UT freshman Armani Moore working to increase role

Tennessee's Armani Moore is defended by Oakland's Ryan Bass at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday, November 26, 2012. 

(Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Photo by Saul Young, 2012 Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee's Armani Moore is defended by Oakland's Ryan Bass at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday, November 26, 2012. (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

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Tennessee freshman point guard Armani Moore recently sat down with head coach Cuonzo Martin and assistant Kent Williams.

The topic: slowing down.

Moore plays like a weekend bag packed for a week-long trip. He tries to fit it all in.

Against Western Carolina, he stormed into the game trying make things happen defensively. He was whistled for three fouls in two minutes. Bench.

Against Memphis, he sprang off the bench trying to stir the Vols' pot offensively. He committed two turnovers in two minutes. Bench.

Against Ole Miss on Jan. 9, he drew the dreaded "Did Not Play – Coach's Decision."

Then came the meeting with Martin and Williams. Then came Saturday's game at Alabama.

For Tennessee, the affair was a 68-65 loss and another step deeper into the quick sand of a three-game losing streak. For Moore, though, it was a long stride back into the rotation and back into the coach's good graces.

Career highs were matched or set in set in minutes played (21), field goals made (three) and points scored (seven).

"Even though I didn't play in past games, coach Martin always tells me to stay ready," Moore said after the loss in Tuscaloosa. "Some people would go put their head down and say, 'I don't want to be here and I don't want to do this,' but I just keep going to practice and keep working."

At 6-foot-5, Moore was a scorer in high school at tiny Mt. Paran Christian School in Kennesaw, Ga. Martin deemed him a future point guard and the transition hasn't been without hiccups.

The lessons aren't easy – swing the ball when it needs to be swung, attack when the paint can be attacked, shoot when the defense offers a shot.

"The thing about Armani is that he is very aggressive, sometimes over aggressive on the defensive side of the ball with handchecks, and offensively, he is aggressive off the bounce, but he turns the ball over in those situations," Martin said. "But he has done a really good job the last few weeks of taking care of the basketball."

It showed Saturday. With junior point guard Trae Golden losing his starting job and spending long stretches on the bench, Martin tossed Moore an opportunity. Though the Vols committed 16 turnovers, none landed on Moore's stat line.

The Vols outscored the Tide by two points during Moore's 21 minutes. They were outscored by nine during Golden's 24 minutes.

"He has earned those minutes," Martin said. "I think he will be consistent in the rotation because he competes and plays hard."

Moore played only four minutes combined in Tennessee's previous two true road games, at Georgetown and at Virginia. At Alabama, he splashed in a 3-pointer with 10 minutes, 41 seconds left giving the Vols a 46-45 lead, pulled four rebounds, drew a charge and blocked a shot.

"He's one of those guys when you talk about a road atmosphere, he's not intimidated by that," Martin said.

Which is good, considering Tennessee travels to Kentucky on Tuesday. The Vols are 4-33 all-time at Rupp Arena.

There will be another meeting before that.

"I think now I'll sit down with all the coaches and they'll help me figure out my role," Moore said. "I have a lot to learn, but I feel like I'm getting my confidence back."

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

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Comments » 35

wigmeister writes:

As long as he learns from his mistakes, he'll be fine. He has a long career here ahead of him.

samvol writes:

Martin needs an offensive plan period.

born2ride writes:

We have an offense?

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

He could do no worse than the upper classmen..GBO!

russahouse writes:

CCM should have been playing Armani all season. Washpun 2.0

brod writes:

in response to russahouse:

CCM should have been playing Armani all season. Washpun 2.0

are you an idiot? have you seen any games? moore couldn't play point guard for lincoln memorial university. golden and stokes on the bench. what's wrong with this picture?

underthehill writes:

Trying to turn a scorer into a point guard..hope it works ..

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

Expectations of him coming in and contributing have been disappointing. However I don't recall him being highly touted like Hubbs. He should improve as long as he is allowed to play the off guard/wing position. He will have a lot of work cut out to be a point guard in the college.

hikerdude writes:

BBB

westknoxrepub writes:

Gotta love these Martin recruits. . .our house is made of mediocrity.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to sly_stone99#434111:

Expectations of him coming in and contributing have been disappointing. However I don't recall him being highly touted like Hubbs. He should improve as long as he is allowed to play the off guard/wing position. He will have a lot of work cut out to be a point guard in the college.

Martin has a recruiting philosophy that shuns talented highly touted players in favor of players in high demand amongst low major division I basketball programs.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Martin has a recruiting philosophy that shuns talented highly touted players in favor of players in high demand amongst low major division I basketball programs.

Yeah, like Stokes and Hobbs for example. You are so stupid

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Martin has a recruiting philosophy that shuns talented highly touted players in favor of players in high demand amongst low major division I basketball programs.

Yeah, like Richardson, for example. Martin's first recruits are in their sophomore years. Pearl's recruits are juniors and seniors this year. How well are Hall, McBee, Golden, and McRae doing? As juniors and seniors, shouldn't they be expected to carry the leadership roles and be the best, most experienced players? Martin's recruits haven't had enough time to be judged yet. But Pearls have.

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

The one area CCM has yet to address in his short stay has been the point guard position. At this point he may need to go the juco route. Not sure if Landry can contribute immediately this fall. Not ready to throw the towel in on CCM as most are. His talent assessment is going to have to improve if he is going to compete. Based on this season things are not going well, but CCM is only in his second year with one of his main players out for the season (Maymon).

VictorKruger writes:

in response to sly_stone99#434111:

The one area CCM has yet to address in his short stay has been the point guard position. At this point he may need to go the juco route. Not sure if Landry can contribute immediately this fall. Not ready to throw the towel in on CCM as most are. His talent assessment is going to have to improve if he is going to compete. Based on this season things are not going well, but CCM is only in his second year with one of his main players out for the season (Maymon).

Sly, I don't believe that most people are ready to "throw in the towel" on CCM; I think it's a vocal minority on this website. Everyone obviously is aware of the impact of Maymon's injury, but I'd be willing to bet that over half of Vol "fans" don't really understand the nature of McBee's injury nor do they even remember who Dwight Miller is. Throw in nagging injuries to Golden and Hall, plus Reese's delayed debut, and you have no recipe for consistency or chemistry. What coach could win faced with those problems?

Similarly, I think it's a vocal minority that thinks it's a good idea to rehire Pearl. I was as big of a Pearl fan as anyone, but he brought shame and embarrassment upon himself and university by lying to the NCAA and instructing others to lie, and there's no possible way that any university officials would want to re-invite that level of scrutiny and negative exposure by rehiring him. If they did rehire him, could you imagine how easy it would be to recruit against Pearl?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Moore actually looked pretty good against Bama. We need him to play point because Golden isn't getting it done. Golden has shown he can be one of the best. but isn't so far this year. Last year we found out his bad games were due to injuries and I suspect this year his shoulder and a little bit of ...well I don't know what else it could be. We know he can shoot. We know he can get assists. We know he can be a quiet leader. We know he can be the opposite of all that as well. Therefore we need the freshman Moore to step it up.
No pressure Armani.hehe Welcome to the SEC

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

in response to VictorKruger:

Sly, I don't believe that most people are ready to "throw in the towel" on CCM; I think it's a vocal minority on this website. Everyone obviously is aware of the impact of Maymon's injury, but I'd be willing to bet that over half of Vol "fans" don't really understand the nature of McBee's injury nor do they even remember who Dwight Miller is. Throw in nagging injuries to Golden and Hall, plus Reese's delayed debut, and you have no recipe for consistency or chemistry. What coach could win faced with those problems?

Similarly, I think it's a vocal minority that thinks it's a good idea to rehire Pearl. I was as big of a Pearl fan as anyone, but he brought shame and embarrassment upon himself and university by lying to the NCAA and instructing others to lie, and there's no possible way that any university officials would want to re-invite that level of scrutiny and negative exposure by rehiring him. If they did rehire him, could you imagine how easy it would be to recruit against Pearl?

Vic, points well made and a solid post.

1vavolfan writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Yeah, like Richardson, for example. Martin's first recruits are in their sophomore years. Pearl's recruits are juniors and seniors this year. How well are Hall, McBee, Golden, and McRae doing? As juniors and seniors, shouldn't they be expected to carry the leadership roles and be the best, most experienced players? Martin's recruits haven't had enough time to be judged yet. But Pearls have.

Not a good analogy. Tobias Harris was also supposed to be a Junior and he is in the NBA, Maymon would be playing if not for an injury. Pearl would have had more recruits to go with McBee, Golden, and Hall and he wouldn't have had the 3 star players that Martin has brought in. Pearl wouldn't even scout kids like Moore, Chievous, and Edwards, and Washpun. Next year UT's recruiting class is 39th nationally and 8th in the SEC, that is with Hubbs so you can see how the rest of the class is projected. UT is looking at a long spell of mediocrity under Martin.

volvann writes:

in response to VictorKruger:

Sly, I don't believe that most people are ready to "throw in the towel" on CCM; I think it's a vocal minority on this website. Everyone obviously is aware of the impact of Maymon's injury, but I'd be willing to bet that over half of Vol "fans" don't really understand the nature of McBee's injury nor do they even remember who Dwight Miller is. Throw in nagging injuries to Golden and Hall, plus Reese's delayed debut, and you have no recipe for consistency or chemistry. What coach could win faced with those problems?

Similarly, I think it's a vocal minority that thinks it's a good idea to rehire Pearl. I was as big of a Pearl fan as anyone, but he brought shame and embarrassment upon himself and university by lying to the NCAA and instructing others to lie, and there's no possible way that any university officials would want to re-invite that level of scrutiny and negative exposure by rehiring him. If they did rehire him, could you imagine how easy it would be to recruit against Pearl?

Victor, very good post, but remember, most of the folks on this sight have never been to a UT game, watch mayber 3 minutes of each game or are fans of other teams. Us real fans are just shaking our heads saying 'What could have been if....' then name any of the 4-5 key injuries that has killed the depth and continuity of this team. CCM has a real tough road to go in the SEC with his walking wounded.
GoVols....

johnlg00 writes:

Moore was one of the few bright spots in the game Saturday. Young players often have trouble getting their personal pace in synch with real game speed. This gives them a rather herky-jerky pace for a while. He could be a big help to them if he gets this right.

johnlg00 writes:

PS: I've been off the board for a few days. I had a rather thorough remote cleaning of my computer, which seems to have killed off my original screen name with all the extraneous digits. Thanks to Jack Lail for helping me get back on!

wilk58 writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

Not a good analogy. Tobias Harris was also supposed to be a Junior and he is in the NBA, Maymon would be playing if not for an injury. Pearl would have had more recruits to go with McBee, Golden, and Hall and he wouldn't have had the 3 star players that Martin has brought in. Pearl wouldn't even scout kids like Moore, Chievous, and Edwards, and Washpun. Next year UT's recruiting class is 39th nationally and 8th in the SEC, that is with Hubbs so you can see how the rest of the class is projected. UT is looking at a long spell of mediocrity under Martin.

Three names for you Juan Smith, Lofton, Childress. Were they highly recruited?

1vavolfan writes:

in response to wilk58:

Three names for you Juan Smith, Lofton, Childress. Were they highly recruited?

Lofton and Jujuan were already here when Pearl arrived. Childress was a Pearl recruit from Milwaukee and Pearl did the right thing and brought him with him from there. You may want to check you facts before you start an argument.

wilk58 writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

Lofton and Jujuan were already here when Pearl arrived. Childress was a Pearl recruit from Milwaukee and Pearl did the right thing and brought him with him from there. You may want to check you facts before you start an argument.

Wasn't looking for an argument. It was a legit question . Two of the three had decent careers right. Childress tore up a knee. Those three kids you named have less than fifteen games in. Give them a chance.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

Lofton and Jujuan were already here when Pearl arrived. Childress was a Pearl recruit from Milwaukee and Pearl did the right thing and brought him with him from there. You may want to check you facts before you start an argument.

I believe his point was that none of those guys were highly-rated players coming out of HS. The argument is that Martin hasn't recruited a lot of "multi-star-rated" players, therefore UT basketball is sunk. On the other hand, who could doubt that the Vols' record wouldn't be a LOT better if they had a shooter like either Lofton or Smith? Childress had nice size and was developing a decent touch when his career was basically ended by multiple injuries. Of COURSE UT and everybody else wants guys who can play, it's just that the number of stars a recruit has is an imperfect guide to just who that might be, and several of CCM's recruits are already SEC-caliber players.

Basketvol writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Martin has a recruiting philosophy that shuns talented highly touted players in favor of players in high demand amongst low major division I basketball programs.

Wow, that's a really poor philosophy. One might even call it ridiculous. I'm surprised with a philosophy like that Coach Martin was successful at his last job. I thought the recruiting struggles were due to the black cloud hanging over UT athletics during the last recruiting season, but clearly his philosophy to shun talent is the real problem here. Time to start looking for a new coach.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I believe his point was that none of those guys were highly-rated players coming out of HS. The argument is that Martin hasn't recruited a lot of "multi-star-rated" players, therefore UT basketball is sunk. On the other hand, who could doubt that the Vols' record wouldn't be a LOT better if they had a shooter like either Lofton or Smith? Childress had nice size and was developing a decent touch when his career was basically ended by multiple injuries. Of COURSE UT and everybody else wants guys who can play, it's just that the number of stars a recruit has is an imperfect guide to just who that might be, and several of CCM's recruits are already SEC-caliber players.

I had to read a couple of your posts before I believed it was the knowledgeable and admired by most John. Glad to see you back.

Oh. I agree with all you said.

underthehill writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

Lofton and Jujuan were already here when Pearl arrived. Childress was a Pearl recruit from Milwaukee and Pearl did the right thing and brought him with him from there. You may want to check you facts before you start an argument.

I think Childress was from the Cincy Ohio area..

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

Not a good analogy. Tobias Harris was also supposed to be a Junior and he is in the NBA, Maymon would be playing if not for an injury. Pearl would have had more recruits to go with McBee, Golden, and Hall and he wouldn't have had the 3 star players that Martin has brought in. Pearl wouldn't even scout kids like Moore, Chievous, and Edwards, and Washpun. Next year UT's recruiting class is 39th nationally and 8th in the SEC, that is with Hubbs so you can see how the rest of the class is projected. UT is looking at a long spell of mediocrity under Martin.

Analogy? I was making a point, not an analogy. My point is that our program was declining rapidly in Pearl's last couple of years, including his recruiting. Martin has had to coach Pearl's last classes and recruit against that perception and against the shame, embarrasment, and NCAA sanctions that Pearl brought to the program. With that perspective, Martin has done well, bringing Richardson, Stokes, and Reese into the fold, and Hubbs for next season. His recruits who have not panned out well yet are only freshmen now or sophomores, like Yemi, with good potential. Martin has had both a coaching and a recruiting handicap for his one and a half years on the job, and that handicap is called Bruce Pearl.

dvols writes:

can he shoot?

SouthPaVol writes:

in response to brod:

are you an idiot? have you seen any games? moore couldn't play point guard for lincoln memorial university. golden and stokes on the bench. what's wrong with this picture?

Being from the area, I hold LMU in high regard! Had a couple cousins play ball there.

You are right in saying A. Moore is not a point guard (yet), but he is a scorer, a driver, and can jump out of the gym. He's a very good athlete and I am happy to have him on the team. Moore plays faster than most of our other guys. We need more intensity; would like to see all the players quicken the pace just a little.

1vavolfan writes:

in response to underthehill:

I think Childress was from the Cincy Ohio area..

Yes Childress was from Cincy, I meant he was signed on to play at UW-Milwaukee by Pearl. Pearl brought him along because it was the right thing to do. Childress actually had a few productive games but battled injuries much of his career.

1vavolfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I believe his point was that none of those guys were highly-rated players coming out of HS. The argument is that Martin hasn't recruited a lot of "multi-star-rated" players, therefore UT basketball is sunk. On the other hand, who could doubt that the Vols' record wouldn't be a LOT better if they had a shooter like either Lofton or Smith? Childress had nice size and was developing a decent touch when his career was basically ended by multiple injuries. Of COURSE UT and everybody else wants guys who can play, it's just that the number of stars a recruit has is an imperfect guide to just who that might be, and several of CCM's recruits are already SEC-caliber players.

IT is a legitimate point. Lofton was actually in the bottom of the Rivals 150 but Smith was pretty much off the radar. For every Jujuan Smith there are many more 3 star players who never make it. Jujuan was a pretty decent player from the beginning, I hope I am wrong about Martin's recruits but I just don't see Edwards, Moore, or Chievous ever being productive. The most troubling aspect of CCM's recruiting is the lack of a PG. Washpun didn't work, Moore is having trouble staying on the floor, and Landy is being downgraded from 3 to 2 stars because his poor play at Huntington.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

IT is a legitimate point. Lofton was actually in the bottom of the Rivals 150 but Smith was pretty much off the radar. For every Jujuan Smith there are many more 3 star players who never make it. Jujuan was a pretty decent player from the beginning, I hope I am wrong about Martin's recruits but I just don't see Edwards, Moore, or Chievous ever being productive. The most troubling aspect of CCM's recruiting is the lack of a PG. Washpun didn't work, Moore is having trouble staying on the floor, and Landy is being downgraded from 3 to 2 stars because his poor play at Huntington.

Landry may not have the support from his team as in past?? I don't know. but as we can see with Stokes your environment has a lot to do with how you succeed or fail. Let's hope that Martin will get the right recruits for the UT environment. I don't care about the stars so much. Many players in college came in low ranked and turned out good. Sometimes it even happens in pro. I DO get your points and even agree to some extent but I think we can't judge Martin well at this considering the newness of these recruits of his. He obviously would have liked to get top recruits all the way down the bench. Let's hope these players on our bench do the job. It's their chance to prove the underdog can win theory. I really like the Moore kid. If you can get him to settle a little bit then great. Actually we need our bigs to calm down a little and start acting like bigs. But you can't at this point blame Martin for 2 and 3 stars in our league. Not with the competition in recruiting. If he coaches these players up then we will see some top players come in. Or we'll keep seeing him "coaching them up".
I can't speak for John but I say Martin's doing fine so far. We may lose a few like Washpun but we'll see some improve like Makan and even Maymon. Others have improved as well before some key injuries slowed them down. We'll see if Martin can hack it. I think he will be great. But I'm one of those who just doesn't trust quick fixes and immediate success in terms of wins and losses.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

IT is a legitimate point. Lofton was actually in the bottom of the Rivals 150 but Smith was pretty much off the radar. For every Jujuan Smith there are many more 3 star players who never make it. Jujuan was a pretty decent player from the beginning, I hope I am wrong about Martin's recruits but I just don't see Edwards, Moore, or Chievous ever being productive. The most troubling aspect of CCM's recruiting is the lack of a PG. Washpun didn't work, Moore is having trouble staying on the floor, and Landy is being downgraded from 3 to 2 stars because his poor play at Huntington.

All I was trying to say is that recruiting is a guessing game, no matter how a high-school player is rated by the recruiting services. I suppose it is possible that a higher percentage of 4- and 5-star rated prospects actually become college stars, but there relatively few of them. The vast majority of HS players are rated 3-star or less, yet many of them become decent players and some become outright stars.

As I have said before, Martin is trying to build a program, not just one year's team. He COUNTS on developing players and having them around long enough to develop. UK hit the jackpot last year with their one-and-dones, but this year's class was just as highly rated as last year's, yet they haven't fit together quite as well so far. They probably won't ALL go pro after this year the way last year's team did, but some will and UK will have multiple holes to fill.

I can understand why many people today become impatient with Martin's process. They envy the programs who land the splashy recruits. They long to see 5-stars on national telecasts put on their school's hat. They look forward to the vicarious pride they feel when their school's former players tear it up in the NBA. This is all good in its way, but people who expect that from Martin will probably continue to be disappointed.

However, I think Vol fans CAN look forward to years of having competitive teams made up of players who stay in school, stay out of trouble, graduate, and become solid, productive citizens. If they can do that and also win at a respectable rate, the higher-quality recruits will come. In the meantime, the team will not embarrass us off the court, and, if you have seen a lot of the higher-profile teams across the country this year, you would see that darned near all of them have had a few stinker performances along the way.

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