Jarnell Stokes stepped up against LSU

Counzo Martin on Tennessee's win OT win over LSU

Tennessee freshman Jarnell Stokes was thinking to himself he wasn't having a very good men's basketball game Wednesday night at LSU.

That's what the scoreboard suggested when the Tigers fed off their rowdy Senior Night crowd at the Pete Maravich Center and forged to a 31-16 lead at the 4:50 mark of the first half.

"It didn't seem to me I was doing too good, because we'd come out, and we didn't play real good,'' Stokes said. "But in the second half, we stepped it up.''

The Vols (17-13, 9-6 SEC) didn't hold the lead in regulation against LSU (17-12, 7-8), but they managed to tie the game up before winning in overtime, 74-69.

The win keeps alive UT's hopes for a second-place finish in the SEC and a first-round bye in the league tournament, which runs March 8-11 in New Orleans.

Tennessee finishes the regular season playing host to Vanderbilt (21-9, 10-5) on Saturday (TV: ESPN, 4 p.m.) at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Vols, who will be playing before a sellout crowd, need to beat the Commodores and have Florida lose at home to Kentucky on Sunday to finish second.

Stokes' career-high 18 points at LSU on Wednesday — on 9-of-10 shooting — played a pivotal role in the Vols enhancing their post-season scenarios.

UT go-to guy Jeronne Maymon was scoreless at the half, plagued by two fouls that limited him to 11 minutes as the Tigers took a 35-24 lead into intermission.

"When Jeronne was in foul trouble, we all kept telling Jarnell he had to step up for us to win,'' said Vols sophomore Jordan McRae, who chipped in nine points and four rebounds. "Jarnell hit a huge shot in the second half; that's something big for an 18-year-old on the road in the SEC.''

Stokes scored eight of his points in a four-minute stretch of the second half, the final basket of his flurry coming on a jumper just inside the free-throw line that tied the game at 57-57 with 3:54 left.

"I work on that shot a lot,'' Stokes said. "I usually try to be more aggressive going to the rim, but at the time it was necessary for me to take it.''

Stokes' work wasn't done; his ability to defend off a high ball screen on the final play of regulation sent the game into overtime.

With the score tied 60-60, LSU guard Anthony Hickey came off a pick and blazed down the lane, a clear path to the basket before him until Stokes launched his 6-foot-8, 270-pound frame high into the air, his arms outstretched enough to make Hickey alter his running shot at the buzzer.

"I saw he had the lane, but we work on that all the time in practice,'' Stokes said. "A lot of teams seem to run the high ball screen at me now, that's why I have to work on it. And Coach (Jon) Harris has been spending a lot of time with me on it, and it really paid off.''

Harris, one of UT's three assistant coaches, was beaming after the game, having seen his up-and-coming star pupil execute in the clutch.

"It's all him; I was on the bench,'' Harris said. "He's worked hard at it.''

Tough Loss: LSU coach Trent Johnson said afterward it was "probably about the toughest loss we have had all year.''

"We had a hard time guarding them in the post because we gambled,'' Johnson said. "When you gamble on a kid like Maymon, and then Stokes ... it gets their confidence up.

"(Stokes) is nine out of 10 (shooting), and Maymon was everything he should be down the stretch.''

Maymon's Streak: Maymon scored all 14 of his points after intermission, continuing his streak of having scored 12 points in every SEC game.

Maymon was 8-for-10 shooting from the free-throw line, and the Vols collectively were 19-for-22 (86.4 percent) — their best performance at the line this season.

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

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Comments » 50

voloffaith writes:

It was nice ,but like the coach said in the locker afterwards the work is not done......

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I'm glad Stokes had a special game. He really seems glad to be here.
Go Vols beat Vandy.

VolunteerLifer writes:

Stokes is on a serious learning curve. It is amazing to me that he can get this much done while learning the basics of his position and getting acclimated to the college game. He's going to be a very good one.

murrayvol writes:

It may take a little longer than some of us expected but he's going to be a special player.

johnlg00 writes:

I'd say the Big Fella surely DID step up last night! I actually thought he missed his first two shots, but one of them was so bad it may not have looked enough like a shot to count. Great story about how he learned to defend the high ball screen. He may not have even known what that expression meant in HS, but, MAN, is he learning! I hope the members of the NCAA selection got a load of Stokes' performance last night; if so, they know he is the reason why this Vol team is light years better than the one that lost to APSU, and America deserves a chance to see them against the best.

johnlg00 writes:

Meant to say "NCAA selection COMMITTEE"; the old eyes just ain't what they used to be.

10Vol85 writes:

Forgive me as I'm going to be a bit long-winded but reading some of sniping about coaches (pro-Fulmer, anti-Fulmer, even anti-Neyland & Martin v. Pearl) has inspired me to preach a bit. A couple of you referenced Pearl's time as the best ever at UT. Thus, here I go:

I want to present the following for the youngsters out there who think Tennessee basketball has never been at the level where it is now.

If you consider the seasons ending in '64 (Mears' 2nd year) through '82 (Devoe's 4th year) which also includes a year (1978) coached by Cliff Wettig, here's what you had:

4 SEC 1st place finishes
9 SEC 2nd place finishes
4 SEC 3rd place finishes
1 SEC 5th place finish (1970)
1 SEC 7th place finish (Wettig)

NCAA appearances (including 1983):
1967, ‘76, ’77: Began in regional quarterfinals & did not advance.
1979, ’80, ’82, ’83: Won one game advancing to regional quarterfinals.
1981: Began in regional quarterfinals, won one game to advance to regional semi-finals (sweet 16).

Note that only one team per conference was allowed in the tournament prior to 1975. From 1975 to ’78, the tournament had 32 teams; expanded to 40 in ’79, 48 in ’80, 52 in ’83, 53 in ’84, and 64 in ’85.

Note that in Devoe’s 5 appearances, they were eliminated by the #1 regional seed 4 times and the #2 once. (It’s my personal opinion that SEC teams not named Kentucky were not highly regarded at the time and were seeded accordingly, making it difficult to advance). Teams were not seeded during Mears’ time.

Vs. Kentucky (1963-1985): 24-23

Tennessee finished in the SEC top 3 in 17 out of 19 consecutive years. If the tournament bids were extended as they are now, Tennessee likely would have made the tournament every year from 1964 to 1983 except for 1978.
-
More to follow

10Vol85 writes:

In Pearls 6 years, here’s what you had:
1 SEC 1st place finish
3 SEC 2nd place finishes
1 SEC 3rd place finish
1 SEC 7th place finish

NCAA appearances
2009, ’11: Did not advance. Eliminated by 8th seed.
2006: Advanced to regional quarterfinals. Eliminated by 7th seed.
2007, ’08: Advanced to regional semi-finals. Beat 4th and 7th seeds but eliminated by 1st and 3rd seeds.
2010: Advanced to regional finals. Beat 2nd seed but eliminated by 5th seed.

Vs. Kentucky: 4-9

Because of where the program had been, it was painful to endure the years until Pearl brought the program back. It was also great to see Pearl honor Mears. I do believe the Pearl years were generally on par with Mears’. I don’t agree that Pearl took the program to new heights (though he might have given more time). I’ll grant the elite 8 appearance but Pearl has been able to get more shots because of the current tournament format vs. the format to which Mears or even Devoe were subjected. I am grateful for Pearl having restored the program at least for a few years and am confident that Martin will be able to keep it going.

10Vol85 writes:

One more thing I'll point out is that it might be interesting to compare Devoe's demise to Fulmer's. Because of his early success, Devoe was given many years to try and restore the program. Ultimately, he was unsuccessful and we headed off into the abyss.

wigmeister writes:

Maymon is a beast. Stokes is beast jr., a beast in training!

etu_vol_fan writes:

in response to 10Vol85:

One more thing I'll point out is that it might be interesting to compare Devoe's demise to Fulmer's. Because of his early success, Devoe was given many years to try and restore the program. Ultimately, he was unsuccessful and we headed off into the abyss.

A lot of good information. DeVoe had a lot of success early on but faltered near the end. The 88-89 season for DeVoe was a back breaker for the fact they started fast but fell off at the end and got blown out by West Virginia in the first round of the NCAA. I think he could have withstood that season if it wasn't for a combined 42-44 record the 3 previous years.

10Vol85 writes:

Two factors that combined to hurt Devoe were the shot clock (as he teams were good at ball handling and extremely patient in waiting for a quality shot) and recruiting. Despite the early success, it just seemed he couldn't get enough of the better recruits.

During the lean years, I felt the administration didn't do enough to try and rebuild the program. I know Dickey was the AD for a number of years. I don't know if he just didn't care or what.

10Vol85 writes:

*his

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

in response to 10Vol85:

One more thing I'll point out is that it might be interesting to compare Devoe's demise to Fulmer's. Because of his early success, Devoe was given many years to try and restore the program. Ultimately, he was unsuccessful and we headed off into the abyss.

Devoe's demise was his lackluster recruiting effort and the shot clock. Great defensive minded coach and knew the X'S & O's. Just couldn't recruit great players (outside Ellis).

RashaadSalabeb writes:

Jarnell we are very happy you came to UT. You are doing a fine job and I'm sure the future will bring much success to you in Volunteer Country. I am proud of the whole team. You guys are fighting your butts off! Box out and hit those boards hard. Good luck against Vandy and in the tournament.

Go Big Orange!

iowavol writes:

in response to sly_stone99#434111:

Devoe's demise was his lackluster recruiting effort and the shot clock. Great defensive minded coach and knew the X'S & O's. Just couldn't recruit great players (outside Ellis).

Tennessee was Ellis' second choice. He wanted GA but didn't want to play behind the human highlight reel. Still, once here, Dale was all Tennessee and without a doubt (arguably) the best ever. He never had the compliment that Earnie/Bernie had.

However, why do we have to recall all this history. Fulmer was good and did great things at Tennessee. Pearl was phenominal and made Tennessee relevant again. And Coach Cuonzo Martin will be the SEC coach of the year.

Nuff said.

BrayIsTheWay writes:

These guys are gonna need all the help they can get against Vandy on Saturday. And with a sellout crowd in hand that help should come from Vol Nation. If the crowd comes hungry, the team will come even more hungry. A 2 seed would not only mean a 1st round bye in the SEC but would ensure the only way we would have to see Kentucky is if we both make it to the finals, and that as of now we would be looking at facing the winner of a Auburn vs LSU matchup if the standings remain as they are. I hope we don't have to see LSU again because as we witnessed last night they're a dangerous team and Hamilton was tough for us to handle throughout. I still think it's obvious that we have to win the tourney to advance to the NCAA, but a bye and staying away from the Wildcats will give us that much more the chance to do so.

AshyVol writes:

in response to 10Vol85:

In Pearls 6 years, here’s what you had:
1 SEC 1st place finish
3 SEC 2nd place finishes
1 SEC 3rd place finish
1 SEC 7th place finish

NCAA appearances
2009, ’11: Did not advance. Eliminated by 8th seed.
2006: Advanced to regional quarterfinals. Eliminated by 7th seed.
2007, ’08: Advanced to regional semi-finals. Beat 4th and 7th seeds but eliminated by 1st and 3rd seeds.
2010: Advanced to regional finals. Beat 2nd seed but eliminated by 5th seed.

Vs. Kentucky: 4-9

Because of where the program had been, it was painful to endure the years until Pearl brought the program back. It was also great to see Pearl honor Mears. I do believe the Pearl years were generally on par with Mears’. I don’t agree that Pearl took the program to new heights (though he might have given more time). I’ll grant the elite 8 appearance but Pearl has been able to get more shots because of the current tournament format vs. the format to which Mears or even Devoe were subjected. I am grateful for Pearl having restored the program at least for a few years and am confident that Martin will be able to keep it going.

Interesting info. Most people don't realize what great bball tradition we have at UT. We are easily in the top 5 in the SEC in basketball programs. 1) UK, 2) Arkansas, hard to pick the next 3 but I would say 3) LSU 4) UT, 5) Bama 6) Florida 7) Vandy

I am greatful for what Pearl did too. And I really like what Im seeing so far with Coach Martin.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

Cannot wait to see how Coach Martins' teams play two to three years from now. Lots to look forward to.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho:

Cannot wait to see how Coach Martins' teams play two to three years from now. Lots to look forward to.

LOL I can't remember yesterday and can't see past my upcoming morning shower.

Most knew Martin had good character from all we read. But few knew he was a coach. A good coach. We all hope he's a great coach. We'd love to have a winning coach. We'll see.

These 2,3, and 4*s have done well compared to what we thought earlier. But we have to admit that Stokes added life to the team. But as someone earlier stated Martin seems to have come to life on the bench and off in the games as well. I don't have a clue if he should be Coach of the year SEC. But in my book he already is. There are a lot of candidates out there for NCOY.
But I'd have to say Martin is one.
I like Cal's job with Kentucky. Grant has done a great job with team control and coaching his young players also. I have always loved Donovan as a coach but I don't know about this year.
Any other's? The S.Car. Chicks' coach shows up still so that's fortitude at least.hehe (Actually I wish him well).
SEC has the best I think. I already would rather have Martin than any ACC or Big oaf conference.

SouthPaVol writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Stokes is on a serious learning curve. It is amazing to me that he can get this much done while learning the basics of his position and getting acclimated to the college game. He's going to be a very good one.

difference in recruiting 5* players--less learning curve. Stokes is already developed, evident when he stepped into a game, mid-season and after a couple of practices with the team, to hold his own with KY and UConn.

Developing players like Maymon and McRae benefit more from time with the team, and grow into really good players. These two guys actually have improved more than Stokes, except Stokes started out at such a high level.

Next year Stokes will shoot the 3-ball above 40% and be one of our best outside scorers. His jump shot is incredible with a quick first step. He's gonna be a monster. Go Vols!

10Vol85 writes:

in response to iowavol:

Tennessee was Ellis' second choice. He wanted GA but didn't want to play behind the human highlight reel. Still, once here, Dale was all Tennessee and without a doubt (arguably) the best ever. He never had the compliment that Earnie/Bernie had.

However, why do we have to recall all this history. Fulmer was good and did great things at Tennessee. Pearl was phenominal and made Tennessee relevant again. And Coach Cuonzo Martin will be the SEC coach of the year.

Nuff said.

"However, why do we have to recall all this history" - because from reading posts on the other articles, it's obvious that many post on things they don't know much, if anything, about - particularly the history of Mears and of Neyland.

GreeneVol writes:

Good stuff, 10Vol85. Thanks for the history; it's good to know.

And yes, BrayIsTheWay, the crowd will be the 'X' factor Saturday. I'll be there, and I'll be hungry for revenge against the Dores. It's just stuck in my craw how Ezeli and Taylor were playing pretty dirty at Memorial earlier. They should have had more class than that, but they didn't. I remember.

Regarding Stokes: Simply put - Remarkable stuff.

Go Vols.

CommodoreCapital writes:

in response to GreeneVol:

Good stuff, 10Vol85. Thanks for the history; it's good to know.

And yes, BrayIsTheWay, the crowd will be the 'X' factor Saturday. I'll be there, and I'll be hungry for revenge against the Dores. It's just stuck in my craw how Ezeli and Taylor were playing pretty dirty at Memorial earlier. They should have had more class than that, but they didn't. I remember.

Regarding Stokes: Simply put - Remarkable stuff.

Go Vols.

So I guess the clothesline on Jenkins was not dirty by Mughjsjgfhdjgf (sp)? It was a physical inside game and Stokes got exposed in the 1st matchup, as he likes to put the ball down. Stokes is going to be a beast but just not this year.

John_10065 writes:

Back to the article at hand!

Note not what was said but how it was said!

What I really like about this squad is they talk about their shortcomings and how as a team they perform. We're not putting 5 individuals on the court or 1 player and supporting staff, we're putting a team on the court.

And these players know that teams win games, individuals don't.

CrankE writes:

LSU coach Trent Johnson said afterward it was "probably about the toughest loss we have had all year.''

If you saw the scowl on Johnson's face, you know this is a gross understatement. He was livid. LSU blew a 15 point lead at home. Ouch!

TheOpinion writes:

in response to AshyVol:

Interesting info. Most people don't realize what great bball tradition we have at UT. We are easily in the top 5 in the SEC in basketball programs. 1) UK, 2) Arkansas, hard to pick the next 3 but I would say 3) LSU 4) UT, 5) Bama 6) Florida 7) Vandy

I am greatful for what Pearl did too. And I really like what Im seeing so far with Coach Martin.

Florida has two national championships. I'd put them up there with Arkansas because over the last 20 years florida has been great.

Vandy is a regular season team but they're right around 7 spot, give or take.

AshyVol writes:

in response to TheOpinion:

Florida has two national championships. I'd put them up there with Arkansas because over the last 20 years florida has been great.

Vandy is a regular season team but they're right around 7 spot, give or take.

Florida has been great over the past 20 years. But when I think about tradition, I think about the past 60 years.

I'm not taking away anything from Florida because those 2 teams they had with Brewer, Noah, Horford were fantastic.

But UT easily has more bball tradition than UF over the past 60 years. Read 10Vol85's posts for proof.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

This team seems to take the blue collar approach and their grinding defense translates to points on offense. Each game seems to have different players stepping up to take the lead sort of like those "Bad-boy" Detroit Piston teams back in the day! If we only had a "Vinny Johnson" type scorer; that would put them over the top!

I loved Don DeVoe as a coach on the floor! He was great at dissecting the opposition and making adjustments! Unfortunately, he couldn't recruit enough top players for whatever reasons. He did more with less while he was here, though!

JCforUTVols writes:

in response to SouthPaVol:

difference in recruiting 5* players--less learning curve. Stokes is already developed, evident when he stepped into a game, mid-season and after a couple of practices with the team, to hold his own with KY and UConn.

Developing players like Maymon and McRae benefit more from time with the team, and grow into really good players. These two guys actually have improved more than Stokes, except Stokes started out at such a high level.

Next year Stokes will shoot the 3-ball above 40% and be one of our best outside scorers. His jump shot is incredible with a quick first step. He's gonna be a monster. Go Vols!

I agree with most of your comment, however I would just like to see Stokes improve on his free throws! Improve it above 50% would be nice

tennrich1 writes:

in response to AshyVol:

Interesting info. Most people don't realize what great bball tradition we have at UT. We are easily in the top 5 in the SEC in basketball programs. 1) UK, 2) Arkansas, hard to pick the next 3 but I would say 3) LSU 4) UT, 5) Bama 6) Florida 7) Vandy

I am greatful for what Pearl did too. And I really like what Im seeing so far with Coach Martin.

With two "recent" national championships it would hard NOT to put Gators up pretty high...yeah I know how it used to be but two back to back championships make up for a huge void of cellar dwelling....JMO

tennrich1 writes:

in response to SouthPaVol:

difference in recruiting 5* players--less learning curve. Stokes is already developed, evident when he stepped into a game, mid-season and after a couple of practices with the team, to hold his own with KY and UConn.

Developing players like Maymon and McRae benefit more from time with the team, and grow into really good players. These two guys actually have improved more than Stokes, except Stokes started out at such a high level.

Next year Stokes will shoot the 3-ball above 40% and be one of our best outside scorers. His jump shot is incredible with a quick first step. He's gonna be a monster. Go Vols!

I fully expect Jarnell to "grow" a bit more...that will change his game a little as well...He was developed some but the sky is the ceiling..Actually what impresses me is his mid-range game, a lost art in the college game....the midrange game in the first half is what put LSU way ahead in the game...when a big man has mid-range, then it opens passing lanes, dribble driving lanes etc....excited to see him work in the off season and hone those skills...GREAT RECRUITING JOB COACH MARTIN....

pcorange writes:

in response to tennrich1:

With two "recent" national championships it would hard NOT to put Gators up pretty high...yeah I know how it used to be but two back to back championships make up for a huge void of cellar dwelling....JMO

If you only consider "tradition" to be in the last decade, I'd agree with you. However, the term "tradition" in sports usually encompasses a much larger period of time than that.

GreeneVol writes:

in response to CommodoreCapital:

So I guess the clothesline on Jenkins was not dirty by Mughjsjgfhdjgf (sp)? It was a physical inside game and Stokes got exposed in the 1st matchup, as he likes to put the ball down. Stokes is going to be a beast but just not this year.

That's a good point to which I contend that the refs should have cleaned the phooey up WELL before the pattern was established. It was very clear early in the game that Ezeli and Taylor were inciting our guys with their aggressive attitudes. This is when a warning should have occurred, rather than the double tech that was called on Ezeli and Stokes after Jarnell had enough of Ezeli getting in his face and very clearly calling his manhood - I would be disappointed if Stokes hadn't chest-bumped him at that point. It's understandable for Festis to resort to such - Stokes carries a presence that I'm sure threatens a lot of post guys...Ezeli was simply a veteran trying to bully the new guy around.

Let's hope for a more civil encounter on the court this time around. I doubt the refs will make the same mistake twice, especially since early season bad blood can make for a snarly rematch.

GreeneVol writes:

very clearly challenging his manhood

hodocka writes:

in response to 10Vol85:

One more thing I'll point out is that it might be interesting to compare Devoe's demise to Fulmer's. Because of his early success, Devoe was given many years to try and restore the program. Ultimately, he was unsuccessful and we headed off into the abyss.

DeVoe was an excellent floor coach but not the best recruiter. He didn't see the need to recruit top talent. I heard him comment when Rob Jones was a senior that he didn't understand why Rob was not playing as well as the big Alabama kid (can't remember his name)who played 6-8 years in the NBA. He couldn't understand that the best of coaching doesn't make up for the difference in talent.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CommodoreCapital:

So I guess the clothesline on Jenkins was not dirty by Mughjsjgfhdjgf (sp)? It was a physical inside game and Stokes got exposed in the 1st matchup, as he likes to put the ball down. Stokes is going to be a beast but just not this year.

The "clothesline" play you referenced was at least mid-way through the second half, well after the extracurricular rough stuff by the 'Dores. I'm willing to stipulate there was no evil intent in ANY of it. Are you? Anyway, don't expect to get away with any of that stuff Saturday. Tough but fair is the only way to play. And I'm guessing Stokes will be beast enough in that game.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to BigVolFaninSC:

This team seems to take the blue collar approach and their grinding defense translates to points on offense. Each game seems to have different players stepping up to take the lead sort of like those "Bad-boy" Detroit Piston teams back in the day! If we only had a "Vinny Johnson" type scorer; that would put them over the top!

I loved Don DeVoe as a coach on the floor! He was great at dissecting the opposition and making adjustments! Unfortunately, he couldn't recruit enough top players for whatever reasons. He did more with less while he was here, though!

DeVoe was a hard-nosed, tough-minded, rather dictatorial Bob Knight clone, his teammate at Ohio State--though not as successful at it--at a time when that style of coaching was falling out of favor with elite talents. I understand that he has mellowed somewhat in recent years, but he was one tough, mean SOB while he was at UT.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to iowavol:

Tennessee was Ellis' second choice. He wanted GA but didn't want to play behind the human highlight reel. Still, once here, Dale was all Tennessee and without a doubt (arguably) the best ever. He never had the compliment that Earnie/Bernie had.

However, why do we have to recall all this history. Fulmer was good and did great things at Tennessee. Pearl was phenominal and made Tennessee relevant again. And Coach Cuonzo Martin will be the SEC coach of the year.

Nuff said.

With all due respect, no way Dale Ellis was as good a player as Bernard King. Ellis was a good one, maybe you can say he was a great one, but King is among the five best players to ever play in the SEC - along with Shaq, Pistol, Barkley, Dominique Wilkins. No one in Tennesee history comes close to King, not even Dale Ellis.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to GreeneVol:

Good stuff, 10Vol85. Thanks for the history; it's good to know.

And yes, BrayIsTheWay, the crowd will be the 'X' factor Saturday. I'll be there, and I'll be hungry for revenge against the Dores. It's just stuck in my craw how Ezeli and Taylor were playing pretty dirty at Memorial earlier. They should have had more class than that, but they didn't. I remember.

Regarding Stokes: Simply put - Remarkable stuff.

Go Vols.

Nobody at Vanderbilt has any class. That's why we hate them so much.

UTMaster04 writes:

Big win! Here's a team that's putting it together. Prolly to late for the NCAA, but we can end the season with dignity and point toward an glowing-Orange future CCM. I like the team's fight and guts.

GONAVY writes:

in response to GreeneVol:

Good stuff, 10Vol85. Thanks for the history; it's good to know.

And yes, BrayIsTheWay, the crowd will be the 'X' factor Saturday. I'll be there, and I'll be hungry for revenge against the Dores. It's just stuck in my craw how Ezeli and Taylor were playing pretty dirty at Memorial earlier. They should have had more class than that, but they didn't. I remember.

Regarding Stokes: Simply put - Remarkable stuff.

Go Vols.

The "bigs" were allowed to go at it by the referees. There was plenty of blame to go around both ways. Taylor played "dirty"? Measured by what, exactly? He played a great game, both offensively and defensively. Taylor is the key, by the way, on Saturday for VU. Jenkins will get his 20 points; if Taylor is inhibited, UT wins easily. I still predict they do, regardless. But Taylor is not, nor has he ever been a "dirty" player. You're mistakened.

GreeneVol writes:

He was taunting one of our players at one point, I can't recall which of our guys it was. I would have to 'look at the tape' to give you more detail.

I am 'mistakened' by your definition of 'dirty' or what you saw or recollect of the game. 'Dirty' and 'unsportsmanlike' are subjective adjectives. There's no mistake in my mind. We'll just have to disagree on this point.

John_10065 writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Nobody at Vanderbilt has any class. That's why we hate them so much.

Do you know how far back that statement goes? To where UT got it's hatred that has been passed down for all these years?

I like to think it was related to football when Vandy was the premier school in football and a perennial national top tier team. Yes that was true. It was before the foreward pass was even a staple of the game.

The guy who gave his life on the field was Bennett Jared. He didn't die that day but spent the rest of his few remaining years on earth in a wheelchair and never returned to Knoxville.

Vandy dogpiled on Jared after a 1 yard gain and broke his back.

And the Nashville press cheered in print the next day.

That's why we hate Vandy. They just didn't want to win as payback for the loss the year before. They wanted to cripple or kill UT's players while the Nashville sports writers had an orgasm over it. At least that is the story I am telling!

tovolny writes:

I love this years ROUND BALLERS. I also love how Martin has shaped this team. They are playing so far ahead of my expectations, that I am ecstatic and grinning ear to ear.

WAY TO GO GUYS!!!!!

HtownVol writes:

Just got back from Baton Rouge..
BEST TIME EVER!!!

Before the game I run into a certain players parents.

They are happy to see a Vol fan so they talk to me walking into tha arena, next thing I know we are on the floor with the team while shoot around.
I did not bother the players before the game but I did go talk to Bob Kesling and took a pic with him. Kinda felt bad cuz I told him he is no John Ward.
In the first half I went to my seats. There were at most 20 orange shirts at the Pistol Pete Arena. I thought LSU fans would be rude, but honestly 99 percent of them were the nicest fans I have ever met..However when the game starts I am surrounded by about 15 LSU Freshmen and the one in front of me was the single immature punk in the croud. He kept telling me to "look at the score". I said " I will have the last laugh". Eventually at the half I had to move because I was about to knock his teeth out.
So after the half I went to sit with the players familys (if you saw the game I was behind the UT basket to the left where the only orange crowd was. I had the Stokes jersey on).
The 2nd half and OT was GREAT!!
Josh Richardson and Skylars moms were both the nicest people ever!
They told me to stay with them after the game and they introduced me to the team.
I had the team sign my custom UT hat and I had Stokes sign my jersey (it is already framed!!!).
Overall I spent about 75 minutes with the players after the game getting autographs and small talking. I know it is nothing to bragg about but it was a first for me and I LOVED IT!!!
The players are all so nice and seem to have a great time together. They all are excited to have C Martin. Coach Martin also shook my wifes hand and mine and thanked us for supporting UT.
I was shocked at how few UT fans were at the game.
Come on UT fans, support our team. We have a great team!

bvol1inSC writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I'm glad Stokes had a special game. He really seems glad to be here.
Go Vols beat Vandy.

I believe he likes to be here because he knows that CCM can help make him the player he wants to become...and practicing everyday against Maymon...AND playing next year again w/Maymon...it's all good for Stokes.

Vols4Ever writes:

'Lest we forget.
Mr. Stokes had his 18th birthday less than 2 months ago.
He didn't play organized team basketball for 6 months prior to becoming part of an SEC team.
He recorded a double/double in his 1st start (less than 2 weeks after becoming part of the team) in a win against the defending NCAA champions.
Under normal circumstances, his largest concern at this time should be who should he ask to be his date and what should he wear to the Senior Prom.
My fellow VOL fans, recognize greatness when it slaps you in the face. I was privileged to see Bernard wear the Orange. This man-child plays a different game but can be just as exceptional.

CommodoreCapital writes:

in response to GreeneVol:

That's a good point to which I contend that the refs should have cleaned the phooey up WELL before the pattern was established. It was very clear early in the game that Ezeli and Taylor were inciting our guys with their aggressive attitudes. This is when a warning should have occurred, rather than the double tech that was called on Ezeli and Stokes after Jarnell had enough of Ezeli getting in his face and very clearly calling his manhood - I would be disappointed if Stokes hadn't chest-bumped him at that point. It's understandable for Festis to resort to such - Stokes carries a presence that I'm sure threatens a lot of post guys...Ezeli was simply a veteran trying to bully the new guy around.

Let's hope for a more civil encounter on the court this time around. I doubt the refs will make the same mistake twice, especially since early season bad blood can make for a snarly rematch.

The clothesline was with less then 2 minutes to go, so yes it was building upo to that, and with a 20 point lead tensions were high, but to say Vandy is classless is a stretch. We have 5 seniors that have played significant time that are graduating on time and have never been in trouble on or off the court.

WetumpkaThumpa writes:

in response to murrayvol:

It may take a little longer than some of us expected but he's going to be a special player.

Longer than some of us expected? This kid has been playing college ball for two months and he scored 18 in an SEC game...I'm not sure if you guys that were expecting more have watched any basketball before? He's not going to be Kevin Durant after a handful of college games...18 points after 15 games on this level at his age is remarkable.

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