarily Coach Martin's fault that Scotty's leaving. It might be, but we don't know that. (but scotty should have stayed)

Ayres_Hall writes:

So what was Bruce Pearl's plan? Both players were going to leave regardless and he had only the unstable Ware and ineligible Jones signed. At least CCM is signing guys who are eligible, have character, and who can stay in school.

Sweet_T writes:

I ask again only because I can't come to a conclusion myself:
Who was responsible for more UT fan frustration in their respective careers: Scotty Hopson or Jonathan Crompton?
I'm torn. Lots of similarities. I wish them both all the best though, and thank them for their time at UT.

Vols4Ever writes:

in response to cage952:

Just for everyone out there, it's not necessarily Coach Martin's fault that Scotty's leaving. It might be, but we don't know that. (but scotty should have stayed)

Scotty did what Scotty thought best for Scotty.

Draw one's own conclusion if this is aberrant behavior from past actions.

In any event, he worked and sacrificed for a position on a team representing our University, especially last season as he was to assume a leadership role while his head coach created the ultimate in distractions (the least of which was missing half of the SEC season). So, thank you Mr. Hopson for your contributions and best of luck in your future.

charlyand#601962 writes:

Good luck, Scotty! I will always be a fan and plan on watching you play in the NBA. i think you will be terrific.

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

I'm starting to feel a little sick about next season...and the one after that...and...

Best to you, Scotty...(you still have 24 hrs. to change your mind.)

garrthom writes:

Losing Harris is a big loss. Losing Hopson could be addition by subtraction.

FearlessFreep writes:

The fact that he thinks he's a mid first round pick tells you all you need to know about his value to a 'team'.

wagee12 writes:

So let's see now, dribbling, passing and ball handling below average for an SEC player. But listens to advisors, his posse and who knows who else. Hey Hop a Long, you ain't getting drafted, better check the flights to Istanbul or Moscow!

mcgink2 writes:

2 words: Dennis Rogan

Bob2793 writes:

in response to garrthom:

Losing Harris is a big loss. Losing Hopson could be addition by subtraction.

Well said, Scotty is a head case - I'm glad he's gone. Harris is the real deal.

flatrock writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

boy, this martin guy is the sure thing

you are an idiot.

VolsinFL writes:

Later

brokebackvol writes:

Rocky Top we're gonna be...4th in the SEC East...Good Ole Rocky top, Scotty you'll miss Tennessee...

wildmed writes:

I think Scotty had tired of the constant pressure at Tennessee - coming in as a McDonald's AA, never actually living up to that advanced billing, and the fans had no trouble showing their displeasure. A fresh start somewhere else will do him some good and having a few greens in his jeans won't hurt either. Best of luck, big fella!

BigVolinCarolina writes:

Though I don't think Hopson is ready for the NBA, I wish him the best.

That being said, as I look at next year's team, it is concerning; however, atleast we don't appear to have any egos to deal with. That will be nice and, perhaps, maybe we'll play like a team for 40 minutes because we HAVE to do so.

Chris4Vols22 writes:

in response to Wilhelm16:

Bad idea. If Chris Lofton didn't cut it Scotty doesn't stand a chance. Guys with Scotty's skill set are a dime-a-dozen in the NBA.

You are crazy if you think, under any circumstance, Chris Lofton would EVER be a better NBA player than Hopson.

Chris4Vols22 writes:

You can really defend Hopson's decision as either good or bad. It's 50/50 to me. I think he would benefit from another year of NCAA, but with a coaching change and his ability to play in the NBA next season, I don't blame him at all.

Well this will make next season a bit more challenging. No way, with our current roster, would we be better without him.

I can't wait to come back here here on draft night to see what you misinformed people have to say when he signs with an NBA team. I don't think you guys are dumb, but it's obvious you're not familiar with professional basketball.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Good luck Scotty! I won't compare you to Lofton because you're different players and played on teams with different chemistry...and you'd play different positions in the NBA. I DO think Lofton could play and play well in the NBA if given the chance. SO could Chism.

JohnnyU writes:

I don't see this as a negative on Cuonzo Martin. Tobias said one reason he considered staying is Martin himself. Hopson, on the other hand, has not been a member of the team since the NCAA debacle (some would say before that) and probably has barely even met Coach Martin, much less given him a chance. He was gone on the bus ride home from Charlotte. His "advisor" sounds like a real piece of work. A "pretty decent" workout? I don't think that gets him guaranteed money. I'll be interested to see if he gets drafted.

It does sound like we are starting from square one. It's depressing how all this played out.

TennVol01 writes:

This was not unexpected. All this past season we were told it Scotty's last year at Tennessee. I doubt he will get selected early, if at all. Better players than him have gone on to having to play in Turkey in order to pay the bills. I believe he would have had a better chance if he spent one more year with Coach Martin as a teacher. Plus he is leaving knowing there is a good chance that the NBA players are going out on strike. If that happens, the NBA players will go to Turkey to stay in shape and college rookies will not have a chance.

OrangePride writes:

Thanks for the hard work and pride in wearing the Tennessee Orange. As much as I think you did not receive the best advice on this, I am wishing you nothing but the best. I hope I am wrong and things work out in all the ways you hope. And now Coach Martin, we know where we are and let's get this signing class done and down to work! GO VOLS!

OrangePride writes:

in response to pj_ladyvolnMI:

I'm starting to feel a little sick about next season...and the one after that...and...

Best to you, Scotty...(you still have 24 hrs. to change your mind.)

Well feel better. Scotty leaving for greener pastures is NOT a big issue. The guard play next year will be every bit as good as it was this year, if not better. That is not our problem. Post play is the place to be concerned and the Harris departure represents a real issue in that regard. I don't know Coach Martin well enough to know if he will be able to work any magic in that aspect of this team or not. What I do anticipate, however, is there will be a LOT of energy and passion brought out on the floor.

thebrainofj writes:

in response to TennVolAlum:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're an idiot

VolNationPride writes:

in response to WildcatsOne:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

In other news, Tobias Harris just picked up a couple more hundred thousand dollars now that Terrence Jones is staying in College. Lol, I say Tobias was glad of that news, since Terrence plays the same position and was ranked higher.

On topic, I wish Scotty the best. People need to lay off him and know that he is making a decision that is based on his life. Everyone gets to make the decisions that they feel is best for them, not what accomodates others. We should be proud that he didn't get arrested or failed drug tests while he was here. He represented the University well and we should thank him for that.

txvolsfan writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

boy, this martin guy is the sure thing

they were gone if Pearl was here also. Both are afraid that we will be banned from post season play this year and they do not want a lost year of playing for nothing!!!
Bruce got us to this point Coach Martin is trying to clean it up!!!

ball1523 writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

boy, this martin guy is the sure thing

what does coach martin have to do with that. he can advise them but he cant tell him what to do.

kyvol98 writes:

in response to WildcatsOne:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And World Wide Wes will some day haunt you, I promise he will...
Well, if the NCAA is fair... OK, I could be wrong then...

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

For my part, I say just let the past be the past and just look forward. Maybe this will be the start of something good for the Big Orange. We should all get behind coach and quit crying about what we can't control.

Best of luck to Scotty and Tobias. It is now Kenny's Team!! Give him and Renaldo benefit of the doubt and let's see what happens!

orangeman1 writes:

Not knowing what all went into his decision, I would think he feels going pro whether its NBA or Europe will benefit him more than coming back to play for UT next year. It would be hard to turn down the money and experience of playing in Europe or NBA, but I wish he wouldve come back. Anyone who thinks UT is better off without him just isnt being honest with themselves or doesnt know basketball.

Volunteer-Varmint writes:

I guess your elevator doesn't go all the way to the top.

dlukinbeck writes:

well i've been behind scotty but at this point i think hes being a little foolish...

this could totally be a positive thing. Martin will come in next season with a COMPLETELY new team of his own. Even players recruited by Pearl were stiffed and put on the bench. No one will be there to say, "hey thats not how we used to do it". These young guys now have a chance to make their own, a new, Tennessee team with coach martin. Lets get it

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

boy, this martin guy is the sure thing

but he's recruiting "Diamonds in the Rough" with "upside". . .kind of like Buzz did I guess. Well GUARDS who are "diamonds in the rough" with "upside", he appears to have an aversion for big men.

shipperman#280095 writes:

If Hopson gets drafted, he WILL be disappointed. Late 2nd round at best, likely Europe bound

JimmyJoe writes:

in response to Chris4Vols22:

You are crazy if you think, under any circumstance, Chris Lofton would EVER be a better NBA player than Hopson.

Your kidding right? Have you watched any basketball over the last 4 Years? NBA or college? Scottie has as much chance of getting to the NBA as Barbara Dooley. No offense Barb...

VOLDoll writes:

in response to wildmed:

I think Scotty had tired of the constant pressure at Tennessee - coming in as a McDonald's AA, never actually living up to that advanced billing, and the fans had no trouble showing their displeasure. A fresh start somewhere else will do him some good and having a few greens in his jeans won't hurt either. Best of luck, big fella!

You have to feel for Scotty. He chose to play for UT and Bruce Pearl and it ended up costing the young man millions. I really wish he would have played for a real coach.

thevoice writes:

in response to Ayres_Hall:

So what was Bruce Pearl's plan? Both players were going to leave regardless and he had only the unstable Ware and ineligible Jones signed. At least CCM is signing guys who are eligible, have character, and who can stay in school.

Wait, that makes too much sense. No room for those kind of comments on here; remember, this is GVX. Go to GVX247 with that phooey.

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