Holly Warlick was happy to convene 11 players at Pratt Pavilion this week and the Tennessee women's basketball coach expressed her firm belief that all of them fit into her plans for the upcoming season.
The Lady Vols began the team phase of preseason court work with two one-hour sessions involving the entire squad. The second was on Friday. They will stick to this schedule next week in advance of the first official preseason practice, which will be Oct. 8.
"If I'm preaching we're going to play up and down and play aggressive on defense then I'm going to need everybody; I'll need all 11," the first-year coach said, "and all 11 truly, truly can play. They all bring a little bit something different."
Only one of Tennessee's players is sidetracked by injury. Freshman Andraya Carter has an ankle injury and is listed as day to day. She isn't expected to be out for long.
"We're probably not in the shape we eventually want to get in," Warlick said, "but I think we're in really good shape right now."
Getting up to speed, at least for the time being, is making sure that five first-year players are fluent in the terminology and practice techniques Warlick and her staff will employ.
"We really have to make sure the freshmen understand," Warlick said. "I think at times the last cou
ple years, we went too fast. ... I want to make sure the freshmen are understanding our language, our terminology, where we want them to go, what we want them to do."
With the objective in mind, the veteran players already are asserting themselves as teaching assistants.
"At one point we did something wrong and I didn't say a word," Warlick said, referring to Monday's team workout. "The upperclassmen were going, 'You've got to go here...' I didn't say a word."
Recruiting: Tennessee coaches had an in-home visit this week with Linnae Harper and the 5-foot-7 guard from Chicago will make an official campus visit beginning next Sunday.
Harper, who is ranked No. 5 in the Class of 2013 by ESPN HoopGurlz, is one of three players ranked in the top 10 scheduled to visit this fall. Top-ranked Mercedes Russell and guard Tyler Scaife (No. 9) will visit the weekend of Oct. 20.
Guard Jannah Tucker (No. 8) already is committed to UT and will visit once her recovery from knee surgery on Sept. 20 has progressed. The Lady Vols remain in the mix with No. 2 Kaela Davis, after visiting her last week. It's not known whether Davis will make an official visit.
More At Home: UT sophomore point guard Ariel Massengale said that she's finally overcome a nagging case of homesickness that affected the former Bolingbrook (Ill.) High star last season.
"I thought going home for second (summer) session, it was going to be difficult coming back but it wasn't," Massengale said.
She said that living in an on-campus apartment rather than a dormitory and having a car helps. So does being a year older.
"You know what to expect," Massengale said. "You know what it's like being away from home."
Parker Update: Janet Mick, the Lady Vols fan who started a petition to encourage UT to consider retiring former player Candace Parker's jersey, said that she spoke with a university official about the matter. Although nothing is in the works, Mick was told there would be "at some point in the future."
Mick said that the petition has attracted 250 signatures.