Vols anxious for exhibition opener against Carson-Newman

It's not "just" an exhibition opener for the Tennessee men's basketball team, according to its players.

"This game means a lot more to us than a lot of people think,'' sophomore Jordan McRae said. "We're being doubted, even by some of our fans, and we want to show what we can do.''

New coach Cuonzo Martin will be making his debut when Tennessee plays host to Division II Carson-Newman on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Martin said he isn't feeling any nerves, but like McRae, he's anxious for the team to show its skills.

"The biggest question mark I have is what we'll do in an actual game,'' Martin said. "I'm as excited as our fans are to see us play.''

Martin had originally planned to wait until game day to announce his starting lineup, but following Wednesday's practice, he said he saw what he needed to see.

Junior Kenny Hall will start at the post, junior Jeronne Maymon will be at power forward, senior Cam Tatum on the wing, sophomore Jordan McRae at shooting guard and sophomore Trae Golden will get the nod at point guard.

"I wouldn't necessarily say it's the five who have played the best ... but they may be the five that are the most ready to start,'' Martin said. "I don't like to rotate a lot of starting lineups; I want to have a starting five. I think guys play better when they know how and when they'll play.

"But it's also not a case where a guy becomes a starter and he can relax.''

That wouldn't seem to be an issue anytime soon, based on the enthusiasm the players showed after Wednesday's practice.

"We want to play and give maximum effort; that's going to be our calling card,'' said Tatum, whose 43 career starts more than doubles the 21 starts the rest of the team has combined. "There's no looking back to last year, because this is a whole new team.''

Senior Renaldo Woolridge, who in the offseason vowed to earn a starting spot before all is said and done, said there's a healthy competition between the players.

"It's still early in the season, but I think the competition will bring out the best in everybody,'' Woolridge said. "More than anything, I think what the fans will see (tonight) is competitiveness and a heightened sense of urgency.''

Golden, who Martin indicated has had as strong of a preseason camp as anyone, said he has a good feeling about how the Vols match up with the Eagles.

"There's a curiosity of how we'll play, but there's also confidence,'' Golden said. "I don't think Carson-Newman plays the tough defense we play on each other every day, so I think we'll be able to execute.''

The Eagles don't list any starters taller than 6-foot-5, so Hall (6-9) would figure to get off to a good start in the paint.

"I've been working on my post moves; I can shoot a hook right or left,'' Hall said. "I want to be that post presence for us this year.

"But really, this game is a chance for us to put everything together that we've all been working for. We've all come a long way and put a lot of extra time in the gym.''

The Vols play their second exhibition game at 7 p.m. on Monday against Lincoln Memorial before opening the regular season at 7 p.m. on Nov. 11 against UNC Greensboro.

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32.

LINEUPS

CARSON-NEWMAN

Pos., Player Ht. Yr. Ppg.

F Collin Crane 6-5 Jr. 4.5

F Kevin Hare 6-5 Sr. 9.2

F Antoine Davis 6-5 So. —

G Ishmael Sanders 6-1 So. 13.4

G Tyler Smith 6-0 So. 1.4

TENNESSEE

Pos., Player Ht. Yr. Ppg.

F Kenny Hall 6-9 Jr. 2.0

F Jeronne Maymon 6-7 Jr. 3.2

G Cameron Tatum 6-7 Sr. 8.8

G Jordan McRae 6-5 So. 1.8

G Trae Golden 6-1 So. 3.0

Game Time: 7 p.m. Radio: Vol Radio Network. Series: UT leads 11-4

Carson-Newman

Former UT assistant Chuck Benson returns for his second season as the Eagles' coach, and says he's looking at the game "purely as an evaluation'' after last season's 11-16 mark. Sophomore guard Ishmael Sanders is a proven scorer, putting 51 points on Mars Hill last season. Sophomore Antoine Davis brings a physical presence into the paint. Benson, on staff at UT with former coaches Wade Houston, Kevin O'Neill and Buzz Peterson, is well-versed in a variety of styles. He'll likely fit his scheme with personnel, which includes eight newcomers.

Tennessee

The Vols get their first live action running coach Cuonzo Martin's motion offense. The offense is predicated on screen action and allows players more freedom in their shot selection, but there still will be an unspoken shot hierarchy. It bears watching who UT looks to for its scoring. One of Martin's pet-peeves is ball security, as his Missouri State teams posted an impressive assist/turnover ratio. Martin will place an emphasis on high-energy, man-to-man defense and floor-burn efforts for loose balls.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 30

CoverOrange writes:

Lets roll the ball out and go. To bad it isn't on TV.

Colliervol writes:

Probably gonna be a long year but the road back has to start someplace. (Sort of like with football.) Again, patience is the operative word. Unfortunately in today's society, that's sort of a lost concept.

Wouldn't trade the last six years for anything though. That was a good ride but it was probably coming to a halt one way or the other. If Bruce hadn't run into problems, he'd probably have left for bigger and better things.

samvol writes:

im behind the vols 110%...

GBO

Ironcity writes:

in response to OrangeTexasVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Flick the light bulb on in your brain. Every starter is a 4 star player out of high school. Don't let facts get in the way of your argument. Go Vols

hikerdude writes:

in response to OrangeTexasVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What's wrong with Iron's "commit"?

born2ride writes:

If it wasn't for the Pearl leftovers we would probably lose this game.

voloffaith writes:

in response to born2ride:

If it wasn't for the Pearl leftovers we would probably lose this game.

Thank you blue bird of saddiness.......

CoverOrange writes:

Optimist: "Hey, I got half a glass of lemonade left"

Pessimist: "Dang, half my glass of lemonade is already gone"

Troll: Takes glass and smashes it to the floor "See! It's all broken and now there's pee all over the floor!"

ROCKYTOP10ECVOL writes:

I don't know if there are very many honest to God, cut me & I bleed BIG ORANGE, UT fans out there anymore. What I do know is this: UT Athletics are headed in the right direction and have the right coaches in place to lead our young men & women. We may take a few lumps in the short term, but in the long run UT has began its recovery from "the unethical & undisiplined era", real change doesn't happen overnight folks. Either get behind the staff & players or get off the bus, but for goodness sake stop w/ all the negative crybaby garbage. Pearl isn't coming back & he shouldn't be back. He knowingly broke the rules & when given the opportunity to atone he lied & coersed others to lie for him. Last time I checked men are supposed to be held accountable for their actions, just because he is a good coach doesn't put him or anyone else above the rules... Go Big Orange!!!

BigBadVol writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yet you are still here. Kind of ironic isn't it? You remind me of that little piece that didn't quite flush.

BigBadVol writes:

in response to ROCKYTOP10ECVOL:

I don't know if there are very many honest to God, cut me & I bleed BIG ORANGE, UT fans out there anymore. What I do know is this: UT Athletics are headed in the right direction and have the right coaches in place to lead our young men & women. We may take a few lumps in the short term, but in the long run UT has began its recovery from "the unethical & undisiplined era", real change doesn't happen overnight folks. Either get behind the staff & players or get off the bus, but for goodness sake stop w/ all the negative crybaby garbage. Pearl isn't coming back & he shouldn't be back. He knowingly broke the rules & when given the opportunity to atone he lied & coersed others to lie for him. Last time I checked men are supposed to be held accountable for their actions, just because he is a good coach doesn't put him or anyone else above the rules... Go Big Orange!!!

Well said but understand most of these idiots are trolls and not TN fans.

sheep writes:

My question is, if these five have not played the best, why are they starting? I thought that coaches chose the best five that they had, and those that performed the best in practice to start and play the most of the game. That comment disturbs me, and I can't say that I understand why Coach Martin would not start the five that have played the best. I thought if they had earned the right to start in practice, they should be rewarded in the game. We will see if these players are ready to start a game, or if there are better and more experienced players who have gotten passed over.
GBO BAAAAAAAAA Says the Sheep.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to sheep:

My question is, if these five have not played the best, why are they starting? I thought that coaches chose the best five that they had, and those that performed the best in practice to start and play the most of the game. That comment disturbs me, and I can't say that I understand why Coach Martin would not start the five that have played the best. I thought if they had earned the right to start in practice, they should be rewarded in the game. We will see if these players are ready to start a game, or if there are better and more experienced players who have gotten passed over.
GBO BAAAAAAAAA Says the Sheep.

Sometimes the best five individual players aren't the five that make up the best TEAM. If two guys are fairly equal on offense, for example, but one plays better defense, or rebounds better, or passes better, you don't necessarily start the better offensive player. Some other good offensive player might get more shots if he doesn't have to share the ball with another scorer.

Hopefully, everybody on a team does the things that are important to the total team effort, but a team only needs so many offensive players, defensive specialists, and primary ball-handlers on the floor at a time.

Besides, you ought to know by now that newspaper quotes don't always include the total context of the remark. The reporter might not have understood Martin's precise meaning, the words may have been transcribed wrong, or Martin may not have explained himself clearly.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

I'm sure they will play hard this season and play defense. The problem lies in nobody can score on this team. After ranking 186 in field goal percentage last year, without the two scorers this team may rank below 200. Martin had better recruit some pure shooters quickly.

westknoxrepub writes:

Any hope this year comes from Pearl's recruits, once they're gone with what Martin's brought in thus far, we're going to be the Auburn of the east.

sheep writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

I'm sure they will play hard this season and play defense. The problem lies in nobody can score on this team. After ranking 186 in field goal percentage last year, without the two scorers this team may rank below 200. Martin had better recruit some pure shooters quickly.

Well if they were given open looks, and not having to throw them up from 35 feet, or with someone on them, then they might shoot a better pecentage. This offence looks like it plays to the shooters strengths. Mcbee will shoot better, and so will Golden and Tatum, because they will get more open looks. Have confidence in this team, they will surprise you in the end.

me410ec writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Any hope this year comes from Pearl's recruits, once they're gone with what Martin's brought in thus far, we're going to be the Auburn of the east.

How do you know that, have you even seen the players he brought in play yet???????

carbonzip writes:

in response to sheep:

Well if they were given open looks, and not having to throw them up from 35 feet, or with someone on them, then they might shoot a better pecentage. This offence looks like it plays to the shooters strengths. Mcbee will shoot better, and so will Golden and Tatum, because they will get more open looks. Have confidence in this team, they will surprise you in the end.

Last year they had to run the shot clock down and then take whatever shot they could get. I am looking for more open looks, better shot selection, and more transition scoring from this team.

Flabbergasted writes:

The worst part of the game for me, since I can't go, will be listening to Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum call the game. Here is an an example:
Tweedle-Dee (on every play): "It's a foul. No, he travelled. No, the ball is out of bounds."
Tweedle-Dum: (Player goes 0 for 22 and finally hits a shot) "Money!"

Ironcity writes:

in response to Flabbergasted:

The worst part of the game for me, since I can't go, will be listening to Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum call the game. Here is an an example:
Tweedle-Dee (on every play): "It's a foul. No, he travelled. No, the ball is out of bounds."
Tweedle-Dum: (Player goes 0 for 22 and finally hits a shot) "Money!"

I like Tweddle Dum and can't stand Treedle Dee.

jobrando#216494 writes:

Why should Coach even coach this year as Pearl gets the credit and he gets the shaft.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to sheep:

Well if they were given open looks, and not having to throw them up from 35 feet, or with someone on them, then they might shoot a better pecentage. This offence looks like it plays to the shooters strengths. Mcbee will shoot better, and so will Golden and Tatum, because they will get more open looks. Have confidence in this team, they will surprise you in the end.

They might also be better shooters if they played more than a couple of minutes at a time on a senior-dominated team as they all did last year. The motion offense basically calls for ANY player who has a decent look to take the shot, WHENEVER in the shot-clock it happens. With the offense last year, it was usually clear who was expected to shoot when, and it was rarely any of these guys, ever. I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I'm not seeing the defense in this game so far!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Good!! BETTER!Go Vols!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Hmm Trae's lookin' alright against CN.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Hmm Trae's lookin' alright against CN.

I meant McCrae!

TheSmokyMountainThatRides writes:

i know it's carson newman but i am so far impressed with ccm's in game adjusting. against the zone that is.

orangeJACKET writes:

in response to TheSmokyMountainThatRides:

i know it's carson newman but i am so far impressed with ccm's in game adjusting. against the zone that is.

Yep. Really like it. As well, I like the on floor playing time each player gets. What I mean is last year I felt Bruce's staff were too quick to sub players in and out. Coach is so far, giving his players a chance to heat up.

orangeJACKET writes:

in response to PatientlyWaiting:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

couldn't disagree more. there's enough talent to win some games this year. i thought woolridge did fine in the post. really, there's nothing you wrote that i agree with.

volcraze writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Thank you blue bird of saddiness.......

Too funny!!!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features