Jarnell Stokes ready to get more physical

Plans on Vols winning at Rupp Arena before he leaves UT

"It definitely made me more hungry. I definitely wanted to win. If anything, I want to win at Rupp Arena. I plan on winning, before I leave, at Rupp Arena. I'm saying that on the record right now. It made me more hungry and made me dislike Kentucky more.''

Jarnell Stokes

Jarnell Stokes and Cuonzo Martin talk before practice Thursday

Jarnell Stokes is still smiling and happy to be at Tennessee, but the giant freshman had an edge about him on Thursday when discussing the Vols' upcoming men's basketball game against Georgia.

“That was probably my worst game,’’ Stokes said of the teams’ first meeting in Athens on Jan. 8. “I missed a lot of open shots. We didn’t finish that game, so I still got a chip on my shoulder about playing against Georgia.’’

Stokes scored 11 points and had eight rebounds in the 57-53, overtime loss. Tennessee (10-12, 2-5 SEC) plays host to the Bulldogs (10-11, 1-6) at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday (TV: FSTN, 8 p.m.).

Stokes remembers how the Vols squandered the lead, and how he had to be taken out at crucial junctures because of his inexperience and conditioning.

"That (Georgia) was my first game getting double teamed,'' Stokes said. "I'm in much better condition, and I'm more used to the physicalness of the game, going against teams like Vanderbilt and the length of Kentucky.

"But I have a chip on my shoulder for not finishing against Georgia.''

While Stokes will tell you there's a part of him just happy to be playing collegiate basketball for the Vols after graduating early from Memphis' Southwind High School in December, there's another part of him that's sick of losing and hates to fail.

Getting multiple shots blocked in UT's 69-44 loss at No. 1 Kentucky on Tuesday left Stokes feeling humbled and upset.

"I saw it was all over ESPN; I'm definitely not used to getting my shot blocked,'' the 6-foot-8, 270-pound Stokes said Thursday. "That's something I will learn from. I have to stay with my mechanics, using my left hand and throwing my body into them, that's how you defeat a shot blocker, and something I'll do next time.

"It definitely made me more hungry. I definitely wanted to win,'' he said. "If anything, I want to win at Rupp Arena. I plan on winning, before I leave, at Rupp Arena. I'm saying that on the record right now. It made me more hungry and made me dislike Kentucky more.''

Stokes, who isn't eligible for the NBA draft until after his sophomore season at UT, hasn't been as effective scoring or rebounding in his past three games as he was his first three.

After averaging 12 points and eight rebounds in games with Kentucky (Jan. 14), Georgia (Jan. 18) and Connecticut (Jan. 21), Stokes has dropped off to average seven points and 7.3 rebounds in contests with Vanderbilt (Jan. 24), Auburn (Jan. 28) and at Kentucky on Tuesday.

UT coach Cuonzo Martin said he has instructed Stokes not to get too caught up in anything.

"He's in a unique situation with a lot of hype surrounding him,'' Martin said. "He didn't get to learn during the summer or fall with the team, so he's learning on the fly. He was in the office (on Wednesday) watching film.''

And apparently Stokes was growing madder by the minute watching how the Vols played at Georgia.

"This is a game I think I could do good in,'' Stokes said. "I definitely think they (Georgia) aren't as physical as (Vanderbilt's) Festus Ezeli and (Kentucky's) Anthony Davis.

"I think I'll be more physical this game, and I should hit more open shots.''

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

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Comments » 45

born2ride writes:

Stokes only scored 4 points against Kentucky and 6 against Vandy. He has 14 turnovers. He is not going to turn around the Vols single handily.

wildcatbasketball writes:

Keep your head up Stokes. You have a bright future!!! You need to remember you are playing in the one of the best conference's in America. Going to Rupp is not easy for any player, let alone a Freshman. I say that respectfully. Welcome to the SEC and good luck going forward!!!

rockypop writes:

Now that Stokes has shown he is basically a high school senior with tremendous potential, it will only be a matter of time before the "UT Faithful" will be all over him because he isn't the Savior everyone expected. However, I expect that next year, he will be a monster. He is a solid, if unspectacular talent, along the lines of Tobias Harris, who has great skills and a solid knowledge of the game. He is learning now as much as he is contributing.

Think about how great a leap he has taken from high school/AAU to Division 1 BCS BB. And, he's only 18. For the first time in his life, he's facing guys who are his equals and better. I'm inclined to give him a chance.

wigmeister writes:

He is going to be fine. He is a young guy, with little experience. Keep focused and good things will happen. Each game is a learning experience. Learn and improve. You will be a force in the future. By the way, sooner is better than later!!!

MOOREVOLS writes:

in response to born2ride:

Stokes only scored 4 points against Kentucky and 6 against Vandy. He has 14 turnovers. He is not going to turn around the Vols single handily.

No he won't turn things around by himself, but he has the guts to say he doesn't like Kentucky. Now I like Stokes even more.

UTByrd writes:

I can see the "IT" factor in his eyes. I see a lot of maturity there. I like the fact he does not like to lose, nobody does, but he takes responsibility for his shortcomings and works hard to eliminate his weaknesses. Jarnell is going to turn into a beast right before our very eyes. Kind of like Lon Chaney and his wolfman. You know, full moon (game day) turns a mild mannered man into a ravenous man-eating beast. Beware!!!!!
Go VOLS!!!!!

One_in_West_Knox writes:

He may have just played only a few games, but he should have been ready and played more physical at the start, and just does not be like Tatum after a few years.

Orangejellybean writes:

You know, it's awfully funny for Stokes to proclaim in this article of how badly that he dislikes Kentucky, because it was surely documented enough by the media, his first choice/preference of programs for which to play were either at Kentucky or Memphis. Allegedly, since neither school had scholarship funds left between semester terms to offer him, he defaulted to UT. That is the only reason that Tennessee ended up with this talented young player.

Orange_Pants_Buy_One_Get_One_Free writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Boo Hoo. Quit crying.

Katphan29 writes:

in response to MOOREVOLS:

No he won't turn things around by himself, but he has the guts to say he doesn't like Kentucky. Now I like Stokes even more.

That requires guts? Didn't know the UT players were such a timid crowd. We like earning that opposition doesn't like us.

Katphan29 writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Did it ever occur to you to question why the analysts - not refs - used this block as an example, vice calling it a foul, despite the fact Davis got a good part of the hand with the ball?

Here is a hint to the answer - they know a little more about basketball rules than you.

I mean no disrespect, but you would probably be better off expending your energies focusing on UT, figuring out how to make your football and basketball programs relevant again in the SEC, instead of writing uninformed posts, and proferring grassy-knoll 'UK owns officials' theories as excuses for your losses.

UkJarhead writes:

Wonder what will be on the bulletin board next year at Rupp? Someone should tell that boy to hush. He gonna get hurt.

macon_volfan writes:

the last UT player to make such a declaration about UK was the great Bernard King. I like the sound of this.

UTKnoxVols writes:

I can't believe all the distain for Stokes.
any "True" fan is excited about him. and they could care less about how he got here.
Stokes is all Vols now. He brings fire to this team.
The only people that want him to fail are people who want UT to fail.

If you can't see his talent, then you are blinded by hate.

Sir_Spanky writes:

in response to UkJarhead:

Wonder what will be on the bulletin board next year at Rupp? Someone should tell that boy to hush. He gonna get hurt.

Half your team will have bolted by then so who cares? KY sold its soul. Enjoy your one-and-dunners.

greatdaysahead writes:

What is so wrong with being a remarkably talented KID wanting to win? All of these comments about how Stokes isn't UT's "savior" are crazy! People are shooting their mouths off about how the label plastered onto this kid won't stick because (I can only assume) they are experts on judging freshmen talent after 6 games...to the kid who never proclaimed to save anyone's program from inevitable implosion in the first place! Goodness, if I were an inquisitive high school recruit, I'm not too sure I would want to come here after seeing how I would certainly be blasted for not looking like Michael Jordan after my first handful of starts. Lay off of the kid and let him develop. If you want to complain about anyone, why not let the older guys take the heat b/c there is a reason Stokes is starting over them.

volinlouisvilleky writes:

in response to wildcatbasketball:

Keep your head up Stokes. You have a bright future!!! You need to remember you are playing in the one of the best conference's in America. Going to Rupp is not easy for any player, let alone a Freshman. I say that respectfully. Welcome to the SEC and good luck going forward!!!

Sir, you are a class act!

RememberWhen writes:

Ssssshhhhhh....quiet down young fella....no need to talk...just go play and let your performance speak for itself. Everybody knows you're young, on a bad team, and just getting acclimated. Everybody also knows that this time next year you'll be winding down your TN career. So just do what you have to do - playing tough is much better than talking tough.

UkJarhead writes:

in response to Sir_Spanky:

Half your team will have bolted by then so who cares? KY sold its soul. Enjoy your one-and-dunners.

Yeah your right. Winning 30 plus games every year, being ranked Number 1, kicking UT arse, contending for championships......So what....

johnlg00 writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The way I learned it is that the hand is part of the ball. Of course, refs are incredibly inconsistent in how they see and call foul-or-no-foul on a shot-block. For example, sometimes if the defender gets a clean block but contacts any part of the shooter's body, they will call the foul; other times, if the defender gets the ball cleanly up top but crashes into the defender in the process, there is no foul called. You see that all the time. My main gripe with the officiating in the UK game in particular was that the UT post men were being held, pushed, and slapped before they ever put the ball up, yet they never got a call for any of that.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to ScoonerTN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What is "distain"? Is that like a double ink spot on your lapel?

Methinks perhaps the disdain the Mr. Stokes conveyed in regard to Kentucky resulted from some possibly rude treatment he received at the hands of your Cat brethren on the court. He only wishes an opportunity to return the favor.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to greatdaysahead:

What is so wrong with being a remarkably talented KID wanting to win? All of these comments about how Stokes isn't UT's "savior" are crazy! People are shooting their mouths off about how the label plastered onto this kid won't stick because (I can only assume) they are experts on judging freshmen talent after 6 games...to the kid who never proclaimed to save anyone's program from inevitable implosion in the first place! Goodness, if I were an inquisitive high school recruit, I'm not too sure I would want to come here after seeing how I would certainly be blasted for not looking like Michael Jordan after my first handful of starts. Lay off of the kid and let him develop. If you want to complain about anyone, why not let the older guys take the heat b/c there is a reason Stokes is starting over them.

The majority of people putting Stokes down are either UK fans, outright trolls, or nega-Vols. Of course, even some of the UK fans recognize him as a potentially great player. No one who really gave the matter any thought expected him to be a superstar program savior overnight. He would be MUCH better now if he had been here back in the late summer or early fall like everybody else on the team. As Martin said, he has been learning on the fly about every aspect of college ball, and most unbiased observers think he has done that well.

Besides, I'm sure UK will merely reload with great talent again next year, but Stokes won't be a callow, half-high-schooler/half-freshman when they see him then. He will be a seasoned sophomore while they will be, well, freshmen.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to UkJarhead:

Yeah your right. Winning 30 plus games every year, being ranked Number 1, kicking UT arse, contending for championships......So what....

I thought UK was all about WINNING championships, which hasn't happened yet with Calapari's approach. Of course, he has SAID that he doesn't really care that much about winning championships, he is proudest about putting lots of guys in the NBA. I didn't know UK fans were now content with being an NBA farm team. UK is better than UT now and pretty much always has been, but against the standard UK has always prized most, so far Calapari hasn't measured up. Even if you get the three best freshmen in the country every year, if they don't stay around to at least become sophomores, they aren't likely to win any championships, but they soon WILL be rich, just like their coach. Hope you are good with that.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to ScoonerTN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm not just responding to you Scooter...from TENNESSEE, I might add.
There was absolutely nothing wrong about Stoke's comments (in which many are making a whole big to do about)!??? The man just wants to be more competitive. Our fans and visitor fans are always trying to read drama into everything (not to mention media).

Volencheaters writes:

in response to Sir_Spanky:

Half your team will have bolted by then so who cares? KY sold its soul. Enjoy your one-and-dunners.

Id rather do it Uk's way then to struggle to a 500 record. Uk went to a final 4 last year. Still searching the Ut record books looking for a final 4 apperance. Still looking......

Elite 8 first year
Final 4 last year
Ranked #1 this year

Number 1 recruiting clas when its all said and DONE for next year. Have fun struggling to beat the Auburns of the SEC

Volencheaters writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I thought UK was all about WINNING championships, which hasn't happened yet with Calapari's approach. Of course, he has SAID that he doesn't really care that much about winning championships, he is proudest about putting lots of guys in the NBA. I didn't know UK fans were now content with being an NBA farm team. UK is better than UT now and pretty much always has been, but against the standard UK has always prized most, so far Calapari hasn't measured up. Even if you get the three best freshmen in the country every year, if they don't stay around to at least become sophomores, they aren't likely to win any championships, but they soon WILL be rich, just like their coach. Hope you are good with that.

So I guess we should adopt UT's approach. I swear the more I read from you the more you sound like an idiot. Calipari hasnt measured up yet? This is his 3rd year?! This year is not even over. In his first 2 he went to an Elite 8 and a final 4? I mean you have to play the games. So what approach should UK take? You would be a blind bat not to take the three best freshman each year. You are wanting to measure championships for a coach that has been here for not even 3 years. You could have a valid point after maybe 5 or 10 years. But when he has not even completed 3 seasons? Come on now. Admit it.

Volencheaters writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I thought UK was all about WINNING championships, which hasn't happened yet with Calapari's approach. Of course, he has SAID that he doesn't really care that much about winning championships, he is proudest about putting lots of guys in the NBA. I didn't know UK fans were now content with being an NBA farm team. UK is better than UT now and pretty much always has been, but against the standard UK has always prized most, so far Calapari hasn't measured up. Even if you get the three best freshmen in the country every year, if they don't stay around to at least become sophomores, they aren't likely to win any championships, but they soon WILL be rich, just like their coach. Hope you are good with that.

UT football values winning SEC championships and winning great bowl games including playing for the national trophy. Coach Dooley hasn't done that yet? He has been here 2 years. Fire him. He only had two years. At least UK bball is giving themselves a shot (final 4). Your logic doesnt make sense.

UkJarhead writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I thought UK was all about WINNING championships, which hasn't happened yet with Calapari's approach. Of course, he has SAID that he doesn't really care that much about winning championships, he is proudest about putting lots of guys in the NBA. I didn't know UK fans were now content with being an NBA farm team. UK is better than UT now and pretty much always has been, but against the standard UK has always prized most, so far Calapari hasn't measured up. Even if you get the three best freshmen in the country every year, if they don't stay around to at least become sophomores, they aren't likely to win any championships, but they soon WILL be rich, just like their coach. Hope you are good with that.

John, I think you were put in your place before I could even respond. There is no coach or system that is assured of winning championships. But I would rather have the formula of top recruiting classes, number 1 rankings, 30 plus wins, #1 seeds.... This will pay off eventually. The parity in college ball today means no more UCLA type dynasty. But I will always like our chances with a great team than an average team. Common sense John.

dlukinbeck writes:

I was so surprised to see all the negativity here. Seeing this young man fired up about something and actually taking things personal (not just residing in "you win some you lose some") got me excited.

This kid has had some ON games and a couple OFF games. He's a big time player but he can't handle a whole team by himself. It just saddens me that our fans are so fickle and impatient with rebuilding. I know football season has been frustrating... But Martin. He's legit. Stokes is legit. We will get there but not with the whiney-pants of your kind. Go hard at home, or go be a UK fan where you can smile all the time because you're winning - I'm sure y'all will find something to gripe about tho.

Grow up.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to UkJarhead:

John, I think you were put in your place before I could even respond. There is no coach or system that is assured of winning championships. But I would rather have the formula of top recruiting classes, number 1 rankings, 30 plus wins, #1 seeds.... This will pay off eventually. The parity in college ball today means no more UCLA type dynasty. But I will always like our chances with a great team than an average team. Common sense John.

It looks good now, but after a few years of getting close and not winning it all or not winning it all every year wears on fans. I'm sure quite a few Duke fans are tiring of Coach K. Spurrier knew enough to get out, so did Urban. It caught up with Fulmer. No doubt Calipari will last many years at UK but no doubt UK fans will start to criticize him if UK isn't #1 every week, winning every game and waltzing into the championship game every year.

devo-evol writes:

YAWN! childish chatter on this board. the guy got embarrassed and it motivated him to work harder and get better because he doesn't want to feel that again. pretty simple and nothing to get upset about.

LSG410EC83 writes:

Almost 50 percemt of the post thus far on this article is by Kentucky fans or trolls. Not saying all the post from the Kentucky followers are negative. Thanks Wildcat for posting a positive for this young man. People do need to realize that this kid should be playing his senior year in high school instead of competing in one of the toughest conferences in the nation. For the Kentucky posters that come on here just to try to get into a mudslinging contest, you are the ones that cause many to feel about Kentucky the way they do. It is and has always been a great rivalry. This is a plus for both schools, especially at the ticket office. Many of you need to get a life. Why not just spend time on your teams board instead of coming on here and wasting precious space. Oh well, I guess this is my rant for the day. Look forward to seeing Stokes mature each game. He will be a beast down the road. IT IS GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL. GO BIG ORANGE.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to LSG410EC83:

Almost 50 percemt of the post thus far on this article is by Kentucky fans or trolls. Not saying all the post from the Kentucky followers are negative. Thanks Wildcat for posting a positive for this young man. People do need to realize that this kid should be playing his senior year in high school instead of competing in one of the toughest conferences in the nation. For the Kentucky posters that come on here just to try to get into a mudslinging contest, you are the ones that cause many to feel about Kentucky the way they do. It is and has always been a great rivalry. This is a plus for both schools, especially at the ticket office. Many of you need to get a life. Why not just spend time on your teams board instead of coming on here and wasting precious space. Oh well, I guess this is my rant for the day. Look forward to seeing Stokes mature each game. He will be a beast down the road. IT IS GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL. GO BIG ORANGE.

Hey I liked your "rant".

The "cat" visitors are giving John a hard time they think. They just to me sound ridiculous. They keep missing the entire point of what he was saying.

Ok enough of that. We have a great recruit in Stokes and all of the SEC knows it. He's not our bball savior and all the SEC knows that as well.

I am enjoying Stoke's talent already and also look forward to his development.
I secretly admire Kentucky's bball team and always have . I love to watch great basketball.
These "visitors" are just drunk or high maybe.lol
I'm not really sure they're "visitors"?? media "plants"?? I don't know but they keep things off subject.
Go Vols. Beat the Dawgs.

DarkGable writes:

Yeah, you Cat fans are right. Our team isn't very good. Stokes is young and got schooled by Davis. You guys have had the top classes the last three years. You do get the one and doners. Lets see you always make it to the tourney every year. You have high expectations and alot to be proud of. So tell us again with all that NBA talent how many Championships you have won the last three years? Did I mention you guys have a great coach in Calipari? How many championships have you won since he's been there? I mean you guys have the best players money can buy. How many championships have you guys won since Cal's been there? The last three years you guys have put out more NBA players than any other team in the country. With that being said, how many championships have you won the last three years? CHOKE!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to DarkGable:

Yeah, you Cat fans are right. Our team isn't very good. Stokes is young and got schooled by Davis. You guys have had the top classes the last three years. You do get the one and doners. Lets see you always make it to the tourney every year. You have high expectations and alot to be proud of. So tell us again with all that NBA talent how many Championships you have won the last three years? Did I mention you guys have a great coach in Calipari? How many championships have you won since he's been there? I mean you guys have the best players money can buy. How many championships have you guys won since Cal's been there? The last three years you guys have put out more NBA players than any other team in the country. With that being said, how many championships have you won the last three years? CHOKE!

Haha. This was funny to read. I could almost see the spittle coming from your mouth.hehe I'm guessing you're a football fan and a little bitter. Well me too somewhat.
However I would not be surprised at all if this isn't Cal's best talent so far. Maybe no one player better than some in the past. But as a team they are great compared to the past and will likely win a championship this year. At least if I was betting I'd bet on them. Their defense is there as well. A good sign for them
I am not a Cal fan though. I have no clue how he gets the talent but he does. This though is the first year I've noticed his coaching on the floor. The defense is so much better than it was at TBA. I doubt the Cats will miss a tourney for years to come.
But for UT the only way is up and we're imho headed that way.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not nearly as funny as your posts. Both Vandy and UK double-teamed him with at least two guys as big as he is, if not bigger, because the other Vols couldn't score enough to demand their attention. Dwight Howard doesn't score much when he is double-teamed like that. Jarnell needs to make quicker decisions when he gets it in the post about whether to try to shoot or to pass out to the perimeter. The other guys need to do a better job of getting free for those passes. Unlike you, most of us realize that basketball is a team game. Stokes never claimed to be the savior of the program. No one with any sense expects him to do everything by himself.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Katphan29:

Did it ever occur to you to question why the analysts - not refs - used this block as an example, vice calling it a foul, despite the fact Davis got a good part of the hand with the ball?

Here is a hint to the answer - they know a little more about basketball rules than you.

I mean no disrespect, but you would probably be better off expending your energies focusing on UT, figuring out how to make your football and basketball programs relevant again in the SEC, instead of writing uninformed posts, and proferring grassy-knoll 'UK owns officials' theories as excuses for your losses.

None of us posting on here has any power to "make [our] football and basketball programs relevant again", but we are perfectly entitled to express opinions about officiating at UK that are shared by--oh, I don't know--EVERYBODY ELSE in college basketball except for 'Cat fans.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to ScoonerTN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not saying that he might not have wanted to go to UK if they had a scholarship for him, but just maybe the actual experience of PLAYING against UK at their place might have had something to do with his attitude. The way he was swarmed and beaten up in the post while the refs swallowed their whistles, and then blew them when he tried to resist, tends to leave a bad taste in any competitor's mouth. Besides, more than one of your fellow fans posted on here that they kinda LIKED the idea that their opponents hate them. I might not have used the words he did, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't think UK players and fans are EVIL, but a little HEALTHY disdain for opponents is part of most competitors' makeup.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RememberWhen:

Ssssshhhhhh....quiet down young fella....no need to talk...just go play and let your performance speak for itself. Everybody knows you're young, on a bad team, and just getting acclimated. Everybody also knows that this time next year you'll be winding down your TN career. So just do what you have to do - playing tough is much better than talking tough.

Hard to blame a young kid for answering the questions he is asked, but he is after all a product of his generation, which has a different mode of expression than the older ones. The way one coach put it to me was, "Don't say it, DO it; if you win, you don't have to do anything but point at the scoreboard; if you don't win, nothing you can say about it will do anything but make you look bad." Players use all kinds of "self-talk" to get themselves up for games but it isn't really necessary to say it out loud. Michael Jordan used all kinds of real and imagined slights to motivate himself when he played. He was relatively muted about it in public until after he retired, but his contemporaries in the game credited him with being an all-star trash-talker as well as player. Same thing with Larry Bird. Not saying Stokes is or ever will be spoken of as an equal of those guys, and I hope he never does emulate them in those ways, but otherwise I'm OK with whatever fuels him to play his best.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Volencheaters:

So I guess we should adopt UT's approach. I swear the more I read from you the more you sound like an idiot. Calipari hasnt measured up yet? This is his 3rd year?! This year is not even over. In his first 2 he went to an Elite 8 and a final 4? I mean you have to play the games. So what approach should UK take? You would be a blind bat not to take the three best freshman each year. You are wanting to measure championships for a coach that has been here for not even 3 years. You could have a valid point after maybe 5 or 10 years. But when he has not even completed 3 seasons? Come on now. Admit it.

That's funny, I knew that about you the first post of yours I read. I'm not saying that Cal's approach CAN'T work, I'm just saying that it never HAS worked. There has never been, to my recollection, any team that won a national championship with three or more freshmen starters. Besides, this may be his first three tries at UK, but he tried the same thing at Memphis.

I grant you that MOST schools would LOVE to have his overall record in NCAA tourney play, and I surely agree that you have to play in the games to win them. I'm just saying that for the most part, the actual championships are won by teams that have talent AND experience. Championship basketball games are by definition played between two good teams, but when talent is equal, experience usually wins. I don't blame UK for going after the best players they can get; they always HAVE done it and everybody else TRIES to do it. Having great talent and a great coach to mold it--and I have never said Cal was anything BUT a great coach--certainly gives a team a leg up.

But it just struck me as odd last year, when Calapari was asked his feelings about not winning the championship with a whole bunch of future high NBA draft choices, that he actually SAID he doesn't CARE about championships, that he was proudest of the fact that all his guys got drafted into the NBA. Contrast this with, for example, Coack K at Duke who says he doesn't really care how many games they win or how many of their guys get into the NBA, he is about winning championships, and he has at least three more than Cal.

Now, anybody can misspeak--just look how everybody is jumping on Stokes for his comments--but all I have ever heard from UK fans for over 50 years of following SEC basketball was that they weren't THAT interested in winning games, they were after CHAMPIONSHIPS. Calpari said HE wasn't that interested in that, and I just wondered if UK fans were really OK with that.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to UkJarhead:

John, I think you were put in your place before I could even respond. There is no coach or system that is assured of winning championships. But I would rather have the formula of top recruiting classes, number 1 rankings, 30 plus wins, #1 seeds.... This will pay off eventually. The parity in college ball today means no more UCLA type dynasty. But I will always like our chances with a great team than an average team. Common sense John.

The most talented freshmen are still freshmen. When you turn the heart of your team over every year, only the coaching staff is getting experience in competing for championships against teams as good as they are. The guys who remain on the squad for a whole career have so far not been the MAIN guys the squad relies on--the key players get one year to shine and then they are gone.

As I replied to the other poster, talent alone almost never wins championships. Since almost no one gets as much talent year after year as UK, which has nearly always been true, this era may be the first true test of whether a team which RELIES on freshmen can win a championship. UK is probably the only program in the country which could even give that proposition a real try. Maybe it will work some day. Odds are against it, but I guess it's one way to go.

johnlg00 writes:

On the topic of this article, I'm not sure it's a good idea for Jarnell to just throw his body at defenders. As big and strong as he is, it is usually sufficient to merely BRACE UP against a defender and use leverage and spin moves to get off good shots. When a guy like Stokes uses a shoulder or hip to MOVE a defender, he is going to get called for offensive fouls. Many of them are going to try to "flop" on him anyway; putting the hip or shoulder into them only helps them "sell" the charge. He is physically strong and tough enough; he just needs more MENTAL toughness to absorb the blows and get the position and moves he wants without getting mad or frustrated, or by trying to DISLODGE defenders. He is a smart kid, and I think he will learn that.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

The less-than-stellar performances against Kentucky and Vandy have come from a very talented 18-year-old having to play against Festus Ezeli and Anthony Davis, two of the very best under the basket in all of college basketball. Also, best I remember, Stokes played very well against the Cats in Knoxville. Another thing, due to his unique circumstances, he is as true a freshman who could possibly play college basketball. He turned 18 less than a month ago. As for you visitors from Kentucky, what else do you expect from an 18-year-old high-school star, playing with a rebuilding team, to say when he is frustrated? You have a powerhouse team which played a powerhouse game against UT this week. Look, it's Tennessee-Kentucky, what more do you expect? Big talk is just part of a big rivalry, even if it's one-sided right now. Stokes will learn that he has to do more of his talking on the court. He'll learn soon enough. You Big Blue visitors just need to chill a little bit, unless a teen-age basket-ball player's comments bother you all that much.
All that being said, I am much more disappointed with UT fair-weather fan's comments than Kentucky's trolls. KY at least comes with some competitive attitude, even if some of it is a little ridiculous. UT's comes out of pure childishness and stupidity. We finally get a top-flight talent, and if he doesn't perform to your expectations, you're ready to throw him under the bus and then back it back over him. Grow up. Jarnell Stokes will be outstanding, especially when he matures a little bit. As for the rest of you, you'll never even make it mentally to age 18. What a sleazy bunch.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to decades_vol:

The less-than-stellar performances against Kentucky and Vandy have come from a very talented 18-year-old having to play against Festus Ezeli and Anthony Davis, two of the very best under the basket in all of college basketball. Also, best I remember, Stokes played very well against the Cats in Knoxville. Another thing, due to his unique circumstances, he is as true a freshman who could possibly play college basketball. He turned 18 less than a month ago. As for you visitors from Kentucky, what else do you expect from an 18-year-old high-school star, playing with a rebuilding team, to say when he is frustrated? You have a powerhouse team which played a powerhouse game against UT this week. Look, it's Tennessee-Kentucky, what more do you expect? Big talk is just part of a big rivalry, even if it's one-sided right now. Stokes will learn that he has to do more of his talking on the court. He'll learn soon enough. You Big Blue visitors just need to chill a little bit, unless a teen-age basket-ball player's comments bother you all that much.
All that being said, I am much more disappointed with UT fair-weather fan's comments than Kentucky's trolls. KY at least comes with some competitive attitude, even if some of it is a little ridiculous. UT's comes out of pure childishness and stupidity. We finally get a top-flight talent, and if he doesn't perform to your expectations, you're ready to throw him under the bus and then back it back over him. Grow up. Jarnell Stokes will be outstanding, especially when he matures a little bit. As for the rest of you, you'll never even make it mentally to age 18. What a sleazy bunch.

Great post; agree with all.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to ScoonerTN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

See, when you post like this, most of us don't mind you visiting. We get it that you like your team; that is as it should be. You don't have to compliment us or our players to be worth reading. However, the way things have gone for the Vols in many sports over the last few years, we have had a bellyful of fans of other teams coming on here and piling on. Now, I have heard that some so-called Vol fans have been equally obnoxious on other teams' boards, a thing I have never understood no matter who is doing it. Many if not most of us like to hear the perspectives of fans from other teams as long as they can be civil about it. I would surely hope that our fans would do the same when they visit other teams' boards.

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