UT coach wants Armani Moore to keep it simple

Tennessee guard Armani Moore (4) defends against guard Delbert Love (3) during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. Tennessee won 76-67 over Kennesaw State. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee guard Armani Moore (4) defends against guard Delbert Love (3) during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. Tennessee won 76-67 over Kennesaw State. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

During a Tennessee men's basketball practice about a week or so ago, freshman point guard Armani Moore sliced up floor and made a sly no-look pass leading to an easy layup.

One possession later, Moore dribbled at midcourt and rifled an overhand pass through a maze of defenders. The maze won. Turnover.

A whistle filled Pratt Pavillion.

"C'mon, Armani," coach Cuonzo Martin followed. "It's either a home run or a strikeout with you, man."

Teaching a freshman point guard to adjust to the college game is one thing. Teaching a freshman who didn't play the position in high school to adjust to playing point in college is entirely different.

You can guess which Armani Moore is.

"Keep it simple" is Martin's constant reminder.

As junior point guard Trae Golden's primary backup, Moore is being given every opportunity to learn on the fly early in the Vols' season. He played 12 minutes in a victory against Oakland on Monday and 11 in a prior victory against Massachusetts in Puerto Rico.

In each game he made one field goal, scored two points, dished one assist and committed two turnovers.

"I've still got to get adjusted to playing in college basketball games," Moore said Wednesday.

Martin concurs, but believes progress is being made.

Moore starred as a wing at Mt. Paran Christian School, a lower-rung school in Georgia high school basketball.

Not exactly the SEC.

In the transition to a new position, Martin said Moore doesn't need to be a traditional point guard. In UT's offense, it often doesn't matter who brings the ball across halfcourt and starts the offense. Jeronne Maymon did it at times last year.

Moore's task is to keep the Vols' motion offense moving when Golden catches a breather. Steady play, smart defense and no turnovers are the requirements.

The home runs are nice. The strikeouts are not.

"That's his game, but now he has to maintain the spectacular and also know when it's time to keep it simple," Martin said. "When you get to this level, you're asked to run a team, which is not an easy thing to do, along with defending and rebounding.

"By my gauge, you get more opportunities and more minutes when you do those things."

When Tennessee (4-1) travels to Washington, D.C., for a meeting with No. 20 Georgetown (4-1) on Friday (TV: ESPN, 6:30 p.m.), Moore will get his first taste of a true college basketball road game.

He said he's "excited" for the matchup, but admitted, "I'm still not used to always running the show and I don't feel 100 percent comfortable right now. "

Thus, Moore's development continues to be a focal point.

Asked if he rides Moore a little more than others in practice, Martin began nodding before the question ended.

"Oh yeah, oh yeah," he said. "I'm on him because he has the ability. It came so easy to him and now all the sudden it doesn't come so easy. He can't be so loose and careless with the ball. That's a turnover. We'll pay for it on the other end.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/BFQuinn

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Comments » 12

lomas98 writes:

Being comfortable in what you are doing is important to be successful. Some of our fans expect the world from these guys and forget they are learning different roles and it is not easy. Good luck Armani in improving and contributing in you role this year.

Orangeblood13 writes:

would just like Maymon to come back, we need the Bruise Bros to open up the outside

CPU writes:

speaking of fans, UT fans will have a hard time beating this LSU fan

http://youtu.be/UfXD2FA572E

Couchdummy writes:

Coach Martin impresses me more and more as time goes by. His emphasis on sound fundamentals and his consistent defensive philosophy never changes!

brod writes:

doesn't matter what his role is, he needs to get better at handling the ball.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I think Moore handles the ball ok he just needs to learn the system. His game minutes haven't been too bad except maybe Okie St in which all the minutes were bad for all the players.

We may just need to cut our rotations a bit Friday and give the starters some time in the game to get a lead and rest only when necessary. I don't know. I'm trying to think as I type and that's like chewing gum and walking for me.

But one thing is sure this won't be an easy game. Everyone has to be in it and playing the best defense possible. We need good confident shots (inside preferably) on offense. Give Stokes the ball!!!

Seriously I like the way we've played with a lot of people scoring. But if you go inside first you will get your chances on the perimeter as well. Golden's the key to leading this team in the right direction.

Georgetown isn't scary to me...but I'll know by second half if they should be. Indiana's whooping of N.Car. was no accident. Georgetown gave Indiana a tough one.

Go Vols beat Georgetown. If we beat them we may shoot to the to 20.IMHO we should.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I think Moore handles the ball ok he just needs to learn the system. His game minutes haven't been too bad except maybe Okie St in which all the minutes were bad for all the players.

We may just need to cut our rotations a bit Friday and give the starters some time in the game to get a lead and rest only when necessary. I don't know. I'm trying to think as I type and that's like chewing gum and walking for me.

But one thing is sure this won't be an easy game. Everyone has to be in it and playing the best defense possible. We need good confident shots (inside preferably) on offense. Give Stokes the ball!!!

Seriously I like the way we've played with a lot of people scoring. But if you go inside first you will get your chances on the perimeter as well. Golden's the key to leading this team in the right direction.

Georgetown isn't scary to me...but I'll know by second half if they should be. Indiana's whooping of N.Car. was no accident. Georgetown gave Indiana a tough one.

Go Vols beat Georgetown. If we beat them we may shoot to the to 20.IMHO we should.

Moore has shown flashes of good play and should get better. I wasn't quite as impressed with him in the Oakland game as in some of the others, and the OK St. game made everybody look bad. I do like his hustle on defense.

I'm afraid Stokes is going to have a hard time against G'town's long, rangy zone, but the Vols have to try to feed him nevertheless. The best chance the Vols will have to get good shots is either to turn them over for run-outs or the inside-out game, where the pass goes in to Stokes and he passes it out when the defense collapses. The perimeter guys have to be ready to shoot it like they expect to make it.

I admit I AM scared of G'town! If the Vols don't bring their A game, they could look bad on national TV. For this team at this time of year, this is one of the most important games of the preseason. If they do get killed, it isn't the end of the world, though it may hurt their confidence going forward. If they play to a close loss, it won't help them in the rankings, but it could be a nice confidence boost. If they win, they certainly should make the top-20 and could be poised for a real breakout season.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Moore has shown flashes of good play and should get better. I wasn't quite as impressed with him in the Oakland game as in some of the others, and the OK St. game made everybody look bad. I do like his hustle on defense.

I'm afraid Stokes is going to have a hard time against G'town's long, rangy zone, but the Vols have to try to feed him nevertheless. The best chance the Vols will have to get good shots is either to turn them over for run-outs or the inside-out game, where the pass goes in to Stokes and he passes it out when the defense collapses. The perimeter guys have to be ready to shoot it like they expect to make it.

I admit I AM scared of G'town! If the Vols don't bring their A game, they could look bad on national TV. For this team at this time of year, this is one of the most important games of the preseason. If they do get killed, it isn't the end of the world, though it may hurt their confidence going forward. If they play to a close loss, it won't help them in the rankings, but it could be a nice confidence boost. If they win, they certainly should make the top-20 and could be poised for a real breakout season.

I like your last line the best. I choose that one. I choose a breakout season.
Seriously I'm not nervous yet really. Somewhere around game-time maybe. We've worried before and we'll worry again.hehe
If we play hard and lose I'll be ok...well maybe after a few days. If we play lazy and win I'll be impressed with a little concern too. If we play hard and win that'll be awesome.

Honestly I just don't know how to predict this early in the season other than we'll probably win more than last year. I haven't seen real evidence of that "breakout" so far...other than the camera facial close-ups.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I like your last line the best. I choose that one. I choose a breakout season.
Seriously I'm not nervous yet really. Somewhere around game-time maybe. We've worried before and we'll worry again.hehe
If we play hard and lose I'll be ok...well maybe after a few days. If we play lazy and win I'll be impressed with a little concern too. If we play hard and win that'll be awesome.

Honestly I just don't know how to predict this early in the season other than we'll probably win more than last year. I haven't seen real evidence of that "breakout" so far...other than the camera facial close-ups.

I can't say I have seen any evidence yet that this will be a breakout season, but a win on Friday would BE a piece of such evidence. They should win a few extra games anyway because I don't see this team, with all its experience, as subject to the kind of upsets we saw in the preseason last year. Like everybody else, I still wish I knew more about Maymon's condition and date of likely return. Getting him back and able to contribute by the time SEC play starts would make me feel a lot better about this season.

LSG410EC83 writes:

I believe he will be ok. He had some good minutes the Kennesaw State game. However, as has been mentioned, his ball handling the last game left a little to be desired. Just got to remember he is a freshman trying to learn a new system. I like his hustle. If he will just listen to the coach, he will be fine in time. Just hopes Golden keeps healthy until that time comes. Sure would be nice to have Mammon back. Just hope he does not come back to he is 100 percent. Can handle have some rough early games if it means he will be able to last at 100 percent down the long haul. So glad basketball season is back. IT IS GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL. GO BIG ORANGE.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to LSG410EC83:

I believe he will be ok. He had some good minutes the Kennesaw State game. However, as has been mentioned, his ball handling the last game left a little to be desired. Just got to remember he is a freshman trying to learn a new system. I like his hustle. If he will just listen to the coach, he will be fine in time. Just hopes Golden keeps healthy until that time comes. Sure would be nice to have Mammon back. Just hope he does not come back to he is 100 percent. Can handle have some rough early games if it means he will be able to last at 100 percent down the long haul. So glad basketball season is back. IT IS GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL. GO BIG ORANGE.

I suspect Maymon could play some now but is being held back? We DO need him for SEC.

It seems a little odd to regard him as such an integral part of our team. Remember when he first got here? I for one thought it was a mistake to bring him in. I was a dummy.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I suspect Maymon could play some now but is being held back? We DO need him for SEC.

It seems a little odd to regard him as such an integral part of our team. Remember when he first got here? I for one thought it was a mistake to bring him in. I was a dummy.

It was not at all dumb to doubt Maymon after his first year here. When he came in, the word was that he left Marquette(?) because he didn't want to play the post; that was a little bit of a red flag for me right there. Then when I saw him on the court, well, I thought he would never play here. I was amazed at his performance last year and can only hope we haven't seen the last of that kind of play here.

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