Jarnell Stokes in spotlight as UT prepares for Memphis

Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5) defends against Wichita State forward Carl Hall (22) at Thompson-Boling Arena Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5) defends against Wichita State forward Carl Hall (22) at Thompson-Boling Arena Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Jarnell Stokes

Jarnell Stokes

Around this time last year, Jarnell Stokes' migration across Tennessee — from Memphis to Knoxville — was celebrated as I-40 highway robbery. The Vols poached a five-star men's basketball recruit from the 901 city limits.

Stokes enrolled at Tennessee on Jan. 11, 2012. Nearly 12 months later, on Jan. 4, 2013 — this Friday — he'll face his hometown team. The Memphis Tigers, a program that recruited Stokes, but didn't have a scholarship available for him as a midyear enrollee last season, is coming to Thompson-Boling Arena for an 8 p.m. game (TV: ESPN2).

The next five days will see Stokes fall into the center of attention.

It's not just "Memphis Week," it's "Jarnell Stokes vs. Memphis Week" and the surrounding chatter will be the sophomore power forward's erratic play this season.

Six Vols earned more second-half minutes than Stokes in Saturday night's 51-47 win over Xavier. He finished the night with six points on 2-for-3 shooting, two personal fouls, two turnovers and three rebounds in 21 minutes, eight coming after halftime.

Asked after the game where Stokes fits in right now, UT coach Cuonzo Martin was terse, saying, "We played the guys we felt gave us the best chance of winning the ball game."

Stokes averaged 9.6 points and 7.4 rebounds last year when he became an instant star, earning All-SEC freshman honors in just half a season.

The sophomore campaign hasn't been as fruitful. He is averaging 11.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game through 11 games, but those numbers mask a certain reality.

Big games have drawn small numbers. In games against Oklahoma State, Georgetown, Virginia, Wichita State and Xavier, Stokes averaged 5.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in 24.6 minutes per game. He made 11 field goals total in those five games.

In UT's other six contests, Stokes posted 16.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. They came against Kennesaw State, UNC Asheville, Massachusetts, Oakland, Presbyterian and Western Carolina. Those games saw 81.8 percent of his made field goals this season.

Questions have been posed season-long about those wayward numbers. Martin has consistently said he wants Stokes to embrace what he is — a low-post bruiser — in order to become better at what he does. All along, he's battled collapsing defenses and inconsistent free-throw shooting (33-for-60).

Following a 12-point, nine-rebound outing against Western Carolina before the holiday break, Martin was asked if Stokes can establish consistency.

"We're 10 games into it now so he might not have a choice," Martin answered. "You have to play basketball. You have to make decisions and make plays. Since October, he hasn't practiced with Jeronne Maymon (knee injury). I think he's doing a good job. I think for him it's really just making the adjustments and getting a feel for how each game is played."

On Friday, Tennessee will be 12 games into it. And it's not just any game. The Vols (8-3) dropped a pair to Memphis (9-3) last year, including a highlight-filled, 18-point drubbing at FedExForum.

They remember the sting. Stokes, who turns 19 on Jan. 7, doesn't.

He wasn't on the roster yet.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/BFQuinn

Get Copyright Permissions © 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 67

AllVols16 writes:

Stokes better get ready! Time to bury the Memphis big guys in the post and demand the ball! Jarnell needs to play strong, cause Yemi has been a monster lately!

alfrizzle097 writes:

I've not gotten to watch a full game yet this year because of my work schedule, but what seems to be the problem on offense?

Is it lack of off ball movement? Inability to penetrate or poor decision making once you do penetrate? or is it just 100% god awful shooting from the perimeter?

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

I still think any perceived problem with Stokes is a "team" problem. Someone else has to consistently step up as a scorer, whether it's one or two players or several by committee. The way things are now, even Shaq would have trouble scoring against Stokes' 2-3 defenders per possession.

carbonzip writes:

Yemi has it figured out...score off rebounds.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to decades_vol:

I still think any perceived problem with Stokes is a "team" problem. Someone else has to consistently step up as a scorer, whether it's one or two players or several by committee. The way things are now, even Shaq would have trouble scoring against Stokes' 2-3 defenders per possession.

This is pretty much how I feel as well...he is being doubled and tripled every night and isnt responding well to it...Maymon out is effecting his game more than anything...we MUST make some shots outside and in the midrange game to "shake things up" inside....Still have hopes of becoming a well rounded team...I must say our defense is about as good of a defense as Ive seen in a long time...They contest most every shot...

AllVols16 writes:

in response to alfrizzle097:

I've not gotten to watch a full game yet this year because of my work schedule, but what seems to be the problem on offense?

Is it lack of off ball movement? Inability to penetrate or poor decision making once you do penetrate? or is it just 100% god awful shooting from the perimeter?

I thank you hit all the problems on the head! It seems we can't get an offensive play setup and when we do the shot clock is under 10 and we have to throw up a garbage shot. We can't knock down wide open shots from the outside mainly McBee! When a Mcrae or Golden penetrates they seem to turn it over. Our ball movement is not that bad just sometimes make one too many passes. I also have seen when a team like Georgetown,Virginia,and Xavier play zone we can't seem to bust the zone by penetrating and making layups or knocking down the 3 ball! Hopefully Memphis game will be better!

bfowler1161#262198 writes:

So based upon on performance against good teams vs. bad we can expect a double double against Mempuss.

1vavolfan writes:

Watched Memphis and Loyola Md tonight. Memphis got out rebounded by 12 and turned the ball over 15 times. They score a lot in transition but play very poor defense. I doubt this will be another under 50 contest. They do have some very impressive athletes but seldom play under control. Stokes will have to play much better defense against the Tigers, he was schooled by Xavier's big men and we were bailed out by Yemi's defensive play.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

This is a big payback game coming up against Memphis. No extra motivation will be necessary. They'll come lean and mean against the Tigers, and this includes Stokes. I hope one or two Tigers question Stokes' "loyalty" early in the game. Maybe that will make Stokes come hungry. Let's put away the Tigers and move on to the SEC.

alfrizzle097 writes:

in response to AllVols16:

I thank you hit all the problems on the head! It seems we can't get an offensive play setup and when we do the shot clock is under 10 and we have to throw up a garbage shot. We can't knock down wide open shots from the outside mainly McBee! When a Mcrae or Golden penetrates they seem to turn it over. Our ball movement is not that bad just sometimes make one too many passes. I also have seen when a team like Georgetown,Virginia,and Xavier play zone we can't seem to bust the zone by penetrating and making layups or knocking down the 3 ball! Hopefully Memphis game will be better!

Sometimes failure to penetrate is simply because they don't respect your shot. Think how every team plays Rajon Rondo in the NBA; not everyone is as athletic as him. That can also make ball movement hard when all the passing lanes are clogged. Sure, you can swing the ball around the perimeter, but if they are sagging too far, you can't get an angle to pass to your (apparently non existent) cutters or post players.

This is one of those times you would like to see a team with a couple players that can shoot a mid range two from spots on the floor. I mean, I know this is a poor shooting team. But you would think that they could make some shots from practiced positions from 15 feet out.

manning_berry_special_player1614 writes:

big stokes is just playing soft so far MAN UP BIG BOY and play ball it is in him i know...still would not play one on one nope

AllVols16 writes:

in response to alfrizzle097:

Sometimes failure to penetrate is simply because they don't respect your shot. Think how every team plays Rajon Rondo in the NBA; not everyone is as athletic as him. That can also make ball movement hard when all the passing lanes are clogged. Sure, you can swing the ball around the perimeter, but if they are sagging too far, you can't get an angle to pass to your (apparently non existent) cutters or post players.

This is one of those times you would like to see a team with a couple players that can shoot a mid range two from spots on the floor. I mean, I know this is a poor shooting team. But you would think that they could make some shots from practiced positions from 15 feet out.

Very True! I don't know about anyone else but I have noticed that Hall & Stokes (mainly Stokes) just seem to stand on the block and just pretty much walk back and forth while ball is being passed on perimeter. They both need to bury their guys in the post and demand the ball and score or draw fouls or both would be better!

jacksontnbob writes:

Who's kidding who? We are just an average team without Maymon. Stokes tries hard but our opponenets just sag on him. Mid-range to outside shots falling will relieve this. Time to limit McBrick's playing time and put in some more shooters.
By the way, why isn't CCM releasing any info on Maymon? This is getting ridiculous. This whole secrecy thing is more than frustrating, it's poison to fans.

John_10065 writes:

Stokes has to have help in three ways. First of all he needs an additional man to battle in the paint with him. Maymon did that last year.

Yemi played an impressive game except for that last foul again Xavier. Between him and Hall they should be able to fill that role.

He also needs two dependable scorers from the guard position to loosen up the interior. Reese and Richardson both have shown they have something to prove this last game. I haven't seen a lot out of the starting group with the exception of a few moments by Golden...period.

But most of all, Stokes needs to start playing his size. It's all well and good that he is as good a driver with the ball in the paint. But at his size, he should be able to back a man down in the paint low. He needs to help himself and the last two or three games he hasn't done that.

Sure he has been double and triple teamed a lot of the time but he doesn't always use his size when he has an opprotunity to do it. That's all on him, no one else.

jacksontnbob writes:

Addendum to previous statement:
I forgot to mention Stokes is a potential All-SEC player this year if he can just get better deep feeds. He is good.

Sure as hell can't complain about the defense. CCM D is the best I've seen this year. GBO

bigdisbig writes:

Stokes has so much potiental. Its such a shame he plays for a coach who doesn't know how to realize his potiental and bring him along to ready him for the NBA.
Cuonzo simply cannot coach guys up like Pearl.
He may be a great guy, much like Dooley, but he will never be the winner Pearl was.

To keep playing Skyler McBee shows Cuonzo has low tier coaching skills. There are guys on the bench who are much better than Skyler.

lstbodeanvol writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I guess that means beating your gators twice last year were not considered big games ???? SWEEP SWEEP SWEEP SWEEP...wrong again marlette...GO VOLS GO STOKES !!!!!!!

jacksontnbob writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

Stokes has so much potiental. Its such a shame he plays for a coach who doesn't know how to realize his potiental and bring him along to ready him for the NBA.
Cuonzo simply cannot coach guys up like Pearl.
He may be a great guy, much like Dooley, but he will never be the winner Pearl was.

To keep playing Skyler McBee shows Cuonzo has low tier coaching skills. There are guys on the bench who are much better than Skyler.

Right on Stokes. Lay off Martin, his team defense speaks for itself. Better shooting, better inside feeding, better pizza. Oh, the hackneyed humanity!

mlynn1 writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You seem to be an idiot, whenever a good topic comes up, you say something stupid.

BruisedOrange writes:

It's just this simple: The rest of the team hasn't made any defense pay for triple teaming Stokes. Stokes recognizes, gets the ball out to the open man, shot goes up... clunk!

Wouldn't be surprised to see Memphis try doubling Stokes, doubling Reese, and leaving a "sweeper" to claim the inevitable rebound.

Gotta make 'em pay at the boards, Yemi!

Also wouldn't be surprised to see Memphis make an effort to put Makanjuola on the bench with early foul trouble.

That leaves Lopez... can he get the ball all the way to the hole? THAT would change the whole equation for Memphis' defense.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to decades_vol:

I still think any perceived problem with Stokes is a "team" problem. Someone else has to consistently step up as a scorer, whether it's one or two players or several by committee. The way things are now, even Shaq would have trouble scoring against Stokes' 2-3 defenders per possession.

I agree..No easy answers here.If Stokes was 3 inches taller than it's a mute point but good post players create off the dribble and the way he gets surrounded it's become impossible..He has nice touch so 10 foot face up shots might help..At this time Martin should have set plays to offset all these double teams feeding Hall on the backside but I have yet to see it. Memphis beat us last year because they were longer and way more pure athletic talent. I don't see this year being any different unless Golden and McRae can light them up from the perimeter

budd#207344 writes:

Eveeryone seems to forget J. Stokes is not yet 19 years old. He had half a season w/Maymon and played well. Now as a second half freshman he has to carry the load himself. I agree he needs to get more aggressive. But CCM can coach and JS can play. He just needs to get mean. And I think you might well see it against the high school.

And B. Quinn, thanks for writing an informative and critical article. This is why I read the paper. Not to hear about the Easter bunny and how sparkly bright everything is. Nice job. Please continue.

tonyvick#213307 writes:

in response to alfrizzle097:

I've not gotten to watch a full game yet this year because of my work schedule, but what seems to be the problem on offense?

Is it lack of off ball movement? Inability to penetrate or poor decision making once you do penetrate? or is it just 100% god awful shooting from the perimeter?

Seems no one can shoot the ball.

mikkim writes:

I hate to say it but I have watched 4 games this year and stoke is very lazy.

ARANGEVOL writes:

in response to budd#207344:

Eveeryone seems to forget J. Stokes is not yet 19 years old. He had half a season w/Maymon and played well. Now as a second half freshman he has to carry the load himself. I agree he needs to get more aggressive. But CCM can coach and JS can play. He just needs to get mean. And I think you might well see it against the high school.

And B. Quinn, thanks for writing an informative and critical article. This is why I read the paper. Not to hear about the Easter bunny and how sparkly bright everything is. Nice job. Please continue.

This is a very good point. Any time a team looses its "Bell Cow" player its bound to suffer. So now all of the sudden Stokes is thrust into that role at the age of eighteen. My guess is when he gets beat enough he will finnally grow up and be the player everyone thinks he can be. If you beat someone long enough they will eventually fight back. But if Mammon is back next year! WOW!

On McBee his slump is brought on by tring to hard to fill the Mammon void. Mammon made everone a better player!
VFL

ARANGEVOL writes:

LOSES ITS BEST PLAYER.

SouthPaVol writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

Stokes has so much potiental. Its such a shame he plays for a coach who doesn't know how to realize his potiental and bring him along to ready him for the NBA.
Cuonzo simply cannot coach guys up like Pearl.
He may be a great guy, much like Dooley, but he will never be the winner Pearl was.

To keep playing Skyler McBee shows Cuonzo has low tier coaching skills. There are guys on the bench who are much better than Skyler.

Skyler was a local, walk-on who proved himself under Pearl; earned his minutes under Pearl; earned his scholarship under Pearl. He has a bum shoulder, but still plays tough D. He'll be alright.

Pearl was a good coach, emphasis on 'was.' CCM is a top-20 coach, except without Maymon, we are not a top 20 team--yet! We are a "slashing" team, looking for our identity. We had three pretty good slashers in Trae, McRae and Rich. Enter slasher #4--Reese.

By mid-January, we will be a fast break team. These four slashers can fly! Our D makes people miss a lot of shots. Now we need our bigs clearing the ball off the rim. I see Reese making several flying dunks this year off the break.

Stokes can drive the ball, but right now he has problems handling the double team. His deliberate approach welcomes off-side defenders to double him up. Problem is, all those great passes could be assists, except we are one of the worst 3-pt shooting teams in America! Another reason our identity will become a slashing team.

Yemi is effective with this group of athletes because he doesn't clog up the middle. Yemi is not a good post player and doesn't play very well with his back to the ball--yet! Yemi is effective in what he does, and that is stay out of the way so the slashers can drive to the basket. His focus is on offensive rebounding. Think Dennis Rodman. I'm not saying Yemi should get covered in tats and multiple body piercings. I do like Yemi's rebounding style and tough nosed D. Go Vols!

SevenT writes:

Stokes made a huge mistake not going to Kentucky, he could have been a NBA star, now he plays for a crudball dump team and will end up a nobody

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to SevenT:

Stokes made a huge mistake not going to Kentucky, he could have been a NBA star, now he plays for a crudball dump team and will end up a nobody

have you always been a loser or what?

get a life man

brokendownoldvol writes:

How in the world did he get 5 stars? He sure hasn't panned out at TN. He should be tearing the rim off.

usafvol writes:

in response to SevenT:

Stokes made a huge mistake not going to Kentucky, he could have been a NBA star, now he plays for a crudball dump team and will end up a nobody

Kinda like you huh; "Welcome to Burger King, may I take your order please"?

brokendownoldvol writes:

This team needs to watch Pistol Pete's basic video on how to shoot a basketball. Kids just are not taught the fundamentals of the game anymore for whatever reason.

brokendownoldvol writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He needs to be schooled in the basic fundamentals by a good Jr. High coach who knows them.

born2ride writes:

I wonder if Stokes will go at it with John Harris like he did during the Xavier game? The dude has an attitude problem.

volforeverandever writes:

in response to SevenT:

Stokes made a huge mistake not going to Kentucky, he could have been a NBA star, now he plays for a crudball dump team and will end up a nobody

He has a 4 point average in school so he was smarter than that .

SevenT writes:

in response to usafvol:

Kinda like you huh; "Welcome to Burger King, may I take your order please"?

I will be happy to get your fries Sir. But could you do me a favor and please flush the toilet and wash your hands during your visit to our BK restrooms.

Thanks,
BK Management

bosscat writes:

in response to SouthPaVol:

Skyler was a local, walk-on who proved himself under Pearl; earned his minutes under Pearl; earned his scholarship under Pearl. He has a bum shoulder, but still plays tough D. He'll be alright.

Pearl was a good coach, emphasis on 'was.' CCM is a top-20 coach, except without Maymon, we are not a top 20 team--yet! We are a "slashing" team, looking for our identity. We had three pretty good slashers in Trae, McRae and Rich. Enter slasher #4--Reese.

By mid-January, we will be a fast break team. These four slashers can fly! Our D makes people miss a lot of shots. Now we need our bigs clearing the ball off the rim. I see Reese making several flying dunks this year off the break.

Stokes can drive the ball, but right now he has problems handling the double team. His deliberate approach welcomes off-side defenders to double him up. Problem is, all those great passes could be assists, except we are one of the worst 3-pt shooting teams in America! Another reason our identity will become a slashing team.

Yemi is effective with this group of athletes because he doesn't clog up the middle. Yemi is not a good post player and doesn't play very well with his back to the ball--yet! Yemi is effective in what he does, and that is stay out of the way so the slashers can drive to the basket. His focus is on offensive rebounding. Think Dennis Rodman. I'm not saying Yemi should get covered in tats and multiple body piercings. I do like Yemi's rebounding style and tough nosed D. Go Vols!

Agree with your retort to bigdisbig. Particularly like your comparison of Yemi and Dennis Rodman. I am not a bb expert, but I would love to see Yemi and Stokes in the game at the same time--I think they would complement one another nicely. I have the hope, based on one game only, that Reese will prove to be a good outside shooter as well as a slasher.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to decades_vol:

This is a big payback game coming up against Memphis. No extra motivation will be necessary. They'll come lean and mean against the Tigers, and this includes Stokes. I hope one or two Tigers question Stokes' "loyalty" early in the game. Maybe that will make Stokes come hungry. Let's put away the Tigers and move on to the SEC.

You may be wrong on all points. I love the Vols,but fact is fact.The game will be over after about 25 minutes.Memphis will out hustle,out shoot,out coach the Vols. This is how I see the game. Sure hope I am stupidly wrong.

Big_Orange_Aide writes:

in response to SevenT:

Stokes made a huge mistake not going to Kentucky, he could have been a NBA star, now he plays for a crudball dump team and will end up a nobody

Is your blue team even ranked at this point in the season? I like Tennessee's football and basketball teams chances much better at having a winning season in 2013. Back to work you...

Big_Orange_Aide writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

You may be wrong on all points. I love the Vols,but fact is fact.The game will be over after about 25 minutes.Memphis will out hustle,out shoot,out coach the Vols. This is how I see the game. Sure hope I am stupidly wrong.

Uhh...who exactly are you pulling for? Tennessee has lost its best basketball player for the first 1/3 of the season. Don't you think it might take a little time for this group to gell and become a complete team? I can't understand the desire to talk down about this coach. He is recruiting good enough to win, overcoming difficulties with injured star players, and has the defensive part of the team looking great. Settle down and let this coaching staff get this team playing to the caliber of winning SEC games; we might just make it to the Big Dance by March. How's about some optimism for your New Year's resolution?

volfan2002 writes:

A lot of the problem is not Stokes. He can't take shots when he is tripled team. It is up to the perimeter players to make the shots that the defense gives them. Any defense can take an inside player away but that leaves guys open on the perimeter. The players we have can't hit those shots and that is the problem.

VOLFLIAM writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

You may be wrong on all points. I love the Vols,but fact is fact.The game will be over after about 25 minutes.Memphis will out hustle,out shoot,out coach the Vols. This is how I see the game. Sure hope I am stupidly wrong.

OK... You are !!!

gillblog writes:

in response to brokendownoldvol:

This team needs to watch Pistol Pete's basic video on how to shoot a basketball. Kids just are not taught the fundamentals of the game anymore for whatever reason.

Ah, the days of Maravich !
The odd thing I saw about him was that he always seemed to be off-balance or falling down when he put up his shots, but the damned things always went in anyway.
His greatest talent was his ability to keep working hard and practice relentlessly.
I believe most of today's college players would be unable to see the benefits of that talent, much less copy it themselves.

1vavolfan writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

You may be wrong on all points. I love the Vols,but fact is fact.The game will be over after about 25 minutes.Memphis will out hustle,out shoot,out coach the Vols. This is how I see the game. Sure hope I am stupidly wrong.

Have you watched a Memphis game this year? They have beaten no one. IF Pastner out coaches someone that will be a first.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Based on last game

1. Lopez/ Golden
2. Golden/ Richardson/Reese
3. McRae/ Reese/ Edwards
4. Reese/ Yemi/ Hall
5. Yemi/ Stokes/ Hall

Switch in and out with bigs as fouls determine. Just makes sense.

We DO need Golden in the game if just for his fouls shots. Same with McRae.

The only reason I'd not start Stokes is to mess with the refs who love to call fouls on him early. AND they love to allow the other team to literally physically attack his frame!! That said, I DO agree that he needs to man up. He can always concentrate more on blocking out and scoring off rebounds and etc. Maymon got 1st team getting his "garbage shots" last year. well partly that.

PS. We need Golden and McBee to heal up by SEC. If possible.

Snapshot writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Speaking of disappearing, why don't you?

titletown? So you live in Green Bay?

UTMaster04 writes:

Memphis is very talented team. But as much as they are talented they are undisciplined. They turn the ball over, can't rebound, and throw up garbage shots. They are poorly coached and don't know how to play defense. They foul in order to defend.

Say what you will about our Vols on offense, but we play disciplined defense, the kind of defense that will frustrate a wild, out of control team like the Tiggers. Should be a close game. If we can find any sort of offense we should get the win.

Funny that Kentucky fans are posting here. Take your comments elsewhere. What's wrong? John Carsalesman not cheating enough this year?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Golly I meant Richardson to start at the 2. Golden needs to heal and we can't at all keep Richardson out. Sub as necessary I guess. We've got a battle for the 3 spot. As far as I'm concerned and as much as I like McBee if he ain't hittin' shots he needs to sit more.

Snapshot writes:

in response to mlynn1:

You seem to be an idiot, whenever a good topic comes up, you say something stupid.

That's because he/she is a gater troll.

volforeverandever writes:

in response to Snapshot:

Speaking of disappearing, why don't you?

titletown? So you live in Green Bay?

He is a Bama guy.

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