Twenty-nine days before leading Tennessee basketball back onto floor, Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin welcomed in the 20-12-13 season today.
Inside Thompson-Boling Arena, Martin barely resembled the unknown commodity that stood in the same position at UT basketball Media Day one year ago. The second-year coach appeared as relaxed as ever.
Stepping up to the podium, the Vols' coach pulled out his smart phone, aimed it at the press in front of him and said, "Hold on, let me tweet this picture."
The comfort-level is high around UT hoops.
"I like where we're headed as a program and what the guys are doing," he said.
Tennessee returns 82.8 percent of its scoring from a team that finished 18-14 overall last season and reached the second round of the National Invitational Tournament. The Vols began the 2011-12 season tabbed to finish 11th in the SEC. They instead mounted a 10-6 record and tied Florida and Vanderbilt for second-place honors.
UT will likely be picked to finish third or fourth in the SEC behind Kentucky, Florida and possibly Missouri when the SEC preseason poll is released in two weeks.
Tennessee tips off the season Nov. 9 against Kennesaw State at Thompson-Boling.
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn