Isabelle Harrison to undergo knee surgery

Catchings' post-game talk impacts players

Tennessee's assistant coach Dean Lockwood helps Isabelle Harrison stand after she hurt her knee during the game against Notre Dame at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday, January 28, 2013. Tennessee loses to Notre Dame 77-67. 
  
  
 (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Photo by Saul Young, 2012 Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee's assistant coach Dean Lockwood helps Isabelle Harrison stand after she hurt her knee during the game against Notre Dame at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday, January 28, 2013. Tennessee loses to Notre Dame 77-67. (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Dean Lockwood answers questions from the Big Orange Tipoff Club

Taber Spani talks about how the Lady Vols can improve

Tamika Catchings sat in Tennessee's locker room after Monday night's loss to Notre Dame with a choice to make.

Should the former Lady Vols All-American remain silent or should she stand up and speak her mind? She chose the latter.

"I didn't plan it," she said. "I started talking. I don't remember verbatim what I said."

She said enough to make a strong impression. Two Lady Vols referenced the impact as the team prepared to face SEC women's basketball rival Mississippi State (9-11, 1-6 SEC) at Thompson-Boling Arena today (TV: CSS, 7 p.m.).

"We needed to not only be challenged but also be encouraged and she did both," senior Taber Spani said.

The most pressing matter for No. 9 Tennessee (16-4, 7-0) is handling Isabelle Harrison's left knee injury. The sophomore center was helped to the locker room after going down with 5:07 left in the first half of Monday's 77-67 loss. She had been diagnosed beforehand with a lateral meniscus injury to the knee but was cleared to play.

On Wednesday, UT announced it was determined that Harrison will need knee surgery after a visit to Dr. Greg Mathien.

According to UT assistant director of sports medicine Jenny Moshak, the procedure will take place Friday. No timetable was announced on how long Harrison will be out.

Harrison entered the arena Wednesday on crutches. While the team worked out, she was lying on the trainer's table receiving treatment with the knee packed in ice.

Freshman Jasmine Jones likely will be first up to replace Harrison in the starting lineup. Her lone

start was Dec. 28 against Davidson. Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick shook up the lineup for that game to shake up the team after a lackluster loss to Stanford before Christmas.

Sophomore Cierra Burdick, who's been out since New Year's Eve with a fractured right hand, is close to being an option again. At Wednesday's Big Orange TipOff Club, assistant coach Dean Lockwood said Burdick is expected back for Sunday's game at Missouri.

Burdick had her cast removed Monday. She was on the court Wednesday, testing the hand by taking shots from close range.

No matter who starts, Harrison's situation means more playing time for 6-foot-3 reserve Nia Moore, who's averaging 9.2 minutes per game.

"She's going to be thrown in the fire early," Warlick said. "I think Nia is very capable. The more practice time she has, the more game experience she has will help her. But when you've been playing behind Bashaara (Graves) and you've been playing behind (Harrison) your playing time has been limited. But I think Nia is very capable of stepping up and helping us."

Under the circumstances, rallying the troops is advisable. With her impromptu talk, Catchings got that process rolling. She arrived in time to watch the team's shooting practice Monday and made a talking point of its uneven quality.

"You look at the game," she said. "It was kind of the same thing."

Both Spani and point guard Ariel Massengale mentioned the observation.

"It's not a physical thing, it's more of a mental thing," Spani said. "... Being able to tune in mentally and not have any lapses is going to be huge."

Catchings also left them with reason for optimism.

"I was impressed from the standpoint of what they can be," she said. "But from the outside looking in, sometimes you see more potential than they see."

Warlick was grateful that the players heard from someone other than the coaches, especially a player of Catchings' stature.

"Sometimes, they may think a coach, we're just harping on and on and on," Warlick said. "But to hear it from a former Lady Vol and their peers, I think it has a lot of meaning."

Guard Offered: Alexa Middleton, a junior guard at Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro, was offered a scholarship this week by Tennessee, according to Tom Kreager of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal.

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Comments » 48

Theo writes:

Alexa Middleton 5'8" PG, #4 pg, #21 overall. "Great basketball IQ, terrific passer". Any Lady Vols fans here in Middle TN seen her play?
Got to love Tamika, just a class, class kid (I guess actually woman now, man I'm old). Taking time to challenge and encourage the team. She brings a credibility that none of the coaches bring to bear. Hopefully that talk will sink in and the LVs can draw from that the next time they start to have a let down.
Izzy on crutches, not good, I would hate it but perhaps need to shut her down for the season. Next year she could be part of one of the most dominant front lines in the country. We can't be shortsighted here. JJ and Nia can show us what they've got and we'll welcome Ciera back.

Noogaorange writes:

in response to Theo:

Alexa Middleton 5'8" PG, #4 pg, #21 overall. "Great basketball IQ, terrific passer". Any Lady Vols fans here in Middle TN seen her play?
Got to love Tamika, just a class, class kid (I guess actually woman now, man I'm old). Taking time to challenge and encourage the team. She brings a credibility that none of the coaches bring to bear. Hopefully that talk will sink in and the LVs can draw from that the next time they start to have a let down.
Izzy on crutches, not good, I would hate it but perhaps need to shut her down for the season. Next year she could be part of one of the most dominant front lines in the country. We can't be shortsighted here. JJ and Nia can show us what they've got and we'll welcome Ciera back.

"She brings a credibility that none of the coaches bring to bear"???? What credibility is that? Just wondering. GBO VFL17

MrBamSeydu writes:

Honestly, they need a PG. Massengale was extremely over-rated. She has alot of turnovers and when she drives to the basket, she just jumps into people trying to get a foul called and throws the ball up hoping to hit something. I would like to see Carter starting next year and Massengale playing backup PG. One of the more over-rated players UT has signed in years.

SoddyVol writes:

Last year Baugh played hurt, now Harrison. Having Jones and soon Burdick back still gives some hope.

movol53 writes:

If the Lady Vols suffer any more injuries perhaps they will qualify for some type of Federal disaster relief program; seems some force of nature has blown through the UT Athletic department. We have the walking wounded playing; men's and women's BB teams. Go VOLS!!! and Go LADY VOLS!!! Put someone else in and keep it going!!! May not be a Final Four team this year but (barring more injuries) they can make the Elite 8.

tenn32rebel writes:

in response to Noogaorange:

"She brings a credibility that none of the coaches bring to bear"???? What credibility is that? Just wondering. GBO VFL17

Credibility? ARE YOU SERIOUS????

Catchings, current MVP in the WNBA, gold medalist in multiple Olympics, multiple Defensive Player of the Year awards in the WNBA, and member of the current WNBA champions.

I'm sure I left something out but that will hit the high spots for you.

Theo writes:

in response to Noogaorange:

"She brings a credibility that none of the coaches bring to bear"???? What credibility is that? Just wondering. GBO VFL17

I think because she is a current WNBA player, and I believe a league MVP, perhaps someone the current kids saw play as a Lady Vol, a NC winner. You know how it is, your parents can say the same thing to you a thousand times but if your hero says it it is gospel.

Theo writes:

Dang it I posted before they updated this with the news on Izzy needing surgery. That just stinks. She was really starting to be an impactful player and it is too late to get a medical redshirt. I hope it is still "just" a meniscus issue. Kind of like "minor" surgery is always what someone else has.
I guess the good news is that she won't try and come back too early and will get it totally healed up before next year. Dang it.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to MrBamSeydu:

Honestly, they need a PG. Massengale was extremely over-rated. She has alot of turnovers and when she drives to the basket, she just jumps into people trying to get a foul called and throws the ball up hoping to hit something. I would like to see Carter starting next year and Massengale playing backup PG. One of the more over-rated players UT has signed in years.

@mrbam....
I had the chance to see AM play in AAU ball.

She's solid....but not good enough to come in with a "star" tag.

She's a good player to have....but you may be right in terms of her role.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

My own daughter plays, has had the knee injuries....they fricking suck.

Basketball is such a great sport for women to play, yet the knee injuries are nearly an epidemic.

At times, I think the players would be better with their bare feet....

SummittsCourt writes:

Another tough blow for the Lady Vols. The calvary is coming next year though - whatever happens this year is gravy.

richvol writes:

Sorry about Izzy but giving Nia more playing time will only help the team next year and next year is the team we should expect great things from.

jdcdjc writes:

#1. Hope everything goes well for Izzy, she will be missed.
#2. Massengale would be a good for releif, but really not a starting guard.
#3. Really enjoying this year but really looking forward to what next year will bring.
VFL GLV

fake_basketball writes:

When do they play UCONN?

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

guys.....
never count on the incoming hype to mean squat on a player.

These players coming in next year will be freshmen, and there's a great chance they get their butts handed to them even just trying to beat out the upperclassmen.

The teams UT will have to go through next year will be both athletic and smart: UConn, ND, Stanford, Duke. What that means is UT will need outstanding guard play...intelligent guard play.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

When do they play UCONN?

When you grow a pair.

vol98champ writes:

IMO that is 3 of our best 6 players sitting on the bench with street clothes. Holly has her work cut out for her. If I were a Lady Vol I would listen to Catchings.

fake_basketball writes:

why don't they have the kiss cam at the LV games?

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

in response to emailnodata:

guys.....
never count on the incoming hype to mean squat on a player.

These players coming in next year will be freshmen, and there's a great chance they get their butts handed to them even just trying to beat out the upperclassmen.

The teams UT will have to go through next year will be both athletic and smart: UConn, ND, Stanford, Duke. What that means is UT will need outstanding guard play...intelligent guard play.

Don't forget UNC. They are getting better and will be even better next year. Unfortunately our guard play has been our achilles heel the past 5 years. We have had to use player to play out of their position at point. We had Bass although a scrappy and good teammate , was slightly undersized. And now Ariel , a good PG and floor leader but she is just one step slower than the elite PGs in the league and gets picked way too often. Draya to me is the idea PG in today's game. Not going to harp on our guards play this year because they lost to the best teams with the best guards in the country this year. Believe me CW being a guard will address this quickly and recruit and have recruited some very good guards.

dunc writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

When do they play UCONN?

When will Guido stop lying?

RLL59 writes:

Tamika is the greatest and her words to the players are a plus, but this team has no half court game , nor can they adjust on defense against teams with comparable talent. The coaching staff needs to develop the players' basketball skills, and spend less time being psychologists.

It would be great to see more player and team development rather than having to always rely on next year's recruits.

hikerdude writes:

Man, that is bad news. Looks like the LVs are "snake bit". We are not experienced enough to win the NC this year, but next year, with the backups getting a lot of game experience this year, we have a great chance to hang another banner.

Theo writes:

in response to RLL59:

Tamika is the greatest and her words to the players are a plus, but this team has no half court game , nor can they adjust on defense against teams with comparable talent. The coaching staff needs to develop the players' basketball skills, and spend less time being psychologists.

It would be great to see more player and team development rather than having to always rely on next year's recruits.

Well, we are all excited about next years highly ranked class coming in. But, I would profer that even if next year's class only added depth this team would be stellar next year. You would start Harrison, Graves, Burdick or Jones, Simmons and Massengale or Carter. With one more year of experience, weight work and preseason coaching that would be a really top team. So, although excited about the three additions, we have a great team coming back now.
Nice article on Tamika Catching in the Sportsman of the Year issue of Sports Illustrated. Classy person.

Theo writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

When do they play UCONN?

When is Geno's sexual harrassment trial?

madrigal writes:

The person who asked about Tamika's credibility must be too young to remember her. She was only one of the greatest players ever to play for the Lady Vols, and now is a mainstay of the WNBA Indiana Fever and has been an all-star many times and MVP more than once. In addition to that, she was and is known for overcoming her severe hearing disability and for inspiring hearing-impaired people, young and old.

Those who remember Tamika remember the heart-stopping silence when she went down with an ACL. We thought the season was lost for sure, but the team stepped up more after that and she was right there with them, inspiring them though she couldn't play. She knows how a team has to push just a little harder without their "star". Hopefully this bunch got what she was saying. I think her words might make a pretty considerable impact.

kazoo writes:

Massengale IS a good point guard, but she could be better. She needs to crank everything up a notch--her fitness, her defensive intensity, her aggressiveness on offense, her leadership. She is talented but a bit too passive. She reminds me of the PG we had years ago--Moore, who was very athletic but just never became the outstanding college player she had the potential to be. She played in the WNBA and I believe did quite well. UT's guard play just has not been good enough over the last decade-spotty recruiting and spotty play. Look at the ND game: all three guards played poorly on both ends of the court. You can't win big games with mediocre guard play.

volboy81 writes:

GET WELL SOON, LIZZIE!
I saw Middleton play some last year. The real deal. Glad UT offered. Come on & be a Lady Vol, Alexa!

VolsFan4Lyfe writes:

in response to kazoo:

Massengale IS a good point guard, but she could be better. She needs to crank everything up a notch--her fitness, her defensive intensity, her aggressiveness on offense, her leadership. She is talented but a bit too passive. She reminds me of the PG we had years ago--Moore, who was very athletic but just never became the outstanding college player she had the potential to be. She played in the WNBA and I believe did quite well. UT's guard play just has not been good enough over the last decade-spotty recruiting and spotty play. Look at the ND game: all three guards played poorly on both ends of the court. You can't win big games with mediocre guard play.

Ariel is a good point guard I totally agree. People want her to be Skylar Diggins and Odyssey Simms but she isnt that type of player..She isnt going to score you a lot of points because she is a good floor leader. People are saying she turns the ball over too much??? In her game vs ND she had 3 turnovers YES but she had 9 FRICKIN ASSISTS! Thats a 3:1 ratio and would have had more if her players did not blow the lays ups that she dished dimes to them on! The thing is young players were rushing shots because it was a huge game! When Ariel succeeded in H.S. and on THREE U.S.A. squads she was chosen for she got the right people the ball in the right spots. You can't tell me she wouldnt be better playing with Griner or Stanfords center because they are elite posts that put up elite type of numbers. Look at her and Graves' connection and how she gets the ball to her in the post. She puts her in the position to score as well as guards who are cutting to the basket. Give her another year with more experienced posts and a 6'6'' target and watch how she manages the game!

PureOrange writes:

Dreaded the news on Izzy. She is very important to this team.

Wish her the best and a very quick recovery.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Noogaorange:

"She brings a credibility that none of the coaches bring to bear"???? What credibility is that? Just wondering. GBO VFL17

Four-time All-America; NCAA Champion; many times All-WNBA; Olympic Gold Medalist--THAT kind of credibility!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Theo:

Dang it I posted before they updated this with the news on Izzy needing surgery. That just stinks. She was really starting to be an impactful player and it is too late to get a medical redshirt. I hope it is still "just" a meniscus issue. Kind of like "minor" surgery is always what someone else has.
I guess the good news is that she won't try and come back too early and will get it totally healed up before next year. Dang it.

Agree with all. It's a crying shame for her and for the team, but what can you do? Next year is what most of us were thinking about anyway. Anything they accomplish this year is gravy compared with getting the good youngun's like Bashaara, the Jasmines, and Nia experienced enough to help drive a championship run next year.

PeytonWM18 writes:

Simply hate the news about Izzy, but hopefully she'll return soon, stronger than ever. God's speed!

The point-guard discussion has been fascinating. I agree that Ariel, for whatever reason, isn't playing solid, consistent ball. She's hesitant when she should be assertive and too out of control when she should bring a calm influence to the flow of the game.

Add to the LV's pg issue an off-guard as inconsistent and uncontrollable as Simmons, it's a wonder the LVs have a winning record. Thank goodness the SEC isn't as strong as some years in the past.

As for next year's team, it should be loaded for a legit run at the title. Three major obstacles, Griner-Diggins-Obawhat'shername at Stanford, will be gone, thank goodness. If Russell is what the so-called experts say, there's immediate help in the paint and on the boards.

This lineup could dominate:

Carter
Burdick
Graves
Harrison
Russell

Yes, I'd bench Meghan and Ariel and let them come off the bench after observing the start of the game. If either is off, back to the bench quickly.

One good positive the LVs may gain from Harrison's injury experience for Nia. She plays hard, runs the floor well and has great size. Playing time will only help come tournament time and definitely going into next season. Frontcourt depth should be a strength next year.

Go Lady Vols!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to emailnodata:

@mrbam....
I had the chance to see AM play in AAU ball.

She's solid....but not good enough to come in with a "star" tag.

She's a good player to have....but you may be right in terms of her role.

I always wondered why she was thought to be "all that" after all I have seen of her so far. She would be better off, as would the team, if she didn't seem to be trying to live up to that rep by trying all these "no-chance" hero plays. She just has to be sound and solid with the ball and make the high-percentage shots AND pressure free-throws. It shouldn't take an All-American to do those things.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RLL59:

Tamika is the greatest and her words to the players are a plus, but this team has no half court game , nor can they adjust on defense against teams with comparable talent. The coaching staff needs to develop the players' basketball skills, and spend less time being psychologists.

It would be great to see more player and team development rather than having to always rely on next year's recruits.

It's not easy to know from the outside where the line is between psychological and technical coaching. Confidence helps in making plays; making plays builds confidence. Knowing that one's skills are highly developed is a security blanket when things get tough. All this talk about "next year" is not so much because they need the newcomers to be stars, but merely to fill out the roster and hopefully to adequately replace Spani and Williams. The core of this team next year will be Graves, Harrison, Simmons, and Burdick. It would help if Massengale could smooth out her game some. If any of the newcomers can beat out any of the returnees, that will be all to the good.

ljlongtimevolfan writes:

Isabelle is a competitive and classy player that will be missed. Hope her surgery and rehab goes well and she is not rushed back into action too soon this season.

We have nine SEC games left with only two teams that should give us any competition which are number 16 Texas A&M and number 5 Kentucky that stand in the way of another regular season championship. The Lady Vols are not yet at the elite level this season but will be no lower than a 3 seed in the NCAA Tourney and can reach a 2 seed if they play team ball and play up to their capabilities. Jones, Kamiko and Moore should get a lot more playing time and hopefully the coaches will keep Simmons under control. It’s in their hands on where they finish because they have seven weak opponents that we should win by 30 or more on just pure talent and the two top twenty teams between them and a championship.

The loses to the number 1,2 and 3 rated teams were not that bad and the LV’s have learned and gained valuable experience playing these top elite teams which will help going down the stretch. I think too much emphasis is placed on all these pep talks by former players, it’s not a bad thing, but great players and teams will rise to the occasions from within and within their talent levels during adversity. Graves is the type player that can carry this team with her talents and leadership. Remember what CPS father said you can’t win the Kentucky Derby with mules!! The elite teams just have better stables now but we are improving.

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

in response to PeytonWM18:

Simply hate the news about Izzy, but hopefully she'll return soon, stronger than ever. God's speed!

The point-guard discussion has been fascinating. I agree that Ariel, for whatever reason, isn't playing solid, consistent ball. She's hesitant when she should be assertive and too out of control when she should bring a calm influence to the flow of the game.

Add to the LV's pg issue an off-guard as inconsistent and uncontrollable as Simmons, it's a wonder the LVs have a winning record. Thank goodness the SEC isn't as strong as some years in the past.

As for next year's team, it should be loaded for a legit run at the title. Three major obstacles, Griner-Diggins-Obawhat'shername at Stanford, will be gone, thank goodness. If Russell is what the so-called experts say, there's immediate help in the paint and on the boards.

This lineup could dominate:

Carter
Burdick
Graves
Harrison
Russell

Yes, I'd bench Meghan and Ariel and let them come off the bench after observing the start of the game. If either is off, back to the bench quickly.

One good positive the LVs may gain from Harrison's injury experience for Nia. She plays hard, runs the floor well and has great size. Playing time will only help come tournament time and definitely going into next season. Frontcourt depth should be a strength next year.

Go Lady Vols!

Chiney Ogumike will be back with all their starters minus Joselyn Tinkle coming back for Stanford. Uconn will have a solid team with the only dent in their armor being not having Faris as a leader of their team. Won't matter , they will be the team to best next year. Duke and Elizabeth Williams will be strong as well as UNC . Baylor and ND will fall off some. UK and UGA lot . So where does that leave the Lady Vols? Still in the hunt and a possible Final 4 in Hollys second year. But still a very competitive year next year for women's bball. If Russell plays to the level as Graves is playing now, this team could go undefeated.

r2d2 writes:

in response to PeytonWM18:

Simply hate the news about Izzy, but hopefully she'll return soon, stronger than ever. God's speed!

The point-guard discussion has been fascinating. I agree that Ariel, for whatever reason, isn't playing solid, consistent ball. She's hesitant when she should be assertive and too out of control when she should bring a calm influence to the flow of the game.

Add to the LV's pg issue an off-guard as inconsistent and uncontrollable as Simmons, it's a wonder the LVs have a winning record. Thank goodness the SEC isn't as strong as some years in the past.

As for next year's team, it should be loaded for a legit run at the title. Three major obstacles, Griner-Diggins-Obawhat'shername at Stanford, will be gone, thank goodness. If Russell is what the so-called experts say, there's immediate help in the paint and on the boards.

This lineup could dominate:

Carter
Burdick
Graves
Harrison
Russell

Yes, I'd bench Meghan and Ariel and let them come off the bench after observing the start of the game. If either is off, back to the bench quickly.

One good positive the LVs may gain from Harrison's injury experience for Nia. She plays hard, runs the floor well and has great size. Playing time will only help come tournament time and definitely going into next season. Frontcourt depth should be a strength next year.

Go Lady Vols!

Take Meighan Simmons out of the lineup this year and you would have 3 or 4 more losses. She is the LVs leading scorer at 18 points a game. This is a rounded figure. Holly cannot leave her out of the starting lineup next year.

VOLindiana writes:

Not a medical expert. Does anybody at least know the "average" time out for what IZZY is going thru?

Kind of over the "next season" talk. Please keep your comments to current and relevant issues (like this season)

Lets focus on whats at hand. We are still undfeated in SEC play and what were we picked to finish?

The media/fans/experts set out there goals and thoughts for the lady vols at the beggining of the season and I bet most of you thought the same thing. These girls are a top 10 team, and number one in the SEC. AMAZING.

At this point, players are not playing to there potential. I hope for their sake they don't read these comments on here becuase if I was reading the negative comments about myself, I'd play like phooey too.

Cathings plays for the fever. The fever played agianst the Lynx for the championship. The Lynx going into the serious had best record, best atheltes, best scorers... who won in the end? Let that be motiviation.

Be a tennessee fan and be greatful. We are still trying for a national title. we are still trying for a sec title. and we are still trying to bring the best players in the country to play at 'the Summitt'

See you lady's this weekend in Missouri!

kazoo writes:

This team is dependent on the outside shooting of Simmons, whose game has improved, and Spani--but sadly they each have a history of playing badly in big games. It's partly the UT offense and partly a lack of toughness. Why isn't that UT's half-court offense always breaks down after three passes? Notice that? ND will pass the ball six times and end up with a layup. We pass the ball three times--and then, inevitably, confusion sets in, the players stop moving, and then whoever has the ball goes one on one. We did this throughout the ND game, and have been doing it for YEARS. This has to change--and the whole program needs to find the toughness juice which UT players used to guzzle.

golfman1975 writes:

in response to fake_basketball:

When do they play UCONN?

Gino!!!!!!! Won coach of the year in 1997 with an undefeated team...ranked #1...in the final four...lost to a 10 loss LV team and a 3 seed. You can't tell me he deserved the coach of the year. As a matter of fact...the LV's have the 3 worst records to ever win the NCAA championship.

He won his championships with a team favored to win...he has never won when he was an underdog. He makes no in-game adjustments and cost him the ND game this year.

We have 3 player out..2 starters and a top freshman and even though we were picked 5th in the SEC by everyone right now have the only undefeated team in the SEC.

Then you have Gino facing sexual harassment charges...not a real good thing. Then, if he is such a great coach why isn't he coaching a mens team?

RLL59 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

It's not easy to know from the outside where the line is between psychological and technical coaching. Confidence helps in making plays; making plays builds confidence. Knowing that one's skills are highly developed is a security blanket when things get tough. All this talk about "next year" is not so much because they need the newcomers to be stars, but merely to fill out the roster and hopefully to adequately replace Spani and Williams. The core of this team next year will be Graves, Harrison, Simmons, and Burdick. It would help if Massengale could smooth out her game some. If any of the newcomers can beat out any of the returnees, that will be all to the good.

My concern is that for several years now there has been little improvement by individual players year to year, and virtually no improvement on the facets of the game where team weaknesses have been evident. Despite what some here say, the Lady Vols consistently finish in the top 10 recruiting (mostly top 5); they have the talent and they beat most teams they should. They just don't improve and they don't ever beat teams with equal or greater talent. Each year, fans look to next year as disappointment in the current players, and hope in next year's freshmen, grow when it becomes evident that the team doesn't compete with the best. I'm not so sure next year's team will be better with Taber and Kamiko gone. It'll depend on how good Ms. Russell is. What WILL happen is that a few of the better teams will lose their outstanding players to graduation.

I'm not against Holly; I just wish she'd abandon those practices that weren't working for Coach Summitt in recent years.

lstbodeanvol writes:

in response to emailnodata:

When you grow a pair.

who cares about ucant....and we already played 3 top five teams.....Stanford, Notre Dame and a team with a player that grew a pair...Baylor lol Go lady vols keep working and playing hard love the lady vols 24/7/365 :)

Theo writes:

in response to RLL59:

My concern is that for several years now there has been little improvement by individual players year to year, and virtually no improvement on the facets of the game where team weaknesses have been evident. Despite what some here say, the Lady Vols consistently finish in the top 10 recruiting (mostly top 5); they have the talent and they beat most teams they should. They just don't improve and they don't ever beat teams with equal or greater talent. Each year, fans look to next year as disappointment in the current players, and hope in next year's freshmen, grow when it becomes evident that the team doesn't compete with the best. I'm not so sure next year's team will be better with Taber and Kamiko gone. It'll depend on how good Ms. Russell is. What WILL happen is that a few of the better teams will lose their outstanding players to graduation.

I'm not against Holly; I just wish she'd abandon those practices that weren't working for Coach Summitt in recent years.

Hmm. I think you make some good points but I'm going to throw out a couple of other thoughts. Regarding kids not making sufficient improvement. I am not knowledgeable enough to break down kid's individual games but I will say that I think Izzy Harrison showed huge improvement from last year to this year. I think, Meighan, while not always clutch definitely plays more undercontrol this year than last and looks better on defense. Taber looks fitter to me and is able to stay with her man this year. Kamicko, in spurts, that is all I can say as I shake my head, in spurts. So, while I think you make a valid point about competing with the best the last couple of years I think we are on our way. Sometimes it seems you need the one kid who just will not lose. Holdsclaw, Catchings, Anosike, Parker I think infused their teammates with that confidence. I can see kids currently on the team or in next years class who may have that ability. We'll see. Looking forward to the ride.

soitgoes12 writes:

"Carter
Burdick
Graves
Harrison
Russell"

That lineup would get run out of the gym by any team with any sort of quickness.

RLL59 writes:

in response to Theo:

Hmm. I think you make some good points but I'm going to throw out a couple of other thoughts. Regarding kids not making sufficient improvement. I am not knowledgeable enough to break down kid's individual games but I will say that I think Izzy Harrison showed huge improvement from last year to this year. I think, Meighan, while not always clutch definitely plays more undercontrol this year than last and looks better on defense. Taber looks fitter to me and is able to stay with her man this year. Kamicko, in spurts, that is all I can say as I shake my head, in spurts. So, while I think you make a valid point about competing with the best the last couple of years I think we are on our way. Sometimes it seems you need the one kid who just will not lose. Holdsclaw, Catchings, Anosike, Parker I think infused their teammates with that confidence. I can see kids currently on the team or in next years class who may have that ability. We'll see. Looking forward to the ride.

Yeah, I see what you mean by the whole team benefiting by a dominant, determined player. And I admit that there is not a total lack of improvement in this year's players. This is Holly's first year and if she and the other coaches can help achieve improvement in each player's weaker areas, while taking the steps to improve the 'teamwork' aspects of the game, the next few years have the potential for championships. We'll see.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I always wondered why she was thought to be "all that" after all I have seen of her so far. She would be better off, as would the team, if she didn't seem to be trying to live up to that rep by trying all these "no-chance" hero plays. She just has to be sound and solid with the ball and make the high-percentage shots AND pressure free-throws. It shouldn't take an All-American to do those things.

John, it's just the nature of the recruiting beast.

You might vaguely remember what I posted a few years back...
the "assessments" are written by, typically, guys who see a player for a few games at an AAU site. If the AAU team is good, everyone looks good. College coaches...tend to 'herd-like' as well....

As for AM...my daughters team played (and beat) her team in a Chicago tournament...without our "top" (again, by hype, not by heart) player. AM did little to nothing against us. The girl at UConn, Tuck, was on that team as well, I think.

Yeah, it's a very weak science!!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to emailnodata:

John, it's just the nature of the recruiting beast.

You might vaguely remember what I posted a few years back...
the "assessments" are written by, typically, guys who see a player for a few games at an AAU site. If the AAU team is good, everyone looks good. College coaches...tend to 'herd-like' as well....

As for AM...my daughters team played (and beat) her team in a Chicago tournament...without our "top" (again, by hype, not by heart) player. AM did little to nothing against us. The girl at UConn, Tuck, was on that team as well, I think.

Yeah, it's a very weak science!!!

Yep, you and I and several others have looked at this issue from many points of view. I just think many of the more-casual fans take the views of the "experts" too literally, like the gal in the recent TV commercial who said, "They can't put anything on the internet that isn't true." If someone has the intiative and wherewithal to put together a good-looking website and call themselves a recruiting service, then, voila!, they're experts. Coaches and other interested observers go to the AAU tournaments or elite camps and see players in conditions that reveal only a limited sample of a player's best attributes in settings designed to show off their strengths but which seldom reveal weaknesses that would hurt them on a real team. The ones with spectacular skills stand out while the ones who do the vitally essential "dirty work" that ALWAYS makes the difference between a winning TEAM and a losing one are overlooked. Then everybody is saying, "Wow, if they can just get Ms/Mr. All-Star, they'll be set!" When enough people say that, then the coach gets all kinds of grief when he/she doesn't recruit Ms/Mr. All-Star. When they do, everybody is happy until everybody discovers that Ms/Mr. All-Star has serious flaws in his/her game or mental/emotional makeup and then they gripe that the coach should have known that or should have fixed it. In my 66 years of life, I have seen this scenario play out so often I can recite it by heart.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Yep, you and I and several others have looked at this issue from many points of view. I just think many of the more-casual fans take the views of the "experts" too literally, like the gal in the recent TV commercial who said, "They can't put anything on the internet that isn't true." If someone has the intiative and wherewithal to put together a good-looking website and call themselves a recruiting service, then, voila!, they're experts. Coaches and other interested observers go to the AAU tournaments or elite camps and see players in conditions that reveal only a limited sample of a player's best attributes in settings designed to show off their strengths but which seldom reveal weaknesses that would hurt them on a real team. The ones with spectacular skills stand out while the ones who do the vitally essential "dirty work" that ALWAYS makes the difference between a winning TEAM and a losing one are overlooked. Then everybody is saying, "Wow, if they can just get Ms/Mr. All-Star, they'll be set!" When enough people say that, then the coach gets all kinds of grief when he/she doesn't recruit Ms/Mr. All-Star. When they do, everybody is happy until everybody discovers that Ms/Mr. All-Star has serious flaws in his/her game or mental/emotional makeup and then they gripe that the coach should have known that or should have fixed it. In my 66 years of life, I have seen this scenario play out so often I can recite it by heart.

John.
You have it precisely.

Add to it HS stats....where did you play? Against who that was competitive?? Who did you practice against every day?

What literally made my daughter better as a player were the girls she banged against as a sophomore and junior, and she went to lot of camps where the competition was tough.

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