The sophomore was unsure what was coming.
"You want some minutes as the backup point?" Martin asked.
It took Lopez a second to process. He's a walk-on, a 6-foot-1 reserve behind two scholarship point guards. His hesitation ended with an exclamation point.
"Yeah!" he replied.
And that's how Lopez — a Knoxville native, Austin-East grad, lifelong Vols fan — became Trae Golden's backup.
"It's pretty great," he said Monday, looking around Thompson-Boling Arena before practice.
Lopez played 10 minutes of garbage time as a freshman last year. He's played 12 "real" minutes in the Vols' past two games against UVA and Wichita State. Real minutes are expected tonight (TV: SportSouth, 7 p.m.) against Presbyterian.
Replacing freshman Armani Moore as Golden's backup, Lopez has yet to score or notch an assist. He's run the offense efficiently, though. Against Wichita, the offense started with five turnovers and two points on 1-of-4 shooting. Then Lopez checked in after the first media timeout. UT made three of its next four shots and committed one lone turnover in the next three minutes before he returned to the bench.
"He's is a point guard that's going to come down and get the ball where it needs to go and get us into the offense," said senior shooting guard Skylar McBee, who knows something about Lopez's ascent. Once a walk-on, McBee owns a team-high 1,789 career minutes played.
Lopez forced Martin's hand in order to earn playing time. He practices like it's Game 7 of the NBA Finals. He's as vocal as any Vol. He leads.
"B Lo approaches people in the right way," McBee said. "He knows the different ways that he can talk to different people. He's always positive so people respond to Brandon. He's always out here gutting it out."
"Whenever a guy is consistent in doing that, you have to give him an opportunity," Martin noted.
Lopez launched himself off the bench when "B Lo!" was yelled six minutes, 46 seconds into the Virginia game. His mind moved faster than the game. His feet moved faster than his mind.
"I just got in and hustled," Lopez said. "It's a lot faster — the ball is moving all over the place. It was easier to slow down in the Wichita game."
Lopez earned a career-high seven minutes against the Shockers. He played a key role in a victory against a ranked team in an arena he dreamt of playing in as a kid.
"When I came in the first half, I was like, 'Wow,' " he remembered, laughing.
While on the court, Lopez snuck a look over to Section 100. He shot a quick smile to two smiling faces.
"My momma and my grandmother were real happy," he said.
Injury Update: Tennessee's Kenny Hall is a game-time decision tonight versus Presbyterian (2-8). The senior forward strained a hamstring in last week's victory against Wichita State. According to 247Sports.com, McBee is currently playing through a UCL tear in his right elbow and will decide whether to have surgery after the season.
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn