Comments by johnlg00

Written on Potential Tennessee men's basketball coaching search candidate Tad Boyle says he's happy at Colorado:

That new contract Boyle signed wouldn't seem too hard for UT to top if both sides are otherwise agreeable. Since I am convinced there is no way the Vols are going to get Marshall, Smart, or any of the other "fantasy" candidates, I could support Boyle as quickly as anybody else I've heard about so far.

But, heck, I would probably support almost anybody initially. Whoever it is, I hope everybody realizes he may not have much of a roster to work with, especially since it is almost inevitable that there will be SOME defections. I don't think there has ever been a coaching change without at least a couple.

Written on Cuonzo Martin addresses departure for Cal, his relationship with UT during Knoxville radio interview:

in response to FWBVol:

Once upon a time, long before cable TV and the internet, in the days that Major League Baseball was still the king of American sports, there was a NFL team with two assistant coaches.

One coach was the son of an Italian immigrant, who was raised in New York City and was more offensive minded. The other coach was raised in West Texas and was considered by most to be a defensive genius.

The coach with ties to the Big Apple had a quick temper and explosive personality. The young coach from Texas, who also had been a bomber pilot in WWII was often considered stoic.

Vince Lombardi left the Giants to coach the Green Bay Packers and won several championships.

Tom Landry was the first coach of the Dallas Cowboys and retired with two Super Bowl titles.

If Vince Lombardi was a better coach, it wasn't because he was emotional. If Tom Landry was a better coach, it wasn't because he was stoic.

And just because Landry was stoic didn't mean a fire wasn't burning deep within his belly.

I think Cuonzo Martin is a good coach. Time will tell if he becomes a great coach.

Maybe you know something a lot of us don't, but how do you know Martin didn't reach out to former players? How do you Martin didn't, in his own stoic way, defend his players to the officials?

It seems every player Martin coached at UT spoke of him in glowing terms. That tells me they felt the coach had their back.

I'm not old enough to have seen General Neyland coach football, but I would guess with his military background and commanding appearance Martin is more like the General in his coaching style than is a certain coach now at Auburn.

Great post. Some of the comments I have seen lately suggest the creation of an alternate reality. Perhaps the most charitable interpretation for all concerned is just the "poor fit" explanation. Some people just can't seem to accommodate the notion of a poor fit without putting all the blame on the other person.

The extent to which some have wrapped themselves in that alternate reality is shown by more than one reference to Martin's new home as "Cal State-Fullerton". For the elucidation of the uneducated, it is the University of California-BERKELEY, the flagship university of the state, the #1-rated public university in the country. Politics aside--another impossible leap for many to make--it is probably a far more comfortable fit for Martin than would likely have ever been possible at UT.

Written on Acclaimed freshman Diamond DeShields transferring from North Carolina:

WTF?!?! I can't wait to hear what THAT is all about. ACC Freshman of the Year, jewel of one of the top frosh classes in the country, rising leader of a strong contender, UNHAPPY? You have to wonder what it takes to satisfy some kids these days.

Written on Cuonzo Martin addresses departure for Cal, his relationship with UT during Knoxville radio interview:

Very classy of Martin to refuse numerous chances to stick it to his various critics. He had clearly lost the support of significant segments of the administration and fan base, but he still had many friends and supporters as well who appreciated his emphasis on academics and conduct.

However, I keep coming back to the report of big-money boosters refusing use of their planes for recruiting after making them available to Pearl. That was not only the writing on the wall for Martin, it was an unmistakable sign to recruits that Martin was on shaky ground. A coach who has lost--or perhaps never had--the support of the deep-pockets who fund and therefore run a big-time college sports program probably ought to start checking the exits. No wonder he was receptive to offers from elsewhere, no matter what his new contract might have provided. It would almost seem that some were out to prove the contention that Martin couldn't recruit big-time players by tying his hands in advance, so they could use poor recruiting as an excuse to run him off.

I wish Martin and UT all the luck in the world. I think UT will need it more than Martin. Not saying he will have Cal in the Final Four any time soon, but I don't see him catching anywhere near as much flak at Cal just for being Cuonzo Martin as he did here. I do see a new coach getting about one year of a "honeymoon" without pretty major success from the more rabid fans before he starts looking for the exit as well.

Written on David Climer: Cuonzo Martin-Tennessee split was inevitable:

in response to fannotsheep:

Martin parlayed the NCAA Tourney success into a more immediately secure future in California. He will be surprised when he learns that he is really taking a pay cut when he factors in cost of living in California.

He made one good run with the talent he enjoyed at UT. Had it not been for injuries to Maymon and Hubbs, things may have turned out so much better. But it went wrong, so he said so long.

If Tennessee looks at the supply side solution -- growing their way out of the current economic shortcomings -- with full stadiums, more season tickets and donations, excited boosters who want to be seen in their luxury suites again in both major sports, there is hope.

Get out of the 1.8 MIL rut. Offer Marshall 3 MIL. Offer a coaching genius like Tom Izzo even more. Michigan winters get colder as Izzo gets older. Show him how far $4-5 MIL goes in East Tennessee.

The money UT invests (wisely) in this crucial hire will be paid back exponentially in revenues. SEC TV will sure be featuring Auburn. Will Tennessee make a splash? Will fans be proud to wear their Orange jerseys in a year or two? How much more money flows on the Strip after a win over a top 10 team than a loss to yet another low- to mid-major?

Do it right this time. Please. So maybe I will get to see more great Tennessee basketball in my lifetime.

I don't disagree with much of this, but UT is just NOT going to pay a basketball coach more than it pays the football coach. If Hart shells out the big bucks for a coach of the stature you are suggesting, he will have to put out even more for Butch. As I have heard it, the UTAD is kinda short on money right now. Maybe if some of the big-bucks boosters who were too tight to let Martin use their planes for recruiting would come off of some big bucks, they could do both. But you are surely right about one thing--if the Vols don't step up big on this hire, there is no clear path to true basketball success in the near future.

I made this same argument on John Adams' most recent column, and nobody has yet bothered to try to refute it--will you? I can perhaps be convinced otherwise, but it is just wishful thinking, IMHO, to ignore the issue.

Written on Hart: Vols hoops job still 'extremely attractive':

The main thing the new coach should have going for him is a bit of patience from the administration and fan base. Although I think the Vols could have been more effective than some think if Martin had stayed and the Okoroh kid had come in, there is no question that the squad as currently constituted will not be favored to do a whole lot. The new coach will have to be a really positive individual to gain the trust of the remaining players, keep the incoming class, and win the support of the fans. I'm not sure how much patience there is in the fan base these days, but if they don't show some--along with some large, enthusiastic crowds at TBA--we could be in for another unpleasant few years.

Written on Top women's basketball recruit A'ja Wilson picks South Carolina:

in response to ModelMaker:

I agree with TopperHarry. I don't think Lockwood is a good coach either. He may be able to recruit with his gift to gab and is still riding Pat's coattails, but coach? He couldn't even teach Glory Johnson how to fake a basketball, couldn't teach Izzy how to block a shot without fouling, Graves I thought went backwards and look at Russell; I didn't think he got the most out of her either. Look at Dolson for Uconn. Look how many shots she blocked this year and the way she would get the pass inside on a consistent basis (you have to work on passing everyday to do it right). Dolson was able to block shot's and was able to stay in the game 30 min. or more most every game. I think Izzy is just as good or maybe better than Dolson but you would never know it. When Pat Summitt stepped down I was one of the ones that thought either Nikki Caldwell or Dawn Staley would be the best fit for Tennessee and if my memory serves me correctly you thought the same thing. All I know is that SC is definitely on the up swing and is going to be real hard to beat next year. It kind of makes you wonder where we would be right now if Hart had chosen Staley or Nikki Caldwell (I still think Nikki Caldwell is an excellent coach) like a lot of poster's suggested, including you.

I get most of what you are saying, but you are comparing the senior Dolson to freshmen and sophomores. Dolson wasn't "all that" as a freshman, as both she and Geno have said. No question the LVs need to tighten up on their fundamentals in several areas, as well as come up with some more effective half-court sets. As I have said before, if the LVs don't make a pretty strong run next year with their blend of returning talent, experience, and promising newcomers, Holly's seat could well be heating up.

However, I'm not sure coaches deserve all the credit when players excel and I'm not sure they deserve all the blame if players don't progress or backslide. In the first instance, players have to work on their own to improve their individual skills; there just isn't enough time to do a lot of individual work during team practice. I got a few hints that some of the players weren't putting in as much individual work as the coaches might have liked, though some clearly did. Harrison, for example, extended her effective shooting range by a good 10 feet over what she could do last year; now she just needs to add the pump-fake and drive to that better jumper. It is up to the coaches to create that expectation for her and to put her in an offensive system that gives her those opportunities.

As for Russell, she was a vastly more effective player in the last month or so than she was early in the season. Maybe it was good coaching taking effect or maybe it was just greater confidence as she gained more experience. Graves just didn't seem to play with the same energy and confidence this past year as she did as a freshman. Maybe she had a nagging injury, a lingering illness, or personal problems of some sort, and no program is going to be completely forthcoming about those kinds of situations. If any of those things were the problem, I'm not sure what difference coaching could have made.

Written on Robert Hubbs says he's sticking with UT; two potential candidates address opening:

Very big of both of the Hubbses. I hope UT hires somebody who justifies their faith. It's all water under the bridge now, but it is worth considering how much regard a player the caliber of young Mr. Hubbs had for Martin. He could have gone anywhere but he chose to come here because of Martin. It says a lot for his loyalty to the school, if that is what it is, that he is staying even though Martin is gone. I have a feeling he and Richardson are going to drag that team a LOT further next year than some might think right now.

Written on Poll: Which coach would you most like to see Tennessee hire?:

All I can say to all the people who voted for Marshall and Smart, which is the majority of the votes cast so far, is that you can expect a blizzard in Key West before either of them comes to UT. Not only are both of those guys making more money now than UT is likely to pay, they are both popular and successful where they are. Neither has to contend with two powerhouse conference rivals like UK and UF, nor do they have to play second fiddle to football on their own campuses. Oh, no doubt their fans would turn on them as fast as UT fans turned on Martin if they have a couple of bad years, but they didn't get where they are today by being too dumb to recognize that they have it made where they are right now. Set your sights lower, my fellow Vol fans!

Written on Top women's basketball recruit A'ja Wilson picks South Carolina:

in response to MichaelL:

I suppose that it's unanimous among UT fans- disappointed not to get her, but glad UCONN didn't.
I said before that I thought that it would be UCONN or USC. The reason- UNC' coaching situation is up in the air with Hatcher's illness. UT unfortunately seems to be a fading program. UCONN could almost guarantee her a national championship. USC is close to home, plus an up and coming program with real national championship potential. That's the way I see it.

IMHO, it is too early to call UT a "fading program" on the basis of a team that had ONE senior on it. I would agree that the LVs might be sliding back if they don't make a strong run next year with all the talent and experience they have and with Holly entering her third year as a head coach. Ordinarily, I would say even to myself, "What?; I'm even THINKING about giving up on a THIRD-YEAR coach?" But Holly is or should be more than a third-year coach; not many possible successors have had as much time at the elbow of the greatest women's coach EVER. Time to show this year what she has learned.

Written on Top women's basketball recruit A'ja Wilson picks South Carolina:

in response to MaxVolFan:

Its time to get to work Lady Vols! No offseason! We got work to do. USC is now a serious threat to win multiple SEC titles . Should be a very interesting couple years in the conference. Glad she didn't go to Uconn. I expect Harrison to develop a serious jumper and be more agile like an Alyssa Thomas. Russells time to get stronger and learn that screen game that got Dolson a high pick. All this must be taught by our coaches. Its time to step up. Too much talent to be mediocre anymore.

Alyssa Thomas, along with Chiney Ogwumike, showed a player like Harrison what is possible for a player of her size in today's game. She is no longer limited to pounding on the blocks IF she takes the time to master some moves at the high post and on the baseline. She already has a decent face-up jumper, but she didn't use it much and she needs to be able to combine it with the ability to drive the hoop with authority if defenders come out on her. As you suggest, it will be up to the coaches at least to encourage her to learn that kind of game. Russell needs both a stronger lower body to hold up in the post and stronger hands to catch tough passes in traffic. The next generation of the women's game may see players like Russell move farther out on the floor as well, but for now she can be a rare true low post presence that could free Izzy--and possibly even Bashaara--to expand her game.

Written on Cuonzo Martin leaves UT offer on the table for California:

I guess he had to say it, but I can't believe Hart actually thinks the friction he mentioned won't have an effect on who takes his phone calls. After all, don't programs let coaches who make the Sweet Sixteen go, under fire, all the time? Coaches who win nearly two-thirds of their games and graduate all their players? Pshaw, that happens all the time!

Written on Names to Know: Coaches that might come up in Tennessee's hunt for Cuonzo Martin's replacement:

See my comment on the likelihood of UT "opening the checkbook" for a basketball coach on John Adams' most recent column.

Written on Lady Vols waiting on A'ja Wilson's decision:

in response to CaptainPicard:

I wish deeply that A'ja will choose the LVs. However, I am realistic, her choice will be South Carolina or UConn.

I don't claim any kind of foreknowledge or even an inkling about this. All I will say is that if the LVs make a Final Four run next year--and no reason based on the talent already on hand and coming in that they can't--they will be in great shape for the NEXT "All-World" type to come along. A'ja might help them get there this coming year, but all the recent carping by some fans about Holly's coaching and the team's underachieving isn't likely to help the LVs get her. And it doesn't really help their chances of getting her to say, "Well, they DESERVED our criticism!"

Written on John Adams: UT's next move needs to be as good as Cuonzo Martin's was :

The one thing all of the "open the checkbook" crowd seems to be forgetting is that a real "WOW!" hire, such as the flavor-of-the-month Greg Marshall, will probably take north of $3mil/yr. The two SEC basketball programs UT is trying to catch pay their coaches over $4mil/yr. In case you hadn't noticed, Butch Jones only makes about $2.5mil/yr and he has a 100,000-seat stadium to fill.

It is just a fact that UT is a FOOTBALL school. There is, IMHO, NO WAY UT is ever going to pay a basketball coach more than the football coach. IMHO, it would take MORE than current Butch Jones type money to get anybody other than another mid-major "up-and-comer". Nobody with an established winning record at a high-major level would touch the current UT situation for less than top dollar. In that case, we might get a Pearl or we might get another Peterson or Martin. Hart is going to have to hit the equivalent of an inside-the-park home run, since he doesn't have the bat to swing for the fences.

Perhaps in another couple of years, if Jones has the Vols in national contention and looking like they might stay there and Neyland Stadium becomes a tight ticket again, the football program would be making BIG money, Jones might seem worth Saban-type money, and THEN UT might come up with Calapari- or at least Donovan-type money for a basketball coach.

Just simply opening the checkbook right now is not an option because there isn't all that much IN the checkbook. For now, we can only PRETEND that we are shopping at Nieman-Marcus because we have at best a Macy's budget. Anyone who disagrees with this, please tell me how I am wrong.

Written on [Updated] Cuonzo Martin leaving UT for California; search for his replacement begins:

in response to oldster:

Martin seems to be developing into a decent basketball coach. He is not, at the moment, more than that. Whether or not he will continue to improve is subject to conjecture. The Golden Bears are betting that he will. I do not know how much they are placing on that bet, but I have not seen enough to want to bet any more than UT seems to be willing to do. I.e. I do not know that Martin is worth a bigger salary than UT was willing to pay. Were I in Hart's shoes, I would not if for no other reason than UT has gambled and lost so much on football coaches in the last decade. Not even the UT athletic department has an endless supply of money.

I'm sorry, but that argument is just stupid on its face. Martin was never more than the 10th-highest-paid coach in the SEC, yet his teams never finished lower than fifth and the attendance was never below second in the whole league and in the top five in the country! I'm not saying that is "enough", since I would like to see the Vols in the championship hunt every year, but it surely does make a mockery of the idea that Martin wasn't worth at least a little more than he was already being paid, a little more respect from those who call themselves Vols fans, and a bit more vocal support from his boss.

Written on [Updated] Cuonzo Martin leaving UT for California; search for his replacement begins:

in response to Theo:

Why would the man be loyal to TN at all? Some of the redneck fan base hated him the moment he stepped on campus. Then someone thought an online petition would be a great idea. Do you think his family saw that at all?
BTW - Bruce LIED, LIED, LIED to the NCAA!!!! He should never coach in college again and it would have been an absolute travesty for UT to have anything to do with him again. So we got in a good guy, great man, kids loved him, respected him etc. and we treated him like dirt from the first minute he arrived on campus. We will get what we deserve in a new coach and it will not be pretty.

Hate to see it happen on so many levels. Some of these so-called fans just knock me out. They put the man down in every way possible from the moment his name was mentioned as the new coach and never let up for his whole three years. And THEN they turn around and say what lack of character he had!

I knew something wasn't right when that story surfaced about the big-money boosters not allowing him to use their planes for recruiting when they had been available at least for Pearl if not before. Then after all the fanfare about Hart renegotiating his contract, we didn't hear anything after that. We will never probably never know the real story behind all this. Martin is too much of a gentleman to say anything bad about the administration and the administration probably doesn't want everybody to know how badly they screwed this up.

I wouldn't be surprised if Martin's entire incoming class followed him out there. In fact, unless Hart jumps PDQ on an absolute world-beater for a new hire, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the present squad didn't follow him also, nor would I blame them, since the same people who were putting Martin down were putting them down, too. I feel worst about the guys like Richardson and Moore and the others who gave their all for the program and the fans only to be constantly belittled and carped at as well.

I'm a Vol fan through and through, so I will pull for whoever takes the job next, but I would have to question his judgment just a little bit for even wanting to jump into the snakepit Vol sports has turned into.

Written on Kingsley Okoroh a giant addition to a Vols team in need of frontcourt players:

in response to VolFolks:

and how do you know the "truth" is that Marquette turned him down?

He doesn't know that. He just thinks that if he posts a thing often enough, at least somebody might believe him. He has several "greatest hits" that he posts at every opportunity, no matter how often they have been refuted. Makes me think he is a "hired" troll, paid to stir up post counts; no truly sentient person can be so completely oblivious to any amount of correction or so resistant to the slightest modification in their views.

Written on All Vols assistants get 1-year extensions; Tommy Thigpen given $25,000 raise:

in response to fannotsheep:

Had an idea about paying players:

What if schools selling jerseys and other items with player numbers, names, likenesses etc. gave a big percentage of the profits to a fund to be divided equally between all athletes in all sports?

What if boosters who wanted to help bought lots of those items and gave them to friends, to Boys and Girls clubs, to Children's Hospital, etc.?

How much money could be raised and how many fans would buy more merchandise knowing their money would help the players instead of adding to the head coaches' salary?

Certainly an idea worth considering. Just as restaurants generally pool all the tips received by the wait-staff and divide it among them, there is no need for the schools to dig into their own pockets to come up with the money. And as is the case with restaurants, the wait-staff makes more money at, for example, Ruth's Chris than it does at Waffle House.

Written on Kingsley Okoroh a giant addition to a Vols team in need of frontcourt players:

I'm guessing most of the carpers haven't actually seen this guy's high-light reel. The comparison with Boomer Herndon is beyond laughable. Okoroh talks about having to improve his ability to run the floor, but on one play, he and an opposing guard were heading in the opposite direction in the back-court but Okoroh turned around and ran the guy down from three-quarters the length of the court to block the shot at the rim. Boomer Herndon couldn't have done that in his wildest dreams, and anybody who can't see the potential in that is looking out the wrong end of the telescope, so to speak.

He also has a nice jump-hook with either hand, something Stokes never mastered in three years. Stokes got to where he could shoot the running hook, but the straight-up jump-hook off the pivot was something he never had. Not saying the kid is Jabbar or Olajuwon with it, but nobody at UT has ever mastered that shot to the extent he has, and certainly no one that young.

Also, for the benefit of the "star-worshippers", the guy has only been playing basketball for about five years, only two of it, non-consecutively, in the US, so of course he wouldn't have a lot of hype around him. That's why it is always helpful to actually, you know, SEE A KID PLAY before you pigeon-hole him.

Written on Tennessee State men's basketball transfer M.J. Rhett no longer considering Tennessee:

I guess Rhett should have pulled the trigger earlier. It would have been nice to have him, but I would rather have a four-year 7-footer out of HS than a middling-sized one-and-done. We will just have to see how much offense the Vols can get out of the post players this year, but at least in terms of size, a rotation of Ndiaye, Okoroh, and Turman should keep them from getting bullied inside too much. Most of the offense should come from the perimeter anyway with Richardson and Hubbs. Thompson will probably also be looking more for his shot next year, while Moore, Davis, and Reese should at least be effective in transition and Reese can make a few from outside. I think the team would be better off initially at trying to run more on offense and press more on defense. Then if any of the young posts come through, they will also have the inside option in the half-court offense. Looking at Okoroh's high-light reel, he shows a decent little jump-hook with either hand and he seems pretty light on his feet for a young 7-footer, with a nose for the ball on the offensive glass.

Written on UT gets commitment from 7-foot-1 center Kingsley Okoroh :

in response to BrassMonkey:

Shot blockers = Foul trouble = Sitting beside Martin on bench.

I know most of what you post on here is mostly intended just to hack off Vol fans, but I'm going to pretend as though you actually raised a valid point.

I tend to divide would-be shot-blockers into two main groups. For want of better terms, let's call them "swatters" and "reachers". The former type uses a big arm swing which causes them to lunge at shooters, intending to "cap" the ball before the shooter lets it go or to blast the ball way out of bounds. That big arm motion carries the shot-blocker into the shooter's body on the follow-through, which not only causes body contact but also results in a loud slap when the arm comes dramatically down toward the shooter. That is where the fouling comes in. Not only that, but even a successful block results in the opponents taking the ball out of bounds for another offensive possession.

The "reachers", by contrast, keep their feet under their shoulders and reach UP for the line the ball must go through to get to the bucket. They do not slap down on the ball and they don't lunge into the shooters. Perhaps even more to the point, they try to keep the ball in play where their team can get possession, thus ending a defensive possession with the ball.

If you have looked at Okoroh's high-light tape, you will see that his body is rarely out of control and he visibly tries to keep the ball in play. He is tall enough and quick enough off his feet that he can wait until the ball is clearly gone before he REACHES--not SLAPS--for it. Even if he doesn't get the block, his hands are up to bother the shot without swatting at it. He also doesn't get faked off his feet or take himself out of plays by flying past shooters.

The master of this technique was of course the great Bill Russell, but Willy Cauley-Stein of UK also does it mostly the same way. Okoroh looks to me like the kind of shot-blocker who can constantly threaten lots of shots without being a foul magnet.

Written on New York Liberty rescues Meighan Simmons with 26th pick of WNBA draft:

in response to volnsc:

Meighan is a far better player than at least half of those chosen ahead of her and will prove it in the WNBA if she can can control the strange slew of unforced errors that can occur in her game.

No doubt Meighan is the equal of almost any player at her position in the women's game in terms of speed, quickness, and offensive creativity. However, I suspect the tendency you mentioned raised a red flag for some observers. Combined with her somewhat spotty performance against the better opponents in the bigger games, it was easier to downgrade her as a draft choice the longer she lasted in the draft. Pro player personnel in almost every sport tend to focus on a player's perceived shortcomings more than on their positive potential. Meighan is just the kind of player who, despite her undoubted ability, generates a lot of "on the other hand" musings that can come to overshadow the positives she offers. I hope she is able to prove wrong some of those who doubted her.

Written on Tennessee's Meighan Simmons all dressed up for WNBA draft but no clue where she's going:

in response to RLL59:

She was a bit calmer toward the end of the season, and at the end she was the only one not throwing those god-awful passes into a well defended post player. As you said earlier, I also hope she isn't still sitting there at the end of the first round, although if she goes in the first round, it'll be near the end.

I think we are all looking forward to seeing what Meighan can do in the WNBA. It's been a long time since she was one of the younger ones on a team that doesn't need her to be a superstar for them to win. If her coaches and teammates give her time and guidance to mature and harness her energy and competitiveness, she could do well for a good long while. She has the kind of body that wears well and enough talent and smarts to be productive even after she can't outrun everybody on the court.

Written on UT gets commitment from 7-foot-1 center Kingsley Okoroh :

Wow! I just looked at Okoroh's highlight reel. Over the years, I have noticed that it takes more than mere height or jumping ability to be a good shot-blocker. In general, a guy who has the instincts to be a good shot-blocker has the knack from the beginning, and however green he might be, this kid has it. Ndiaye, by contrast, seems NOT to have that knack--nor did Yemi Makanjuola, for that matter--though I would love for him to show me otherwise. It also seemed that at least two-thirds of his blocks ended in his team gaining possession of the ball. He rarely seemed to go for that excessively spectacular "fifth-row" job that so many young players seem to prefer. He also can use both hands on the jump hook in the post and seems to be a willing passer. He will probably have to get stronger and in better condition to make a real impact right away, though relatively few high-schoolers come in ready for college ball in that way, but I surely saw LOTS of potential in that clip.

Written on UT gets commitment from 7-foot-1 center Kingsley Okoroh :

That's a good start on the late recruiting season. The Vols have now recruited an entire balanced team, especially if Cofer can play the wing. If Okoroh or Turman is more or less ready to start, at least for rebounding and defense, the Vols will look a lot less like a "doughnut" team than they seemed to be after Jarnell declared. Ndiaye and Okoroh would at least seem to have the big bodies to bang with the bigger teams, but the Vols' best starting five may well be a bit on the smallish side. Not that they will be tiny. My tenative starting five is Thompson, 6'5"; Hubbs, 6'5"; Richardson, 6'6"; Davis, 6'7"; and Reese, 6'8". They are all a little on the wiry side, but they are all long-armed guys with good hops and quicks who should be able to hold their own in the open court. If any of the big guys can prove themselves as starting material, the Vols should be OK next year, and maybe more than that the year after. Let's not forget that the Vols might still get Rhett or some other big guy, but they probably shouldn't take another wing type unless he is a real steal of a talent.

Written on Tennessee's Meighan Simmons all dressed up for WNBA draft but no clue where she's going:

One thing that may make her look more efficient right out of the gate is that no WNBA team will let her stay out there for long at a time if she is firing blanks--she might miss three in a row, but she won't likely have the chance to miss ten in a row. Of course, as long as she is making them, she might get a ton of minutes. If she has no ball-handling responsibilities and works hard on defense, she could really help a team even if she isn't shooting well.

Written on Mike Strange: Without Stokes, Vols have no sun to orbit around :

in response to fannotsheep:

Hopefully not in the minority. The expectations for the Vols should be extremely low now that Stokes is gone. Even if Hubbs excels there's just not enough returning talent --or incoming talent for that matter -- to warrant picking Tennessee to compete for much of anything.

If he doesn't find transfers or JUCOs you could certainly question Martin's recruiting, but I doubt he will have enough to work with to question his coaching. I don't think he, or anyone in the SEC besides Calipari and Donovan, will be given a lot of time for rebuilding. Martin needs to have a really big class next year. I don't think there was anything wrong with Vol fans wishing we could have Pearl back, but Martin did a good job turning it around this year. Haters gonna hate, but at some point they need to just admit they are racist. I had to get over losing Pearl. If I can, anyone can. Let's pull for the coach we have to get us back to winning.

To be fair, it's too early to wonder about either Martin's coaching or his recruiting until we see who he gets with the two freed-up scholarships. I read a piece the other day that said that before the 2013-14 season, an astounding 40% of Div-I players had transferred after their freshman year.

Most of those no doubt are "traditional" transfers who have to sit out a year before they are eligible, but increasing numbers of them are transferring graduates with eligibility remaining, "compassionate" transfers, or guys who are allowed to transfer because the coach who signed them originally is gone. All players of this type can play immediately. This kind of "one-and-done" player does little to build or sustain a program in the long term, but they can be one-year lifesavers as stopgaps. Then there are the JCs, most of whom would come in with two years' eligibility remaining, perhaps less ideal than getting good guys out of HS, but better than the first group.

Finally, there are HS guys out there who can play at a high level but didn't get offers from their preferred schools or committed to schools which experienced a coaching change before they enrolled or who came on strong at the end of the season after most schools already had their scholarships committed to other guys. Besides, there are always decent players who weren't highly rated because they didn't go to the big-name camps and such.

In other words, there is a lot of "undiscovered" talent out there. It all depends on whether or not Martin finds the right guys who can fit in with the returnees and can persuade them to come to UT. I continue to maintain that a nucleus of Richardson, Hubbs, Thompson, Moore, Reese, and Davis will be capable of more production than many might think right now.

Written on Jarnell Stokes declares for 2014 NBA draft:

in response to Dgage:

Regarding Stokes, I think this is the best choice for him and I hope like heck he gets to play in the NBA. VFL!

For next year, I'm absolutely all in on over .500. .500 isn't even on the table. I have confidence in the coaches and players coming back that this will still be a good team. The question in my mind is whether they'll make the NCAA tournament. They may or may not but I think they'll be better than people think, especially be better than .500.

I agree completely that the Vols will be over .500 next year. They will, however, be a completely different kind of team, so it will be a major challenge for Martin to select the right combos and put them in a style of play that maximizes the players' abilities. If it was my team, I would try to see how they do in a more wide-open style with a bit more pressure in both the full court and the half court. I would also pay particular attention to spacing on the court and keeping the ball moving with the pass. It would seem that nearly all the scoring will come either from the perimeter or in transition. Of course, that could change if they get Rhett or some other decent big man or if Ndiaye suddenly turns into Olajuwon. It may be a struggle for them against bigger teams, but I'm pretty sure the guys will go all out to prove that they can win without Stokes, Maymon, Barton, and McCrae.

Written on John Adams: Jalen Hurd standing tall in spring drills:

in response to pingkr62:

The opposing defensive lines better get him first. With his size, he could knock most linebackers down, and just run over safeties and corner backs. Not a bad thing to have in your back field. Remember Herschel Walker meeting Bill Bates? Just saying.

Hey, I'm all for it! I was just repeating the conventional wisdom concerning tall RBs. Clearly, if Hurd masters all the necessary fundamentals, he has the potential to be a great one.

Written on Mike Strange: Without Stokes, Vols have no sun to orbit around :

"...I should HOPE that...." <Darned pesky old man eyes!>

Written on Mike Strange: Without Stokes, Vols have no sun to orbit around :

in response to oldster:

It makes me think of an old Skeeter Davis song, "I got along before I met you, I will get along without you now."

Well, yes, to a degree, at least. As you know, I'm one of those "glass half-full" types, so I won't give up on the Vols, no matter who they have coming back or who they might yet get. However, I will say that the returnees and the newcomers will ALL have to step up BIG time if the Stokes-less Vols are to make the tourney next year. If they do, I should that would be enough evidence of Martin's coaching ability to shut up the haters. That should also be a pretty persuasive argument to next year's top recruiting targets.

Written on Jarnell Stokes will announce he is entering NBA draft at Friday press conference:

PS: I suppose it is possible that some team has already told him that they will use a 1st-round pick on him, despite the short shrift given him by all of the mock drafts. If that is so, then he has my whole-hearted blessing--which I am sure he really needs and appreciates(;-P)--and all my hopes for a successful pro future. Otherwise,...DANG!

Written on Jarnell Stokes will announce he is entering NBA draft at Friday press conference:

I confess there is a degree of selfishness in my opinion, but I really don't get why he had to go this year. His departure not only gives him merely a CHANCE to make a pro roster, the Vols will be worse without him. It is also a blow to UT's chances of getting the big Rhett guy because he said one of the things that appeals to him about UT was the chance to play with Stokes.

Jarnell is also saying that he doesn't think he could improve any more by staying, which, fairly or not, reflects badly on Martin's coaching, despite the enormous strides Jarnell made this past year. By staying, he could have become a life-long Tennessee folk hero, second only to Peyton. I get the argument that he might get hurt and be less attractive as a draft prospect next year. However, elite athletes can buy insurance up to $5 million worth to insure against such an injury. His parents could probably afford to buy such a policy, but an athlete can also get a loan to buy it.

Yes, it would benefit UT in the long run if Jarnell becomes a solid pro for a number of years, which he might well do, but then again he might not, and going now just says he values that fairly long chance to make it over all the benefits to himself and the program by staying. I have said that I think he CAN make it in the league, but going this year is just a leap of faith, one he could take just as easily next year. I wish Jarnell all the luck in the world, but I confess I am a bit bummed out right now and mystified by his reasoning.

Written on Meighan Simmons invited to WNBA draft:

I hope that means somebody has made it known to somebody who matters that Meighan will be a 1st-round pick. Nothing would be more embarrassing than to sit in the audience while the whole first round goes by without hearing your name. Best wishes, Meighan! I have had my gripes with you from time to time, but I have no doubt you gave your all for the program.

Written on John Adams: Jalen Hurd standing tall in spring drills:

So far, so good! Just hope he learns to get low when impact is imminent. A tall RB not only offers a bigger target in the midsection to a safety or LB, it is also harder for him to protect the ball from the fumble-strippers. Looking forward to that blazing speed, though!

Written on Jarnell Stokes will announce he is entering NBA draft at Friday press conference:

in response to lonesome_dove:

his game most closely resembles Jared Sullinger (Celtics) and Glen Davis (Clippers) - they were both better college scorers than Stokes and both have a 15 ft. jump shot in their game.

Jarnell seems like a great kid and he is very talented, but he won't be able to push people around in the NBA and his nifty inside moves will get blocked in that league. he needs another year of college to add more facets to his game so he will have a shot at sticking in the league - and if he still doesn't make it (due to his size limitations) all that improvement will just help him that much more in Europe, where American players who did well have made lots of money.

Two excellent examples. I agree with everything you said. I confess I am surprised by this. It just doesn't seem that he has anything to gain by going out this year. Both the best- and worst-case scenarios for him would be the same next year. The best-case scenario is that he could be drafted in the late first round by a good team that doesn't really need him, so he will spend a lot of time on the bench, but he will have guaranteed money. He may be sent to a D-league team so he can get more playing time at a (low) professional level. The worst-case is that he will be drafted in the second round by a bad team which he will struggle to make. If he makes it, he might get some decent playing time but at a pretty low wage by NBA standards. If he doesn't make it, he will be off to Europe or Asia. The same things would have been there for him next year, but next year's Vols would have been a lot better and he might have refined his game even more. Good luck, Jarnell; I'm afraid you're going to need it--I'm pretty sure next year's Vols are going to need it.

Written on Deadline for Jarnell Stokes' NBA decision fast approaching:

Don't get me wrong. I think Jarnell is quite capable of playing in the NBA, IF he can beat out hordes of roughly similar guys in what amounts to open tryouts. I think he could tear it up overseas right now. It's just that the difference between tearing it up overseas and playing in the NBA are two VERY different things in monetary terms. The difference is big enough, IMHO, that it won't hurt him to wait until next year if he has to go that route. And who knows, if he stays, he might develop that reliable 15-footer next year that WOULD put him in good shape to be a 1st-round draft choice.

Written on Pat Summitt congratulates UConn on 9th title:

in response to AxeMan:

It just takes one player. IMHO about 80% of the talent on the top tier teams in women's hoops is interchangeable. Put a Candace Parker, Maya Moore or Brittney Griner on this year's Lady Vols team and they likely would have won it all. As much as team ball is stressed in the women's game that all goes out the window when someone comes along who can score no matter what and everyone else is good enough to keep the other team honest.

Certainly your point about the desirablility of having a true game-changing player in order to win a championship is well-taken. However, the LVs lately have had a tendency to make some opponent's pretty good player LOOK like a major game-changer. At the same time, their own McD's All-Americans have too often just thrown the ball out of bounds or to the other team for no apparent reason. No single outstanding individual opponent can account for that. A team has to have a team mentality that it will do all in its power to play the game as well as possible no matter who they face before it becomes the type of program which can regularly sign the true game-changing types. I'm not as sure as some others seem to be that the LVs have to make major changes to get back to the truly elite level, but they need to somehow get back to playing up to their own highest potential before they will truly NEED that elite-level player to put them over the top. IMHO.

Written on Deadline for Jarnell Stokes' NBA decision fast approaching:

I tend to fall between those who say that Jarnell is or should be a 1st-rounder and those who say he can't make it in the league at all. As I have said before, Jarnell can make a decent reserve power forward in the NBA right now. The thing is, that kind of guy doesn't merit a 1st-round pick. Since there are only 30 1st-round picks in an average draft year and there are 30 NBA teams, it almost stands to reason that a substantial number of current NBA players were either 2d-rounders or free agents, and Jarnell could surely be among those. However, there are possibly hundreds of "hungry" guys all over the world who would be glad to battle anybody for a shot at one of those spots.

Therefore, I still pose the question of why he should feel that he has go pro NOW when it would seem he has little chance of being picked in the first round. The Vols could be a legit contender next year with him, especially if they also get the Rhett kid out of TSU, Hubbs comes through in a big way, and the other guys make only the expected amount of improvement. Jarnell is still young for his class, and despite being an imposing physical specimen, he may not be ready to battle against NBA heavyweights night after night. And if he isn't ready to do that, what NBA team needs him? And if nobody needs him enough to use a 1st-round pick on him, why would he want to go now?

Written on Informal talks between Lady Vols and UConn about resuming series:

Good arguments on both sides of the issue of renewing the regular-season series. However, I think it would be better for all concerned if it didn't happen for another few years, if ever. I would rather face them and hopefully beat them a couple of times in the NCAAs and THEN maybe renew the series. The LVs should have their best chance in years of winning a championship next year if they can get a few things fixed. Renewing the series now would look like UT needs UConn more than the other way around, which I am not sure is the case. Almost every other big-time program is perfectly willing to play the LVs, while, as the article stated, UConn is having a bit of trouble scheduling what seems to be a growing number of quality out-of-conference opponents.

Written on Pat Summitt congratulates UConn on 9th title:

in response to AxeMan:

I wouldn't call winning back to back championships just 6 years ago and making the Sweet 16 or Elite 8 almost every year since being passed by. Tennessee is still in the mix. And the level of competition now is part of Pat's legacy. I would be more impressed with Geno if he wins it next year while also driving the team van to away games, washing the uniforms and cleaning up the gym after the game.

Let's just keep in mind that Pat was a good number of years past the days of van-driving and uni-washing by the time she won her first championship. Like everything else in human society, things change.

The decline does not show up in the fact that the LVs are still making the tourney every year and surviving the first weekend almost all the time, it's that when they run into the other "elite" programs lately, they go down in a heap. They are also losing and/or struggling against teams that shouldn't have a prayer of beating them.

I don't really care to do the research to prove this statistically, but it is just a fact that the program has lost a step or two compared to the leading programs of today. It would be one thing if they lost a tough one here and there on last-second buckets and such, but they have been losing by double digits to such teams and looking terrible just in terms of basic basketball in doing it. I'm not one of those calling for Holly's head or constantly demeaning players, but it should be clear that SOMETHING needs to be fixed if the LVs are once again to become a MAJOR player in the yearly championship race.

Written on Pat Summitt congratulates UConn on 9th title:

in response to tommy1956:

Included in this season's forty wins were victories over Notre Dame, Louisville (3 wins), Baylor, Stanford (2 wins), Duke, Maryland, Penn State, Texas A&M, and California. In the March 17th 2014 AP Top 25 Basketball Poll (final regular season poll), these teams were ranked 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 14, 15, and 24 respectively. I consider this a very tough schedule. Now consider UConn's margin of victory in these games. How can you question their legitimacy? Your comment sounds like sour grapes.

Thanks for the dose of reality about UConn's schedule. Geno is the one everybody in women's basketball loves to hate. His personality practically invites that. It just helps him sell the "us against the world" mentality to his team, and they always seem to play with a chip on their shoulders. Almost any criticism of Geno that doesn't involve his personality or (alleged) shady recruiting is indeed sour grapes. His results speak for themselves.

Written on Women's finalists reflect scope of Lady Vols' quest for improvement:

in response to Theo:

2014 record 21 - 13
2014 SEC 7 - 9
lost by 26 to UL in NCAA
Love her, not trying to criticize at all. Wanted to add some facts to your post.

The most popular player on a football team is the backup QB. The most popular coach is the alum who is coaching someplace else. It was ever thus.

Written on John Ward’s most memorable games at Stokely:

John Ward calling UT basketball was a virtual lifesaver for me back in the mid-70s. I was a "starving" musician living in a drafty old farm house in the hills of Southwest Virginia. There weren't many games on TV in those days and we could rarely get any of them on the one or two channels we could barely see on our old rabbit-eared, black-and-white TV. So I would spend cold winter nights huddled under blankets with an old transistor radio tucked against my ear, fiddling with the dial and straining to make out the incomparable calls of "The Voice" through the screeches and hisses of the weak AM signal. I could put myself, in my mind's eye, back in good ol' Stokley Athletics Center, smelling the popcorn and listening to the Pep Band, where I was sure to be every time the ball went up throughout my undergraduate years. I loved all the games John mentioned the most, of course, but a preseason game against some little directional school had almost the same effect on me. I will always cherish the memory of those days.

Written on Tennessee State transfer M.J. Rhett eyes Vols, would like to play with Jarnell Stokes:

FWIW, I checked out a few NBA mock drafts this morning, and the highest I saw Jarnell rated was mid-2d-round; he was not listed at all on several of them. Though it is somewhat beside the point right now, I didn't see Jordan McCrae's name on any of the ones I looked at.

I have no doubt Jarnell could be a serviceable reserve power forward in the NBA, similar to the likes of DeJuan Blair, Chuck Hayes, or Udonis Haslem, but I just don't see right now how any NBA GM could say "We've just gotta have that guy!" to the degree of using a 1st-round pick on him. So please, Jarnell, come back and give it one more shot to raise your stock further!

Written on Women's finalists reflect scope of Lady Vols' quest for improvement:

Though it may be tiresome to some to keep reading it, I keep coming back to Kenny Smith's often-stated belief that, talents being comparable if not exactly equal, the capacity to consistently make good decisions on the court trumps talent alone. All too often we saw the LVs make "oh, what the heck; how cool would it be if I did THIS?" plays instead of disciplined, purposeful ones.

All the players have to understand EXACTLY what it is that they are supposed to be trying to do at all times and it is up to the coaches to make sure they know those things and do them in the expected manner. I'm not one to dictate to coaches how they should instruct and correct their players, but great coaches produce great teams even out of the most unlikely-seeming parts by instilling in them a steely concentration on what they are about, playing the players who can show that, and sitting the ones who can't. One may quibble about the LVs not having enough of this, that, or the other kind of talent or experience on the team, but the fact is that for some time now they have not maximized the talent they have.

I think the coaches have quite enough of the required kinds of knowledge of the game itself, but they really do need to figure out how to get the players to believe in themselves and to hold themselves to a high level of effort and execution. If I knew for sure how to do that, I would be doing it somewhere instead of sitting here typing about it! A little more of that type of humility might recommend itself to some few others on here as well.

Written on Stokely coming down, but memories will remain:

in response to cltvol:

lst time there I saw Perry Wallace, lst african american baller in SEC. The US flag coming down from the ceiling was such a highlight, and I Couldn't believe how big it was. My dad & his buds were all service vets, either WWII or Korea. Buddy that flag was special to them, they were so proud. There was some name calling of Wallace, but not from our group. It was sad, but not prevalent, and the vast majority of fans didn't appreciate it.

The only thing wrong with this memory is it includes Vandy. I'm in the Joe Thompson, George Cafego camp vs. Vandy. But grant me an exception here for Mr. Wallace. And you can see below where Mr. Wallace went on to accomplish great things.

Thanks for the link. I remember Perry Wallace well. He was the greatest leaper I had ever seen before that time; though he was "only" about 6'5", he seemed to take every rebound with both hands above the rim. I didn't know about all his accomplishments later in life, but it was clear at the time that he was an extraordinary young man.

Written on Tennessee State transfer M.J. Rhett eyes Vols, would like to play with Jarnell Stokes:

in response to underthehill:

I do not agree with predictions Stokes is not a first round draft choice..I think he is and I think he will go..I hope he don't ..but who is a better rebounder..I have not seen one this year in college basketball..It was good to see Richardson finish strong but..fact is he was not pressured on defense because of the double teams on Stokes remains to be seen what he can do when the defense keys on him..the backcourt is unpredictable at best..most Vol fans are not comparing the talent ..or lack of it ..with other conference opponents..not being doom and gloom just trying to be realistic..the conference is getting better..the talent in the SEC is getting better..Ga returns 4 starters..Fla has another strong roster..and Ky will most likely be loaded due to the current crop not likely to be high draft choices and 4 5* I am saying if Martin and the VOls finish in the top would be a good job and he would likely get at least one more year..if they finish in the lower half of the SEC..who knows..

Obviously nobody knows right now what Stokes is hearing from the NBA people or what he will decide to do. I agree that he could be a very productive player in the NBA. The thing is, there are only two rounds in the NBA draft. The question many GMs would have is, "Is he the best guy I can get with my first pick?" Only the first-rounders get guaranteed money and roster spots. A first-round pick is expected to be a difference-maker. While I am sure Jarnell wants to play in the NBA, I have to ask myself if he wants to go so badly right now that he is willing to go into a camp essentially on spec. His family is NOT living in their car. They DO want him to get his degree. He really DOES seem to like Martin and UT. He may surprise me with a decision to go, but I just don't see where the urgency is unless somebody is willing to commit to drafting him in the first round. If he is going to have to fight for a roster spot, he can do that just as easily next year as this year, when he can go in with added strength and maturity, possibly an even more expanded game, and a degree in hand. JMHO.

Written on Tennessee State transfer M.J. Rhett eyes Vols, would like to play with Jarnell Stokes:

in response to murrayvol:

I'm not sold on Thompson. He's got a lot of work to do to become a solid pg. I hope he does it.

Thompson has great fundamentals and instincts for the game. His dad is a long-time HS coach. He was a reluctant shooter last year on a team with proven scorers, and he was a little thin to play strong on-ball defense and finish strong at the rim. That said, he has a great touch on his passes and perfect fundamentals in his shooting stroke. People won't believe how much better he will be next year with a full year in the S&C program.