John Adams: UT Good needs to show up in Show Me State

John Adams
Tennessee guard Darius Thompson (15), right, tries to block a three-pointer by Florida guard Michael Frazier II (20) during the second half at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Lau

Tennessee guard Darius Thompson (15), right, tries to block a three-pointer by Florida guard Michael Frazier II (20) during the second half at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Maybe it’s too late in the basketball season for a promotional campaign. Otherwise, there would be billboards around town proclaiming: “Tennessee basketball — more teams for your money.”

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Comments » 15

oldschoolvol writes:

Well written column that unfortunately for the Vols, is very accurate in its assessment

Plasticman85 writes:

The missing piece on this years team, Trae Golden. Barton has been a huge disappointment. Why anyone thought it would be different is beyond me as he couldn't get on the court at Memphis either. No PG is just like not having a QB in football.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Plasticman85:

The missing piece on this years team, Trae Golden. Barton has been a huge disappointment. Why anyone thought it would be different is beyond me as he couldn't get on the court at Memphis either. No PG is just like not having a QB in football.

I agree that Barton has been a disappointment, but I gave him the initial benefit of the doubt because I could understand that, while he was occasionally a productive player, Memphis was able to recruit over him. Considering the general rather high estimation of Memphis talent, it wouldn't be a major stretch to think that he might be an improvement over what UT had after Trae left. It also might have been reasonable to think Barton might come to UT with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, and if so he could help toughen up the team mentally and emotionally. So taking Barton is not quite as big a flub as, say, taking Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan in the NBA draft 30-something years ago.

Just to update you, Trae has been basically the same player at GT this year that he was at UT last year. That is, he has been occasionally brilliant, often serviceable, but also often erratic and/or injured. GT is under .500 for the season and about 12th in the ACC. So it is, IMHO, very much an open question whether or not the Vols would have been better if Trae had stayed, but of course, we can never know.

Plasticman85 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I agree that Barton has been a disappointment, but I gave him the initial benefit of the doubt because I could understand that, while he was occasionally a productive player, Memphis was able to recruit over him. Considering the general rather high estimation of Memphis talent, it wouldn't be a major stretch to think that he might be an improvement over what UT had after Trae left. It also might have been reasonable to think Barton might come to UT with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, and if so he could help toughen up the team mentally and emotionally. So taking Barton is not quite as big a flub as, say, taking Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan in the NBA draft 30-something years ago.

Just to update you, Trae has been basically the same player at GT this year that he was at UT last year. That is, he has been occasionally brilliant, often serviceable, but also often erratic and/or injured. GT is under .500 for the season and about 12th in the ACC. So it is, IMHO, very much an open question whether or not the Vols would have been better if Trae had stayed, but of course, we can never know.

I don't think GT has 1/2 the talent UT has. Stokes, McRae and Richardson could all start for GT. Golden, as poor as his defense was, could really help this team with his ability to shoot the 3 and dribble drive.

bUTch__please writes:

Trae was also a master at pitching up an off-center 3 with 20 seconds left in the game, and a 1 point lead. He was also adept at tripping over his own feet and catching his balance by tossing the ball to an undefended opponent with 8 seconds left in a 1 point game. Plus I seem to recall a penchant for walking the ball up the court whenever we got behind late in the game or dribble-driving into a triple team sagged against the rim while 3 of his teamates looked on unguarded.

Was hoping for an upgrade with Barton but looks even so far.

Plasticman85 writes:

in response to bUTch__please:

Trae was also a master at pitching up an off-center 3 with 20 seconds left in the game, and a 1 point lead. He was also adept at tripping over his own feet and catching his balance by tossing the ball to an undefended opponent with 8 seconds left in a 1 point game. Plus I seem to recall a penchant for walking the ball up the court whenever we got behind late in the game or dribble-driving into a triple team sagged against the rim while 3 of his teamates looked on unguarded.

Was hoping for an upgrade with Barton but looks even so far.

How so? Golden averaged 12 pts. And 4 assists last season. Barton is averaging 7 points and just under 2 assists. Looks to me like Golden would add 9 points/game to this team which would make it a completely different team.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Plasticman85:

How so? Golden averaged 12 pts. And 4 assists last season. Barton is averaging 7 points and just under 2 assists. Looks to me like Golden would add 9 points/game to this team which would make it a completely different team.

I'm sorry, but that is a very simplistic way of looking at it. Every team is unique. Trae most definitely had his moments, both good and bad, but just simply plugging his numbers in and declaring that the team would have been better is just not possible. Scoring patterns would most likely have been different on the team with Trae, but that doesn't mean the TEAM would have been better.

Martin made a reasonable stab at replacing Trae, but it just didn't work out. There was no chance of retaining Trae anyway; he was gone, no matter who UT did or did not have to take his place. You can argue that Martin should have recruited somebody better, but clearly PG has been a problem for UT to one degree or another since CJ Watson.

UT4prez writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I'm sorry, but that is a very simplistic way of looking at it. Every team is unique. Trae most definitely had his moments, both good and bad, but just simply plugging his numbers in and declaring that the team would have been better is just not possible. Scoring patterns would most likely have been different on the team with Trae, but that doesn't mean the TEAM would have been better.

Martin made a reasonable stab at replacing Trae, but it just didn't work out. There was no chance of retaining Trae anyway; he was gone, no matter who UT did or did not have to take his place. You can argue that Martin should have recruited somebody better, but clearly PG has been a problem for UT to one degree or another since CJ Watson.

I agree. Way too simplistic. Too much changes with a team from one player to another.

I also agree with another of your posts elsewhere. Martin had a good game plan. We lost due to a few too many sloppy turnovers, missed close up shots, and missed free throws. The fact is Florida is considerably better. We would have had to play nearly flawless to win. We came close and had good effort. We had a few mistakes and against top 5 teams that's all it takes.

Plasticman85 writes:

in response to UT4prez:

I agree. Way too simplistic. Too much changes with a team from one player to another.

I also agree with another of your posts elsewhere. Martin had a good game plan. We lost due to a few too many sloppy turnovers, missed close up shots, and missed free throws. The fact is Florida is considerably better. We would have had to play nearly flawless to win. We came close and had good effort. We had a few mistakes and against top 5 teams that's all it takes.

Bruce Pearl won plenty of games against " better teams". Kansas, Texas, Memphis, FL ( numerous times) , Ohio St. , Pittsburgh just to name a few. It's amazing what really good coaching can do. Too bad we haven't had any for 3 years.

johndavid writes:

I thought it would be an even trade or maybe better if Barton was a very good defender, but we need TRae back . We are 10- 15 points better a game with him on offense and he can actually bring the ball up court by himself.

UT4prez writes:

in response to Plasticman85:

Bruce Pearl won plenty of games against " better teams". Kansas, Texas, Memphis, FL ( numerous times) , Ohio St. , Pittsburgh just to name a few. It's amazing what really good coaching can do. Too bad we haven't had any for 3 years.

Bruce did a lot of good things here. I don't think we've had good overall coaching these last 3 years either. I do give Martin credit for a solid game plan against Florida since I never hesitate to criticize him. Florida is a real title contender this year and we have poor fundamentals. The poor fundamentals really hurt us against the Gators. As good as they are, any mistake made are magnified. We played pretty well overall really. Good enough to beat about any one on our schedule outside of Florida and maybe Wichita.

STLVOLS writes:

Well, I hope good Vols show up 90 miles west of me. I am getting kind of tired of Mizzou sports owning Vols. This is first time men have played in Columbia. Mizzou is one of those teams that looks terrible on road and much better at home. Yes, I very much want UT to win this game.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to STLVOLS:

Well, I hope good Vols show up 90 miles west of me. I am getting kind of tired of Mizzou sports owning Vols. This is first time men have played in Columbia. Mizzou is one of those teams that looks terrible on road and much better at home. Yes, I very much want UT to win this game.

They had a real shootout with Arkansas last night, 83-82, I think. Mizzou's defense looked terrible with fundamental breakdowns and late, weak, or nonexistent help. They didn't look good at all on the boards. They did shoot astonishingly well at the line--they made their first TWENTY-SIX FTs and finished something like 29-30! None of this is good for the Vols, except that it was a late game on a Thursday. Mizzou will get an eyeful of that tape and no doubt play much better against the Vols.

STLVOLS writes:

in response to johnlg00:

They had a real shootout with Arkansas last night, 83-82, I think. Mizzou's defense looked terrible with fundamental breakdowns and late, weak, or nonexistent help. They didn't look good at all on the boards. They did shoot astonishingly well at the line--they made their first TWENTY-SIX FTs and finished something like 29-30! None of this is good for the Vols, except that it was a late game on a Thursday. Mizzou will get an eyeful of that tape and no doubt play much better against the Vols.

You made excellent points. I agree

johnlg00 writes:

in response to STLVOLS:

You made excellent points. I agree

The actual final score was 86-85, Mizzou; I temporarily forgot the actual score but I knew it was a one-point game. The main lesson I got out of that game is that Mizzou can put up a lot of points, and if they get the crowd behind them, it could be a long, ugly day for the Vols. The other lesson, the one I hope the Vols got, is that they can get all the good shots they want if they keep their heads and take care of the ball. The question is, as always, will they summon the mental toughness to do that for a whole game?

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