In the aftermath of Tuesday's abrupt announcement of point guard Trae Golden’s transfer from Tennessee, UT coach Cuonzo Martin called the move “a key loss” and repeatedly added, “Trae has to do what’s best for Trae Golden.”
In a Wednesday morning radio interview on the News Sentinel Sportspage, Martin did not, however, address any specifics surrounding Golden’s exit.
“I try to put an umbrella, so to speak, over my guys on anything in any shape or form so I’ll be the guy that takes the hits on anything — whatever goes on with my guys,” Martin said. “Trae Golden had to do what’s best for Trae Golden, but he’s a talented player, a guy that can score the basketball. He’ll bounce back fine. He’ll do what he needs to do to be successful, there’s no doubt in my mind.
On Tuesday, a UT athletic department source with knowledge of the situation told the News Sentinel that Golden’s departure is “based on academics” and a result of “repeated plagiarism.”
Asked if the Vols will look to add a point guard to the 2013-14 signing class, Martin said, “We have some pretty good leads and we’ll see.”
News Sentinel columnist Mike Strange asked Martin, “Was the decision (regarding Golden) out of your hands?”
“The bottom line," Martin responded, "this is the best decision for Trae Golden. Everything I do, I do what’s best for my players.”
Golden started 58 of his 96 career games over three years with the Vols, averaging 9.7 points, 3.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Golden was the Vols’ second-leading scorer last season at 12.1 points per game and led UT with 13.7 points per game as a sophomore.
Addressing fan concerns surrounding perceived recent instability in the UT program, Martin said, "As fans, you should be concerned because you're a part of the program, but there are no problems on this end. We're fine on this side."
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn