Kenny Hall just 'took my time and matured'

Kenny Hall of team Game Time Lights scores against team Rice Buick GMC during the Pilot Rocky Top League at Bearden High School on Monday, June 18, 2012.

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2012

Kenny Hall of team Game Time Lights scores against team Rice Buick GMC during the Pilot Rocky Top League at Bearden High School on Monday, June 18, 2012.

Jeronne Maymon updates his surgically repaired knee

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It's been about five months since the news broke moments before a meeting between Tennessee and Arkansas at Thomspon-Boling Arena.

Kenny Hall, a 6-foot-8 forward averaging 6.2 points and 4.5 rebounds for the Vols, was suspended indefinitely for undisclosed reasons. He missed the season's final nine games, including four postseason affairs.

Hall has rarely been seen or heard from since his Feb. 15 suspension. That is, until Monday night.

Anchoring the frontline of Campus Lights on the opening night of the Pilot Rocky Top League, Hall returned to play in front of Tennessee fans. With an array of dunks and a handful of midrange jumpers, the senior-to-be scored a game-high 32 points in a 124-117 loss to Rice Buick GMC at Bearden High School.

"It's a good feeling just to be back out here and playing basketball — just to be back in the gym and playing at a game pace," Hall said before tipoff. "My last game was against Florida. I just can't reiterate enough how good of a feeling it is just to be around my team."

Hall was reinstated by UT coach Cuonzo Martin soon after the season ended. He was given the chore of reestablishing himself on a team aiming for the NCAA tournament.

According to Hall and his teammates, there have been no detours on the road to redemption.

"I just took that whole experience, took my time and matured," Hall said.

Fellow Vols Jeronne Maymon and Trae Golden, both on-hand at Monday night but out of action due to recent surgeries, echoed the sentiment.

"He's the same guy, same person, just with a better attitude," said Maymon, UT's leading returning scorer. "Nothing has changed, except that he has a new outlook on life."

"If you get a second chance, you don't take it for granted," Golden added. "That's what I feel like he's doing. He's been doing everything the right way. I applaud him for it. He's being a senior."

The last time UT fans saw Hall, he scored eight points in a key road victory at No. 8 Florida.

On Monday, inside the boiler room at Bearden, Hall was primarily opposed by former UT star Wayne Chism (team-high 25 points for Rice). He held his own. The jumper looked soft. His footwork around the basket was better. He attacked the rim off the dribble.

Hall said his offseason routine has relied on strength and conditioning training in the morning, along with shooting and post moves in the afternoon.

That effort, he said, has only been a piece of the work.

"I didn't only want to develop my game on the court, but also develop as a man off the court," Hall said. "I need to be a stand-up guy, a role model to the newcomers and a leader for my team."

One Tennessee newcomer, freshman Derek Reese, made three 3-pointers and scored 15 points playing alongside Hall.

In other action:

DeRoyal Industries 87, News Sentinel 86: A driving layup by James "Boo" Jackson (11 points) in the final seconds gave DeRoyal a narrow victory in the opening gamet. The late bucket erased a game-high 25-point effort by News Sentinel's Cameron Tatum, who played for UT this past season. ETSU's Lester Wilson led DeRoyal with 21. Yemi Makanjuola of UT added 13 for News Sentinel.

Larry Smith Insurance 133, Choice Spine 129: Former UT guard Bobby Maze poured in 44 points to carry R. Larry Smith. Current UT players Josh Richardson and Skylar McBee added 18 and 17, respectively. Choice Spine took the loss despite a combined 61 points from UT's Jordan McRae (31) and Quinton Chievous (30).

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/BFQuinn.

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Comments » 18

Noogaorange writes:

Good. We can use him this year. Kenny always had the talent. Looks like he's finally got his head screwed on right. GBO

born2ride writes:

Hall has greatly improved but he should have been kicked off the team. I am surprised he was allowed to come back.

BigBadVol writes:

in response to born2ride:

Hall has greatly improved but he should have been kicked off the team. I am surprised he was allowed to come back.

Based on what information? Do you know something the rest of us don't? I would put my trust in coach Martin before someone posting on a chat board. Maybe you could contact UT and offer your expert services to Hart and Martin.

dlukinbeck writes:

in response to born2ride:

Hall has greatly improved but he should have been kicked off the team. I am surprised he was allowed to come back.

I know its summer league, but Chievous with 30? Reese with 15? Lets see these kids ball!

born2ride: Your insides are rotten.

luvmatersoup writes:

This is it folks....what happens now often is a peak into the future of TN winter hoops! I have a feeling we are gonna Rocky Shock some folks this year. Kenny's been hitting the gym wiht our new strength coach and you can see it, just look at the guns! You comebine this with Stokes and we are going far!!! Rock on Orange...Love ya. Think our football team is gonna throw a shock out there too!!!! Yeeee Haaaaa!!!

samvol writes:

in response to born2ride:

Hall has greatly improved but he should have been kicked off the team. I am surprised he was allowed to come back.

why do you say that? do you know what happend?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to luvmatersoup:

This is it folks....what happens now often is a peak into the future of TN winter hoops! I have a feeling we are gonna Rocky Shock some folks this year. Kenny's been hitting the gym wiht our new strength coach and you can see it, just look at the guns! You comebine this with Stokes and we are going far!!! Rock on Orange...Love ya. Think our football team is gonna throw a shock out there too!!!! Yeeee Haaaaa!!!

I agree we'll shock some folks but we won't surprise them really... We're known now after beating Florida twice and winning 2nd(lol) spot last year. 2nd's good. Now we're experienced. Yeah! Vols in the tourney to the great 8!

VOLtage writes:

Actions speak louder than words. Actions is as loud as a 747 taking off and words are as loud as a church mouse.

Ironcity writes:

I want to be excited but we still have a shooting guard playing point coming off a knee surgery. Would feel better if we had anyone else that could help out. I love Trey but we need someone that can give us 10 minutes or more when trey is in foul trouble or if he gets hurt and we don't have that guy. Maybe Lopez will be that guy.

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

in response to dlukinbeck:

I know its summer league, but Chievous with 30? Reese with 15? Lets see these kids ball!

born2ride: Your insides are rotten.

I was thinking the same thing. They're not real big on defense in this league, are they?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Ironcity:

I want to be excited but we still have a shooting guard playing point coming off a knee surgery. Would feel better if we had anyone else that could help out. I love Trey but we need someone that can give us 10 minutes or more when trey is in foul trouble or if he gets hurt and we don't have that guy. Maybe Lopez will be that guy.

You can be excited with the best bigs in the SEC. Getting the ball to those bigs was a problem at times last year. I suspect that if there is a problem passing it inside this year that Stokes or Maymon will come to the point, take the ball away from whoever and go inside the hard way. I sure would like to see some unselfishness this year around the key. I don't think they were that selfish last year but it did happen some I think.
We have more strength on the bench to come in for our starters all the way around. At least they have D1 bodies. We'll see what happens not too long from now. First I suppose we'll have to suffer through football.lol (Actually I can't wait for the pigskin to fly)

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Fall_Creek_Vols:

I was thinking the same thing. They're not real big on defense in this league, are they?

"Give me the ball"

RememberWhen writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

You can be excited with the best bigs in the SEC. Getting the ball to those bigs was a problem at times last year. I suspect that if there is a problem passing it inside this year that Stokes or Maymon will come to the point, take the ball away from whoever and go inside the hard way. I sure would like to see some unselfishness this year around the key. I don't think they were that selfish last year but it did happen some I think.
We have more strength on the bench to come in for our starters all the way around. At least they have D1 bodies. We'll see what happens not too long from now. First I suppose we'll have to suffer through football.lol (Actually I can't wait for the pigskin to fly)

best bigs in the sec???? what are you smoking? or did the heat from the pathetic RTL games get to you??? and yes, once again, the RTL is still nothing more than a streetball league in which nobody gets better and the risk of injury is immense. If Martin were really smarter than the idiot that started this thing - BP - he'd bar his guys from participating.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RememberWhen:

best bigs in the sec???? what are you smoking? or did the heat from the pathetic RTL games get to you??? and yes, once again, the RTL is still nothing more than a streetball league in which nobody gets better and the risk of injury is immense. If Martin were really smarter than the idiot that started this thing - BP - he'd bar his guys from participating.

OK, why don't you tell us what SEC team has better big men than UT? Most of the better big men in the SEC last year have moved on. I think most of us agree that the RTL is mostly "for amusement purposes only" and you have a small point about the possibility of injury. All I would say to that is that these guys would all be playing on playgrounds and in rec centers if there were no RTL, under circumstances far more conducive to injury--what with no-names trying to gain street-cred at any cost--than the RTL, which at least has referees.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to born2ride:

Hall has greatly improved but he should have been kicked off the team. I am surprised he was allowed to come back.

Trust me the way Coach handled this was appropriate...actually maybe a little strong....but he proved a point with Kenny...and I hope he is aggressive this year...we'll have to wait and see...He has a great touch for a big...and he's getting stronger which should change his game...but born2ride I know yo mantra...nice try!

Hoops43 writes:

in response to luvmatersoup:

This is it folks....what happens now often is a peak into the future of TN winter hoops! I have a feeling we are gonna Rocky Shock some folks this year. Kenny's been hitting the gym wiht our new strength coach and you can see it, just look at the guns! You comebine this with Stokes and we are going far!!! Rock on Orange...Love ya. Think our football team is gonna throw a shock out there too!!!! Yeeee Haaaaa!!!

Surely you don't think the new strength coach has anything to do with this. He's only been here a couple of weeks. Thank Troy Wills the recently departed coach.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to RememberWhen:

best bigs in the sec???? what are you smoking? or did the heat from the pathetic RTL games get to you??? and yes, once again, the RTL is still nothing more than a streetball league in which nobody gets better and the risk of injury is immense. If Martin were really smarter than the idiot that started this thing - BP - he'd bar his guys from participating.

Typical reply in that you only read the first line which was the hardest one to defend! However I'll stand by that statement till our bigs show me different. With these bigs I predict at least a sweet sixteen finish...at least. Uhhh that's sweet sixteen in the NCAA's not NIT. Just thought I'd head that thinking off.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

OK, why don't you tell us what SEC team has better big men than UT? Most of the better big men in the SEC last year have moved on. I think most of us agree that the RTL is mostly "for amusement purposes only" and you have a small point about the possibility of injury. All I would say to that is that these guys would all be playing on playgrounds and in rec centers if there were no RTL, under circumstances far more conducive to injury--what with no-names trying to gain street-cred at any cost--than the RTL, which at least has referees.

DON'T FORGET that this league also keeps our men busy and hopefully out of trouble. Those playground fights can get rough. It is somewhat organized and like you said has refs. I wish the SEC had real refs.lol

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