Scenes from 2012 UT basketball media day
Though opening day remains a month away, Tennessee basketball tipped off the 2012-13 season Friday.
Meeting on the Pratt Pavilion floor at 5 p.m., the Vols partook in their first official practice in accordance with NCAA rules.
While the practice was closed to the media, UT second-year coach Cuonzo Martin said the Vols did "a good job" in a UT release.
"The focus was there, so we were able to make efficient use of our time," he said. "We did a lot of review and installation today. This weekend we'll make everything live, and it will really be coming at them quickly."
UT is coming off an 18-14 season that included a scrappy 10-6 finish in SEC play. The year ended in the second round of the National Invitational Tournament.
That campaign began with preseason practices marrying a new coaching staff with an unfamiliar, untested roster.
This time around, the defense-oriented, physical-first style introduced by Martin is commonplace. After a year of growth, the coach now wants the Vols to mature.
"Defensively, I want us to turn it up a notch from last year," Martin said.
During the team's media day festivities, returning junior point guard Trae Golden said lessons learned amidst UT's midseason turnaround last year now serve as the foundation for the Vols preseason work.
"Nobody knew what it took to be a good team last year," Golden said. "By the middle of the year, we realized if we did everything being asked, everything would work out."
According to the UT release, Martin's three points of emphasis for the opening practice were "every man has to do his part," "when someone does well, we all do well" and "when someone makes a mistake, we all make the mistake."
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn