2012 SEC Basketball Media Day - Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin
HOOVER, Ala. — Cuonzo Martin scoffed.
High expectations can bring converse emotions.
Upon stepping onto a small stage at Thursday’s SEC Media Day, the Tennessee men’s basketball coach was asked what he thought of Florida coach Billy Donovan’s claim that the Vols are the best team in the SEC?
“Obviously humbled by it because that means your guys have put themselves in a position and have done the right things in the previous season,” Martin replied.
Martin summed up the compliment from Donovan by saying, “Humble pie.”
Donovan was unflinching in his compliments of UT and Martin.
“Their whole team is back and I’m not so sure that they weren’t playing as good as anybody coming down the stretch last year, but it was overshadowed by the fact that Kentucky had the best team in the country,” said Donovan, whose Gators dropped a pair of meetings to the Vols last season.
Told the Vols were picked to finish fourth in the SEC preseason poll, Donovan shook his head.
“(Calling UT the league’s best team) is based on what I know,” he said. “You know more about Tennessee than you know about any team in this league.”
Calipari With Compliment: Donovan wasn’t the only coach pointing to Tennessee.
“The way (Tennessee plays), you have chances to win championships,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “They defend. They take good shots. They play in a way that you win.”
Projected Satarting Lineup: On Wednesday, Martin revealed that All-SEC forward Jeronne Maymon will miss the beginning of the season for what Martin called, “a minor setback.”
Following his press conference Thursday, he told the News Sentinel that if the Vols opened their season today, his starting lineup would consist of guards Trae Golden, Skylar McBee and Josh Richardson, along with forwards Kenny Hall and Jarnell Stokes.
“But that could change easy,” Martin said. “That’s from last practice.”
The Other Martin: South Carolina’s Frank Martin, the former Kansas State coach known for his laser-beam glare and wild sideline antics, was quick to heap praise on the league’s most polarizing coach.
“I think Cal is one of the great misunderstood people in the profession,” he said of Calipari.
Asked to explain what is “misunderstood,” Martin answered, “He doesn’t get enough credit for coaching.”
Mentioning ESPN’s ongoing All-Access series on Kentucky basketball, a hot-button item throughout Thursday, Martin said, “(Calipari) has got a 24-hour recruiting cycle going on ESPNU. It’s awesome. More power to him.”
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/BFQuinn