Vols take to court for first of ten team practices
Two down, Italy to go.
Tennessee's second basketball practice for its upcoming Italian excursion saw all three newcomers take the court for the first time Tuesday at Pratt Pavilion.
Freshman Derek Reese, back from the Nike Global Challenge, joined fellow freshman Armani Moore and junior-college transfer D'Montre Edwards, who experienced their first Vol practices on Monday.
"I think they're all going to be great additions,'' said senior Skylar McBee.
"They're gonna bring a lot of different things to our team so it's good to get team chemistry down before the season starts.''
Coach Cuonzo Martin gets eight more practices before the Vols depart for their Aug. 5-15 trip that includes four exhibitions against professional teams.
With everybody of note back except for Cameron Tatum, the three newcomers will have time to integrate themselves into the rotation — along with Quinton Chievous who redshirted last season.
Versatility seems to be the common denominator. Martin said all the new faces can play multiple spots on the perimeter.
"All three of those guys are talented, have good frames and good size on them,'' Martin said.
"Derek's a guy who can play all positions, one through four. Offensively, I know a lot is made of who's a point guard, but if you can handle the ball, pass and make decisions, you're fine because it's a motion offense.
"It really comes down to who they can defend.''
The Italy trip gives Martin and his staff a head start on figuring that out as he heads into his second season at Tennessee.
"A year ago, Jeronne Maymon, Kenny Hall, Trae Golden, they didn't have an opportunity to practice with us in the summer time,'' Martin said, "so this can only benefit those guys.''
Global Star: Martin said Reese played against top-notch competition in the Global Challenge. Reese played for Puerto Rico and made the all-tournament team.
"Some of the best high-school players in America were there,'' Martin said. "I don't want to name names but guys from Memphis, guys from the West Coast.
"If you had 50 guys, at least 25 were in the top 50 in America.''
Black December?: The squad was split into orange and black jerseys.
Less traditionalists suffer a panic attack, Martin said the black is only for practice.