Cuonzo Martin: 'I like where we're headed'

Raw video: Cuonzo Martin preseason press conference

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

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Comments » 41

volvann writes:

CCM, I like your style. A 20 win season this year will be sweeeeet!!!!!

Govols...

JSamson7 writes:

I smell at least an Elite 8 appearance, if guys stay healthy a Final 4 would be no shock to me at all...

BrassMonkey writes:

I hope so. That MTSU loss was beyond embarassing. Thank God he did not spend the entire summer in China this year and actually looked after his work responsibilities. Time will tell, but I think he is in over his head.

tnqball writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

I hope so. That MTSU loss was beyond embarassing. Thank God he did not spend the entire summer in China this year and actually looked after his work responsibilities. Time will tell, but I think he is in over his head.

Well, it is a good thing that no one cares what you think.

TrouserCough writes:

Comprehensive article

ball1523 writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

I hope so. That MTSU loss was beyond embarassing. Thank God he did not spend the entire summer in China this year and actually looked after his work responsibilities. Time will tell, but I think he is in over his head.

In over his head? 2 out of the last 4 players hes gotten to committ or sign with ut have been 5 stars. hes gotten players who were not productive under the last staff to be all confernce level players. i think you posting on this site puts you in over your head. because you have no idea what youre talkning about.

oskie_score writes:

"I like where we're headed as a program and what the guys are doing," he said.
That makes two of us, Zo.

Nice work on recent commits. As to the transitional period, idk, the program is fairing much better than I think most imagined at this point or in general for that matter.

TommyJack writes:

CCM is the right man for the job.

mountainbrook writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

I hope so. That MTSU loss was beyond embarassing. Thank God he did not spend the entire summer in China this year and actually looked after his work responsibilities. Time will tell, but I think he is in over his head.

He took a team that was supposed to finish at the bottom of the SEC and got them to a tie for 2nd and all you can do is be an internet back sniper.

jakethevolguy writes:

in response to KremsersWaywardWallop:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This is a basketball article not football. Also, you're an idiot.

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

Can. not. wait!! GBO!

VolzsFan writes:

I like coach. But hey did not inherit a tough situation. He had all 4 star + kids for the most part that where top 100 players and actually recruited by other great programs. That is different than what DD has recruited. Only problem, Martin is playing with all of Pearl's boys...yes Stokes was a silent commit to Pearl and he will tell you that. Next year is when he gets some benefit of his signees.

BrassMonkey writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

I like coach. But hey did not inherit a tough situation. He had all 4 star + kids for the most part that where top 100 players and actually recruited by other great programs. That is different than what DD has recruited. Only problem, Martin is playing with all of Pearl's boys...yes Stokes was a silent commit to Pearl and he will tell you that. Next year is when he gets some benefit of his signees.

This is absolutely true. The media lobbed Martin a softball by picking him so far back in the SEC with the talent he had in his lineup. They finished well in a weak SEC last year where Kentucky carried the torch. Before we crown Martin king let's see see how Martin develops and recruits his own athletes. Plus these 5 stars have not even touched the floor at TBA. We all know how quickly an 18 year old can change his mind. Tempered optimism is the key, because they did lay an egg against a lesser MTSU among others last season.

lomas98 writes:

in response to JSamson7:

I smell at least an Elite 8 appearance, if guys stay healthy a Final 4 would be no shock to me at all...

Easy there...expecting something that has never happened in school history (final 4) is setting yourself up for disappointment. I think we should expect at least an NCAA berth and then see what happens. Stokes should be improved, Maymon hopefully is healthy, hopefully Hall stays clean and Mcrae doesn't vanish some games, and please somebody shoot the 3 CONSISTENTLY. I still worry about Golden at point and his ability to stay consistent. He played well at times, but flat out lost games too. We will see how this team handles a little preseason pub as well....some teams can't handle it and are flat. I like the direction Martin has them going and am looking forward to the season. I hope the freshman class surprises some people because none of them are really highly touted guys.

tovolny writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

This is absolutely true. The media lobbed Martin a softball by picking him so far back in the SEC with the talent he had in his lineup. They finished well in a weak SEC last year where Kentucky carried the torch. Before we crown Martin king let's see see how Martin develops and recruits his own athletes. Plus these 5 stars have not even touched the floor at TBA. We all know how quickly an 18 year old can change his mind. Tempered optimism is the key, because they did lay an egg against a lesser MTSU among others last season.

Brass Monkey has been approved for induction into the Society of the Miss-informed. He is automatically a member of the SM Forum. Hopefully he and the other members will enjoy their unfounded ramblings and post mostly within their own forum. Welcome!

trl_x writes:

In full agreement with coach. I like the direction.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Yep. basketball.

Go vols Go Martin and team

mocsandvolsfan writes:

We ended last season well considering our injuries and MTSU's very underrated talent. MTSU had a team that played very well and our two leading scorer's were injured. So much for BM's diss on UT and MTSU.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

I don't see why Tn should be ranked pre season behind Fla---but I do know UT will finish ahead of them...as usual

bobe4544 writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

I hope so. That MTSU loss was beyond embarassing. Thank God he did not spend the entire summer in China this year and actually looked after his work responsibilities. Time will tell, but I think he is in over his head.

After this year we will begin to see if Martin can coach. Lets see what he looks like two years from now. I think he will have a good year this year but after that its going to be downhill. In over his head also.

RoadTrip writes:

Coach - I really like where you are heading as well. This is one Vol that knows a winner when he sees one. Better get on board Vol fans. The basketball program is getting it done.

redskinvol1 writes:

PAY CUONZO MORE!!

budd#207344 writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

I hope so. That MTSU loss was beyond embarassing. Thank God he did not spend the entire summer in China this year and actually looked after his work responsibilities. Time will tell, but I think he is in over his head.

He took a team with no stars to a second place finish in the SEC, has recruited some top players and is in the mix with more, and has shown a steady, disciplined approach to coaching and working with his players and YOU think he is in over his head? Just how stupid are you?

UKblue02 writes:

I was hoping coach Martin would say or do someting that would make me really mad and want to beat him, but the guy has class and i really like his style so i guess my blood pressure won't be to high when we play each other...I can live with that.. ;)

ashvol7 writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

I hope so. That MTSU loss was beyond embarassing. Thank God he did not spend the entire summer in China this year and actually looked after his work responsibilities. Time will tell, but I think he is in over his head.

This one of the dumbest post that I have ever read! Do you even Know anything about basketball or any sport? I really doubt it! Where do you people come from?

VolGrad writes:

Reel 'em in and coach 'em up. Can't wait to see Stokes take it to the next level this year.

Go Vols!

UT4prez writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

This is absolutely true. The media lobbed Martin a softball by picking him so far back in the SEC with the talent he had in his lineup. They finished well in a weak SEC last year where Kentucky carried the torch. Before we crown Martin king let's see see how Martin develops and recruits his own athletes. Plus these 5 stars have not even touched the floor at TBA. We all know how quickly an 18 year old can change his mind. Tempered optimism is the key, because they did lay an egg against a lesser MTSU among others last season.

I agree with you on some points. The SEC was down last year. I do agree that we can't declare Martin a great coach based on one year. You say we shouldn't crown him king and I agree but you've already declared him over his head and there's more evidence to the contrary. Just use the eye test. This team had no business beating UF both games, beating Vandy, or beating UConn but they did. I was disappointed with the finish because the discipline they used to lead to success faded but they had a solid year. I'm not going crazy about this coming year. In conference I don't see us doing better. I do see an improved out of conference record as I don't believe we will see some of the bad losses that we had early last year. 20-22 wins heading into the SEC tourney is doable and should lead to a NCAA tourney berth. No matter what I'm looking forward to it and support the coach and team!

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

I hope so. That MTSU loss was beyond embarassing. Thank God he did not spend the entire summer in China this year and actually looked after his work responsibilities. Time will tell, but I think he is in over his head.

BM Monkey, at the AWO country club, holding hands with WestknoxRepub.

sameolvolalum writes:

In case those very few actual UT fans haven't noticed.....this particular site is about 85% Vol haters. Those wonderful folks at the KNS, along with you troll baiters (getting them their precious re-posts just to get in a few numbskull zingers) have collectively implemented these social misfits in trashing what at one time was a decent site. Get a room! All of you!

eduardo writes:

24 wins..book it!!!!!!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER:

I don't see why Tn should be ranked pre season behind Fla---but I do know UT will finish ahead of them...as usual

Love it!.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Reel 'em in and coach 'em up. Can't wait to see Stokes take it to the next level this year.

Go Vols!

It's already done.

GBO GVols Go Stokes Go Golden.

BolivrBob writes:

Over his head? After this year we will see if he can coach? The question is...Where do you idiots come from? Zo is the MAN!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

Coach - I really like where you are heading as well. This is one Vol that knows a winner when he sees one. Better get on board Vol fans. The basketball program is getting it done.

You maybe be a "visitor" arguing with yourself for all I know but what you said is right on.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to eduardo:

24 wins..book it!!!!!!

at least.

layindawood writes:

Who is more prone to turnovers- Golden or Bray?

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Not much not to like about this team..If each player takes his talent one step forward this will be a very,very good team.Stokes is going to go off on some people this year and hopefully Maymon worked just as hard this off season..Vols can't take the next step until the guards and shooters become consistent..We all watched them in frustration follow a 18 point game with 2 games of shooting bricks.. If we keep the shooting percentage above 42% we will win tons of games. Also Martin's got to find a way to get Yemi more playing time.We lose almost all our post players after this season and Yemi will be the man.

UT4prez writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

at least.

I certainly hope so but probably not before they play any post season tourneys. Despite what one dude kept saying when it came out, the schedule is pretty tough. They aren't an overly talented team in my opinion. They have some talent but not top 25 talent from what I see. However, Coach will have them playing some serious D and I truly believe they are the very definition of synergy so while the talent may not be top 25 I do believe the team is. 24 wins is a ton though. You never know, I just don't want us fans to be disappointed simply because the expectations are too high. If they get to 20 in the regular season and a couple in the SEC then we should be solid for the big dance! Lets just get in and then we can make some real noise! To me we are the type of team people HATE to play. I love it!

underthehill writes:

UT returns an experienced well coached team..strong on rebounding and defense..capable of winning SEC and will make the big show..just got a committ Duke wanted very much..I like where this program is going..

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to UT4prez:

I certainly hope so but probably not before they play any post season tourneys. Despite what one dude kept saying when it came out, the schedule is pretty tough. They aren't an overly talented team in my opinion. They have some talent but not top 25 talent from what I see. However, Coach will have them playing some serious D and I truly believe they are the very definition of synergy so while the talent may not be top 25 I do believe the team is. 24 wins is a ton though. You never know, I just don't want us fans to be disappointed simply because the expectations are too high. If they get to 20 in the regular season and a couple in the SEC then we should be solid for the big dance! Lets just get in and then we can make some real noise! To me we are the type of team people HATE to play. I love it!

Expectations should always be High.imho
Disappointment should always be low. I'M A PHILOSOPHER!!

ahem GO VOLS BEAT Kentucky!!

UT4prez writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Expectations should always be High.imho
Disappointment should always be low. I'M A PHILOSOPHER!!

ahem GO VOLS BEAT Kentucky!!

I 100% agree in aggressive expectations as long as they're within reason. Yours are aggressive but certainly not impossible. Be well fellow Vols fan!

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