Derek Reese may redshirt due to shoulder injury

Write stuff for Derek Reese

Saul Young/News Sentinel
Tennessee freshman basketball player Derek Reese poses for a photo at Thompson-Boling Arena earlier this month.

Photo by Saul Young, 2012 Knoxville News Sentinel

Saul Young/News Sentinel Tennessee freshman basketball player Derek Reese poses for a photo at Thompson-Boling Arena earlier this month.

Derek Reese has been writing.

He writes to forget. He writes to remember. He writes to heal.

In the weeks leading up to Tennessee basketball's summer expedition to Italy, the freshman suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder — his shooting arm.

Reese, seeing his first season as a Vol turn into a question mark, was devastated.

So UT coach Cuonzo Martin told him to write.

"I want to remember this feeling and use it to hunger myself," Reese said. "He said to write down everything that I'm feeling and when I get back, use that journal as motivation."

Reese, a 6-foot-8 guard from Orlando, Fla., could potentially redshirt his freshman year. Labrum tears are no small matter. Following surgery in late August, UT associate director of sports medicine Chad Newman estimated the recovery time to be approximately six months.

"You're either going to come out stronger than you were before the injury or you can end up weaker," Reese said. "It's all about your mindset."

Martin was on the road recruiting in the days after the surgery. He received a handful of phone calls from Reese's mom and a others close to him. They were concerned. His spirit was fractured.

"It was tough on him," Martin recalled. "First of all, you're away from home and you're not playing. When you're injured, you're really not a part of the team. It's a tough deal."

But one that Reese is now handling well.

He's no longer wearing a sling. He's able to dribble the ball and feels more involved with the team.

How much time he misses remains to be seen.

"He's excited about it because he's starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel," Martin said.

Q: Is there a nickname Knoxville should be aware of?

A: D. Reese.

Q: Tell me something most people don't know about you.

A: I always fight to get where I'm at. People never gave me what I needed to get here. It was a fight. Nothing came easy.

Q: In what way?

A: People doubted me. People always doubted me. I fought to prove them wrong. My freshman year I got maybe one letter. But I worked and I worked and I got better and better. By my senior year, I had over 30 scholarship offers.

Q: You visited UT for a football game, what's it like going to games now that you're a Vol?

A: The Florida game was amazing. We went to game day, hung out with fans, took pictures. They weren't sure who I was, but were saying, "Oh is that a basketball player?" It was a really good time.

Q: What's an embarrassing trait or habit you learned about a teammate in Italy?

A: Man, I don't want to say anything bad. Let's just say, though, one player, and I'm not naming any names, but after a game one player went right to bed without a taking a shower or nothing. That's all I'm going to say.

Q: If you could have dinner with any two people in history, who and why?

One, for sure, is Barack Obama. That'd be a good conversation. And the other, I'll go with my favorite athlete — Kobe Bryant.

Q: That slightly answers the next question. Kobe, Lebron or Jordan. Who do you have?

A: Definitely not Lebron. But you know what? I'll go with Jordan.

Q: What's your favorite class thus far?

A: Psychology. It's just really interesting to learn about people and how they interact with others, how the mind works, why people act the way they do. Plus it's interesting to learn about yourself.

Q: What's your biggest fear?

A: Well, it's something I'm going through right now. Not being able to do something I love — playing basketball. I know the day is going to come when I'm not going to be able to play anymore. Right now, though, I'm young. I can't even think about not playing basketball.

Q: Your older brother, Michael, played baseball at a Division II college and played some pro ball. Who is the better athlete.

A: I guess I am. We always fight about that. I mess with him because he's really short. I call him my little big brother.

Q: And your sister is a dancer for the Orlando Magic. Who is the better dancer?

A: Oh I'll have to go with her on that. Just by a little bit.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn

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Comments » 10

Biggie writes:

Barack Obama? Well, that tells me alot about this kid...

Volborn writes:

in response to Biggie:

Barack Obama? Well, that tells me alot about this kid...

Yeah...he's one sharp kid!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Biggie:

Barack Obama? Well, that tells me alot about this kid...

He didn't say he liked O'Bama but that it'd be an interesting conversation. I could do that.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Volborn:

Yeah...he's one sharp kid!

Ok...but what does that have to do with a conversation with Obama? Ahhhhahahaha Ahnnsorry.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

He didn't say he liked O'Bama but that it'd be an interesting conversation. I could do that.

You wouldn't get a word in edge wise.

TheVolMan writes:

Ease up on Derek. Let's have respect for a Vol who simply said he would like to have dinner with the President of the United States. Aside from the trolls, we are all Vols here and are Americans. With these wonderful things in common, certainly we can respect the notion of a student wanting to have dinner with the president. Let's wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to great play from Derek.

brod writes:

i saw where chris jones committed to louisville. how in the he** did they get both of pearl's recruits from 2011?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to brod:

i saw where chris jones committed to louisville. how in the he** did they get both of pearl's recruits from 2011?

That's easy enough to understand from several points of view. I will be interested to see how much either of those guys actually wind up playing there. Personally, I think the Vols will do well enough without them. I'm not putting them down as players or as people, and Pittino certainly has a reputation of knowing players when he sees them, but I like the talent and cohesion the Vols already have. Besides, CCM didn't seem to make much of a push for them, so I can live with that.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I'll take Hubbs over Jones. As for this year I'd take Golden and Richardson and McCrae.

Well you play with who you have anyhow. We'll be fine I think. We'd take Louisville. Reese was looking pretty good till the injury from what we heard.

Next year speed(as John said on another thread) may be the answer with Makenjuola in the middle. SURELY if Stokes leaves and Nichols goes elsewhere we'll get another big or two. But I think Nichols will come here. I think he'd fit in great and learn a lot from Martin. With Maymon,Hall, and possibly Stokes gone we'll see another addition or two.

However I confess I don't keep up with openings. I just read the news.hehe

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I threw that Reese comment in at an odd place above post...lol But I was just thinking of him next year for the speed up game.

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