Vols freshman Robert Hubbs shrugs off expectations

KNOXVILLE - Robert Hubbs sat unassumingly listening to music on his headphones last Wednesday night, his 6-foot-5 frame sprawled across the bleachers of the Christian Academy of Knoxville gym and his Tennessee basketball gear the only items betraying his anonymity.

There's also the five-star rating attached to the Volunteers' prized freshman's name that renders moot his understated appearance.

Many eyes at the Rocky Top League are on Hubbs during his unofficial debut, and the expectations began piling up on his shoulders when he committed to Cuonzo Martin and the Vols last September.

Fair or not, it's the way it is if you're rated as one of the nation's top players.

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Comments » 18

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I like McRae better every year. He is older and wiser I think. He's naturally a leader and seems to have gained wisdom as well. This should be his best year. I pray and hope so. I hope Hubbs doesn't have his best year this next bball season. I hope they're all awesome years and he'll have at least a couple here. But I don't care about his rating. I hope the whole team has an awesome year 2013-14. Go UT

wigmeister writes:

Hope he puts as much into his studies as he does on the court. Need to raise APR.

vol98champ writes:

This may sound crazy, but I will take McRae, Stokes, Richardson, Hubbs, Barton, and a healthy Maymon over the 8 or 9 Mickey D's diaper dandies in blue land.

hikerdude writes:

The part about needing to improve his perimeter defense worries me, because that has been a glaring weakness the last two years. If he can improve and if Cuonzo can design some inbounds plays, teach the players how to beat the press, teach the players how to press the inbounds plays and full court, and all those other things that good coaches do, we'll be okay. If he keeps teaching the Gene Keady game, we'll be 20-10 and lose in the first round of the NIT.

volfan2002 writes:

Hubbs is gonna be a great player for us he will have to get over the freshman jitters and he needs to learn to get to the basket more. I am excited about him and the Tennessee team this coming season.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to hikerdude:

The part about needing to improve his perimeter defense worries me, because that has been a glaring weakness the last two years. If he can improve and if Cuonzo can design some inbounds plays, teach the players how to beat the press, teach the players how to press the inbounds plays and full court, and all those other things that good coaches do, we'll be okay. If he keeps teaching the Gene Keady game, we'll be 20-10 and lose in the first round of the NIT.

Although you sometimes come down a little harder on Martin than I do, I agree completely with this post. I expect Martin to improve in all the areas you mentioned. For the most part, I think Martin has instilled the idea that he expects everybody to play hard; now he has to sell them on the idea of playing WELL, i.e., using the mind to maximize the body's potential and to excel in making choices that win games.

johnlg00 writes:

It's sometimes hard to know just where a kid is coming from with what he says. I don't mind that Hubbs seems a bit stand-offish and not a "rah-rah" type. I just hope that doesn't hide a certain kind of steadfast belief in himself that makes him resistant to bonding with a team or subordinating himself to a coach. It's hard to be appropriately humble when you've been told all your life how great you are. I don't mind if he doesn't bubble over with superfluous energy as long as he doesn't see himself as too cool to work hard.

bobbyal52#1417564 writes:

everybody wanted him,we have M@M and Stokes to carry the load and Josh is coming along great.20-10,no way!This team might have high expectation and they should,WE CAN BEAT ANYBODY IN THE COUNTRY!

savvol61 writes:

I had the opportunity to watch Hubbs play last year and was very impressed with his overall game. I spoke with him after the game, and he is very humble and softspoken. (He had on his UT orange and not his Dyer Co. orange) He is not totally deficient defensively, but as was pointed out in Brown's article, that is what he needs to work on at the next level. He could shut down most high school assignments with minimal effort. His work ethic and attitude should get that covered. As far as fire, I saw him stare down our student section after drilling a 25 foot three right in front of them. They had been giving him the business for most of the first quarter. I am looking forward to seeing this young man blossom on the Hill! GO VOLS!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to johnlg00:

It's sometimes hard to know just where a kid is coming from with what he says. I don't mind that Hubbs seems a bit stand-offish and not a "rah-rah" type. I just hope that doesn't hide a certain kind of steadfast belief in himself that makes him resistant to bonding with a team or subordinating himself to a coach. It's hard to be appropriately humble when you've been told all your life how great you are. I don't mind if he doesn't bubble over with superfluous energy as long as he doesn't see himself as too cool to work hard.

He reminds me of Eli Manning (his personality) a quiet confidence that can be just as effective as a very exuberant QB (like Peyton). Both personality types can win..GBO!

CoverOrange writes:

in response to wigmeister:

Hope he puts as much into his studies as he does on the court. Need to raise APR.

APR dne GPA. A passing grade and staying on campus is all that is required to increase the APR.

vut5686#1405392 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

APR dne GPA. A passing grade and staying on campus is all that is required to increase the APR.

It is really funny/sad: the courses most of these athletes take (not the ones serious about a degree and a career) should be a breeze if they a) attend class, b) just listen, c)take a few notes and d) give a little thought to the exam(s). The four step plan for at least a B+. Study a little? A for sure. Failing? Beyond comprehension yet very sad.

UT4prez writes:

What worries me about this team is the lack of fundamentals I have seen the last 2 years. Of all the things I figured Cuonzo would bring fundamental basketball was at the top of the list. Talent wise we should be a top 25 team with no doubt, maybe even top 15. I worry about Cuonzo being able to take this team to the next level. My gut tells me we may be a bubble team again next year even though we certainly should not be.

However, I fully support Coach Martin and the Vols. They have great potential. Just play hard and play smart and they will easily make the dance next year. Just like football, it should be a fun year and I'm really excited to get started!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

He reminds me of Eli Manning (his personality) a quiet confidence that can be just as effective as a very exuberant QB (like Peyton). Both personality types can win..GBO!

As as a broad descriptor, I would accept Eli Manning as a personality model. I'm all in favor of quiet, inner confidence; as the old saying goes, "Think like a man of action; act like a man of thought." If he isn't coming in with any "too cool for school" attitude and really goes all in with the staff and squad, there is no telling how good he could be and how soon. I would love to see it!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to UT4prez:

What worries me about this team is the lack of fundamentals I have seen the last 2 years. Of all the things I figured Cuonzo would bring fundamental basketball was at the top of the list. Talent wise we should be a top 25 team with no doubt, maybe even top 15. I worry about Cuonzo being able to take this team to the next level. My gut tells me we may be a bubble team again next year even though we certainly should not be.

However, I fully support Coach Martin and the Vols. They have great potential. Just play hard and play smart and they will easily make the dance next year. Just like football, it should be a fun year and I'm really excited to get started!

I think the Vols could be outstanding next year. It may take much of the pre-conference season to get everybody's roles defined. Whatever good is accomplished to that end could be completely upset by two or three major injuries. It is always possible that some scandal hits that nobody sees coming.

That personnel-shakedown process can't take TOO much of the preseason because the Vols need to win some of these high-profile non-conference matchups to keep themselves above the bubble all season long. There is no meaningful defense against major injury; it can only be hoped that the "survivors" can regroup and find another way to play well together. I certainly don't think Martin had anything to do with creating the circumstances that befell Makanjuola and Golden, or would harbor any other wrongdoers in the program, but a similar disruption during the season could be catastrophic.

With all those little caveats in mind, I am preparing to enjoy one of the more memorable Vol basketball seasons in several years.

VolYork45 writes:

in response to UT4prez:

What worries me about this team is the lack of fundamentals I have seen the last 2 years. Of all the things I figured Cuonzo would bring fundamental basketball was at the top of the list. Talent wise we should be a top 25 team with no doubt, maybe even top 15. I worry about Cuonzo being able to take this team to the next level. My gut tells me we may be a bubble team again next year even though we certainly should not be.

However, I fully support Coach Martin and the Vols. They have great potential. Just play hard and play smart and they will easily make the dance next year. Just like football, it should be a fun year and I'm really excited to get started!

What worries me is that people think that CCM doesn't teach fundamentals. Really? This team is much improved fundamentally under Martin, than under Pearl. BP's teams were more free flow, and talent-driven. I've seen a great improvement fundamentally over the last couple of years. The only problem is that while his teams play hard on D, sometimes they don't make the right decisions, particularly on offense. The thing I'm worried about is how "smart" will this team play? Most are all very experienced players, and have the talent on both sides to be very good, and they have the fundamentals ingrained in them, but their cerebral knowledge/situation handling is going to be a big key to watch for this basketball team. I think it will be better by virtue of more mature players, but by how much? Go VOLS

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VolYork45:

What worries me is that people think that CCM doesn't teach fundamentals. Really? This team is much improved fundamentally under Martin, than under Pearl. BP's teams were more free flow, and talent-driven. I've seen a great improvement fundamentally over the last couple of years. The only problem is that while his teams play hard on D, sometimes they don't make the right decisions, particularly on offense. The thing I'm worried about is how "smart" will this team play? Most are all very experienced players, and have the talent on both sides to be very good, and they have the fundamentals ingrained in them, but their cerebral knowledge/situation handling is going to be a big key to watch for this basketball team. I think it will be better by virtue of more mature players, but by how much? Go VOLS

Good post. Most people don't pay much attention to how much difference it makes in a guy's performance when he knows the right thing to do in any situation and does it every time. Young players, or players with an immature view of the game, just like to try to do things that make everybody go "Ahh!" whether that is what needed to be done right then or not. The champion teams and the veteran all-stars just don't DO a lot of that stuff. The kids don't appreciate the virtue of being precise and consistent. For example, there is an occasional tendency to want to throw a pass that everyone marvels that a player would even try, rather than take pride in DELIVERING the pass where the receiver can do something with it. It is to be hoped that as players rise in their careers they continue to improve their knowledge and their skills. The more improvement in the former, the more production from the latter. In other words, a little bit of improvement in the mental aspects of the game results in a LOT more production than does a marginal increase in some physical attribute. The Vols, both players and staff, need to demonstrate a whole lot of that kind of improvement. I'm pulling for them to do it, and I think they will.

UT4prez writes:

in response to VolYork45:

What worries me is that people think that CCM doesn't teach fundamentals. Really? This team is much improved fundamentally under Martin, than under Pearl. BP's teams were more free flow, and talent-driven. I've seen a great improvement fundamentally over the last couple of years. The only problem is that while his teams play hard on D, sometimes they don't make the right decisions, particularly on offense. The thing I'm worried about is how "smart" will this team play? Most are all very experienced players, and have the talent on both sides to be very good, and they have the fundamentals ingrained in them, but their cerebral knowledge/situation handling is going to be a big key to watch for this basketball team. I think it will be better by virtue of more mature players, but by how much? Go VOLS

I'm sure he teaches them but something hasn't been sticking. Poor shot selection, getting the ball to the middle of the zone, I'm still not sure Stokes has used his butt to box anyone out yet (he's so strong with his upper body he can get it done with his arms a lot), poor fast break execution, poor passes, etc. that's what I'm talking about. It doesn't seem to get better and to me whether its sports or life most success starts with doing the basic things well.

I'm just as excited as everyone for the upcoming season. My gut is telling me Martin isn't going to be a guy that consistently puts us in the big dance but I sincerely hope I'm wrong. My gut feeling is we will underachieve this year. They play a totally different style than Pearl ran so I wasn't trying to compare at all. I'm only focused on what Martin can get out of these guys. He's our coach. When I'm talking fundamentals I'm talking about playing smart. If they play hard and smart this could be a very special season!

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