Cuonzo Martin on News Sentinel Sports Page: Trae Golden departure 'a key loss'

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin talks with guard Trae Golden (11) in the first half against Vanderbilt at Thompson-Boling Arena Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin talks with guard Trae Golden (11) in the first half against Vanderbilt at Thompson-Boling Arena Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

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

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Comments » 9

CoverOrange writes:

Trae Golden had to do what’s best for Trae Golden

That's why he got into trouble isn't it?

SummittsCourt writes:

I wonder if Trae is thinking maybe he should have entered the draft, but then, he would have had to copy someone else's form to submit.

BigBadVol writes:

Just sad no matter how you look at it.

Big_Orange_Aide writes:

I wonder if there are any diamonds in the rough in the junior college ranks?

Peoplecallmestag writes:

I trust in CM's ability to handle this situation as best as it can be handled. Unfortunately, it's impossible to control all facets of every day life; especially when it comes to young adults who are still learning how to live.

We have two coaches who are still relatively new to their programs taking the necessary steps to correct what could potentially be described as systemic problems.

Have faith and patience in their efforts, and we will see benefits.

underthehill writes:

If Golden had not left..UT still did not have a speed player capable of defending baseline to baseline and handling the ball against pressure defense..if Lopez can fill this role..don't matter if he is a walk-on..if he can not..I don't see it keeping the Vols from being a very good team..just maybe a bubble NCAA team..again..

67classut writes:

I think most of what we get here in posts are lots of assumptions, few facts. We should therefore take this all with a grain of salt.

But UT is among many fine institutions where the student body academically is near high school valedictorian status. It is unlikely that most college athletes are of this caliber and besides, the demands of big time sports does limit study time.

If this is plagiarism as some suggest, this is part and parcel of attempting to reconcile an honest effort to help student athletes secure a future in a strong academic atmosphere. This is reality, so stop the fingerpointing. The coaching staff at most university would not last long if his/her team had only 3.8 average students.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to underthehill:

If Golden had not left..UT still did not have a speed player capable of defending baseline to baseline and handling the ball against pressure defense..if Lopez can fill this role..don't matter if he is a walk-on..if he can not..I don't see it keeping the Vols from being a very good team..just maybe a bubble NCAA team..again..

Not sure Lopez is the answer, but if he would like to be, he needs to put up about a thousand shots a day this summer. He also needs to get in the best physical condition he is capable of and work on his defensive slides. At his height, he is a liability on defense unless he can keep his man in front of him from one end of the court to the other and from one sideline to the other.

carbonzip writes:

Point guards need to force defenders to switch on screens and fight through screens on defense. Trae didn't look comfortable doing those things. He was hampered by injuries a lot of his career here. He has tremendous ability and I hope he is successful in the future.

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