Cuonzo Martin won't 'budge' on defensive priorities

To have a shot, Martin focusing team on stopping them first

Kent Williams recaps the week for the Vols

LEXINGTON, Ky. — What now for Tennessee men’s basketball?

“Back to work,’’ coach Cuonzo Martin said shortly before leaving Rupp Arena after the Vols dropped a 69-44 decision to No. 1-ranked Kentucky (22-1, 8-0 SEC) on Tuesday night.

The bad news for UT at Rupp Arena was the Vols (10-12, 2-5) scored a season-low number of points on a season-low shooting percentage (28.1) while suffering the largest margin of defeat this season and remaining winless on the road (0-7).

The good news for the team is that the schedule softens considerably with consecutive home games against Georgia (8 p.m., Saturday) and South Carolina (8 p.m., Wednesday). The Bulldogs (10-11, 1-6) and Gamecocks (9-11, 1-5) are all that separate UT from the bottom of the SEC standings.

Georgia lost at Auburn (13-9, 3-5) on Wednesday night. South Carolina plays Thursday at Florida (17-4, 5-1).

The Vols’ postseason hopes are growing slimmer with each loss, as their RPI on Wednesday stood at 142, which doesn’t qualify as a blip, much less a bubble number.

While Martin remains a believer in staunch defense — “I’m not gonna ever budge on that,’’ he said on Wednesday — the first-year UT coach admits his team’s shooting numbers are troublesome.

“If it was a case where perimeter guys are shooting shots and they are highly contested, that’s one thing,’’ Martin said on Wednesday, taking a break from his film study and practice plans. “But when you’re open, squared up, and you’re still not hitting shots? That’s repetitions and confidence.

“We’ll be getting shots up and working game situations (in Thursday’s practice). We’ll shoot the shots in practice that we shoot in the games.’’

Tennessee’s loss to Kentucky marked the third consecutive game the Vols shot a season-worst percentage. The downward trend started in UT’s 65-47 loss at Vanderbilt on Jan. 24 when the Vols were 18-of-51 (35.3 percent) shooting.

In a 64-49 victory against Auburn last Saturday, UT dipped to 34.5-percent shooting.

“Bottom line, you have to make open shots,’’ Martin said. “I thought we had some shots on the perimeter.’’

The only player who appeared capable of making them was senior Renaldo Woolridge, who was 5-of-6 shooting beyond the 3-point arc against the Wildcats.

“It feels good,’’ said Woolridge, who entered Tuesday night’s game shooting 32.4 percent from three on the season but was just 1-of-8 shooting the 3-pointer in previous SEC games this season. “But we have to get wins.’’

Martin didn’t say anything to indicate Woolridge would be moved back into the starting lineup, but he complimented the 6-foot-9 forward’s mindset and improvement.

“Renaldo did a good job making shots, being ready to go,’’ Martin said. “He’s also putting the time in on the practice court. It’s a matter of him being more consistent on both ends of the floor.’’

Martin said UT’s other senior, Cameron Tatum, continues to invest extra time in the gym as well.

Tatum, Martin said, has played well enough on defense and worked hard enough in practice to justify his starting spot despite his current shooting slump.

Tatum is 6-for-29 shooting during the past four games, including 4-for-16 (25 percent) shooting the 3-pointer.

Tatum, however, did have a team-high three assists against Kentucky

Junior Skylar McBee is another player Martin would like to see shoot the open 3-pointer better.

McBee, who like Tatum has impressed Martin with his defensive tenacity, is 6-for-23 shooting during the past four games and 5-for-19 (26 percent) from three.

More important than those numbers, Martin said, is how the individual players respond to the adversity.

“There are no excuses, and nothing is changing as far as what we do to get better,’’ Martin said. “We’ll get our shots up in practice, like we always take time to do. If you’re a shooter, you’re probably going to be working on it on your own, too.’’

Martin said he wasn’t pleased to see point guard Trae Golden shut out in the second half after scoring five points in the first half against Kentucky.

Golden has only three assists in 95 minutes of play in the past three games while committing seven turnovers.

Martin was more forgiving of mid-term freshman enrollee Jarnell Stokes, who suffered through the worst offensive performance of his career in Rupp Arena.

Stokes, who was matched against projected NBA draft lottery pick Anthony Davis, finished 2-of-9 shooting for four points

“Jarnell will be fine,’’ Martin said. “We took him out of the game a few times just to relax him.’’

Stokes admitted he was out-classed and out-played by Davis.

“I had a lot of chances to score the ball, and I felt I could have played much better offensively,’’ Stokes said. “I should have been using my body against him the whole night. That was something I waited until the end to do.’’

Hot Wildcats: Kentucky is off to its best start in SEC play at 8-0 since the 2005 team won its first 10 league games. . . . Kentucky has now held three consecutive opponents below 50 points, the first time that’s happened in program history since the 1950-51 season. . . . The Wildcats are 65-2 in Rupp Arena when playing as the No. 1-ranked team, and coach John Calipari is 47-7 as coaching a top-ranked team. . . . Davis, who scored 18 points and had eight rebounds, entered the game leading the nation with 4.6 blocks per game and had blocked two shots in every game this season.

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

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Comments » 39

gillblog writes:

Good self-analysis by Stokes. It indicates he is restraining his own instincts at this point. A little afraid to just let himself go. It's understandable for a senior HS player, but CCM needs to recognise his impairment and guide him to break out into big-time playing. Sounds like CCM needs to work on instilling him with more self-confidence.

GetSimmsandTeagueout writes:

I'm 52 and haven't touched a BB in yrs. and I could shoot wide open 3's better than any of TN's guards. Great job Qwonzo for not rewarding a player who finally hits 5 of 5 3 pointers at the end of the first half with a second half start. Just put the same guys back in who got behind 20-2 or whatever. Must be great for team moral and incentive to play hard. Hard yrs. ahead for this Houston clone.

givehim6 writes:

Not sure but think the Vols are playing worse than thay did three weeks ago. WE will not think the lesser of you CCM if you just tell use you are in over your head here in the SEC.

underthehill writes:

I like Martin as a coach but strongly disagree on Tatum. Time to get players ready for next year. McRae has proved he has potential to score and his defense has improved ..he needs more playing time..so does Washpun...

born2ride writes:

Vols,

We can beat Georgia and South Carolina at home. (They are the only teams below UT in the SEC).

We lose to:

@Florida
Hogs
@ Bama
Vandy

We should beat the Black Rebel Bears and win a road games against LSU or USC.

I see a record of 14-17 at best.

We will not even make the NIT.

Looks like it will be a very disappointing start for Conzo Martin.

richvol writes:

The biggest issue I have with Coach Martin is playing Tatum...he would ride the pine if I had the choice. These younger players could be developing.

FeelVol writes:

And all the naysayers come out after a trip to Rupp, folks I don't see anybody winning there.Yes I agree this team has issues and I'm sure Coach Martin knows it as well and they aren't all gonna be fixed this year.Now hopefully we will get a few home wins and just maybe a road win or two before tournament time.Go Vols!!! P.S. Rome wasn't built in a day.

BigHornBuckShot writes:

Well, I am an expert on Basketball, and this, my way or the highway B.S. Martin is putting out about he will play one kind of defense and he will not bulge on that, well, coach, keep it up and keep losing. It does nothing to keep another team to a low scoring total, when you are wearing your own team down and they can't score. Rest them on d some, coach. You know what a zone is. It is a way to even things up. Quit being so hard headed. You can't win if you can't score, and you can't score if you are leg weiry.

jfjordan writes:

in response to BigHornBuckShot:

Well, I am an expert on Basketball, and this, my way or the highway B.S. Martin is putting out about he will play one kind of defense and he will not bulge on that, well, coach, keep it up and keep losing. It does nothing to keep another team to a low scoring total, when you are wearing your own team down and they can't score. Rest them on d some, coach. You know what a zone is. It is a way to even things up. Quit being so hard headed. You can't win if you can't score, and you can't score if you are leg weiry.

Rest them on defense? You are no basketball expert. Just because you're good on the xbox doesn't mean you can coach.

SeminaryVol writes:

Everybody needs to chill out. Nobody wanted to beat KY worse than me (Louisville resident), but they are gelling at the right time are the hottest team in the country. They annihilated LSU on the road and will do so to the rest of the teams they play with the possible exceptions of Florida, Vandy, and MSU on the road.

I too am disturbed about shooting percentage and lack of offensive consistency, but remember this team simply does not have natural scorers like Kidd-Gilcrest, T. Jones et al for UK. Hopefully next year we will have a guy or two that can create space like that or drive to the rim but until then the most we can hope for is grinding out a few wins with ugly defensive basketball.

Also, this team's conference schedule is BRUTAL. The only game we maybe should have won is at UGA, but come on could we really expect any better?!? The guys beat two teams they had no business beating and the record will start to match the effort now that the schedule is easing up some. I like us to finish 7-9 maybe even 8-8 and make the NIT.

GBO

underthehill writes:

in response to BigHornBuckShot:

Well, I am an expert on Basketball, and this, my way or the highway B.S. Martin is putting out about he will play one kind of defense and he will not bulge on that, well, coach, keep it up and keep losing. It does nothing to keep another team to a low scoring total, when you are wearing your own team down and they can't score. Rest them on d some, coach. You know what a zone is. It is a way to even things up. Quit being so hard headed. You can't win if you can't score, and you can't score if you are leg weiry.

It seems to me a good coach will do what it takes to win..and it would be best for a team to be skilled and ready to play multiple defenses.. As I have repeatedly said ..I do like Martin and I know he has to get some better talent to win..and I know the importance of defense and rebounding..but..you have to also put points on the board and you can't get the job done turning the ball over..UT has no chance of being consistent with Golden at point and he may help the perimeter scoring if Martin moves him to shooting guard..time to build next year's team around Stokes and Martin and start now...

GreerVol22 writes:

I hear you coach, but someone has to score too. Last I checked the team with the most points has almost always won.

Ironcity writes:

If I had only known that skill had nothing to do with playing time in basketball and it was all about hard work, I could have started over Dale Ellis.

The more I read about the coaches philosophy the less impressed I am. He seems concerned about the poor shooting yet he trots the same guys who can't shoot out every game.

underthehill writes:

in response to SeminaryVol:

Everybody needs to chill out. Nobody wanted to beat KY worse than me (Louisville resident), but they are gelling at the right time are the hottest team in the country. They annihilated LSU on the road and will do so to the rest of the teams they play with the possible exceptions of Florida, Vandy, and MSU on the road.

I too am disturbed about shooting percentage and lack of offensive consistency, but remember this team simply does not have natural scorers like Kidd-Gilcrest, T. Jones et al for UK. Hopefully next year we will have a guy or two that can create space like that or drive to the rim but until then the most we can hope for is grinding out a few wins with ugly defensive basketball.

Also, this team's conference schedule is BRUTAL. The only game we maybe should have won is at UGA, but come on could we really expect any better?!? The guys beat two teams they had no business beating and the record will start to match the effort now that the schedule is easing up some. I like us to finish 7-9 maybe even 8-8 and make the NIT.

GBO

The only 2 outside players I see on this team that could be close to what you describe as natural scorers would be McRae and Golden..McRae should play more...Golden's shooting is affected by too many minutes at point..to Martin's credit ..this team does give good effort ..they just lack talent..

underthehill writes:

in response to underthehill:

It seems to me a good coach will do what it takes to win..and it would be best for a team to be skilled and ready to play multiple defenses.. As I have repeatedly said ..I do like Martin and I know he has to get some better talent to win..and I know the importance of defense and rebounding..but..you have to also put points on the board and you can't get the job done turning the ball over..UT has no chance of being consistent with Golden at point and he may help the perimeter scoring if Martin moves him to shooting guard..time to build next year's team around Stokes and Martin and start now...

OOps..meant to say Stokes and Maymon...

brod writes:

i think martin tried the up tempo thing earlier in the year and it didn't work. but, we were competetive in maui with that style. a coach has to adjust game plans for each team. maybe he can get some shooters in here and we can see the up tempo style again. scoring was something that we knew would be a pain point on this year's team. they did show some improvement early in the year, but then lost to a 1-9 austin peay team so it's hard to say what style of play works best. we could have certainly used chris jones and kevin ware on this team. it will be very difficult to judge martin by this team because of the lack of talent. we will have to save that for seasons 2 and 3. buzz peterson finished below .500 with great players like vincent yarbrough, ron slay (who broke an ankle half way through the season), and marcus haislip in his first year. that was a sign of things to come. martin's first year is different because the players who were on last year's team of that caliber didn't hang around like slay and company.
i don't really remember how hard martin tried to keep kevin ware, but i don't think that he tried very hard. instead, we have what would have been a missouri state guard in wes washpun.

Ironcity writes:

in response to brod:

i think martin tried the up tempo thing earlier in the year and it didn't work. but, we were competetive in maui with that style. a coach has to adjust game plans for each team. maybe he can get some shooters in here and we can see the up tempo style again. scoring was something that we knew would be a pain point on this year's team. they did show some improvement early in the year, but then lost to a 1-9 austin peay team so it's hard to say what style of play works best. we could have certainly used chris jones and kevin ware on this team. it will be very difficult to judge martin by this team because of the lack of talent. we will have to save that for seasons 2 and 3. buzz peterson finished below .500 with great players like vincent yarbrough, ron slay (who broke an ankle half way through the season), and marcus haislip in his first year. that was a sign of things to come. martin's first year is different because the players who were on last year's team of that caliber didn't hang around like slay and company.
i don't really remember how hard martin tried to keep kevin ware, but i don't think that he tried very hard. instead, we have what would have been a missouri state guard in wes washpun.

Ware would have helped but he didn't really want to be here and I agree with Martin in that if a player doesn't want to be here let him go. I think Martin misjudged the talent level needed to compete in the SEC initially. He will have to improve his recruiting as well as show a little flexibility to take advantage of his teams talents. No shame in a zone every now and then especially when you have a lot of long players. Additionally it would be nice to see a transition basket every now and then. No point grinding it out if you can get a lay up a dunk, a wide open three or a foul. We are so slow in transition its really embarrassing.

LSG410EC83 writes:

As far as defense, no one has scored over 70 since before the first of the year, even the mighty Kentucky. As for this past game, 24 of Kentucky's 69 points were free throws. Yes they scored the first 11 baskets which is remarkable and pretty much unheard of. However, Woolridge shot 5 for 5 on his first three pointers which is remarkable also and pretty much unheard of, especially for Woolridge. So as far as defense, I think Coach Martin has the team where it should be at this point. However, offense has a lot to be desired. Shot selection at times stinks and the need for a good point guard is a no brainer which Coach Martin acknowledges. Feel he will get a hold on this, but it may be next year. Funny how some talk about how this team can only win to lower tier teams. I seem to remember wins against UConn and Florida and playing Kentucky to the buzzer at home. Proud of what this team has accomplished considering what the department has gone through over the past year. They will more than likely hit some more speed bumps the remainder of the year, but believe they have learned and will learn more as the season finishes out. Still behind Martin 100 percent. Believe he will bring UT basketball back to winning form, the true fans will just need to be patient and get behind the team and the coaches. IT IS GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL. GO BIG ORANGE.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

We're giving the coach a hard time on here!! Maybe justified but I doubt it.
We just need a point guard so Golden can move to 2 guard. Richardson NEEDS to start. Bring Tatum in for his defense. AND often. But we need to get Richardson ready for next season. Also as of the last game I'm ready to believe that Golden will never be a point guard. It ain't in him. I believe he'll be a great two guard. Just let Washpun play no matter the results this year and give him the experience.
Of course this won't happen because Martin still sees something in Tatum and Golden. Defense I suppose...or maybe extra time in the gym. As for Tatum he should have already put the time in if he really wants to lead. Woolridge it sounds like he wants that 3 position. He's putting time in on his shots. He's the most improved player with Maymon this year. I hope they all prove us all wrong. I just don't see that coach has a lot to work with as is on the perimeter. If Golden isn't hitting or Tatum we simply won't win.They can't get it inside enough with their passing lack of skill. Our bigs can't score without the ball in their hands. Golden either can't or refuses to get the ball to them.
Honestly the last few games have confused me onto what Martin is thinking. I'm sure it's just that he knows more but it's a little bit scary for us fans to wonder about the inconsistency of the perimeter players. I'm not worried about Jarnell at all. Or Maymon. They perhaps might need to come to the ball more to get a pass. Because when Golden or Tatum see a tree inside they think they have to climb it. Davis was a tree. Oak. If Jarnell had gotten the ball enough then maybe he could have figured out sooner how to handle Davis. Maybe.

I guess losing to Kentucky takes the positive out a little.It's easy to look back and see what to do sometimes. But I do like how Martin is holding the team to his high standards on Defense. The great teams always have great defenses. Look at Kentucky's D. I just wish our talent level could match what he wants to get.

BR_549 writes:

in response to GetSimmsandTeagueout:

I'm 52 and haven't touched a BB in yrs. and I could shoot wide open 3's better than any of TN's guards. Great job Qwonzo for not rewarding a player who finally hits 5 of 5 3 pointers at the end of the first half with a second half start. Just put the same guys back in who got behind 20-2 or whatever. Must be great for team moral and incentive to play hard. Hard yrs. ahead for this Houston clone.

Agree Swiperboy should have started the 2nd half, I think a Jr High coach could have got that right.

BR_549 writes:

So McBrick and Turnover Tatum are 12-52, 23% from the field, (Tatum 0-16 last 2) in the last 6 games and Coach wants them to shoot more? Maybe someone else should be playing and shooting more, odds are in favor they will do better. Not rocket science but a thought.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You don't matter, but your misleading comment on UT's defense must be corrected. After that opening flurry, UK shot only 37% for the rest of the game. If UT had mustered any offense at all, the score would at least have been closer. In another article, Martin referenced a stretch where UT stopped UK three times in a row in the second half and scored only one point themselves. Both this team and the coaches are better at basketball than you are at posting.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to BigHornBuckShot:

Well, I am an expert on Basketball, and this, my way or the highway B.S. Martin is putting out about he will play one kind of defense and he will not bulge on that, well, coach, keep it up and keep losing. It does nothing to keep another team to a low scoring total, when you are wearing your own team down and they can't score. Rest them on d some, coach. You know what a zone is. It is a way to even things up. Quit being so hard headed. You can't win if you can't score, and you can't score if you are leg weiry.

When the team fully internalizes what Martin is trying to teach about positioning and anticipation, they won't have to waste so much energy on defense. For example, our wings usually overplay their men to force them to go to their weak hand. The help defenders must recognize this and position themselves so that they are ALREADY THERE if the offensive player goes to the less-protected side, so the drive might not even be attempted. If they don't, the primary defender winds up having to chase his man toward the goal and the help defender has to rush to get over to cut off the drive. All this excess motion may well add to leg-weariness over the course of a game. Perhaps your basketball expertise doesn't go quite as far as you assume.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Ironcity:

If I had only known that skill had nothing to do with playing time in basketball and it was all about hard work, I could have started over Dale Ellis.

The more I read about the coaches philosophy the less impressed I am. He seems concerned about the poor shooting yet he trots the same guys who can't shoot out every game.

Who else does he have to put in who have shown that they can consistently shoot better than the ones who are playing? If you have two similar players, neither of whom are great shooters but one is demonstrably better on defense, which one would you play the most?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to brod:

i think martin tried the up tempo thing earlier in the year and it didn't work. but, we were competetive in maui with that style. a coach has to adjust game plans for each team. maybe he can get some shooters in here and we can see the up tempo style again. scoring was something that we knew would be a pain point on this year's team. they did show some improvement early in the year, but then lost to a 1-9 austin peay team so it's hard to say what style of play works best. we could have certainly used chris jones and kevin ware on this team. it will be very difficult to judge martin by this team because of the lack of talent. we will have to save that for seasons 2 and 3. buzz peterson finished below .500 with great players like vincent yarbrough, ron slay (who broke an ankle half way through the season), and marcus haislip in his first year. that was a sign of things to come. martin's first year is different because the players who were on last year's team of that caliber didn't hang around like slay and company.
i don't really remember how hard martin tried to keep kevin ware, but i don't think that he tried very hard. instead, we have what would have been a missouri state guard in wes washpun.

Kevin Ware showed that he was somewhat of a flake by publicly announcing that he was not going to UT after Pearl was dismissed and refusing to meet with Martin, then dithering for awhile before going to Central Florida. I hear they have a good team this year but I'm not sure how much Ware is playing. Chris Jones did not qualify academically for any Div-I team so he is now in junior college. I hear he is playing well, but he would not have been playing at all this year at UT. Maybe Martin should give him a call.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Ware would have helped but he didn't really want to be here and I agree with Martin in that if a player doesn't want to be here let him go. I think Martin misjudged the talent level needed to compete in the SEC initially. He will have to improve his recruiting as well as show a little flexibility to take advantage of his teams talents. No shame in a zone every now and then especially when you have a lot of long players. Additionally it would be nice to see a transition basket every now and then. No point grinding it out if you can get a lay up a dunk, a wide open three or a foul. We are so slow in transition its really embarrassing.

I agree with much of this. I understand why Martin is so insistent on changing the team's mentality on defense as it has been repeated to the point of boredom on here--not least by me--that defense is or ought to be constant while offense isn't for hardly any team. However, it is also necessary to figure out how to win with whatever players you actually have as opposed to those you WISH you had. At the very least, I would like to see a bit more attention to SCORING off out-of-bounds plays. A team probably gets up to a dozen such opportunities a game; scoring on half of them could really help an offensively-challenged team. I would also like to see something like Pearl's out-of-bounds DEFENSIVE plays. They got several run-outs a game by tipping balls into the opponents' front court.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to amyinsparta:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't disagree with anything you said except for the implication that Martin doesn't teach offense. The thing is, this team doesn't have many guys who can create their own shots. This means that the team may need more set plays to get guys open shots. Even if they DO get open shots, they still have to make them, and the team doesn't have many automatic shooters, either. The biggest cause of the current offensive breakdowns is that the players don't pass or handle the ball effectively, so they both throw it away a lot and don't get as many good shots as they could even with the present personnel.

But learning set plays takes time, which is in any case limited by NCAA rules, which can be used to create defensive habits in the players which will be effective for years to come, while the offense may have to be modified each year to fit the players in the program at any given time. That modification will be easier if the majority of the players understand the defense well enough to help the coaches in teaching the new players what they need to know.

Ironcity writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Who else does he have to put in who have shown that they can consistently shoot better than the ones who are playing? If you have two similar players, neither of whom are great shooters but one is demonstrably better on defense, which one would you play the most?

Glad you asked. I would play Mcrae over Tatum. He is better ball handler and better shooter and better slasher. He has more hops. Both players struggle wioth the pass but most of Mcraes mistakes are done with aggression as opposed to a telegraph pass across the court that is picked and taken in for a dunk. Tatum does play better defense but he is not that good and when you ad the awful turnovers that always create fast break points your better off with him on the bench. I would start Mcbee over Tatum as well (see all of the above). I would start Woolridge who can cause mismatches down as well as help on the boards. Now heres the kicker, if one of these guys is chucking up bricks I would take him out.

Personally I have always thought Tatum needs to be the guy coming in given the green light to shoot the three. If he is hot he stays if not get him out. He needs to be the energy guy. of

Ironcity writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I agree with much of this. I understand why Martin is so insistent on changing the team's mentality on defense as it has been repeated to the point of boredom on here--not least by me--that defense is or ought to be constant while offense isn't for hardly any team. However, it is also necessary to figure out how to win with whatever players you actually have as opposed to those you WISH you had. At the very least, I would like to see a bit more attention to SCORING off out-of-bounds plays. A team probably gets up to a dozen such opportunities a game; scoring on half of them could really help an offensively-challenged team. I would also like to see something like Pearl's out-of-bounds DEFENSIVE plays. They got several run-outs a game by tipping balls into the opponents' front court.

I agree we run a real basic in bounds play. Sometimes it works for a corner three but not often.

1vavolfan writes:

Could everyone lay off Cam Tatum.Yes, Tatum doesn't show up offensively every game but he is a good defender and rebounds well. He is 6'7" and gives opposing guards a tough defensive match up. It's not like his playing is keeping some All-American's off the floor. McCrae hasn't been playing this year for the same reason he didn't play under Pearl, he can't play defense and is a liability on that end of the floor.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Glad you asked. I would play Mcrae over Tatum. He is better ball handler and better shooter and better slasher. He has more hops. Both players struggle wioth the pass but most of Mcraes mistakes are done with aggression as opposed to a telegraph pass across the court that is picked and taken in for a dunk. Tatum does play better defense but he is not that good and when you ad the awful turnovers that always create fast break points your better off with him on the bench. I would start Mcbee over Tatum as well (see all of the above). I would start Woolridge who can cause mismatches down as well as help on the boards. Now heres the kicker, if one of these guys is chucking up bricks I would take him out.

Personally I have always thought Tatum needs to be the guy coming in given the green light to shoot the three. If he is hot he stays if not get him out. He needs to be the energy guy. of

You make some good arguments, as you usually do. I'm sure all of us are disappointed in Tatum, and he may well be disappointed in himself. At this point in the season, I am about ready to just tell him "thanks for your service" and pretty much sit him down so the other guys can play and gain experience for next season. I don't disagree with the idea of bringing him off the bench and letting him fire away. He is the kind of streaky shooter who can hit three or four in a row if he's on that night. The same argument might apply as well to Woolridge. He got on that hot streak against UK coming off the bench; maybe he can do it again sometime. But, like Tatum, he won't be here next year, so we might as well give the younger guys some more run.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You misunderstood me again. What I said was that UT played pretty good defense after UK's opening run, but the Vols couldn't follow that up with decent offense. I said nothing about "ut scored 3 times in a row", I said they DIDN'T score but ONE POINT while they were stopping UK from scoring three times in a row. Also, the greatest coaches in the game nearly always say that, while it is important to give the other team credit for playing well when they do, you can't control what the other team does, you can only control what YOUR team does. I said elsewhere that UK is a great team that played well and deserved to win. I have also said that the Vols can't beat anybody unless they play well. I don't see why that is so hard for you to understand, or why I as a fan shouldn't support MY team and its coaches even when things don't go well for them, but then there seems to be a lot of things you don't understand. And I surely never called you "pathetic"; you really wouldn't want to see a poll of the board as to which of us that term might apply to better.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

PS: My mistake, you didn't specifically call me "pathetic"; you DID specifically call me a "fool". Again, I don't think you want a judgment from the board on which of us better fits that description.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Still don't know about Martin yet. I just don't agree on the Tatum start. Just because you spend extra time in the gym and you hustle should not be the only criteria for starting. You eventually have to produce,also. Heck, I could hustle my butt off and work overtime in the gym - doesn't mean I should start. At this point I would rather see McRae and Richardson starting over Tatum.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

Still don't know about Martin yet. I just don't agree on the Tatum start. Just because you spend extra time in the gym and you hustle should not be the only criteria for starting. You eventually have to produce,also. Heck, I could hustle my butt off and work overtime in the gym - doesn't mean I should start. At this point I would rather see McRae and Richardson starting over Tatum.

While I agree with almost every thing you said it doesn't really matter what we think. The coach's view is probably better and he will do what he thinks is best for the team. However I think all of us are "wait and see" on how he coaches. So far my score would be a hesitant B B- . Now I say that knowing that a first year coach has to grow as well as his players. He seems very intelligent to me He has shown a lot of character and will be a top notch coach in the future. I'm not really grading him seriously just saying that he will improve as a coach if he cares and I think he does.
The problem with Tatum is you just don't know if he'll effectively be in the game. It's a toss-up.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

PS: My mistake, you didn't specifically call me "pathetic"; you DID specifically call me a "fool". Again, I don't think you want a judgment from the board on which of us better fits that description.

Fool!! hmmm I can't even type that without feeling guilty. It's against my strong religious upbringing.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow "pathetic" AND "fool"

You like trying to lift yourself up? Maybe you can someday learn to post without attacking people. (Honestly it doesn't always work for me either, though usually my attacks are in response...usually).

Orangeball writes:

Fellow Vols, we are in a high state of alert! We may actually break 50 points today LOL. Might as well laugh, if we don't we'll cry. Guys this is Big 10 basketball as I said on another post. They constantly score in the 40's and it is the most boring basketball in the country. Watched Michigan State and Illionois the other night and after both teams hit some late 3's...the final score was 42-41. Kids want to play up and down ball not snail ball. The pool of quality kids who will play this style is limited, which means we have to land a good portion of top flite kids to play this way and be successful. We cannot compete with Ky, Florida, Mississippi State and now Arkansas who all love to run if we're are playing this style. We may jump up and beat one of them from time to time, but it will not be the norm.

Guys, let's not kid ourselves, Stokes was going to KY, but they were out of scholarships till next year. If Stokes was still in HS he would have played for KY next year. Florida and Memphis didn't have a roster spot either so we didn't steal him from the other teams, we got him by default.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Hey. Guess what ? We got Stokes. I don't care how but we did. I'm delighted he's at UT and now wants to be a VOL. Guess what he's not our first 5* and he won't be our last. We'll get more 4*s also. So posters who are NOT fans of UT can watch all the Big Ten they want. If you don't like the way we play you don't have to watch. btw Stokes is NOT still in HS. WE as in UT got him for who cares what reason? PLUS you're making me repeat myself because you're repeating the same old garbage Mr. Orangeball. Also a lot of others have responded to this same statement by you with a changed name. If by some strange reason you are a new poster then catch up. We've been thru this too many times to count.

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