But those plans didn’t work.
Stokes, who made 6 of 7 shots and scored 13 points, didn’t attempt a shot in the final 17 minutes. And the Vols lost to Missouri 75-70.
“There were definitely plays called for him,” Martin said at his weekly luncheon. “More than anything our guys on the perimeter had some good looks, and they shot the ball. But you’ve got to do a better job of getting it inside to him, even if I have to do it myself as a coach from the sideline. We watched film as a team. There were opportunities. And there were a couple of time he didn’t post as aggressively to get the ball.”
Martin said UT’s guards need to be more willing to force hard passes into the post for Stokes. When Stokes can’t establish position on the block, Martin wants him to be more willing to step out. Ultimately, Martin said the responsibility falls on his shoulders.
“From our standpoint, me as a coach, we’ve got to lock in on that,” Martin said. “Make sure he gets the ball. Because he’s a very unselfish player. I would like him to be more selfish, more assertive, especially around the rim. It’s not his nature just to shoot balls. But we have to get the ball to him.”
UT (15-10, 6-6 SEC) hosts Georgia (14-10, 8-4) on Tuesday (TV: ESPNU, 9 p.m.) at Thompson-Boling Arena.
“For our guys, it’s get over it as fast as you can,” Martin said of the Vols’ back-to-back losses to Florida and Missouri. “Learn from it and keep moving forward.”
Martin was asked if he feels added pressure to make the NCAA tournament.
“Not at all,” he said. “As a coach, you have to do your job. That’s the bottom line. You stay locked in on what you need to do to be successful. I’m constantly watching film, doing my job, doing whatever it takes for my team to be successful ... You don’t consume yourself with the peripherals or whatever pressures. I don’t think anybody or anything can put more pressure on me than myself.”
Martin congratulated the Tennessee baseball team for its lopsided season-opening wins against Purdue, his alma mater.
“First off I would like to say congrats to the baseball and softball teams for getting off to such good starts,” he said. “The baseball team beat up on Purdue, huh? Man. That was a good one.”
UT’s baseball team beat Purdue 3-0 in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday, then won 20-2 in the second game. UT’s softball team is a nine-game win streak to start its season.