Lady Vols coaches 'excited' about signees

Head coach Holly Warlick holds a press conference during media day for the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team at Pratt Pavillion, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.  (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Head coach Holly Warlick holds a press conference during media day for the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team at Pratt Pavillion, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Polls aren't popular these days with Tennessee, which is understandable since the Lady Vols are at a low ebb in the national rankings at No. 24.

But there is one women's basketball ranking that's raising hopes, along with UT's stature. The All-Star Girls Report ranks Tennessee's three-player signing class of Mercedes Russell, Jannah Tucker and Jordan Reynolds at No. 2 nationally, trailing only North Carolina.

"I hope it holds true,'' Lady Vols assistant coach Dean Lockwood said.

Tennessee missed out on a significant addition on Friday when guard Tyler Scaife from Little Rock, Ark., announced that she was signing with Rutgers. No matter, the prevailing mood in UT's camp matches the lofty perception of their signees.

We had three big, big signees, and I'm excited about all of them," first-year head coach Holly Warlick said in a UT release.

Lockwood said that Russell, a 6-foot-6 center from Springfield, Ore., Tucker, a 6-0 wing from Randallstown, Md., and Reynolds, a 5-11 guard from Portland have been "on our wish list even since we first saw them."

"We think they're three winners in every way," he said. "They're terrific players. They're people of character. There's a passion for the game. There's a work ethic there."

The signing class reflects favorably on Warlick, a career assistant who's replaced legendary coach Pat Summitt. Warlick said the class is a tribute to Summitt's legacy and Warlick's staff, which she thinks can convey UT's tradition to recruits.

"I think I have the people in place, they understand that and they understand how to sell it," Warlick said.

In this case, even someone who's not in place helped. Former Lady Vol Niya Butts, who's the head coach at Arizona, called former UT assistant Mickie DeMoss about Russell, then a sophomore. She eventually blossomed into the top-ranked player in the Class of 2013.

"She called and said something to the effect, 'this is a kid we can't get but you guys should know about her,' " Lockwood said.

Along with the high spirits, there's also a sense of relief on UT's part. The class required considerable work. The coaches had to re-recruit Tucker in late October after her father, Robert, admitted to overreacting to "blatantly false and misleading information from the outside."

Patience was at a premium with Russell not deciding until Oct. 30 and Reynolds announcing on Nov. 2.

"We felt good about our processes and how we were doing it," Lockwood said. "Were we concerned? No question."

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Comments » 23

richvol writes:

We could use those gals right now.

miatatom writes:

Wish they could play now but this is a significant accomplishment for Holly. Putting a great coaching team together and then a great recruiting class in her first year were her most important steps as the new leader of the Lady Vols. She's accomplished them both with the precision and execution we've come to expect from Pat. Congratulations to Holly and all of the Lady Vols coaching staff.

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

Holly is a competitor and a winner. Since high school she only knows one thing, how to win. Reminds me of a young lady I once knew named Trish.

ps11824 writes:

Holly, Dean, Kyra and Jolette have what they need RIGHT NOW. The Lady Vols have the potential to be a top-contender with the personnel in place to develop whatever is lacking. Discipline is key. Holly will prevail as one of the best head coaches in the country, AND she will be pursued by programs far and wide on college and WNBA levels. MARK MY WORDS. However, she will not leave UT. I could insert caveat, but I don't wish to go there...

SummittsCourt writes:

The future is so bright I have to wear shades.

Mike_In_Storrs_CT writes:

its amazing what happened to ex lady vol Holdsclaw. Surprised that isnt one of the main headlines on this site?

Theo writes:

in response to Mike_In_Storrs_CT:

its amazing what happened to ex lady vol Holdsclaw. Surprised that isnt one of the main headlines on this site?

It figures you would slime your way in just to take a shot at a troubled young woman. Should we discuss multiple drunk driving arrests too Diana? Or perhaps you would like to talk about sexual harrassment Geno?

Theo writes:

I think this puts us at 1,5,2 in the last three classes? I might be a little off but I don't think much.
Congrats LV staff - great results for a great group of people.

Mike_In_Storrs_CT writes:

in response to Theo:

It figures you would slime your way in just to take a shot at a troubled young woman. Should we discuss multiple drunk driving arrests too Diana? Or perhaps you would like to talk about sexual harrassment Geno?

I am not taking a shot, Like I said I was shocked when I saw it on the news last night. And I am really shocked that there isnt much of a discussion about it on the Lady Vols website. I guess your just trying to sweep it under the rug. At least on the Uconn website, Dee's and Geno's problems were discussed at length.

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

in response to Mike_In_Storrs_CT:

I am not taking a shot, Like I said I was shocked when I saw it on the news last night. And I am really shocked that there isnt much of a discussion about it on the Lady Vols website. I guess your just trying to sweep it under the rug. At least on the Uconn website, Dee's and Geno's problems were discussed at length.

There's an article about it on the website. You can discuss it there. This article discussion is about UT women's basketball. We like to keep it that way.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

Congratulations to everyone who responded to Mike_In_Storrs. You just invited him to keep posting on this site. By the way, for those of you who don't know, the only good thing to ever come out of Connecticut was an empty Greyhound bus.

jt45 writes:

in response to Mike_In_Storrs_CT:

I am not taking a shot, Like I said I was shocked when I saw it on the news last night. And I am really shocked that there isnt much of a discussion about it on the Lady Vols website. I guess your just trying to sweep it under the rug. At least on the Uconn website, Dee's and Geno's problems were discussed at length.

So they were having a discussion about you on a Uconn website? So why are you here (really). Fellow fans getting tired of you ? You secretly want to be a UT fan. Checking out the new Talent thats coming in next year. You can tell us Mikey we promise not to report you Geno and cost you that watergirl job you have been hoping for.

jt45 writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

Congratulations to everyone who responded to Mike_In_Storrs. You just invited him to keep posting on this site. By the way, for those of you who don't know, the only good thing to ever come out of Connecticut was an empty Greyhound bus.

Why was the bus a good thing ? Wouldnt it be better
if nothing came out of Connecticut ?

Mike_In_Storrs_CT writes:

Well I wasnt going to mention this, however now seems like as good a time as any. I hate to bring about some bad information to womens college basketball fans, no matter who their favorite teams are. But it looks to me that Uconn will be ranked #1 come Tuesday, and they will probably remain there for about the next 4 years at least. They will never lose that Position for a very long time. Thank you Stanford. I also want to let everyone on this board know that Uconn probably has the greatest team they have ever had right now. I kid you not. I have been watching them for 20 years now, and they have never had a team as good as this one. And everybody better start knowing who Brianna Stewart is, because when she is done playing she will probably be called the greatest womens basketball player to ever step on a court. This team is pretty much unbeatable, I will also go out on a limb and state "Baylor and Griner will have no shot at Uconn" they will not know how to defend us this year. We will beat them by at least 30-40 points when we play them in Feb too. So get ready to watch Uconn win at least 100 or more games in a roll.Again I really hate to bring this bad news to you all, but I have to.This team has only 11 players, however 10 of them are superstars (excluding Buck), they have the best post game, the best guards, the best defense, the best bench(as a matter of fact their second team would be a top 5 ranked team) and they have the best and winningest coach of all time. When all is said and done he will probably end up with 15 titles, and about 1500-1600 wins. Unbelievable!!

Volinflan writes:

So while we're having fun slamming Mikey and enjoying the Stanford victory over Baylor.... Soo, the Lady Vols aren't on any kind of TV tomorrow? I checked USPN3 and they don't have them listed. Shoot

jt45 writes:

in response to Volinflan:

So while we're having fun slamming Mikey and enjoying the Stanford victory over Baylor.... Soo, the Lady Vols aren't on any kind of TV tomorrow? I checked USPN3 and they don't have them listed. Shoot

I think you can catch the stream for a price (9.95) or something like that. Seems a bit much but thats the way it is these days.

Baiting Mikey is fun, his whole life gets shared in a paragraph and he actually thinks we care,,LOL!

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

Someone took a vacation to Colorado. Wacky ...

kazoo writes:

Some in Ct. told me--seriously--that Mike in Storrs eats his boogers and goes to sleep on a Geno's My Hero pillowcase. That explains a lot.

south_alabama_vol writes:

in response to Mike_In_Storrs_CT:

Well I wasnt going to mention this, however now seems like as good a time as any. I hate to bring about some bad information to womens college basketball fans, no matter who their favorite teams are. But it looks to me that Uconn will be ranked #1 come Tuesday, and they will probably remain there for about the next 4 years at least. They will never lose that Position for a very long time. Thank you Stanford. I also want to let everyone on this board know that Uconn probably has the greatest team they have ever had right now. I kid you not. I have been watching them for 20 years now, and they have never had a team as good as this one. And everybody better start knowing who Brianna Stewart is, because when she is done playing she will probably be called the greatest womens basketball player to ever step on a court. This team is pretty much unbeatable, I will also go out on a limb and state "Baylor and Griner will have no shot at Uconn" they will not know how to defend us this year. We will beat them by at least 30-40 points when we play them in Feb too. So get ready to watch Uconn win at least 100 or more games in a roll.Again I really hate to bring this bad news to you all, but I have to.This team has only 11 players, however 10 of them are superstars (excluding Buck), they have the best post game, the best guards, the best defense, the best bench(as a matter of fact their second team would be a top 5 ranked team) and they have the best and winningest coach of all time. When all is said and done he will probably end up with 15 titles, and about 1500-1600 wins. Unbelievable!!

Sure glad I'm wearing my boots, cause it's getting deep on here!!

VolsFan4Lyfe writes:

in response to Mike_In_Storrs_CT:

Well I wasnt going to mention this, however now seems like as good a time as any. I hate to bring about some bad information to womens college basketball fans, no matter who their favorite teams are. But it looks to me that Uconn will be ranked #1 come Tuesday, and they will probably remain there for about the next 4 years at least. They will never lose that Position for a very long time. Thank you Stanford. I also want to let everyone on this board know that Uconn probably has the greatest team they have ever had right now. I kid you not. I have been watching them for 20 years now, and they have never had a team as good as this one. And everybody better start knowing who Brianna Stewart is, because when she is done playing she will probably be called the greatest womens basketball player to ever step on a court. This team is pretty much unbeatable, I will also go out on a limb and state "Baylor and Griner will have no shot at Uconn" they will not know how to defend us this year. We will beat them by at least 30-40 points when we play them in Feb too. So get ready to watch Uconn win at least 100 or more games in a roll.Again I really hate to bring this bad news to you all, but I have to.This team has only 11 players, however 10 of them are superstars (excluding Buck), they have the best post game, the best guards, the best defense, the best bench(as a matter of fact their second team would be a top 5 ranked team) and they have the best and winningest coach of all time. When all is said and done he will probably end up with 15 titles, and about 1500-1600 wins. Unbelievable!!

Thanks for the laugh I needed that...We know Brianna Stewart and next year we will introduce her to Mercedes Russell! Basharra matches up well with Morgan Tuck! When Ariel and your point guard played on USA team together Ariel was the starting point guard of because how could control the game... Jannah tucker is going to be a beast at the 2 guard spot and will be able to body up any opponent and Jordan Reynolds is a slasher who will be able to dominate for years to come very Hornbuckle like! Oh and I expect Baylor to better handle IF Odessey Simms is out the game again..IF she isnt she is going to hound your pg and you wont even get the ball up the court!

Mike_In_Storrs_CT writes:

in response to VolsFan4Lyfe:

Thanks for the laugh I needed that...We know Brianna Stewart and next year we will introduce her to Mercedes Russell! Basharra matches up well with Morgan Tuck! When Ariel and your point guard played on USA team together Ariel was the starting point guard of because how could control the game... Jannah tucker is going to be a beast at the 2 guard spot and will be able to body up any opponent and Jordan Reynolds is a slasher who will be able to dominate for years to come very Hornbuckle like! Oh and I expect Baylor to better handle IF Odessey Simms is out the game again..IF she isnt she is going to hound your pg and you wont even get the ball up the court!

yes Mercdes Russell is going to be a great player, no doubt. Amazing that Tenn. was able to pick her up. However keep in mind that a lot of great players cant come to Uconn, because they are all worried about playing time. But that was a great Pickup none the less by Tennesses new coach.

VolsFan4Lyfe writes:

in response to Mike_In_Storrs_CT:

yes Mercdes Russell is going to be a great player, no doubt. Amazing that Tenn. was able to pick her up. However keep in mind that a lot of great players cant come to Uconn, because they are all worried about playing time. But that was a great Pickup none the less by Tennesses new coach.

You are very correct! We experienced the same thing with Tyler Scaife,Kendall Cooper, Emmonnie Henderson, etc! Kids also have to feel comfortable with the coaching staffs! I actually dont get offended by your comments because even you can recognize what Tennessee has done for the women's game and that BOTH are the two best and the ones people build their programs to be like! TN was first but UCONN did a heck of a job in becoming the power house it is...and no true bball fan can deny what either school has meant to the sport!

Theo writes:

in response to VolsFan4Lyfe:

You are very correct! We experienced the same thing with Tyler Scaife,Kendall Cooper, Emmonnie Henderson, etc! Kids also have to feel comfortable with the coaching staffs! I actually dont get offended by your comments because even you can recognize what Tennessee has done for the women's game and that BOTH are the two best and the ones people build their programs to be like! TN was first but UCONN did a heck of a job in becoming the power house it is...and no true bball fan can deny what either school has meant to the sport!

Alright Mikey - quit posting back to yourself under a different name. Why do you come to our site? Why not go where you might be, although I doubt anyone wants you, wanted?
You know they've done studies about people like you who just need attention so badly that they will irritate the phooey out of others just to get it. Do you pull the wings off of bugs? Do you torture small animals? Do pets disappear in your neighborhood?

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