Lady Vols have been lost in translation

From left, Tennessee's Andraya Carter (14), Jasmine Jones (2), Ariel Massengale (5), and Bashaara Graves (12) in the final seconds of the game against Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt's Memorial Gymnasium on Sunday, January 12, 2014. Vanderbilt won 74-63. 
  
 (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young, 2014 Knoxville News Sentinel

From left, Tennessee's Andraya Carter (14), Jasmine Jones (2), Ariel Massengale (5), and Bashaara Graves (12) in the final seconds of the game against Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt's Memorial Gymnasium on Sunday, January 12, 2014. Vanderbilt won 74-63. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Tennessee coach Holly Warlick got more practice Wednesday at complimenting the Lady Vols for their workout habits.

Subscribe to read the full story

Current Subscribers - Activate Now

Already subscribe to the News Sentinel? Unlimited access to KnoxNews.com on the web, your smartphone, tablet, Knoxville.com and GoVolsXtra.com is included with your subscription. All you need to do is ACTIVATE now!

Activate Now

New Subscribers - Subscribe Now

Want to keep reading?
KnoxNews now offers Premium and Digital Subscriptions. Subscribe now and select how you want to keep up-to-date on local news, reader comments, photos, videos, blogs and more.

Subscribe Now

© 2014 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 16

Allenfan writes:

Get tough, we can still win 5 or 6 more games. If we had the kind of coaching staff that The University deserves we wouldn't have this problem. Put the fault on all the players, and none on yourself, that seems to be what you do best.

RLL59 writes:

The general content of this article could have been written 10 times a year for the past 5 years. Highly recruited players come and go, generally having made little or no progress, but the same game approach and finger pointing by the coaching staff continue...with no attempt to identify the real problems. That's the most discouraging thing...it leaves no realistic hope for improvement. The approach to the game, not the execution of the approach, needs to evolve.

MaxVolFan writes:

Rebound has been our matra for years but now its time to make adjustments like spacing on the court, denying the basketball, Less Turnovers! They mentioned how well practice goes but you don't have to make adjustments in practice like you do a game. That's where coaching comes in to give your team confidence to adapt to game play

nanny334#1419965 writes:

in response to RLL59:

The general content of this article could have been written 10 times a year for the past 5 years. Highly recruited players come and go, generally having made little or no progress, but the same game approach and finger pointing by the coaching staff continue...with no attempt to identify the real problems. That's the most discouraging thing...it leaves no realistic hope for improvement. The approach to the game, not the execution of the approach, needs to evolve.

I have never seen a player improve as much as Glory Johnson did from her freshman year to her senior year. I have also seen improvement in Massengill, Russell, Harrison, Graves, & Carter this year while Simmons has regressed. I don't think it is as much player development as it is game management, it is more like Holly wants ever one to think it is her coaching and not the players who win games

RLL59 writes:

in response to nanny334#1419965:

I have never seen a player improve as much as Glory Johnson did from her freshman year to her senior year. I have also seen improvement in Massengill, Russell, Harrison, Graves, & Carter this year while Simmons has regressed. I don't think it is as much player development as it is game management, it is more like Holly wants ever one to think it is her coaching and not the players who win games

My comments on player development related to progress over their time as Lady Vols. Glory's stats did improve over her Lady Vol career, though she was one of the top recruits in the country and played very well already in her freshman year. Bashaara certainly isn't playing better than last year. Ariel has been inconsistent. Mercedes and Andrea are in their freshman year (true and red shirt). Is there any indication that what improvement is displayed is due to superior coaching? Other than the improvement which comes naturally from maturity, I see the same weaknesses at the end of most players' careers that they had early on. Perhaps our expectations differ.

RLL59 writes:

Regarding Coach Holly's statement that anyone getting a technical foul will be taken out for the game, and her earlier policy of taking a player out of the game immediately upon her second foul regardless of the situation, perhaps she should start making more coaching decisions during the game rather than before it begins.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RLL59:

Regarding Coach Holly's statement that anyone getting a technical foul will be taken out for the game, and her earlier policy of taking a player out of the game immediately upon her second foul regardless of the situation, perhaps she should start making more coaching decisions during the game rather than before it begins.

Most coaches would prefer a team that has understood and internalized the core values of the program to the point that those values are part of the instinctive basis for correct actions. Occasionally, the carrying out of those values and principles in games gets sloppy and a bit of judicious correction by the coach may be in order.

It may be that the current squad is not as deeply indoctrinated into the Lady Vol Way as some of their predecessors. In a way, the LVs under Pat were trying to do what Calapari does at UK. That is, recruit the top players each year and convince these skilled individual players to merge their games and identities into a larger-than-life program under the command of a larger-than-life figure. Of course, the time frame was much longer for Pat. Her main selling points were a virtually-guaranteed college education, the best perks in the women's college game, and regular runs at national titles. For Calapari, delete the bit about the education and replace it with NBA riches. The other parts still work.

Holly essentially was present at the creation of what I am calling "the Lady Vol Way", though I have never actually seen such a reference, and was a full collaborator in building the whole formidable edifice of Lady Vol basketball. Pat gave her and the other long-time assistants a great deal of responsibility for practice and most other off-court matters. Holly may not know how to delegate these things the way Pat did while maintaining standards throughout the program. She may not have the force of personality to impress her way of thinking deeply on the assistants the way Pat did. She may not be secure enough to take the advice of assistants that might know something about, er, something that Holly might not know.

Well, look, if Pat is your standard for what kind of coach Holly is, it is hard to imagine just who could live up to that standard in so many areas, though some have quibbled about this or that about Pat all of her career. You know that Holly feels herself under tremendous pressure to keep the LV ship afloat, but seriously, who else would even try that would have a better chance than Holly to pull it off? It's only so useful to say that ANY coach would do some things differently than Holly does. Every coach has some things he or she thinks work and sometimes they are wrong about these things, but sometimes they are right, too. As the old frequently-paraphrased saying goes, "It's not the things we don't know that get us in trouble, it's the things we think we know that aren't so."

RLL59 writes:

John, note that I did not oppose Holly being hired, nor have I called for a new coach. The AD has all the information he needs to make those calls. Your quote above is interesting because it implicitly speaks to changing one's mind when previous diagnoses and solutions are not producing the desired results. I think 5+ consecutive years of player and team underachievement call for reconsideration of certain approaches to the game. What do they say about people who continue doing the same thing and expect different results?

oldster writes:

The biggest problems that the LVs have now are the same problems they had for years under Pat. They turn the ball over way too much. They feel they are doing well if they turn it over 15 times a game and usually turn it over more like 20. These turnovers are the reason why they are 12th in the conference in scoring defense while being among the nation's leaders in defensive field goal percentage. They simply give up so many shots more than they take that their better percentage from the floor cannot offset it all the time.

The LVs traditionally blow easy lay-ups and put backs. I am not talking about those under pressure, but open ones.

Defensively, they cannot keep guards out of the lane, then either do not stop the ball or, when they do, no one rotates to take the open man.

Whatever is being done in practice needs to be changed because these problems have existed for years. I am afraid that the coaches feel that since they are doing okay, that they should not take risks (e.g. Fulmer playing not to lose at the end of games).

CaptainPicard writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Most coaches would prefer a team that has understood and internalized the core values of the program to the point that those values are part of the instinctive basis for correct actions. Occasionally, the carrying out of those values and principles in games gets sloppy and a bit of judicious correction by the coach may be in order.

It may be that the current squad is not as deeply indoctrinated into the Lady Vol Way as some of their predecessors. In a way, the LVs under Pat were trying to do what Calapari does at UK. That is, recruit the top players each year and convince these skilled individual players to merge their games and identities into a larger-than-life program under the command of a larger-than-life figure. Of course, the time frame was much longer for Pat. Her main selling points were a virtually-guaranteed college education, the best perks in the women's college game, and regular runs at national titles. For Calapari, delete the bit about the education and replace it with NBA riches. The other parts still work.

Holly essentially was present at the creation of what I am calling "the Lady Vol Way", though I have never actually seen such a reference, and was a full collaborator in building the whole formidable edifice of Lady Vol basketball. Pat gave her and the other long-time assistants a great deal of responsibility for practice and most other off-court matters. Holly may not know how to delegate these things the way Pat did while maintaining standards throughout the program. She may not have the force of personality to impress her way of thinking deeply on the assistants the way Pat did. She may not be secure enough to take the advice of assistants that might know something about, er, something that Holly might not know.

Well, look, if Pat is your standard for what kind of coach Holly is, it is hard to imagine just who could live up to that standard in so many areas, though some have quibbled about this or that about Pat all of her career. You know that Holly feels herself under tremendous pressure to keep the LV ship afloat, but seriously, who else would even try that would have a better chance than Holly to pull it off? It's only so useful to say that ANY coach would do some things differently than Holly does. Every coach has some things he or she thinks work and sometimes they are wrong about these things, but sometimes they are right, too. As the old frequently-paraphrased saying goes, "It's not the things we don't know that get us in trouble, it's the things we think we know that aren't so."

I like your comments,Johnlg00. They are written with a high level of wisdom and insight that I wish I possess but do not. My simple minded beliefs are that Holly should realize that she is not CPS. She should institute coaching principals that are fundamentally sound to the game of basketball or any other team sport. Any coach of any team sport will tell you that frequent starting lineups and frequent player substitutions are disruptive to team cohesiveness. Holly violates this principal most of the time. She adopted this from CPS. However, it really did not work for CPS. I am not saying that starting lineups should never change are there should not be any player substitutions but both should be kept to a minimum.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RLL59:

John, note that I did not oppose Holly being hired, nor have I called for a new coach. The AD has all the information he needs to make those calls. Your quote above is interesting because it implicitly speaks to changing one's mind when previous diagnoses and solutions are not producing the desired results. I think 5+ consecutive years of player and team underachievement call for reconsideration of certain approaches to the game. What do they say about people who continue doing the same thing and expect different results?

I don't think we are really disagreeing here. I for one, along with others, have had a sense the program has somewhat underachieved since 2008, perhaps due to the "Lady Vol Way" becoming more a matter of rote than conviction. It's great to have a code of conduct, an organization mission statement, an esprit d'corps, whatever one wants to call it, but when this ideal or model becomes too inflexible, restrictive, and less responsive to the surrounding environment, it loses the vital spark that once set it apart. There can be a sense that nothing important happens outside this program. There may be more of an attraction to "being a Lady Vol" than necessarily of PLAYING like a Lady Vol.

The LVs, institutionally speaking, long viewed themselves, and largely were viewed, as the consistent standard of excellence in every aspect of a college sports program. But of course, the rest of the world has not stood idly by. While Pat Summit's influence will resonate throughout the women's basketball community for decades to come, there have been advances in evaluation, training, instruction, game tactics, facilities, etc., that have given other schools of thought room to grow. There is a strong sense that perhaps the "Lady Vol Way" is preventing the program from evolving. Gotta say, that is a discussion that is WAY above my pay grade; this is nothing more than barroom chatter, though that too has its charms.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CaptainPicard:

I like your comments,Johnlg00. They are written with a high level of wisdom and insight that I wish I possess but do not. My simple minded beliefs are that Holly should realize that she is not CPS. She should institute coaching principals that are fundamentally sound to the game of basketball or any other team sport. Any coach of any team sport will tell you that frequent starting lineups and frequent player substitutions are disruptive to team cohesiveness. Holly violates this principal most of the time. She adopted this from CPS. However, it really did not work for CPS. I am not saying that starting lineups should never change are there should not be any player substitutions but both should be kept to a minimum.

Thanks again for the kind words. Of course you are right that Holly has to be her own person, but how could she not be almost a clone of Pat? After you have been in a pressure-packed working situation for thirty-something years under a boss who seemed to know all the answers, the temptation now to at least wonder "What would Pat do?" almost doesn't even come up as a question; there is just a Way Things Are Done. When I wrote above about the program becoming an object of veneration rather than a system for producing championships, I was speaking in part about some of Pat's habits that Holly and the others have picked up, just because they were Pat's and therefore almost had to be right. Let's hope Holly feels free enough to evolve in her own "best" direction and that the LVs can update that row of banners in TBA.

RLL59 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I don't think we are really disagreeing here. I for one, along with others, have had a sense the program has somewhat underachieved since 2008, perhaps due to the "Lady Vol Way" becoming more a matter of rote than conviction. It's great to have a code of conduct, an organization mission statement, an esprit d'corps, whatever one wants to call it, but when this ideal or model becomes too inflexible, restrictive, and less responsive to the surrounding environment, it loses the vital spark that once set it apart. There can be a sense that nothing important happens outside this program. There may be more of an attraction to "being a Lady Vol" than necessarily of PLAYING like a Lady Vol.

The LVs, institutionally speaking, long viewed themselves, and largely were viewed, as the consistent standard of excellence in every aspect of a college sports program. But of course, the rest of the world has not stood idly by. While Pat Summit's influence will resonate throughout the women's basketball community for decades to come, there have been advances in evaluation, training, instruction, game tactics, facilities, etc., that have given other schools of thought room to grow. There is a strong sense that perhaps the "Lady Vol Way" is preventing the program from evolving. Gotta say, that is a discussion that is WAY above my pay grade; this is nothing more than barroom chatter, though that too has its charms.

We are on the same page for the most part. One other comment; For years now, the problems have universally been seen as player attitude, player effort, player heart, player injuries, player execution, player whatever. If a coach accepts any blame, it's for not correcting the forementioned player issues. That's fine if it turns out to be true, but 5+ years of history would indicate to a logical person that it's not.

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

Should lose by 30 to ND.
LV's are bottom tier SEC program now.
Lackluster play, no heart and turnovers have relegated a once proud program to lower tier status.
This started under Pat.

underthehill writes:

Some coaches say you play like you practice..my observation has always been that some players not only play better in games than practice but also that some players handle pressure better than others...am I saying practice don't matter..of course it matters..but you can't practice handling pressure..you have to step up and do it..

CaptainPicard writes:

in response to CaptainPicard:

I like your comments,Johnlg00. They are written with a high level of wisdom and insight that I wish I possess but do not. My simple minded beliefs are that Holly should realize that she is not CPS. She should institute coaching principals that are fundamentally sound to the game of basketball or any other team sport. Any coach of any team sport will tell you that frequent starting lineups and frequent player substitutions are disruptive to team cohesiveness. Holly violates this principal most of the time. She adopted this from CPS. However, it really did not work for CPS. I am not saying that starting lineups should never change are there should not be any player substitutions but both should be kept to a minimum.

I want to make a correction in my comments. I think that Holly should institute sound coaching "principles" not "principals".

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features