The text signal buzzed on Josh Richardson's phone early Friday. He wasn't surprised to see the sender was Cuonzo Martin.
The message: Stay aggressive on offense. Pose a threat.
At halftime Friday night, coach Cuonzo Martin needed to send Richardson another reminder, perhaps shoot off a flare. At the break, Tennessee had only three field goals against Western Carolina.
Richardson's contribution was a couple of free throws. Not much of a threat.
"I always focus so much on defense, which I have to do,'' Richardson said later. "But teams can not even pay attention to me on offense. I know I have to become more aggressive.''
If ever there was an appropriate opportunity to do so, this was it. The upset alert was engaged at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Vols were 3-of-21 from the field at halftime, yet led 22-18 thanks to frequent trips to the free-throw line.
"I thought we needed a little boost,'' Richardson said.
Richardson's boosts usually come on defense. The 6-foot-6 sophomore draws the tough perimeter assignments.
But this night his team needed a boost at the other end. Richardson delivered in a 66-52 victory.
He was 5-of-5 shooting in the second half, all in a critical 11-minute stretch.
His first drive made it 26-21, then he soared for a rebound basket to make it 30-27. He put UT in the lead for good, 39-38.
He converted an inbounds play for a 43-38 lead and, with 7:09, scored to make it 47-40.
So 12 points tied his career high.
"And that's good,'' said Martin. "He should have made his last free throws.''
Yes, those last missed free throws. There's always something.
"I thought he was good,'' Martin said. "I don't think he's at the level we need.''
And what level would that be?
"He has to be a defensive stopper,'' Martin said. "Right now he's a solid defender. He's not a stopper.
"Offensively, he has to continue to get better, make moves off the bounce and get to the basket going left and right.''
Richardson was in the room listening to Martin's assessment. He wasn't offended. He hears it all the time.
He was the most acclaimed of Martin's first UT recruiting class and, aside from special-circumstance addition Jarnell Stokes, has been the biggest contributor.
Thus, Martin will keep prodding to get Richardson to be the best, most complete player he can be.
"He knows I can take it,'' Richardson said. "I'm kind of a thick-skull. Stuff like that doesn't bother me.''
In the generous spirit of the holiday season, another text might be in order Friday night: