Cuonzo Martin eats 'humble pie' at SEC Media Day

Tennessee men's basketball head coach Cuonzo Martin  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee men's basketball head coach Cuonzo Martin (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

HOOVER, Ala. — Cuonzo Martin scoffed.

Then laughed.

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

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Comments » 45

LifetimeVolFan98 writes:

Can't wait...

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Quite a compliment from BD, but CM has his team playing hard on every possession and it's gotten the attention of his peers..GBO!!

Rumblefish writes:

I believe Cuonzo and his team are gonna surprise some folks this season. Maymon on the bench early hurts for the Puerto Rico tourney...but I think he returns in beast mode at the right time for G-Town.

Good luck basketvols! This fan base is in dire need for some high level competition!!

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

westknoxrepub will post soon about what a lousy coach Cuonzo is

OrangeCrush writes:

Folks, we are very lucky to have CCM. I for one am glad and proud to say he's our coach.

Best of luck to the Vols Men's BB Team!

tulelakevol writes:

Austin Peay.

iowavol writes:

What's wrong with Maymon.

laraccoon writes:

so what was Maymon's minor setback ?

TheEffect writes:

in response to tulelakevol:

Austin Peay.

MTSU

johnlg00 writes:

in response to tulelakevol:

Austin Peay.

tulelakevol. Austin Peay. Two equally irrelevant terms.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to TheEffect:

MTSU

See comment to tulelakevol.

tulelakevol writes:

Vols Football and Basketball. Both currently irrelevant.

tulelakevol writes:

I am a Vol fan, not a troll. I am just fed up with the mediocrity of our current teams at the moment. I will be cheering hard come game time, like I always do.

underthehill writes:

Losing Maymon changes everything..the starting lineup will be severely weakened with the 3 guards..Martin said it could change..and I sure hope so..this lineup can't finish 4th..even with Stokes..

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to tulelakevol:

Vols Football and Basketball. Both currently irrelevant.

just like you, "Vol fan"

tulelakevol writes:

Truth hurts boro.

CrankE writes:

"He's a steadying kind of personality. He brings it. He has a toughness to him, a resolve, and his players are taking on that personality."

Good coaches have that effect and often don't have to wait 3 years to show you the impact (and results) that they are having on the players they have.

For those who worry about who UT could possibly get to replace Dooley-as if nobody would want the job, a coach like Martin would be just fine, thank you. It doesn't matter if he's a splash hire, a big name, a megamillion dollar guy or any of that. What matters is that he is one who instills discipline, hard work, and toughness in the team from day 1. No excuses, no short cuts. The thankless, physical, punishing, gritty tasks must be done correctly. Period. All other ground is sinking sand.

Will it take time? Yes. It'll take longer if the team thinks that there's a shortcut by which these things can be avoided. Is that not precisely where we are right now?

CCM has proven me wrong and I'll eat my crow with a smile.

Forgive me talking FB on a BB article, but the quote highlights exactly what UT needs in a FB coach.

GerryOP writes:

in response to underthehill:

Losing Maymon changes everything..the starting lineup will be severely weakened with the 3 guards..Martin said it could change..and I sure hope so..this lineup can't finish 4th..even with Stokes..

Dang dude, if the news was that one of the cheerleaders bunged a knee during practice, you would come up with the same mantra -- "That changes everything. We suck."

Is your life really that miserable? If so, get some help. Life is too short to take it too seriously.

UKblue02 writes:

After watching the blue/white scrimmage i think this years sec battles are going to be tougher than last years by far, Tenn will be a player in who wins what....If maymon gets better Tenn will be tough to beat at home...look forward to some good games this year Vol fans..

GerryOP writes:

in response to UKblue02:

After watching the blue/white scrimmage i think this years sec battles are going to be tougher than last years by far, Tenn will be a player in who wins what....If maymon gets better Tenn will be tough to beat at home...look forward to some good games this year Vol fans..

Yup, me too ... I hope!

GerryOP writes:

Dang, Coach 'Zo is cool! I would have answered the comment by lil' BillyD with somehing like "Sweep, sweep, sweep!" But, I've never been accused of having any couth!

Hrockytop writes:

Like coach Zo...Wasn't impressed with the hire at first but he's a class act, good recruiter, and knows the game at every level. Hoops is certainly going in the right direction.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Hrockytop:

Like coach Zo...Wasn't impressed with the hire at first but he's a class act, good recruiter, and knows the game at every level. Hoops is certainly going in the right direction.

Coach Martin wasn't impressed with his own hiring?

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to tulelakevol:

Austin Peay.

Florida. twice.

Vandy.

Connecticut.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

well here we go.

go team. Go vols

Sure would like us to beat SCar. also.

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

martin better get ready to eat more than humble pie...i just dont think he's a SEC calabar coach,he's got the talent but cant coach em...sorda like our football program

txvolsfan writes:

in response to tulelakevol:

Vols Football and Basketball. Both currently irrelevant.

I disagree in basketball, I think we upgraded in coaching and I mean coaching in practice and gameday coach. I think Coach Zo is a better coach than Bruce Pearl. It is yet to be seen if he is a good recruiter but Stokes, Hubbs have been very good recruits and if we get Nichols he will be a better recruiter also!!!
GO VOLS
TXVOLSFAN

Hrockytop writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Coach Martin wasn't impressed with his own hiring?

My apologies for my grammatical errors. I like coach Zo. I wasn't impressed with the hire at first.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Hrockytop:

My apologies for my grammatical errors. I like coach Zo. I wasn't impressed with the hire at first.

Tough crowd..lol

wazzya69vol writes:

in response to BigOrangeSmoker:

martin better get ready to eat more than humble pie...i just dont think he's a SEC calabar coach,he's got the talent but cant coach em...sorda like our football program

Wrong!! Our football program has stalled, even regressing, whereas our basketball team under Coach Martin has our team on the upswing. It's good, old fashion basketball, physical and disciplined players. Fun to watch; awesome to win. Wazzy

rockypop writes:

in response to iowavol:

What's wrong with Maymon.

I get the impression that fans and the media will never know what the problem is between a player and CCM. And, as a former player, that sets really well w/me.

If Coach were to identify the problem as, let's say a continuing issue with Maymon's injury, then the next time Maymon had a problem, fans and the media would be all over it, because they would expect an explanation. Rumors would be rampant.

By not explaining the problem, Coach is keeping it in house, which protects the player, the team and sets a standard of consistency with which these issues will be handled. I like it.

As fans, we're all naturally curious. But, frankly, knowing what the problem is isn't going to get the kid on the floor any faster. Nor is knowing what the problem is going to change the problem. If I'm a coach, I want to provide as little information as possible to my opponents. Coach is doing just that.

underthehill writes:

in response to CrankE:

"He's a steadying kind of personality. He brings it. He has a toughness to him, a resolve, and his players are taking on that personality."

Good coaches have that effect and often don't have to wait 3 years to show you the impact (and results) that they are having on the players they have.

For those who worry about who UT could possibly get to replace Dooley-as if nobody would want the job, a coach like Martin would be just fine, thank you. It doesn't matter if he's a splash hire, a big name, a megamillion dollar guy or any of that. What matters is that he is one who instills discipline, hard work, and toughness in the team from day 1. No excuses, no short cuts. The thankless, physical, punishing, gritty tasks must be done correctly. Period. All other ground is sinking sand.

Will it take time? Yes. It'll take longer if the team thinks that there's a shortcut by which these things can be avoided. Is that not precisely where we are right now?

CCM has proven me wrong and I'll eat my crow with a smile.

Forgive me talking FB on a BB article, but the quote highlights exactly what UT needs in a FB coach.

You got it right Crank..I hoped Dooley would be like Martin but it ain't happening..

tenndave writes:

in response to BigOrangeSmoker:

martin better get ready to eat more than humble pie...i just dont think he's a SEC calabar coach,he's got the talent but cant coach em...sorda like our football program

I did not know that that funky stuff you smoke came in orange. Is that a new hybrid. You need to be careful because you have defintely had too much of it.

ashvol7 writes:

in response to tulelakevol:

Vols Football and Basketball. Both currently irrelevant.

When did football and basketball at UT become irrelevant? Not to me and thousands of other fans. Maybe you should pick another school to make stupid statments about.

underthehill writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Dang dude, if the news was that one of the cheerleaders bunged a knee during practice, you would come up with the same mantra -- "That changes everything. We suck."

Is your life really that miserable? If so, get some help. Life is too short to take it too seriously.

Wrong OP ..UT don't suck and I don't see me ever thinking that as long as Martin is coach..but with Maymon not on the floor we gotta have a third rebounder..with Maymon UT will make the NCAA tourney..w/o him..gotta have help on the boards...

jjvols writes:

I wouldn't call basketball irrelevant! Coach Martin did a great job considering the departure of Coach Pearl! Sure we miss him, but Zo is doing great things and the fact of the matter is we have to be pumped about basketball considering the state of our football program! As much as I miss CBP, he isn't coming back! So we need to stand behind this team! They are closer to an SEC Championship than football thanks to Fooley!

bob.bigorange#605842 writes:

oh trolls - you would love for UT to still have Mike Hamilton as AD - well, he's gone and has done his damage and we are turning the corner - CCM was NOT one of his hires. Dooley is last remnant of Hammy's phooey - soon to be rid of him as well.................and UT basketball is very relevent now.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to tulelakevol:

Truth hurts boro.

that wasn't necessarily truth, just your opinion

tulelakevol writes:

in response to ashvol7:

When did football and basketball at UT become irrelevant? Not to me and thousands of other fans. Maybe you should pick another school to make stupid statments about.

At this time, on the national stage, UT football and basketball are not very relevant. They have been in the past, and I believe they will be in the future. Of course they are always relevant to me as a UT fan. However losing in football to KY and to Austin Peay in basketball are both inexcusable. No excuse. Now, CCM did get it together last year after that, and the Vols got respectable until getting embarrassed at home by MTSU in the NIT. This is a new season, and I expect great things from the basketball team. Go Vols!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to underthehill:

Losing Maymon changes everything..the starting lineup will be severely weakened with the 3 guards..Martin said it could change..and I sure hope so..this lineup can't finish 4th..even with Stokes..

Nearly everybody plays with three guards these days. Of the three, one might have more responsibility for handling the ball, one might be slightly bigger with more responsibility for defense and rebounding, and the third is hopefully a versatile and willing scorer. The thing is, modern players are so big and quick that there just is not room within 15'-20' feet of the basket for three big post guys to spend a whole lot of time in there and get anything done.

There was a piece on ESPN the other day that said the NBA was eliminating the center position from the All-Star ballots this year. The reason given was that there just weren't enough All-Star-quality players at the position these days. They posed the idea of Roy Hibbard and Andrew Bynum as the starting All-Star centers; both can sort of play a bit when they want to but neither is going to make anybody forget about the players I listed below.

I went into some length on this subject of the "disappearing centers" on another thread. I don't care to go into all of that again now, but suffice to say that the days of the Chamberlains, Russells, O'Neals, Olajuwons, etc., just dominating games from the middle are pretty much over. I really don't see that many players of that caliber in college ball these days, either.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to tulelakevol:

Truth hurts boro.

Which "boro" are you talking about? I haven't seen much "truth" out of you, either, perhaps especially the part about how you will be yelling and cheering for the Vols while still posting this drivel.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to rockypop:

I get the impression that fans and the media will never know what the problem is between a player and CCM. And, as a former player, that sets really well w/me.

If Coach were to identify the problem as, let's say a continuing issue with Maymon's injury, then the next time Maymon had a problem, fans and the media would be all over it, because they would expect an explanation. Rumors would be rampant.

By not explaining the problem, Coach is keeping it in house, which protects the player, the team and sets a standard of consistency with which these issues will be handled. I like it.

As fans, we're all naturally curious. But, frankly, knowing what the problem is isn't going to get the kid on the floor any faster. Nor is knowing what the problem is going to change the problem. If I'm a coach, I want to provide as little information as possible to my opponents. Coach is doing just that.

Well said. It may cost the Vols a game or two in the early going, though hopefully not one like (shudder!) Austin Peay, but IF Jeronne comes out like gangbusters during the SEC season, all this current anxiety will vanish like the last leaf of fall in a blizzard.

In the meantime, all we can do is hope that CCM is just being super-cautious and not preparing us for worse news down the line.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to tulelakevol:

At this time, on the national stage, UT football and basketball are not very relevant. They have been in the past, and I believe they will be in the future. Of course they are always relevant to me as a UT fan. However losing in football to KY and to Austin Peay in basketball are both inexcusable. No excuse. Now, CCM did get it together last year after that, and the Vols got respectable until getting embarrassed at home by MTSU in the NIT. This is a new season, and I expect great things from the basketball team. Go Vols!

If you are on the level this time, I take back the less-than-flattering things I said earlier about you. However, you would do well to stop dwelling on the APSU and MTSU losses, since that was LAST year, they CANNOT be played over, and, as you said, they seem to have overcome that little APSU hiccup rather nicely, and likely wouldn't have lost to MTSU if Maymon and Golden hadn't been playing on one leg each. Don't you think most UK fans have forgotten their loss to GARDNER-WEBB a few years ago? Stuff happens; life goes on. GO VOLS!!!

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to tulelakevol:

Austin Peay.

Fla Gators, 2x.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to TheEffect:

MTSU

Cause: low quality food through the mouth, winding its way through the GI tract. Effect: putrid product produced by elimination. Called by many names, including some naughty ones, but nevertheless, can be called simply, in this illustration, TheEffect. What an arrival. Or perhaps, in this case, a departure.

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