Cuonzo Martin reflects on first year at UT

Victory against Florida was 'turning point'

Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin talks to the media during team practice at Holy Cross School in New Orleans, La., on March 8. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin talks to the media during team practice at Holy Cross School in New Orleans, La., on March 8. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

A coaching search firm was scouting Cuonzo Martin as early as November 2010, but few would have guessed at the time that Tennessee would be his next stop.

Martin certainly had no idea when he left Thompson-Boling Arena following a 60-56 men's basketball loss on Nov. 17, 2010, that the next time he entered the building it would be as head coach of the Vols.

"At the time, it was just a tough loss," Martin said Friday night. "I didn't leave there thinking, 'one day, I'll be the head coach here.' "

But on March 27, 2011, that's exactly what happened in the wake of an NCAA investigation that led to the firing of former coach Bruce Pearl and his staff.

A month-by-month look at Martin's first year with the Vols:

MARCH

Martin remembers getting the call from Tennessee two days before officially announcing he would accept the position.

"I had 48 hours to make the decision," Martin said. "It was a case where I sat down with my wife and family and weighed the decision. We had options."

Martin wouldn't discuss what other schools had offered him a position, but he did reveal that UT's fan base was the overwhelming factor.

"I wasn't looking at it from the standpoint of what happened with the NCAA; I was looking at stability, and the fan base," he said. "The fan support and attendance showed me Tennessee likes basketball. Bruce (Pearl) and his staff had the fan base very involved at an impressive level."

APRIL

Martin met with junior Scotty Hopson and freshman Tobias Harris, knowing it was likely that neither would be returning to the team.

"At that point, they had it thought out as far as what they were doing," Martin said. "They had people in place to give them guidance.

"I tried to let them know I could help them, but they didn't know what I was about. At the end of the day, I had to respect their wishes, because they are both members of the Tennessee basketball family."

Martin instead focused on the returning players, and the two weeks he had to work with them.

"I wanted to get a feel for the guys, where they were dribbling, passing, conditioning," Martin said. "All the guys, outside of Tobias and Cameron (Tatum) hadn't played a lot. I didn't get a great gauge, but I got a feel for the team."

MAY

May is typically a downtime month, because coaches can't go off campus to recruit, and they can't work with the players.

But Martin and his new staff were still settling in and getting familiar with their surroundings.

"We were taking care of lot of the administrative things and loose ends," Martin said. "And then we did the Big Orange Caravan."

Martin had been on similar alumni outings as an assistant at Purdue and during his three years as head coach at Missouri State.

But the Vols fans were more inquisitive.

"There were a lot of questions," Martin said with a chuckle. "They were probably still thinking when they looked at me, 'Who is this guy?' I talked to them about our players and all of our workouts."

JUNE

Martin launched his youth and advanced basketball camps, knowing the turnout likely would be modest as he and his staff were still very new to the community and had yet to have the opportunity to show their identity.

"A lot of the top older kids who come to (advanced) camp had already narrowed their choice of schools, but we had a lot of the younger guys," Martin said. "The good thing about the younger guys, they are usually pretty gung-ho, so it was mission accomplished.

"We also did a father-son camp that we had a good turnout for, so that was exciting."

Martin caught many off guard when he showed up for the Pilot Rocky Top League draft, sitting in a corner booth, quietly observing.

"Those were the guys that were going to coach my players for a few weeks," Martin said. "So, yes, I was very interested in checking that out."

Martin also was interested in spending some time with his family; his children finished school earlier in the month and were finally able to move to Knoxville.

JULY

Martin was burning to hit the recruiting trail, and he did so with a dictum: all orange and white gear for his assistant coaches.

"You're representing Tennessee, so you have to go out there in your orange and white," Martin said. "There's nothing wrong with black with an orange T on the one or two days your other stuff was being cleaned.

"But everyone knows, I want orange and white. I want the recruits to identify us and see us."

Martin said he received many congratulations from his fellow coaches.

"They know Tennessee is a good job, and they know the SEC is a good league to coach in," Martin said. "Your friends all want to see you become successful, and they were happy for me."

AUGUST

Martin started individual workouts mid-month and began tweaking the individual skill sets of his players and envisioning how they might fit together.

"You're only allowed four guys on the floor max, and you only have two hours a week with the players," Martin said. "But we were able to begin to implement our different schemes, our philosophy and our defensive tendencies."

SEPTEMBER

Team drills began in September, and Martin remembers feeling incredible energy from his players each day in Pratt Pavilion.

"We had great enthusiasm, to the point where we were wild in a lot of areas. But we had great energy and that was good.

"The one thing about a motion offense, you can put guys all over; like next year, now that Jeronne (Maymon) and Jarnell (Stokes) understand what we're doing, they'll be on the perimeter some, and our guards will go inside and post up.

"We didn't do as much of that this past fall, because we were just getting the guys to understand the offense and how to play hard more than anything else."

OCTOBER

Martin kept the momentum rolling once official practice sessions began, with players competing against one another for starting positions.

Martin had a general idea of what to expect from the SEC preseason Media Day in Birmingham, Ala., but he was somewhat taken aback to see his team picked to finish 11th before he had even arrived.

"I was thinking, well, maybe they are right, or maybe they are wrong," Martin said. "There were still so many unknowns for us: I didn't know the go-to guy, leading scorer, or who could make big shots or defensive stops.

"I knew one thing, if the guys bought in and played hard, we could be OK. But then, I also wondered if maybe they knew something I didn't know."

Martin said he didn't take it personal, because the media saw only one returning starter.

"What they didn't know, and couldn't know," he said, "was that our team would get better as the season went along."

NOVEMBER

The Vols had a couple of good tests in their exhibition games, getting valuable experience in their victories against Division II schools Carson-Newman and Lincoln Memorial before breezing through UNC-Greensboro and Louisiana-Monroe heading into the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

UT led through parts of the first half against Duke before falling 77-67, and the Vols rallied to push Memphis into overtime before falling 99-97 in the second OT period. An easy 86-60 victory against Division II Chaminade closed the trip.

"More than anything, the team gained confidence that we could compete," Martin said. "Because of how we played, I felt we had the pieces, but there was a lot of work to be done. The guys were feeling good about themselves. We represented Tennessee the right way even though we came up short."

DECEMBER

A road-weary UT team fell at Oakland, Mich., to close November, and December didn't start out much better as the Vols suffered home losses to then-No. 17 Pittsburgh and underdog Austin Peay before a road loss to College of Charleston.

"It was one of those deals, you're coming back from Maui, going to hostile environment at Oakland, where we probably didn't give them the respect they deserved," Martin said. "Then Pitt out-rebounded us.

"Austin Peay, we had a huge lead, let it slip, and didn't play well as a team and in some ways got selfish. People were getting shots up because we were winning, and Austin Peay got their heads up."

Martin leaned harder on his players, knowing a good UNC Asheville team (that eventually took Syracuse to the wire before falling in the NCAA tournament) was capable of beating Tennessee.

The Vols responded with a 72-68 victory that sparked a four-game winning streak to close the 2011 calendar year.

JANUARY

The new year started with a thorough whipping at Memphis, 69-51, where Martin and his players were exposed to loud jeers of "hillbilly," and "redneck," and other terms that left Martin's family members leaving the arena shaking their heads.

The Vols also left the arena with Memphis product Jarnell Stokes, who had signed his scholarship papers and sat on the team bench after graduating from Southwind High School just two weeks earlier.

Stokes still wasn't playing in the next game when UT shocked Florida in both teams' SEC opener.

"More than anything, the energy of SEC play kicked in for us against Florida," Martin said. "As a coach, you look at it in three seasons: preseason, conference and postseason.

"Florida was a great opponent, the guys were ready, ESPN was there and it was a great atmosphere," Martin said. "Once we got that win, I felt that was the turning point for our program. We competed, and we took the next step. Our guys needed to beat a quality opponent to get that self-confidence back."

Martin said the other key to the season was how the team embraced Stokes, who came off the bench his first two games before starting his third in a 60-57 victory against then-No. 13 Connecticut.

"The key was Jarnell is a good guy, and the guys on the team are good guys," Martin said. "They embraced each other. I've seen teams struggle with guys coming in the fall, but he comes in for a week, he's in the game, he's taking other people's minutes, and our guys made it a smooth transition. I was proud of them."

FEBRUARY

No one would have guessed after UT lost at Kentucky by 25 points that the Vols were on the verge of one of the best regular-season finishes in school history.

But that's what happened, as UT won eight of its final nine regular-season games, including a 7-1 February.

"The thing was, our guys were continuing to get better even in those earlier-season losses," Martin said. "Jarnell was finding his way, Jordan McRae started playing some good basketball. All the parts started working together."

MARCH

The month started with a 68-61 home victory against Vanderbilt in both teams' regular -season finale. The next day, Kentucky beat Florida and the Vols found themselves with the No. 2 seed in the SEC tournament — well above the preseason pick of No. 11.

UT, however, couldn't make it work: A determined Ole Miss team knocked off the Vols, 77-72, in overtime in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament in New Orleans.

The loss knocked UT off the NCAA tournament's proverbial "bubble," and left the team feeling disappointed it had not taken advantage of the opportunity it had created for itself.

"We could say we were gung ho about the NIT, but there's a lot taken out of you when you don't get in the NCAA," Martin said. "From where we started, we realized we may not be in any postseason. But then we put ourselves in position.''

The Vols won their first-round National Invitation Tournament game, 65-51 over Savannah State. But an accomplished Middle Tennessee State team in the midst of its best season in school history overcame a late eight-point deficit and rallied for a 71-64 victory in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Martin was pleased with the season, but he made no attempt to hide his disappointment with the final minutes of the final game.

The day after the loss, the Vols got a verbal commitment from a prospect who can play point guard, and Martin made it clear none of the starters from this season have starting positions heading into next season.

"It's going to be a good summer, all right," Martin said. "We're going to work to be one of the best teams in the nation next season. That's the way it has to be."

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

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Comments » 97

MidTennVol writes:

That's actually a very good review, Griff. Except the spelling of "gauge."

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Too bad UT had to force TG to play exclusively at PG..He can play the point, but he had no protection or depth behind him..HBTV!

69grad writes:

Coach Martin respects them,and his players respect him. That is the nucleus of a winning team. BTW,Pat looked great tonight and om top of her game.

CoverOrange writes:

I was hoping for something more revealing about the Maui trip but Martin is being nice. They weren't playing Martin style ball in Hawaii.

thevoice writes:

Still think we got the right guy.

wigmeister writes:

He is a good coach that had a good first year! We will be absolutely fine for the future. The negativity gets a little tiring!

eduardo writes:

Great job CCM

GerryOP writes:

Good job Grif. After that read, how could anyone question Coach Zo? He delivered more than anyone in the country expected, but no mention of over-achievement. I think this dude has a lot going for him ... and us. Don't forget, Tom Crean took over a similar disaster in Indiana and delivered 28 wins TOTAL over three years. Coach Zo delivered 19 wins his 1st year with basically one carryover starter.

You go Coach Zo! Keep up the good work and bring us another basketVol year to be proud of next season.

GerryOP writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Were you playing? No. Were you coaching? No. So you had nothing to do with the loss. Correct? Then I suspect your stinging wound is self-inflicted.

C'mon dude, stand tall for the orange and white. Be proud of our Vols!

HtownVol writes:

Can he reflect on his recruits coming in? Can they score? He can teach defense but scoring is much needed.

Also, reflect on how the UT guards need to learn how to feed the best players on the team in the paint.

bosscat writes:

Someone correct me if I'm wrong--CCM has never said a word about Maymon playing hurt in the Ole Miss game. I think it is safe to say he will never make excuses, it's not his style. Has UT and CCM signed a contract yet? I cannot believe that he has been working without a contract for this long. Surely UT realizes what they have in CCM.

VolFaninNiota writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Were you playing? No. Were you coaching? No. So you had nothing to do with the loss. Correct? Then I suspect your stinging wound is self-inflicted.

C'mon dude, stand tall for the orange and white. Be proud of our Vols!

One bad call doesn't make or break a game. Agree with Gerry "stand tall for the Orange and White and be proud of our Vols".

txvolsfan writes:

Class Act and is proving to be a good coach. He has a lot of respect in the basketball fraternity!!! I think in the next 2-3 years Coach Zo will be a hot commodity and I hope he stays around!!!
GO VOLS
TXVOLSFAN

budd#207344 writes:

in response to lakindofguy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Do you think Stokes might work out?

Bubba_Knows writes:

Great first year for CCM. I admit I didn't think he would win more than he lost in his first year based on the lack of a proven outside scorer and point guard. While de did get a boost from Stokes being added the lineup, there were other obvious improvements by the other players buying into his system that helped them finish #2 in the SEC regular season. Next year's team should be better.

hueypilot writes:

The best thing he did IMO is when they returned early am (like 3 am) due to some flight gliches and he told them he expected all of them to be in their early classes. Unlike Boeheim (sp?) who denied responsibility for his Syracuse players for anything other than basketball, Martin says he is preparing his players to be good men after basketball. While winning is important, it is important to me as a donor, a season ticket holder, and alum, father of three more alums, that he win the right way and his players represent our school well. I know, I know, winning winning winning, but I want them to do it the right way. In that regard, I am a big CM fan.

miatatom writes:

in response to hueypilot:

The best thing he did IMO is when they returned early am (like 3 am) due to some flight gliches and he told them he expected all of them to be in their early classes. Unlike Boeheim (sp?) who denied responsibility for his Syracuse players for anything other than basketball, Martin says he is preparing his players to be good men after basketball. While winning is important, it is important to me as a donor, a season ticket holder, and alum, father of three more alums, that he win the right way and his players represent our school well. I know, I know, winning winning winning, but I want them to do it the right way. In that regard, I am a big CM fan.

This alum totally agrees with you! We have a winner in CCM. I hope he stays at Rocky Top for a long long time.

Basketvol writes:

in response to bosscat:

Someone correct me if I'm wrong--CCM has never said a word about Maymon playing hurt in the Ole Miss game. I think it is safe to say he will never make excuses, it's not his style. Has UT and CCM signed a contract yet? I cannot believe that he has been working without a contract for this long. Surely UT realizes what they have in CCM.

I think you're right. The word excuse doesn't seem to be in his vocabulary. Check out this link for an excellent interview that shows his character and toughness. Can't wait to see part two of the interview.

http://blip.tv/anythingispossible/any...

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, it was a terrible call but in over 4 decades of watching sports, I have NEVER seen a single call -good or bad- truly decide a game. Granted, some calls seem more critical because of their timing but the bottom line is that the ref's calls are out of the team's control. On the other hand, before that "critical" call was made, within our control we had plenty of opportunities that would have made that horrible call irrelevant. We played poorly the entire game - missing shots inside, jacking 3's when they weren't falling, getting outrebounded, turning the ball over, numerous defensive lapses, etc... To blame the loss on that one poor call diminishes the importance of the other 39 minutes, 49 seconds, during which we continually made mistake after mistake on both ends of the court. Bad call? Absolutely. But by putting ourselves in a position such that one bad call would be so critical, we have nobody to blame but ourselves. Go Vols!!!

volthrunthru#658770 writes:

The fact that Martin had a discussion with Illinois, and then said it was "never" anything,

makes him equal to Pearl---prevarication is prevarication. The fact he had anything more than telling his secretary to tell his agent he was not interested is more than "never," and it is the hand of someone ungrateful for a 1.3million dollar, lots of perks and allowances and bonuses and family benefits...and the trust of the UT fans.

Since there apparently is no difference between him and Pearl in the "meaning of words" department, and Pearl has the ability to fill the house regardless, I say bring Pearl back as soon as Quonzo finishes babysitting.

His even discussing anything more than the location of the restroom with Illinois makes his statement to the media about "nothing" an untruth.

With Pearl UT would have been in the NCAA. With Pearl, UT could have had a house three-quarters or more full...and woulda beaten MTSU...because in-game adjustments would have been made...and the two guys who left to go pro woulda been there.

BRING BACK BRUCE ASAP!

Go Vols!

jcalhoun4 writes:

in response to lakindofguy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Recruiting stars are indicators, but not promises, on how good a player can be. Remember Chris Lofton, Dane Bradshaw, and CJ Watson were all 3 stars and JaJuan Smith wasn't even rated. At the same time, Ramar Smith, J.P. Prince, and Duke Crews were 5 stars, none of whom lived up to their potential. I trust that CCM knows the talents of his recruits, regardless of their star count.

Vol43 writes:

in response to volthrunthru#658770:

The fact that Martin had a discussion with Illinois, and then said it was "never" anything,

makes him equal to Pearl---prevarication is prevarication. The fact he had anything more than telling his secretary to tell his agent he was not interested is more than "never," and it is the hand of someone ungrateful for a 1.3million dollar, lots of perks and allowances and bonuses and family benefits...and the trust of the UT fans.

Since there apparently is no difference between him and Pearl in the "meaning of words" department, and Pearl has the ability to fill the house regardless, I say bring Pearl back as soon as Quonzo finishes babysitting.

His even discussing anything more than the location of the restroom with Illinois makes his statement to the media about "nothing" an untruth.

With Pearl UT would have been in the NCAA. With Pearl, UT could have had a house three-quarters or more full...and woulda beaten MTSU...because in-game adjustments would have been made...and the two guys who left to go pro woulda been there.

BRING BACK BRUCE ASAP!

Go Vols!

Oh, please! How naive. You are being facetious, right?

Vol43 writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I feel your pain bro.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

I love it when Ut fans are happy being left out of any real post season games in all three Major Mens Sports. By the way Vandy played in a Bowl, NCAA Tourney and baseball World Series. S Carolina a Bowl and Baseball World Series. Kentucky in the Elite 8. Auburn in a Bowl. So it looks like UT and Ole Miss were the only SEC schools to miss all three. (Ole Miss made coaching changes)Take Pride in that accomplishment, Ut was number 1 at sitting home. So glad losing to Austin peay and MTSU is now acceptable. Hilarious.

Vol43 writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

I love it when Ut fans are happy being left out of any real post season games in all three Major Mens Sports. By the way Vandy played in a Bowl, NCAA Tourney and baseball World Series. S Carolina a Bowl and Baseball World Series. Kentucky in the Elite 8. Auburn in a Bowl. So it looks like UT and Ole Miss were the only SEC schools to miss all three. (Ole Miss made coaching changes)Take Pride in that accomplishment, Ut was number 1 at sitting home. So glad losing to Austin peay and MTSU is now acceptable. Hilarious.

That is funny css. Know what else is funny? Watching you make a complete fool of yourself. Now, that is funny.

SouthPaVol writes:

in response to lakindofguy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We had three freshmen start at one point or another during the season. With Maymon hurt the last few games the freshmen really stepped up. Not as mature as JM, but good hustle and grit.

Need a PG and we got one coming in, if he works out. We have some SUPER finishers on fast breaks, just need a PG to push the action at full speed. future is promising, a pre-season top-25 is likely

ChicagoVols writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Good job Grif. After that read, how could anyone question Coach Zo? He delivered more than anyone in the country expected, but no mention of over-achievement. I think this dude has a lot going for him ... and us. Don't forget, Tom Crean took over a similar disaster in Indiana and delivered 28 wins TOTAL over three years. Coach Zo delivered 19 wins his 1st year with basically one carryover starter.

You go Coach Zo! Keep up the good work and bring us another basketVol year to be proud of next season.

Gerry, Cuonzo didn't take over near the disaster crean did. Crean took over a decimated program with 1 scholarship player. Cuonzo took over a program that was filled with 4 star recruits, albeit inexperienced ones. The 11th place prediction from the media was idiotic. We had a lot more talent than a lot of the sec teams.

born2ride writes:

Was this YEAR ZERO for basketball?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

Yeah, it was a terrible call but in over 4 decades of watching sports, I have NEVER seen a single call -good or bad- truly decide a game. Granted, some calls seem more critical because of their timing but the bottom line is that the ref's calls are out of the team's control. On the other hand, before that "critical" call was made, within our control we had plenty of opportunities that would have made that horrible call irrelevant. We played poorly the entire game - missing shots inside, jacking 3's when they weren't falling, getting outrebounded, turning the ball over, numerous defensive lapses, etc... To blame the loss on that one poor call diminishes the importance of the other 39 minutes, 49 seconds, during which we continually made mistake after mistake on both ends of the court. Bad call? Absolutely. But by putting ourselves in a position such that one bad call would be so critical, we have nobody to blame but ourselves. Go Vols!!!

That's the way I see it, too. It is VERY hard to get players to accept and ACT UPON the idea that EVERY possession is important, simply because you never know when a game is going to come down to the wire. If you have the mental discipline and maturity to do the right thing ALL THE TIME, there will be far fewer cases where one bad call is going to decide a game, and if it does happen that way, you will at least know you did everything you COULD to obtain the outcome you wanted.

brokendownoldvol writes:

Maybe he will go to a coaching camp and learn how to run some zone defense. Did you see that zone Petino laid on Michigan St.? Great coaches get to the final four by doing what it takes to win.

underthehill writes:

Bottom line..good year for UT men's basketball and reason to believe there will be continued improvement..good job Martin and players...

vol75 writes:

Pearl's first recruit- Ryan Childress. His next recruiting class of Chism, et al. was a good class. It took awhile before he picked up a recruit the quality of Stokes. I believe Coach Martin will bring in talent with the bonus of being quality people who want to play hard. I wish the Energy Vampires would try harder to focus on the positive.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to volthrunthru#658770:

The fact that Martin had a discussion with Illinois, and then said it was "never" anything,

makes him equal to Pearl---prevarication is prevarication. The fact he had anything more than telling his secretary to tell his agent he was not interested is more than "never," and it is the hand of someone ungrateful for a 1.3million dollar, lots of perks and allowances and bonuses and family benefits...and the trust of the UT fans.

Since there apparently is no difference between him and Pearl in the "meaning of words" department, and Pearl has the ability to fill the house regardless, I say bring Pearl back as soon as Quonzo finishes babysitting.

His even discussing anything more than the location of the restroom with Illinois makes his statement to the media about "nothing" an untruth.

With Pearl UT would have been in the NCAA. With Pearl, UT could have had a house three-quarters or more full...and woulda beaten MTSU...because in-game adjustments would have been made...and the two guys who left to go pro woulda been there.

BRING BACK BRUCE ASAP!

Go Vols!

I gotta say I have seldom seen so much drivel in one post in my life, and on here that is saying something! First of all, there is nothing but the word of some blogger trying to make a reputation that Martin ever talked to anyone at Illinois about anything, including the location of the restroom.

Even if there HAD been any communication between intermediaries, comparing what we KNOW about Martin's communication with what we KNOW Pearl did is like comparing apples with giraffes. The basketball world is like the world of any other type of business. You may be trying to beat the socks off of your competitors, but you are all in the same business, so you WILL have knowledge of, and at least some level of communication with, anybody ELSE in that business. No one knows what will happen down the road. Who knows, maybe some of the UT powers-that-be will flip out at some point like you have and tell Martin to get lost. He would be a fool indeed, as would any other coach, to have a whole bunch of burned bridges behind him to the point that no one else would hire him.

Next, there is absolutely nothing except your prejudice against Martin to support the idea that Pearl could have done any better with this year's team than Martin did. Pearl was one of the worst "good" coaches I ever saw when it came to in-game adjustments. He could create good game PLANS, but he couldn't adjust them if they didn't work. (His substitutions were chaotic, his use of time-outs was not strategically sound, and he rarely even seemed to notice when a key opponent was in foul trouble so as to direct the offense at him. In fairness, I fault Martin for some of the same things, but you were trying to imply that Pearl was obviously better at these things and I profoundly disagree.)

Basketball fans don't come out to see coaches, they come out to see their team win games. If Pearl had come out with the same early performance as this year's team did, the crowds would have been no better than they actually were, and they actually WERE 5th in the country in home attendance, about where they were under Pearl. And there is absolutely NO WAY to say that Hopson and Harris would have been here if Pearl had been. Hopson and Pearl were hardly speaking to each other by the end of last season as it was, and even Pearl said that Harris should go pro if he was pretty much assured of being a first-round draft pick.

To conclude, I am done wasting time trying to yank you out of your dream world. I don't know why you seem to have such a dislike for Martin, but since it doesn't affect me, I don't care anymore. It is enough for me that you are in a DISTINCT minority on this board in your opinion. I wish you much happiness there.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Vol43:

That is funny css. Know what else is funny? Watching you make a complete fool of yourself. Now, that is funny.

No, it's not funny, it just means that today is Sunday or indeed any day when this guy posts. We will see what tune he is whistling this time next year. In the meantime, just treat his posts as I do--"For amusement purposes only."

underthehill writes:

in response to brokendownoldvol:

Maybe he will go to a coaching camp and learn how to run some zone defense. Did you see that zone Petino laid on Michigan St.? Great coaches get to the final four by doing what it takes to win.

You make a good point..great coaches do everything they can to give their team every chance they can to win..I do think you give the opponent an edge when they know you are not going zone no matter what and with Golden and McBee on the floor at the same time I think they need to zone some..I think the zone would have helped against Middle Tn when they took advantage of Golden late in the game..having said this I still have confidence in Coach Martin because of the results he has gotten with his defense and I do believe he will continue to improve as a head coach..I think Martin is an intelligent winner..

johnlg00 writes:

One thing that occurred to me in the article was the implication that Martin has yet to install all aspects of his system. He saw, correctly in my view, that he had to change the culture and mindset of the team first and the insistence on the man-to-man defense was integral to that. Almost exclusive use of the motion offense was also part of that because it doesn't require as much practice time to get the basics down, allowing more time to work on defense. However, there are numerous refinements to the basic man-to-man and to the basic motion offense, and I think we will see many more of those next year with everybody of significance back from this year.

Here are a few refinements I would like to see in both offense and defense:

>Better and more consistent application of the basic defensive posture. Several of the guys, at least at times, seemed to stand too upright a good deal of the time. Players need to keep their knees bent, feet wider than shoulders, backs straight, heads up, and arms out and moving AT ALL TIMES.

>More work on mid-range jumpers and fewer head-long forays to the basket or rushed outside shots.

>More attention to angles and timing--and more volume!--passing to the posts.

>More use of shot-fakes and pass-fakes by the perimeter players in particular.

>A bit less pure motion offense and a few more structured plays to the offense to more directly attack specific opponents' weak players and areas.

>A variety of SCORING plays in out-of-bounds and late-game situations.

>Adoption of Pearl's out-of-bounds defense; for a couple of years at least, that was a MAJOR weapon for confusing opposing offenses and resulted in numerous turnovers, run-out opportunities, and forced time-outs. I have never really understood why Pearl's last couple of teams didn't use it as much as they did earlier.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to born2ride:

Was this YEAR ZERO for basketball?

No, just another YEAR ZERO in your intellectual maturation. What is the count up to now, about 30 or so?

VolGrad writes:

Break 'em down and coach 'em up, CoZo.

Go Vols!

Ayres_Hall writes:

in response to RockyTopRenegade:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

+1 the future is now here.

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

* yawn *

volthrunthru#658770 writes:

in response to Vol43:

Oh, please! How naive. You are being facetious, right?

No...not naive at all. I am able to match worldiness with, probably, 95+% of anybody who will ever post here, I assure you...and can look all but a very, very few in the eye...in business, and other venues.

I believe the height of naive is someone like you who thinks that sophistication...or of business sense or business prowess...is to say one thing, but do another. White lies are never white; lies are lies.

Real businesspersons who know what they are doing do not have to. If they walk in integrity, under The Almighty, they understand how to fade all that kind of heat...with the help of the Almighty.

A guy who proclaims how grateful he is to UT for the opportunity and that he will be forever, has no business looking at or being attracted by distractions.

It amounts to the guy who promised in a wedding ceremony to be faithful to his wife, flirting with or "Just talking to a girl,honey," it does not mean anything.

Truth is truth. Truth is not some truth and some lies. Truth is not deception.

Truth is doing what one says.

He has no right to bust Kenny Hall, if he himself says one thing and does another.

Then he comes back, afterward, and says it "never" meant anything. If it had "NEVER" meant anything, he would not have allowed the contact.

Period. Integrity is integrity.

volthrunthru#658770 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I gotta say I have seldom seen so much drivel in one post in my life, and on here that is saying something! First of all, there is nothing but the word of some blogger trying to make a reputation that Martin ever talked to anyone at Illinois about anything, including the location of the restroom.

Even if there HAD been any communication between intermediaries, comparing what we KNOW about Martin's communication with what we KNOW Pearl did is like comparing apples with giraffes. The basketball world is like the world of any other type of business. You may be trying to beat the socks off of your competitors, but you are all in the same business, so you WILL have knowledge of, and at least some level of communication with, anybody ELSE in that business. No one knows what will happen down the road. Who knows, maybe some of the UT powers-that-be will flip out at some point like you have and tell Martin to get lost. He would be a fool indeed, as would any other coach, to have a whole bunch of burned bridges behind him to the point that no one else would hire him.

Next, there is absolutely nothing except your prejudice against Martin to support the idea that Pearl could have done any better with this year's team than Martin did. Pearl was one of the worst "good" coaches I ever saw when it came to in-game adjustments. He could create good game PLANS, but he couldn't adjust them if they didn't work. (His substitutions were chaotic, his use of time-outs was not strategically sound, and he rarely even seemed to notice when a key opponent was in foul trouble so as to direct the offense at him. In fairness, I fault Martin for some of the same things, but you were trying to imply that Pearl was obviously better at these things and I profoundly disagree.)

Basketball fans don't come out to see coaches, they come out to see their team win games. If Pearl had come out with the same early performance as this year's team did, the crowds would have been no better than they actually were, and they actually WERE 5th in the country in home attendance, about where they were under Pearl. And there is absolutely NO WAY to say that Hopson and Harris would have been here if Pearl had been. Hopson and Pearl were hardly speaking to each other by the end of last season as it was, and even Pearl said that Harris should go pro if he was pretty much assured of being a first-round draft pick.

To conclude, I am done wasting time trying to yank you out of your dream world. I don't know why you seem to have such a dislike for Martin, but since it doesn't affect me, I don't care anymore. It is enough for me that you are in a DISTINCT minority on this board in your opinion. I wish you much happiness there.

Your help is neither needed nor wanted.

Find somebody who is not smarter, better educated, more talented, less experienced and less capable to help, please.

While not less modest---although based on your comments, that may be a tie---

I do not welcome your words or their source.

John_10065 writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Were you playing? No. Were you coaching? No. So you had nothing to do with the loss. Correct? Then I suspect your stinging wound is self-inflicted.

C'mon dude, stand tall for the orange and white. Be proud of our Vols!

I feel his pain but I always have to remember something I told my stepson when he got fired over his attendance on his past job.

It isn't the last thing that gets you, it's all the things that happened before then that did it.

We never shutdown the high picks all season. And MS schooled us driving down the lane off it. That's what lost that game.

UT4prez writes:

in response to volthrunthru#658770:

No...not naive at all. I am able to match worldiness with, probably, 95+% of anybody who will ever post here, I assure you...and can look all but a very, very few in the eye...in business, and other venues.

I believe the height of naive is someone like you who thinks that sophistication...or of business sense or business prowess...is to say one thing, but do another. White lies are never white; lies are lies.

Real businesspersons who know what they are doing do not have to. If they walk in integrity, under The Almighty, they understand how to fade all that kind of heat...with the help of the Almighty.

A guy who proclaims how grateful he is to UT for the opportunity and that he will be forever, has no business looking at or being attracted by distractions.

It amounts to the guy who promised in a wedding ceremony to be faithful to his wife, flirting with or "Just talking to a girl,honey," it does not mean anything.

Truth is truth. Truth is not some truth and some lies. Truth is not deception.

Truth is doing what one says.

He has no right to bust Kenny Hall, if he himself says one thing and does another.

Then he comes back, afterward, and says it "never" meant anything. If it had "NEVER" meant anything, he would not have allowed the contact.

Period. Integrity is integrity.

Wow. You are on a roll. Maybe I missed it but from what I read Martin didn't say he never talked to Illinois. He said there was never anything to it. To me that means in his mind he never had thoughts of leaving. I have listened to many head hunters in my time without any thoughts of leaving my job.

Martin comes across as a no nonsense guy and someone with integrity. Of course you never really know but I choose to believe the positive until proven otherwise. I know you think this proves otherwise but I don't see it.

volthrunthru#658770 writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I submit that you are correct; and if you look at the result of:

1) paying his severance
2) the ill will among the former coaches
3) $$ for new contracts for Martin&assistants
4) the fact Martin's team won only 1 of 3 of
the post-season games they played, and the
average attendance did not even break even
for the two NIT games in K-ville...

we would have been ahead to keep Pearl,
at every level---

money,
power,
publicity (the media would still be reporting)
and all the same stuff.

Now we have a guy recruiting players Pearl and
company would not have touched...except for
the guy Pearl's people had already closed,
Stokes, and we have a team that cannot whip
cream, except in K'ville, and we have a
staff that cannot make an in-game adjustment
unless The Lord hands a sign out of heaven
with letters on it to each of them, and an
offense that only a high school home-ec
teacher would say is sophisticated enough
for the SEC...

In short, we would now be ready for Pearl &
company to make a comeback---or the # 2 guy to
lead the team with Pearl having a consulting
job with the University.

These people who kicked him to the curb were
judgemental, looking down their nose at him,
but they allowed Mike Hamilton to screw the
program and all the men's sports into the ground, yet told everyone and still do, just
how much they (the power brokers @ UT) have
done for UT...

when they caused the problem with p-poor leadership. Their morality is certainly no better than Pearl, the guy they were judging.
And their leadership is a damned site worse---if you don't believe it, count back five years and see what a HALF-BILLION DOLLARS bought in athletics at UT.

We shoulda kept Pearl.

Basketvol writes:

in response to volthrunthru#658770:

I submit that you are correct; and if you look at the result of:

1) paying his severance
2) the ill will among the former coaches
3) $$ for new contracts for Martin&assistants
4) the fact Martin's team won only 1 of 3 of
the post-season games they played, and the
average attendance did not even break even
for the two NIT games in K-ville...

we would have been ahead to keep Pearl,
at every level---

money,
power,
publicity (the media would still be reporting)
and all the same stuff.

Now we have a guy recruiting players Pearl and
company would not have touched...except for
the guy Pearl's people had already closed,
Stokes, and we have a team that cannot whip
cream, except in K'ville, and we have a
staff that cannot make an in-game adjustment
unless The Lord hands a sign out of heaven
with letters on it to each of them, and an
offense that only a high school home-ec
teacher would say is sophisticated enough
for the SEC...

In short, we would now be ready for Pearl &
company to make a comeback---or the # 2 guy to
lead the team with Pearl having a consulting
job with the University.

These people who kicked him to the curb were
judgemental, looking down their nose at him,
but they allowed Mike Hamilton to screw the
program and all the men's sports into the ground, yet told everyone and still do, just
how much they (the power brokers @ UT) have
done for UT...

when they caused the problem with p-poor leadership. Their morality is certainly no better than Pearl, the guy they were judging.
And their leadership is a damned site worse---if you don't believe it, count back five years and see what a HALF-BILLION DOLLARS bought in athletics at UT.

We shoulda kept Pearl.

We didn't keep Pearl. Stop taking it out on Martin and get over it.

volthrunthru#658770 writes:

in response to UT4prez:

Wow. You are on a roll. Maybe I missed it but from what I read Martin didn't say he never talked to Illinois. He said there was never anything to it. To me that means in his mind he never had thoughts of leaving. I have listened to many head hunters in my time without any thoughts of leaving my job.

Martin comes across as a no nonsense guy and someone with integrity. Of course you never really know but I choose to believe the positive until proven otherwise. I know you think this proves otherwise but I don't see it.

I'm all for talking to headhunters, testing waters, etc, etc, etc.

But I am for doing it as a man, not a con artist. Publicly professing great love and gratitude for an institution's giving a man one of the best jobs in the US in an indiviual profession...while privately checking out other jobs is duplicitous---disingenuous---deceitful. It amounts to a player "playing" the coach by asking him "how do I become one of those great players," and then the player's winding up suspended for "failure to operate by team rules."

The coach who would discipline a kid who did that had better make sure he (the coach) is pristine about those issues himself. Otherwise...somebody appears to be conning The Lord, who is the One who puts folks in authority in the positions...

I am for checking to see about opportunity in a guy's career on an on-going basis; I am against doing it under a smoke screen of deception.
So I don't believe in doing that on company trips, etc, etc, etc...

volthrunthru#658770 writes:

in response to Basketvol:

We didn't keep Pearl. Stop taking it out on Martin and get over it.

I was responding to a guy's question about Pearl.

My original posts are about Martin, and some things I do not like about the way he handled the first year as Head Coach.

You get over that.

Razzle writes:

Great job coach Martin. Enthusiastically looking forward to next season!

Razzle writes:

in response to volthrunthru#658770:

I'm all for talking to headhunters, testing waters, etc, etc, etc.

But I am for doing it as a man, not a con artist. Publicly professing great love and gratitude for an institution's giving a man one of the best jobs in the US in an indiviual profession...while privately checking out other jobs is duplicitous---disingenuous---deceitful. It amounts to a player "playing" the coach by asking him "how do I become one of those great players," and then the player's winding up suspended for "failure to operate by team rules."

The coach who would discipline a kid who did that had better make sure he (the coach) is pristine about those issues himself. Otherwise...somebody appears to be conning The Lord, who is the One who puts folks in authority in the positions...

I am for checking to see about opportunity in a guy's career on an on-going basis; I am against doing it under a smoke screen of deception.
So I don't believe in doing that on company trips, etc, etc, etc...

Wow! What a holier than thou attitude.

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