Jarnell Stokes factor huge for Tennessee Vols

Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5) defends against Vanderbilt guard Kedren Johnson (2) during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, March 3, 2012.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5) defends against Vanderbilt guard Kedren Johnson (2) during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, March 3, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Cuonzo Martin on the team's progress

KNOXVILLE -- Jarnell Stokes is the asterisk, the wild card on Tennessee's NCAA tournament resume.

The freshman forward's performance in the Volunteers' two wins last week made him the Southeastern Conference player of the week. The Vols are 10-5 since Stokes enrolled and made his debut against Kentucky in January, a stretch that includes eight wins in the last nine games. For a UT team that may can play its way to an NCAA at-large bid at the SEC tournament in New Orleans later this week, the addition of Stokes is a key factor.

"I thought we were playing pretty good ball because he didn't play in the Florida game, but it's just another piece," UT coach Cuonzo Martin said Monday. "Kentucky's good because they have multiple pieces that can play. When you're trying to be one of the best teams in America -- like North Carolina has multiple guys that can make plays -- he's really helped from that standpoint because you have to identify him on the floor.

Continue reading at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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Comments » 24

JohnnyVol writes:

Jarnell Stokes certainly made a big difference, but Cuonzo Martin - IMHO - has done the best coaching job in the SEC this year.

I am very encouraged by his recruiting (i.e. Jarnell Stokes), his player development (this is NOT the same UT team that lost to Austin Peay) and his in game coaching (he out coached Billy Donovan twice).

Good job coach. GBO!

lomas98 writes:

I agree that Martin should be commended for the job he did based on the type of start. For the most part we competed in every game. What I don't understand is how fans think just because a certain team wins or loses, it always comes back to out coaching. What did Martin do to out coach Donovan? We hit big shots in both games and were just playing a physical type of ball that Florida doesn't match up well with. Does that mean Kevin stallings out coached Martin in Nashville or did calipari out coach everyone else in the league this year. Players make the plays and patric young getting punked out by maymon, hall, and stokes the 2nd game was why we beat Florida.

This is a hot team right now playing with a lot of confidence. They had the same confidence before and after Alabama game although they lost that one. They feel like they are going to win every game they play. I'm still concerned about our back court putting up 3 games in a row because they have been inconsistent. If the golden that played the first half against lsu shows up again, it will not be good.

SCVFL writes:

Coach Martin really appears to be the "REAL DEAL". He has been straight and steady all season and it is beginning to show in the level of play. I hope they can continue the "mo" through the SEC tourney and make the NCAA. But even the NIT would be a good reward for Coach and Team. And the nation better watch out next year.
Thanks to the Coaches and the Team for building a bright future for VOL BB.
GBO...VFL

PUL4VOLS writes:

I am glad to see the Vols where they are today. Stokes has been a major part of that. I hope they keep it going and are surely certain to be playing in the postseason if it is the NIT. But if they hunker down and go hard, get a couple of SEC tourney wins, who knows? We have seen tremendous progress; 8 of 9 is fabulous and I hope it continues. Coach Martin has been a big part of that. KEEP IT UP GUYS. GO BIG ORANGE!

10SCVOL writes:

in response to lomas98:

I agree that Martin should be commended for the job he did based on the type of start. For the most part we competed in every game. What I don't understand is how fans think just because a certain team wins or loses, it always comes back to out coaching. What did Martin do to out coach Donovan? We hit big shots in both games and were just playing a physical type of ball that Florida doesn't match up well with. Does that mean Kevin stallings out coached Martin in Nashville or did calipari out coach everyone else in the league this year. Players make the plays and patric young getting punked out by maymon, hall, and stokes the 2nd game was why we beat Florida.

This is a hot team right now playing with a lot of confidence. They had the same confidence before and after Alabama game although they lost that one. They feel like they are going to win every game they play. I'm still concerned about our back court putting up 3 games in a row because they have been inconsistent. If the golden that played the first half against lsu shows up again, it will not be good.

When you win on your home court in the SEC, it is hard to say it is coaching. But, when you win on the opponent's court with less talent, then you can credit coaching. Not just game time adjustments, but we out-toughed Florida, physically and mentally. So, yes, you CAN say Martin out-coached Donovan, even if it took place on the practice floor. As for Callipari, he has more talent than anyone, but you have to give him his due. He has done a remarkable job with those freshmen.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to 10SCVOL:

When you win on your home court in the SEC, it is hard to say it is coaching. But, when you win on the opponent's court with less talent, then you can credit coaching. Not just game time adjustments, but we out-toughed Florida, physically and mentally. So, yes, you CAN say Martin out-coached Donovan, even if it took place on the practice floor. As for Callipari, he has more talent than anyone, but you have to give him his due. He has done a remarkable job with those freshmen.

Great post. Coaching is indeed so much more than what happens on game day or how good a guy is with the X's and O's. It is showing trust in players so they will trust you. It is players knowing that their coach has their back and cares about them as more than just players. It is being fair, open, and honest with everybody, so even those who disagree with you know where you stand. CCM has shown himself to be the total leader and it is clear that the players will do anything to justify his faith in them.

VolunteerLifer writes:

Jarnell has made the difference between a mediocre team in the rebuilding, transition mode and a good team on the rise.

41_14gbo writes:

The difference is the calm toughness displayed by Coach Martin. It permeates through to the players.

When you learn effort, you can play defense, when you can play defense you are rarely out of a game. (particularly on the road). Great defense turns the ball over, creates easy shots.

In addition, great defense makes the other players wear-down physically and mentally, making them even more less functional on defense. Do you see the way Stokes step out on the picks then hustles back to front the post? This is an effort team.

Hopson never would have seen the floor on this team.

alfrizzle097 writes:

I worry about their viability in the SEC tourney. We have VERY little depth inside without Hall. I do appreciate Martin sticking to his guns though.

The 10-5 record with Stokes also includes a step up in difficulty. I believe two of those were to Kentucky, one to Vandy, and one to Alabama. Those are probably the three biggest teams in the SEC, which I think has made it difficult for our guards to find passing lanes. The fifth loss, the one that got away, to georgia may be what keeps them out.

Imagine if they had beaten Memphis in double overtime, held on at Georgia, and actually gotten a shot on the rim at Miss St on that last possession. This wouldn't even be a conversation.

MemphoVol writes:

I'm curious. Does anybody know what exactly sold Stokes on Tennessee?

tennrich1 writes:

I love Jarnell Stokes. His abilities, attitude, work ethic, etc...BUT I would be VERY careful attributing ALL our recent successes solely on Jarnell's shoulders...for several reasons...1. CCM has done an "COY" type job blending JS with the rest of the team 2. That's a lot to put on an 18 year old kid in respect to pressure...I think Maymon has elevated his game to a whole different level..Actually the entire team has....JS has certainly had a lot to do with that...3. The season isnt over so let's not worry about who or what got us here....WE MUST STAY HUNGER BECAUSE WE AIN'T TALENT ENOUGH TO WIN WITHOUT IT...Go Vols...its been a fun ride so far...

CoverOrange writes:

in response to PeterKravenMoorehead:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That was exactly his plan, to get you to take money out of your pocket. Does anyone think PH comes on here just to demigogue the Vols? More likely to drum up business.

wigmeister writes:

As I said before, Jarnell is beast Jr., a beast in training! Training provided by CCM and Maymon! Take heed recruits, this is the place to be!

claiborneh writes:

in response to JohnnyVol:

Jarnell Stokes certainly made a big difference, but Cuonzo Martin - IMHO - has done the best coaching job in the SEC this year.

I am very encouraged by his recruiting (i.e. Jarnell Stokes), his player development (this is NOT the same UT team that lost to Austin Peay) and his in game coaching (he out coached Billy Donovan twice).

Good job coach. GBO!

If a coach wins he naturally has fans. But how did you determine he "outcoached" Donovan. Can you elaborate more specifically.
Maybe the players won. Explain what Martin did that made Dovovan scratch his head after the loss and think, "Boy, I sure got outcoached tonight. Martin caught me off guard and out strategized me when he__________" Can you please feel in the blank for the forum.

VolJunkie writes:

in response to MemphoVol:

I'm curious. Does anybody know what exactly sold Stokes on Tennessee?

It's not Memphis?

No idea other than we had a spot/scholarship available.

Go Vols!

UT4prez writes:

As has already been mentioned, it's more than just what happens in the games. I can only think of one example and it happened against us. I forget which game but it was at the end and someone called a timeout on the heels of ours and switched to a zone D. It was a great move and seemed to initially surprise the players. Thanks to great preparation they adjusted quickly and got a decent shot. It did look like that coach got a one up briefly on Martin but it is rare to see anything like that stand out coach against coach. The issue with UF is they play very undisciplined and against a team like UT that can cause trouble. UF reminds me of some of Pearls teams when it comes to shot selection. They can be fun to watch and beat anyone but they'll drive you crazy if you're a fan. From what I see Martin does very little during the game because the team is so prepared coming in. He does adjust to the flow of the game though of needed. His decision to bring Golden back against Vandy with 2 fouls in the first half won that game, moreso than any other decision anyway. Obviously, Golden did a great job of not fouling too.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to MemphoVol:

I'm curious. Does anybody know what exactly sold Stokes on Tennessee?

Lol I'm curious as to why he would have ever considered Memphis...other than staying close to home? He prob needed some fresh air? I don't know why he'd stay in Memphis. Maybe he ran away.

VolGrad writes:

in response to MemphoVol:

I'm curious. Does anybody know what exactly sold Stokes on Tennessee?

Coach Cuonzo Martin's character.

VolGrad writes:

MemphoVol, to elaborate: [Jarnell Stokes]

"I have spent a lot of time in prayer about what to do and I believe that the University of Tennessee is the right place for me," Stokes said. "I am excited about the future at Tennessee. I am going to work as hard as I can to fit in with my teammates and learn the system as quickly as I can to help the team."

"We walk by faith not sight," Stokes said. "I am fortunate that that I have great people surrounding me. All the adversity that I have been through has made me a better person."

"I messed around and answered one of their [Tennessee] calls," Stokes said. "At first I wasn't picking up after Bruce Pearl left. Then I talked to [new coach Cuonzo Martin] and he's got NBA experience. I was blown away by what he knew."

"Well when Bruce Pearl first left, I was high on Bruce Pearl, when he first left I wasn't feeling Tennessee, and I ended up picking up the phone and talking to coach Martin and it was a very engaging conversation, and I enjoyed talking to him and his faith in God and that's when I first decided to take a visit here, and I mean, who knew, its not who starts the race its who finishes it."

Go Vols!!!

claiborneh writes:

in response to PeterKravenMoorehead:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I not trying to "get" anyone. I'm seriously asking a legitimate and engaging question to the forum? Because a team wins does not necessarily mean it was because the opposing team was outcoached. I don't know basketball enough to make a statement like others to claim Martin is outcoaching others. So again I ask, what did Martin do SPECIFICALLY to outcoach Donovan. What would Donovan point out Martin did better. I honestly don't have a clue and was looking
for insight. However I don't think many of the posters in this forum have a clue either. "He made good game adjustments" is not a specific answer. I can say that and sound like an expert. What specific game adjustment did he make? " He plays tough" is not a specific answer. Does
he make his players keep his arms up better
than Donovan? Does he shout more? Does he make meaner faces? Did he lobby harder than Donovan for more fatheads on sticks for distraction? LOL

seymorehoops writes:

in response to MemphoVol:

I'm curious. Does anybody know what exactly sold Stokes on Tennessee?

He couldnt have played this year at UK or Memphis because he had taken official visits there this year. Not saying that made his decision but it certainly was a factor.

Vols4Ever writes:

in response to seymorehoops:

He couldnt have played this year at UK or Memphis because he had taken official visits there this year. Not saying that made his decision but it certainly was a factor.

Jarnell is here because of 3 factors.

1. Our head coach conveyed what we have all witnessed on the court this year ... a leader and developer of young men into a team while providing the opportunity for each individual to excell

2. We had a scholarship available for a mid-term enrollee

3. The TSSAA denied his elgibilty appeal

Don't matter now ... we have a SEC star and Mempho is wondering what if

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Great post. Coaching is indeed so much more than what happens on game day or how good a guy is with the X's and O's. It is showing trust in players so they will trust you. It is players knowing that their coach has their back and cares about them as more than just players. It is being fair, open, and honest with everybody, so even those who disagree with you know where you stand. CCM has shown himself to be the total leader and it is clear that the players will do anything to justify his faith in them.

2 great posts. I want to add something but it's all here it seems as far as coaching goes. Both you and 10SCvol's got it right. The gym with the players to me is so much more important than game time as far as learning the players and the players learning the coach. x's and O's though are important in the practices too. I'm thinking our coach knows this stuff. This right now is my favorite season of all the long years of watching UT. the only better seasons were my last two years at UTC when we were 2nd and 1st in the country and National champs. I hope to see that for Martin and company soon.
I intended just to re-post you guys but I DO like to talk.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to PeterKravenMoorehead:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm not ready to throw Donovan under the bus just yet. He's consistently had great teams over several years. I'd think he's as good a coach as Martin.hehe Remember Donavan's team is relatively young as well with the older players not as good seemingly as his young ones. They'll be there again next year in the top 10 prob.I'm guessing he's pulled in a 4 or 5 to post up against the SEC. His guards are already awesome.
Golly!! I hate Florida and you have me braggin' on them!!?

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