Pilot Rocky Top League commissioner on changes in 2013
Lost amid this week's hubbub over Cordarrelle Patterson's long-awaited arrival to Tennessee football was a pair of newcomers arriving to the basketball program.
Junior college transfer D'Montre Edwards and freshman Armani Moore completed coach Cuonzo Martin's 2012-13 roster on Thursday. Each worked out with the Vols, played a pickup game and began classes in UT's second summer session.
"They're officially in the fold," Martin said Friday.
Edwards and Moore joined freshman Derek Reese, who enrolled for the first summer session and has been involved in team activities since the spring. The two newcomers fill Martin's final two scholarship slots.
"They can play inside and outside, dribble the ball and get to the rim," Martin said. "Both have physical bodies and 200-plus pound frames. They've got all the tools to be really good players."
Edwards, who signed with the Vols on the first day of November's early signing period, averaged 14.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last season at Brevard (Fla.) Community College. The Charleston, S.C., native is a 6-foot-6 slasher with a decent jumper and a knack for scoring at the rim. Edwards has two years of eligibility remaining.
Moore comes to UT from Mount Paran Christian, a Class A school in Kennesaw, Ga. The 6-5 guard averaged 22 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.9 blocks and 2.3 steals as a senior and relies heavily on 3-point shooting and mid-range, pull-up jumpers.
Prepping For Italy: Before jetting overseas for a four-game exhibition tour of Italy in early August, the Vols are allotted 10 practice sessions per NCAA rules. Martin said the first of those practices will be held July 16.
UT is already taking advantage of this summer's new NCAA rule allowing coaches to work with teams eight hours per week for eight weeks while players participate in summer classes. The 10 practices granted to Martin and the Vols will come in addition to that.
Rounding Out The Schedule: Martin said Kennesaw State and Western Carolina likely will fill two of the three remaining open slots on Tennessee's 2012-13 schedule. Deals with both those programs for "buy games" at Thompson-Boling Arena are nearly complete. The Vols' 12th and final non-conference game also will be a home contest against a low-major or mid-major program.
Other games scheduled include home contests against Xavier, Wichita State, Memphis and Oakland, road games at Georgetown (SEC/Big East Challenge) and Virginia, and three games in the Puerto Rico Tip-off.
North Carolina State, Massachusetts, UNC Asheville, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Providence and Akron will join Tennessee in Puerto Rico.
Rocky Top Review: Having dropped 31 points in the Pilot Rocky Top League championship game Monday, former Tennessee point guard Bobby Maze secured league MVP honors, according to commissioner Andre Whitehead.
In six Rocky Top League games, Maze averaged 31.5 points per game and led Larry Smith Insurance to a 5-1 record and the league title.
Maze edged UT's Jordan McRae for MVP honors. Playing for the league's second-highest scoring team, the junior accounted for 34.4 percent of Choice Spine's 716 total points. McRae had a league-record 64 points in a single game and captured the scoring crown at 41 points per game.
Other players recognized for their play in the Rocky Top League were UT's Josh Richardson and ETSU's Lester Wilson.
After a quiet debut in the 2011 Rocky Top League, Richardson averaged 24.3 points per game this summer and won Most Improved Player honors.
Wilson, selected in the seventh round of the league draft by DeRoyal Industries, was named Biggest Surprise Player after averaging 28.3 points and shooting 71.4 percent from inside the 3-point line.
Changes Ahead: After six years at Bearden High School, the Rocky Top League will be on the move in 2013.
A drop in attendance this summer necessitated the change.
"The heat finally caught up to us this year, as far as crowd attendance," Whitehead said. "The heat this year was probably as unbearable as it's ever been. It's definitely something that we're going to address and we're going to be in an air-conditioned facility for sure next year."