Jarnell Stokes' first practice a big orange event

Jarnell Stokes' first day of practice with the Vols

Jarnell Stokes brought a whole new meaning to the University of Tennessee's "Big Orange" catchphrase Monday afternoon.

Clad in a reversible orange and white top and orange shorts, Stokes took to the Pratt Pavilion court for his first practice with the men's basketball team.

Stokes, who earlier in the day received final approval from the SEC office to play in games, dwarfed teammates around him.

If the 6-foot-8 Stokes wasn't taller than the guy next to him, his 270-pound frame certainly was thicker.

Before anyone in the media circus at Monday's open practice could get too carried away with the state's top-rated prospect, UT coach Cuonzo Martin threw up a roadblock.

"I don't think he'll play this week," Martin said. "It's a matter of when we feel he's ready, physically, to play. He's so far removed from playing 5-on-5 with contact, cutting, running and jumping."

Stokes, ruled ineligible by the TSSAA to play his senior season of high school after transferring from Memphis Central to Southwind, hasn't competed since playing AAU in August.

The Vols (8-7, 1-0 SEC) play at No. 20 Mississippi State (13-3, 0-1) on Thursday (TV: ESPN2, 9 p.m.) before returning to Knoxville to play host to No. 2 Kentucky (15-1, 1-0) at noon on Saturday (TV: ESPN).

Next week's games are at Georgia (Jan. 18) and at home against Connecticut (Jan. 21).

Stokes moved well in Monday's drill work, cutting sharply and dunking effortlessly. His basketball IQ, Martin indicated, matches the one he exhibited in the class room while taking honors courses and graduating early in December.

Martin said he wouldn't take it easy on the mid-term enrollee despite his layoff, promising to "push him to his threshold."

That Stokes came in at 270 pounds — 15 pounds more than his previously listed weight of 255 — might be partially attributed to the 18th birthday dinner he had with his family Saturday night at Copper Cellar.

"He does like to eat," said Stokes' older brother, Chris. "But after dinner he came to the gym to work out."

Martin said Stokes shouldn't have any problem picking up the playbook.

"We brought him in with a couple guys to go over some of the terminology and things we do offensively and defensively," Martin said. "It's really one day at a time. We'll try to simplify a lot of things. The most important things is for him to demand the basketball and also play as hard as he can play."

Martin said the Vols' motion offense should ease the transition.

"We probably only ran about four plays against Florida; with our motion offense, our ball screen offense, we try to stay away from running a lot set plays," Martin said. "We'll put him in situations where he doesn't have to remember a lot of plays early."

Martin seemed more certain about playing Stokes sooner than later, going so far as to discuss a potential huge front-line rotation.

"Renaldo (Wooldridge) can do some things where we could play him some at small forward," Martin said.

Walk-on Sits: UT's newest walk-on, point guard Cory Stanton, showed up to practice in street clothes, as he has yet to be cleared to participate.

Stanton has been admitted to UT, but he still needs to pass his physical before practicing. By NCAA rule, UT cannot comment on Stanton until classes begin Wednesday.

The 5-foot-11 Stanton played for former UT captain Johnny Darden (1975-79) at Springfield High School before starting his collegiate career at Clemson last season. Stanton transferred to Lipscomb last July with three years of eligibility remaining before enrolling at UT mid-term.

Gator Slayer: UT assistant John Harris had the scout assignment for the Florida win. Kent Williams has drawn Mississippi State and Tracy Webster has the unenviable task of trying to come up with a scheme for Kentucky.

Lineup Status Quo: Martin indicated the starting lineup will remain the same "unless someone gets injured or has a really, really bad couple of days of practice, and I don't see that happening."

Asked how the lineup change motivated displaced starters Kenny Hall and Jordan McRae against Florida, Martin replied: "...they had 14 games to be motivated to play basketball ... it's just being hungry to play, more than anything. It's not just who starts games, though, it's who finishes the game."

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

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Comments » 48

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

Gotta see some playing time against MSU and KY.

RockyToptoNeyland writes:

Its gonna be a while, these don't just come in and are like ok, im ready. He should be a go by no later than February.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say "Throw the ball to Jarnell!"
is play 1# ...Witch Doctor let that out of bag!
(HAHA)
Bones never lie.

tree_em_smokey writes:

Gotta like coach Martin! "They had 14 games to get motivated." GBO!!!

sambad writes:

Stokes is motivated. Play him.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to tree_em_smokey:

Gotta like coach Martin! "They had 14 games to get motivated." GBO!!!

That was a great line! Martin doesn't seem to be the type who would beg guys to play hard. His job is to teach, lead, and decide. If the players can't bring their own motivation, they can just darned well sit until they do.

As for Stanton, it is a good sign for a fledgling PG to have played in HS under Johnny Darden. I remember how, with his low, quick dribble, he would thread his way inside and literally hand the ball to King on the block. He could also whip a pass to just the right place for the shooter to do something with it. He wasn't much of a scorer from the field, but he was a much better-than-average free-throw shooter, IIRC. Most important of all, he hardly ever turned the ball over. If Stanton can do half of what Darden used to do, he can be a contributor, walk-on right now or not.

johnlg00 writes:

PS: I remember in one of his earliest interviews, Martin was asked how he thought the guys would buy in to his program. He said something like, "What other choice do they have?" I thought right then that he wasn't the kind of guy to take any BS from the players. On the other hand, I get no sense that he is a tyrant like O'Neil was. I get the feeling that in practice, he goes, "Here is what I want you to do, here is how I want you to do it, now go do it." If it doesn't work, he'll say, "That's not right; do it again." If that doesn't work, he'll say, "Next man!" No unnecessary dramatics, just all business.

wigmeister writes:

Welcome to the new guys. Looking forward to watching them play!

CoverOrange writes:

in response to johnlg00:

PS: I remember in one of his earliest interviews, Martin was asked how he thought the guys would buy in to his program. He said something like, "What other choice do they have?" I thought right then that he wasn't the kind of guy to take any BS from the players. On the other hand, I get no sense that he is a tyrant like O'Neil was. I get the feeling that in practice, he goes, "Here is what I want you to do, here is how I want you to do it, now go do it." If it doesn't work, he'll say, "That's not right; do it again." If that doesn't work, he'll say, "Next man!" No unnecessary dramatics, just all business.

You mean he doesn't call the players names and question their manhood like Bobby Knight? And for some reason, they loved him for it.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to johnlg00:

That was a great line! Martin doesn't seem to be the type who would beg guys to play hard. His job is to teach, lead, and decide. If the players can't bring their own motivation, they can just darned well sit until they do.

As for Stanton, it is a good sign for a fledgling PG to have played in HS under Johnny Darden. I remember how, with his low, quick dribble, he would thread his way inside and literally hand the ball to King on the block. He could also whip a pass to just the right place for the shooter to do something with it. He wasn't much of a scorer from the field, but he was a much better-than-average free-throw shooter, IIRC. Most important of all, he hardly ever turned the ball over. If Stanton can do half of what Darden used to do, he can be a contributor, walk-on right now or not.

Yeah, those were the days alright. Ernie, Bernie, and JD. He reminded me of a water bug, the way he so quickly moved around the court, changing directions so easily. His forte was long bounce passes IIRC.

bUTchVFL writes:

I like CCM more and more.

tdvol1989 writes:

So........ Why does the picture have Jarnell in a White Top and the article says he was in an Orange Top?

Pay attention.

Dougb-VFL writes:

This guy is going to be a huge factor in close games. I heard he was as clutch as it gets and wants the ball in crunchtime. I hope this Stanton kid can help out with ball handling because without golden I think we would turn the ball over with the slightest pressure. No matter what, we are improving and I can't wait to see how far Cuonzo will lead us! VFL

veinsoforange writes:

Stokes will make every player better (complimenting attitudes/personalities) on the team. His signing is bigger for the program and coming at a much more crucial time than even Tobias Harris or Hopson.

Changing the subject, I just watched the Josh Richardson interview and I was so impressed with his demeanor, comments, and overall personality!

We might actually have a team on our hands that will become very competitive by seasons end.

GBO

oldster writes:

This kid seems too good to be true. He is big, athletic, smart and handsome. He has to have something wrong. UT's luck has not suddenly changed, has it? (I hope, I hope, I hope).

Dougb-VFL writes:

in response to veinsoforange:

Stokes will make every player better (complimenting attitudes/personalities) on the team. His signing is bigger for the program and coming at a much more crucial time than even Tobias Harris or Hopson.

Changing the subject, I just watched the Josh Richardson interview and I was so impressed with his demeanor, comments, and overall personality!

We might actually have a team on our hands that will become very competitive by seasons end.

GBO

Josh R is going to be a force especially after getting early playing time. I heard Cuonzo had been recruiting him even when he was at his last coaching job simply for his attitude and team first mentality. We are flying under the radar and that is not necessarily a bad thing! By the way your username is freakin AWESOME!!! VFL

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to veinsoforange:

Stokes will make every player better (complimenting attitudes/personalities) on the team. His signing is bigger for the program and coming at a much more crucial time than even Tobias Harris or Hopson.

Changing the subject, I just watched the Josh Richardson interview and I was so impressed with his demeanor, comments, and overall personality!

We might actually have a team on our hands that will become very competitive by seasons end.

GBO

I'm thinking you're right - and next year is looking really good right now.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

anyone know who the guy is that is wearing the black shirt and working with Jarnell?

underthehill writes:

in response to oldster:

This kid seems too good to be true. He is big, athletic, smart and handsome. He has to have something wrong. UT's luck has not suddenly changed, has it? (I hope, I hope, I hope).

I've seen enough to make me believe UT got lucky by hiring Martin and I think Martin is in the process of making his own luck..I do not think this is the last 5* Martin will get. Martin played several years in the NBA ..if you have NBA talent who is the most qualified coach to help you get there..Some fans questioned his ability to recruit when he signed Richardson and Washpun. Richardson is by far the best outside defender on the team and he is a freshman. Washpun is coming along and has the talent to guard the point baseline to baseline which could give Golden time at the shooting guard position which is where he is best. This proves to me Martin can recruit and coach his players up. Did UT get lucky hiring Martin or did they make an intelligent decision? I think they got lucky due to lack of evidence to support the latter..

FLVOL_79 writes:

Wow..kids big...Go Vols!

GreeneVol writes:

in response to oldster:

This kid seems too good to be true. He is big, athletic, smart and handsome. He has to have something wrong. UT's luck has not suddenly changed, has it? (I hope, I hope, I hope).

That made me laugh...

News to 'stoke' the base for sure. I'm sure he'll be green early - plenty of time to season and gel for the post season though!

Down_The_Field writes:

i like that he's wearing number 5.

AHOUSE writes:

Man it is strange how one big win and good news changes the posters comments and attitude and on this board. Isn't that nice?

GBOEngineer writes:

in response to underthehill:

I've seen enough to make me believe UT got lucky by hiring Martin and I think Martin is in the process of making his own luck..I do not think this is the last 5* Martin will get. Martin played several years in the NBA ..if you have NBA talent who is the most qualified coach to help you get there..Some fans questioned his ability to recruit when he signed Richardson and Washpun. Richardson is by far the best outside defender on the team and he is a freshman. Washpun is coming along and has the talent to guard the point baseline to baseline which could give Golden time at the shooting guard position which is where he is best. This proves to me Martin can recruit and coach his players up. Did UT get lucky hiring Martin or did they make an intelligent decision? I think they got lucky due to lack of evidence to support the latter..

By "lack of evidence", you mean that you didn't know who he was. Except for some idiot crybabies on this site, everyone has praised the hire of Martin from day one.

Theo writes:

The Florida game was the first game I really had the chance to sit and watch and I was surprised to see Coach M's demeanor. He was totally engaged and active through out the whole contest. Based on what I saw on this board I thought he would be sitting on the bench thumbing through a magazine.
I loved Bruce Pearl, but perhaps his ringmaster persona kind of changed our perception of what a coach should be. I like that Coach M makes the kids the stars. The spotlight is on the team not the coach. If you think about it, other than the great orange jacket, that is probably a better fit for UT.
I would imaginge he is a great in-home recruiter in that for many of these kids he is a flesh and blood lesson that they can escape their current surrounds and become a successful, respected, family man. I know any mother wants that for their kids regardless of their current circumstances and to have Coach M say, I did it and I can help your son achieve this also has got to be strong.
Anyway, putting the soap box away now.
Go Vols!

Noogaorange writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hopefully you'll be as lucky as Oldster and one day you will be old too!

bsimpg3 writes:

I'm curious...will CCM wear the orange jacket for KY & VU games like previous coaches? What does everyone think?

VolfanClinton writes:

in response to tree_em_smokey:

Gotta like coach Martin! "They had 14 games to get motivated." GBO!!!

Hey Idiot...At least he motivates better than Dooley... We are lucky to have a coach as good as Martin. .. He beat Florida in his first year !!!

Its_Goooood writes:

in response to VolfanClinton:

Hey Idiot...At least he motivates better than Dooley... We are lucky to have a coach as good as Martin. .. He beat Florida in his first year !!!

I think he was giving a positive post cowboy. Foot in mouth

cooper65#432178 writes:

I know this is hard for E. TN Vol fans, but the road to NCAA Final Four glory goes through Memphis. If Coach Martin and his staff can establish relationships in the Bluff City, the Vols may land those 2 or 3 bigtime prospects that will put them over the top. The FB staff also could use sucess in Memphis.

volboy81 writes:

Glad to see Stokes in orange. Also glad he was able to overcome the TSSAA trying to hold him back, so quickly. Too bad Childress & Co., you werent able to keep this guy down!

OrangeBloodFlood writes:

in response to Theo:

The Florida game was the first game I really had the chance to sit and watch and I was surprised to see Coach M's demeanor. He was totally engaged and active through out the whole contest. Based on what I saw on this board I thought he would be sitting on the bench thumbing through a magazine.
I loved Bruce Pearl, but perhaps his ringmaster persona kind of changed our perception of what a coach should be. I like that Coach M makes the kids the stars. The spotlight is on the team not the coach. If you think about it, other than the great orange jacket, that is probably a better fit for UT.
I would imaginge he is a great in-home recruiter in that for many of these kids he is a flesh and blood lesson that they can escape their current surrounds and become a successful, respected, family man. I know any mother wants that for their kids regardless of their current circumstances and to have Coach M say, I did it and I can help your son achieve this also has got to be strong.
Anyway, putting the soap box away now.
Go Vols!

Excellent post.I appreciate everything BP did for UT basketball program.He made us relevant on a national scale.Yes,maybe his sucess did go to his head a bit and I still don't understand why he lied about a cookout but he revived a dead program and I will always respect him for that.
That said I think the future is much brighter with CM at the helm.

FanNotSheep writes:

I had noticed Marting not being as fired up as in the Florida game several times this season -- but I never thought he wasn't doing his job. Some guys are fiery and some more laid back and you can win either way. DeVoe was a good coach who didn't rant and rave; Houston was the only bad coach I can remember at UT. I didn't like Green but he did some nice things. O'Neill was a lunatic but a great defensive mind, Peterson was a good recruiter but not a great coach, and Pearl was very animated and a brilliant tactician and motivator. He made some recruiting mistakes, even before the big one at the barbecue. Some of those mistakes are still on the roster.

Right now, the future is Martin's to write at UT. The season can still be successful, even if that means NIT. Hopefully the book on Stokes will be a best seller, but don't throw it away if it takes a little while for the plot to develop.

GetSimmsandTeagueout writes:

They best way to get into basketball shape is to play basketball. Play him into shape.

Hoops43 writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

I had noticed Marting not being as fired up as in the Florida game several times this season -- but I never thought he wasn't doing his job. Some guys are fiery and some more laid back and you can win either way. DeVoe was a good coach who didn't rant and rave; Houston was the only bad coach I can remember at UT. I didn't like Green but he did some nice things. O'Neill was a lunatic but a great defensive mind, Peterson was a good recruiter but not a great coach, and Pearl was very animated and a brilliant tactician and motivator. He made some recruiting mistakes, even before the big one at the barbecue. Some of those mistakes are still on the roster.

Right now, the future is Martin's to write at UT. The season can still be successful, even if that means NIT. Hopefully the book on Stokes will be a best seller, but don't throw it away if it takes a little while for the plot to develop.

As a former player for Coach DeVoe, I can say with 100% assurance you never watched a practice or sat too close to the bench during games. Great coach though!

I've attended numerous practices under all of the other coaches since Coach DeVoe and can say Coach Martin does a great job compared to the others.

holleyab writes:

Judging from the pictures he doesn't appear to be anywhere near basketball shape.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to tdvol1989:

So........ Why does the picture have Jarnell in a White Top and the article says he was in an Orange Top?

Pay attention.

The practice shirts are reversible. One of the photos above shows him changing it.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to veinsoforange:

Stokes will make every player better (complimenting attitudes/personalities) on the team. His signing is bigger for the program and coming at a much more crucial time than even Tobias Harris or Hopson.

Changing the subject, I just watched the Josh Richardson interview and I was so impressed with his demeanor, comments, and overall personality!

We might actually have a team on our hands that will become very competitive by seasons end.

GBO

Yeah, Josh is a pretty impressive kid. He seems level-headed yet enthusiastic about playing. I can't wait to see what kind of player he will be when he fills out a little and gets a bit more confident in his offensive game.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think a coach may occasionally be surprised at getting a tech for being too far out of the coaching box or crossing the line yelling at a ref in a heated moment, but otherwise they nearly always have a purpose for DRAWING a tech. Some coaches will use one to fire up their players or a home crowd. Sometimes they may draw one on the road to draw the attention of a hostile crowd away from the players. It's kind of a high-risk strategy that can easily backfire.

The difference in Martin's demeanor in the Florida compared to how he mostly was in the non-conference season shows me that he was in fact using those early games to see which players he could count on to bring their own concentration and motivation without a lot of prodding and pleading from the sideline. I think in time he will be the kind of coach refs won't mess with unduly because he won't do that to them. I think at times some refs had it in for Pearl because he was so demonstrative.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

I had noticed Marting not being as fired up as in the Florida game several times this season -- but I never thought he wasn't doing his job. Some guys are fiery and some more laid back and you can win either way. DeVoe was a good coach who didn't rant and rave; Houston was the only bad coach I can remember at UT. I didn't like Green but he did some nice things. O'Neill was a lunatic but a great defensive mind, Peterson was a good recruiter but not a great coach, and Pearl was very animated and a brilliant tactician and motivator. He made some recruiting mistakes, even before the big one at the barbecue. Some of those mistakes are still on the roster.

Right now, the future is Martin's to write at UT. The season can still be successful, even if that means NIT. Hopefully the book on Stokes will be a best seller, but don't throw it away if it takes a little while for the plot to develop.

Good post. Loved the last paragraph.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Hoops43:

As a former player for Coach DeVoe, I can say with 100% assurance you never watched a practice or sat too close to the bench during games. Great coach though!

I've attended numerous practices under all of the other coaches since Coach DeVoe and can say Coach Martin does a great job compared to the others.

Thanks for the insight. I also thought DeVoe was much fierier than most people thought. Glad to see you approve of Martin's style. He surely comes across as a man who knows what he wants and knows how to communicate that to the players.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Samuel_L_Jackson_dares_you_to_say_what_again:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Can't really help you out on this one, Sam. All I know is that Pearl was recruiting him hard, and he may have been on campus a time or two. Then when Martin came on board, he called Stokes and apparently the two of them hit it off. It may also be that K'ville is marginally closer to Memphis than G'ville. Maybe Stokes saw a better chance of playing earlier at UT than he did at Florida. Maybe Stokes' parents liked UT better than Florida. I also heard that his girlfriend and his best friend, Vol footballer Cameron Clear, being at UT had an influence. In any case, who REALLY knows what goes through the minds of HS kids?

johnlg00 writes:

BTW, Sam, to me Martin bears a certain resemblance to your namesake, though Martin seems a bit more buttoned-down. Would YOU turn Sam down if he told you he wanted you to play ball for him? I probably wouldn't!

clvolfan writes:

in response to tdvol1989:

So........ Why does the picture have Jarnell in a White Top and the article says he was in an Orange Top?

Pay attention.

I believe the article stated that "he wore an orange and white reversable top".

SunshineVol writes:

Here's hoping he plays above the rim.

SunshineVol writes:

in response to tdvol1989:

So........ Why does the picture have Jarnell in a White Top and the article says he was in an Orange Top?

Pay attention.

View all seven pictures.

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

anyone know who the guy is that is wearing the black shirt and working with Jarnell?

Chris Rock

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

in response to Samuel_L_Jackson_dares_you_to_say_what_again:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

UT indeed had a scholly for him, but Pearl had been recruiting him for some time. After that debacle Coach Martin re-recruited him. His Girlfriend, brother and best friend from Memphis Central HS (Cam Cleer) all attend UT. Gators didn't stand a chance.

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