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.
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