Cuonzo Martin: Vols need to ensure Jarnell Stokes gets the ball

Missouri's Jordan Clarkson, left, has his shot blocked by Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes during the second half at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo., on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. Missouri won, 75-70. (Rich Sugg/Kansas City Star/MCT)

Photo by RICH SUGG

Missouri's Jordan Clarkson, left, has his shot blocked by Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes during the second half at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo., on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. Missouri won, 75-70. (Rich Sugg/Kansas City Star/MCT)

Cuonzo Martin confirmed Monday that the Tennessee men’s basketball team planned to get Jarnell Stokes the ball in the second half of Saturday’s game against Missouri.

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.

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Comments » 10

johnlg00 writes:

Martin seems to be relying too much on the players to do the right things without being strict enough on them when they DON'T do the right things. We don't know what he is saying to them in private, of course, but if I were in his position, I would make it CRYSTAL CLEAR that if any player takes a bad shot--and every player has to be TOLD as often as necessary what a GOOD shot is for him AND what is a BAD one--before Jarnell touches it, he is going to sit. And if he screws up the same way the next time he has a chance, he may sit for a LONG time. As a coach, you are going to get only the style and quality of play that you INSIST on.

PS: It seems a darned shame that, as far as I saw, Quentin Chievous, whose father was a Mizzou basketball legend, didn't get on the floor for a second! It's certainly not as if any of the OTHER subs were tearing it up, or even playing adequately. If there were any friends and family who came out for that game, they may well make darned sure that any other ball-playing Chievouses around won't give UT another look.

bUTch__please writes:

..death throes. D@mn shame too.

TommyJack writes:

Hate it for Zo. Really do.

ccjensen writes:

Cuonzo Martin: Vols need to ensure Jarnell Stokes gets the ball
-------------------------------
Been saying that for two years now....whenever you're ready.

wigmeister writes:

Don't you think the coach should have made a point of that during the game, instead of after the loss?

cltvol writes:

I really think everyone is pulling for Coach Martin to make this thing work. I know I am. He has such a quality way about him. Really want him to succeed.

magicbyswh#221420 writes:

Same ole same ole have heard this all year "Learn from it and keep moving forward.” If they have not learned by now it will not happen. Martin is not the right coach for Tennessee. He is a D-2 coach. I heard them talking on radio this AM that Bruce would be great for the SEC period. Even coming back to Tennessee. They said the SEC needed a shot of Pearl. Hope if he comes back it is to Tennessee and not one of the other teams in the SEC. It is not impossible.

irishcoffee writes:

a couple of games ago coach said he had to do better to get armani moore into the game for more minutes. box score shows armani played 4 minutes against mizzu. well, as long as were are learning from our mistakes.

wilk58 writes:

that dreaded learn from it and move forward statement. Moving forward is quickly coming to an end unless some learning takes a hold.

broleb44#1437447 writes:

Please forward this to Martin, coach, well not sure about that, you do not have what it takes to make a damn decision. Please allow me to explain, no I am not a expert, it is as close to you as the sweat on your brow, and the water bottles. you do know, do you not, hard forced, passes to your post, create T/O's. heck cowboy, look at the film, most of the other teams coach's do, the S I reporter Seth, says, run the ball, Martin, we know Tennessee is not very good and they are boring, running you win, check the film DUD, and not boring. The problem with getting the ball into the post, works out, check the film, and the same words, from you and your player, check previous articles, and quotes. Couch you must know, you have enough shooters, you need more up and down ball, to create the best level of balling and winning. Stokes will get his hands on the ball more, and you win, very simple couch, you got to stick with up and down BB. #4 first off bench, not #21, #32 I can not understand the hops, guts, and get after it he has, and he plays so little. #1 has to try more 3"s, sit his -ss, until he puts it up more, check him earlier in the season. #15, love this kid, some how you have destroyed his confidence, we learn by our past coach. I could go on and on, but I am boring myself. Let me say this Mr Martin, would you please, fight for your players, get damn T'd up a couple of times, many times your players get screwed, and I see no damn fight from you, screw your no T record, I understand you are a gentleman, won't work in big time BB, get in the game coach, or better still get OUT.

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