UT coach Cuonzo Martin talks about Vols practice in Hawaii
LAHAINA, Hawaii — Cuonzo Martin gathered his players on Friday before practice to set the tone, reiterating a couple of messages.
First and foremost, Tennessee's men's basketball coach said to remember where you're from, and represent it in appropriate fashion while preparing and playing in the upcoming EA Sports Maui Invitational.
The Vols (2-0) play No. 6 Duke (3-0) at 5:30 p.m. Monday (TV: ESPN2) in a first-round game.
"It's something we talk about every day, not just when we're on trips or at big tournaments,'' Martin said. "We represent Tennessee every day in the classroom, and it's all about how you go about your business. It's how we conduct ourselves on our flights, at the team hotel and in this town, and when we take to the court.''
Martin, along with assistant coach Jon Harris and basketball operations director Houston Fancher, arrived on a different flight a few hours before the rest of the team late Thursday night to get things set up for the players' arrival.
The rest of the team touched down on the island of Maui at about 2:30 a.m. EST (there is a five-hour time difference) Friday and arrived at its team hotel via bus 90 minutes later.
The UT team's final flight on Thursday, from Los Angeles, was a long, uneventful 5½-hour trip. Assistant coaches Kent Williams and Tracy Webster and senior associate athletic trainer Chad Newman accompanied the team throughout the day.
Webster was caught dozing on the plane at one point, mouth agape, when UT center Kenny Hall snapped a photo on his phone. Webster awoke with the flash, joining in the friendly laughs with his players.
The Vols flew from Knoxville to Atlanta before making a tight connection in Los Angeles. The Delta flight was held for the UT players' group; the team rushed in and out of McDonald's at the airport and ate on the plane en route to Hawaii.
The Vols found themselves amid a sea of blue-clad Memphis fans on the flight, which they quickly befriended to the point that some of the Tigers fans were wishing them well as they exited the aircraft.
UT plays again Tuesday (at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m.) against either No. 10 Memphis or No. 17 Michigan, who play on Monday (TV: ESPN2, 3 p.m.). The Vols finish the tournament on Wednesday against an opponent to be determined.
There also were Kansas fans on the flight, as the Jayhawks open on the other side of the Maui Invitational bracket on Monday at midnight against Georgetown. UCLA and Chaminade play in the other game at 9:30 p.m.
Tennessee practiced 8-10 p.m. EST Friday at Lahainaluna High School.
Injury Update: Martin said freshman point guard Wes Washpun was held out of Wednesday's win over Louisiana Monroe as a precaution after suffering a slight leg injury in the days leading up to the contest. Washpun practiced Friday night and will be ready to play on Monday, Martin said.
UT walk-on Tyler Summitt has returned to practice but is still suffering some tenderness in the hand he injured in the preseason.
More Yemi: Martin said freshman center Yemi Makanjoula didn't play against Louisiana Monroe because he opted to go with a smaller lineup.
"Yemi will be ready to play against Duke,'' Martin said. "I think it could be more his kind of game, because they have bigger guys he can get in there and bang with a little.''
Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him on twitter at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32