Comments by johnlg00

Written on UT releases Donnie Tyndall's MOU; review Tyndall's first UT appearance:

in response to ColPhorbin:

Was the body language of the players as bad as it seemed? Get the f@$#! over it. You're privileged to play at a major university. I loved Cuonzo, despite the struggles... Step up and move on.

I think the players were still a little shell-shocked. All of this, from Martin's departure to Tyndall's hiring, went down in about a week's time. After Martin left, I doubt Tyndall was on any of the players' radar as a possible replacement. Remember, all of the guys currently on the squad were brought in by Martin and they have been pretty consistent in their praise of him and incidentally in their disdain for how he was treated, at least in their eyes. I would surely hope both they and Tyndall give each other the benefit of the doubt until they have some evidence for why they should or should not buy in totally.

Written on UPDATE: Tennessee men's basketball signees Austin, Cornish released from LOIs:

in response to Chris_L75:

The highest-rated of the four, right? (Sigh) Doubt there are any available transfer PGs in that ballpark.

The warm vibes just couldn't last 24 hours.

IIRC, either Cofer or Turman is a 4-star while Austin was a 3-star. Hard to say whether the Vols need more help at PG or the posts. I don't put a lot of stock in recruit ratings--sheer talent seems to be only one component of those ratings--but clearly the Vols need all the help they can get for next season, and it would have been nice to have a possible contributor at backup PG.

Written on UPDATE: Tennessee men's basketball signees Austin, Cornish released from LOIs:

in response to dathcha30:

I got $10 dollars says we will see him playing for Cal next years.

Might be a pretty good bet. Unless Tyndall can find a decent replacement, the Vols will be hurting for a backup PG. I think Thompson would be the starter even if Austin had come, but it is disconcerting not to have any real depth at the position right now. I was looking forward to seeing what Austin could contribute despite his relatively low recruit rating. IIRC, he didn't play at the elite camps or on the premier AAU summer teams, which likely hurt his recruit rating but doesn't necessarily mean he couldn't help a real team. On the plus side, Tyndall now has three scholarships he can use, so if he gets lucky, he might be able to upgrade the quality of the personnel in a fairly big way.

Written on Mike Strange: Tyndall's dream job begins with mending :

in response to vut5686#1405392:

ditto. Some have screamed that UT just lay out the bucks and sign whoever. Now they nit-pic a deal that seems fair to all concerned, market driven and consistent with current league situations. The continued criticism of Hart is part of the times (sadly), I suppose. But it is not driven by fact backed points concerning specific decisions he has made. He inherited a mess; he is working his way through it. This coach seems a good choice. If Jesus Christ had been hired, as of this point, he would not have won a game. And, ultimately, that is what matters and we are far from even the first test. Negative whining is just that and serve no purpose at this time.

And a big "ditto" from me as well. The AD is not an autocrat; he has others to answer to, many of whom answer to...nobody. I'm not saying Hart is the greatest AD who ever lived, but I'm not sure who is. As far as I can tell, he is doing the best he can, given all the constraints, to get the athletic program back on a sound footing. Nothing he does can possibly please everybody all the time. There are just too many factors in play to balance them all perfectly.

As much as all of us in our various ways want to see the program succeed, we just have to realize that we can't control or even meaningfully influence every detail of such an operation. Some fans may have some good ideas when they are considered in isolation, but the AD doesn't work in such a vacuum. Right now, from my point of view, most UT sports are generally trending in a positive direction, now that we seem to have several decent new coaches on hand.

I was a supporter of Martin and would have been content if he had stayed. I think he would have come out of next year's anticipated dip if he had the full support of the administration and the fan base, but since that was evidently a minority opinion, he wasn't going to get that support. Let's give Tyndall--and Hart, for that matter--all the support we can reasonably give and see how things work out in the long run before we go off half-cocked and make it impossible for anybody to do a decent job.

Written on New Vol basketball coach Donnie Tyndall introduced at news conference:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

Can we assume that none of the negative posters will be on board with our new coach? Chances are they were never onboard with any coach in any UT sports programs. Some people naturally have negative outlooks on life in general and it stands out like a sore thumb.

I haven't really seen that many negative posts on the two main threads. There are always going to be a couple who would complain if you hung 'em with a new rope. There are always going to be others who think they are too cool to be "taken in" by a coach or anybody else. All that really means is that they can't admit the possibility that anybody else could ever be as awesome as they imagine themeselves to be, still less the haunting suspicion that they aren't nearly all that awesome themselves.

On the other hand, I haven't seen all that many gushing over the hire either. I would guess that not many of us know enough about him yet to have a solid basis for either a positive or a negative opinion and are honest enough to know and admit that. I would hope all Vol fans would at least be willing to give him a fair shot before making up their minds.

Written on New Vol basketball coach Donnie Tyndall introduced at news conference:

in response to namici#1422384:

I love all the sheep saying "he sounds like he really wants to be here". Uhh...what do you expect him to say??

I would expect him to employ "coach-speak", just like every other coach who has ever been hired anywhere. The proof is in the pudding, as the old saying goes. We'll know soon enough how much to trust what he says.

Written on New Vol basketball coach Donnie Tyndall introduced at news conference:

in response to Esau:

Well that's a tale yet to be told ain't it? You can update us in late November.

I would surely hope we give him a little longer than the end of November before we render a final judgment! That's like asking, "What have you done for me in the last 10 seconds?"

Written on [Updated] Tennessee hires Southern Mississippi's Donnie Tyndall as men's basketball coach:

in response to ThirdCreek:

Wow the comments are really getting carried away and off track. How about getting back to talking about our new head coach? Seems like a good hire to me.

Just what I was thinking! I have my own opinions about all these topics, but I don't consider myself an expert on any of them and doubt anybody really cares what I think about them. I seriously doubt too many of those who have commented on these topics know more about them than what they heard somewhere and never paid any attention to anybody who didn't agree with them about such topics. That's just how we are these days; once somebody gets some notion in their heads, they would rather die than question those ideas further. Cognitive dissonance is an intolerable condition for most people, so they avoid the possibility at all costs.

As for our new coach, he seems to be somewhere between Pearl and Martin on the "charisma scale". He does seem like a fairly genuine guy, roughly comparable to Jones, if not quite so outwardly enthusiastic. I like what he had to say about pressure defense and up-tempo offense. I think that is a style that should get the most out of the team's prospective talent and be attractive to talented players. I like the fact that he has graduated 21 out of the 22 seniors he has had at Morehead and USM; not many schools can say that about any segment of their student body. He said all the right things about the state, the town, the UT milieu, the relationship he hopes to have with the players, students, and administration, and his desire to make all former players feel welcome. He seems to be a guy who can relate well to all kinds of people. I think if we will give him a chance, Tyndall can do a creditable job here, even if he wasn't high on the personal radar of many of us a couple of weeks ago.

Written on Donnie Tyndall took responsibility for NCAA violations during tenure at Morehead State:

As the old NASCAR saying goes, "If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'." Putting two and two together, this would seem to be the connection with the New Jersey area that brought Kenneth Faried to Morehead. If that name doesn't mean anything to you, Faried was a relentless rebounder who is now starting in the NBA. My somewhat facetious opening comment aside, if Tyndall still has some more legit contacts in that area, he may be able to get in on some good prospects up there, including some guys who might be willing to come to UT who might not have been as eager to go to Southern Miss.

Although there are grounds for skepticism about Tyndall's recruiting ability, I'm willing to wait--since I have no choice!--to see how he does selling UT's facilities and, uh, passionate fan support. His biggest immediate "recruiting" job will be to hold onto the returning players and the incoming class. Although some have openly disparaged them from the day they announced, Tyndall's job will be ever so much harder if he has to try to recruit an entire team between now and this fall. And if he can win them over sufficiently, he might get more out of them than we might expect right now.

Written on How do you feel about Tennessee's hire of Donnie Tyndall? :

Cautious optimism is, IMHO, the only logical stance to take at this point. Most of those voting so far seem to agree. No reason to knock the guy before he coaches a game or even speaks to the fans and media, except maybe for the NCAA business. He might have some 'splainin' to do about that. On the other hand, there is no obvious reason why fans should be turning cartwheels, except perhaps in relief that this whole anxiety-ridden process seems to be over, at least for now.

Written on [Updated] Tennessee hires Southern Mississippi's Donnie Tyndall as men's basketball coach:

And once again, the spinning coin soars into the air. For any fans with any intelligence, the existence of whom is a somewhat dubious but still barely viable postulation, it won't land until at least the end of the 2015-16 season. By then we should have some idea of what we just bought.

Written on Multiple reports claim Tennessee men's basketball coaching search targeting Louisiana Tech's Michael White:

in response to gogovols2002#222335:

Sounds like the KNS report "Rick Byrd's UT dream never materialized" may have a chance at materializing..Why not? Maybe he is 61yr old but maybe wisdom and guidance from age would be an asset for UT Basketball at this juncture

This alternative is looking better all the time. Of course, there is no guarantee even Byrd would take the job. He's secure for life where he is and doesn't have to put up with our (insert your favorite adjectives here) fan base. Not sure how interested he would be in being a "placeholder", but if he was, it would be a nice retirement nest egg if he spent 3-5 years at UT before heading off into the sunset. Who knows, with his high-energy, wide-open offense, he might draw a couple of would-be one-and-dones, in which case it wouldn't hurt the program long-term even if he is just here for the short term. In his last year or so, the UTAD could really take his time to get somebody for the long haul. I know it sounds dumb, but our options seem to be really dwindling unless Hart gets really, really, lucky.

Written on report has UT's coaching search pointing toward Louisiana Tech's Michael White :

in response to UTForever:

National media are now reporting that White has tentatively accepted. Why are we getting the latest news from the national media rather than the News Sentinel?

Probably because these days the "national media" includes almost anybody with a blog and no responsibility for their accuracy, just for their ability to attract eyeballs. One would hope the local paper has at least a little more regard for their credibility than the kind of people who can say anything they want, counting on the background noise to drown out any erroneous or outright foolish things they say.

Written on report has UT's coaching search pointing toward Louisiana Tech's Michael White :

in response to UTForever: has reported in the last hour that White has an offer from Hart on the table, The news service said White is "mulling over the decision whether to take the job and that it's not a given that he will head to Knoxville." I believe White would be a good choice, since reports are that no coach on the A-List is interested in the job. Now, big Orange Country must await a decision from a rising star at a mid-level school. Heaven help us if White says no. It was a whole lot more fun when UT was a respected destination of choice, and we had our pick of the litter in coach searches.

Excuse me, but when has UT EVER had "our pick of the litter" for basketball coaches? No doubt we have had a few good ones over the years, but almost none of them would have passed muster by the criteria many of the more hopeful fans have laid out.

Ray Mears came from Wittenberg College; not sure what division they were in then, but it surely wasn't Div-I. Don DeVoe came from VA Tech and his main claim to fame was a couple of NIT's. Kevin O'Neill came from Marquette, a legit traditional power, so really, he is just about the only coach UT has ever had that came here from a directly comparable program. Houston--asst at Louisville; Green--Oregon, pretty much a lower-division team in the PAC-12; Pearl--UW-Milwaukee; Martin--Mizzou State. So really, when have we ever had a coach who WASN'T a successful head coach at a mid-major program or even a first-time head coach?

Written on Rick Byrd's UT dream never materialized:

I think we all agree that Byrd is an excellent coach and a fine man. It is easy in retrospect to think that UT would be better off today if Byrd had been hired at almost any point in the last 10 years or so. But it is hard to argue that such a hiring at any time before, say, the last five years would have been universally applauded by the more vocal members of the Vol fan base. I'm sure that if he had been hired AND had been able to overcome the initial storm of derision, he would have been both accepted and successful. However, I don't think any UTAD would have been able to get such a hire past the big-money boosters or more than a portion of the fan base.

On the surface, one could easily dismiss the age issue--61 is hardly "one-foot-in-the-grave" territory these days. No question there are lots of successful coaches older than 61. The thing is, the guys on the list above have been highly successful at the highest levels of the game for decades now. They first established their coaching reputations when they were half their present age.

No, I go along with the general tone of the article, which is that not all dreams are meant to be realized. Timing is, if not EVERYTHING in life, a very important determinant of how each life unfolds. I know I for one would not feel that I had been dealt a bad hand if my life had turned out like Byrd's. He is appreciated where he is, respected by his peers, no doubt materially comfortable, and basically guaranteed the continuation of that existence for as long as he wants it. All of this for a mere fraction of the hassle any UT coach would have to endure. I for one would be delighted even now if UT were to hire him, though as is the case with many others of his relative stature and background, I might have to wonder just WHY he would take on such a challenge at such a stage in his life. Even though coming to UT would multiply his bank account and gratify a youthful dream, mature consideration would likely convince him that he is better off where he is.

Written on report has UT's coaching search pointing toward Louisiana Tech's Michael White :

in response to vut5686#1405392:

Tennessee sells itself; the good and the bad. Simple fact is that if no one ("good, proven") comes running, when called, or raises their hand and shows interest, nothing Hart, Andy Holt or C.E Brehm can/could have done to change that. No means no. One cannot negotiate a deal unless someone is interested in a deal.

UT is not going to pay a basketball coach more than Jones is making; that, and currently, they really do not have 3.5-5 million to hand out to that "proven" coach...who as of now, seems to be in hiding.

Put simply, if we can only support and be happy cheering for a "proven" coach, forget whoever we get and cheer for Duke, Kentucky, Louisville or Connecticut. Remember: all those coaches started somewhere.

Good post. Your second paragraph describes the crux of the problem, even if it doesn't account for all of the other negatives the outsiders seem to see. The "open up the checkbook" crowd seems completely unable to see that the checkbook is, if not completely empty, not nearly full enough to draw somebody with the kind of proven record so many seem to demand, especially in the face of all those other negatives.

Written on report has UT's coaching search pointing toward Louisiana Tech's Michael White :

in response to FWBVol:

Yes, UT returns just one starter from last year, but Hubbs is a 5-star kid that probably would have started had he not been injured this year. Darius Thompson also received significant playing time and was a part-time starter at the point guard. Armani Moore had pretty good playing time as well.

Did Martin recruit the kind of talent you see at North Carolina or Duke? No, but while it doesn't happen all the time, it's not uncommon for a team to lose four starters.

Any coach that says he isn't interested in any job because of the number of starters coming back probably isn't the right coach for any SEC school.

Guess it didn't occur to the guy who knocked the Vols' roster that there likely wouldn't be an opening at UT if future prospects looked all that great. Not only that, but he would have a built-in excuse for at least a year's worth of a honeymoon with the fans.

Besides, I agree with you that the Vols' cupboard isn't quite as bare as some think, and the SEC is still a mass of mediocrity below the top two. Heck, even Florida will have to replace four starters, nobody knows how many UK might have to replace, and while UF and UK will reload with top-drawer talent, it is no cinch that the newcomers will be ready to play winning team ball right away, or ever for that matter.

No, I'm afraid the well-documented skittishness of the better-known candidates has roots far deeper than what kind of team awaits the new guy. I'm not thrilled with any of the more likely prospects for the job, but everybody has to start somewhere and until UT is in a position to really open up the checkbook, we will have to put our hopes on a guy who will likely need a bit of OJT at this level.

Written on Nearly 5,000 votes later, GVX readers name their choice for the next head basketball coach:

If all of the 5000 people who voted for Marshall were to sign an iron-clad pledge of, say, $5000 each, part of which would almost certainly have to go to Butch Jones, then Marshall might at least return UT's phone call. Any takers?

Written on Govols247: Minnesota AD: Pitino 'not interested' in Tennessee job:

Expect any number of prospective candidates to say how happy they are where they are at, right up until one of them says yes. Scads of others will use this opening, and the one that just appeared at Mizzou, to boost their own contracts. That's just the way the game is played these days.

Two things will happen from this point on, especially if the process drags out: the necessary payout to get somebody we really want--somebody with a record of high-level success--will go UP and the level of previous accomplishment of the remaining realistic candidates will go DOWN. The Vols will either wind up paying WAY more than they expect to, or they will get somebody with WAY less experience and success. Just watch.

Written on David Climer: Meet Vols’ one-man search committee:

in response to terry#1416762:

Whatever Bruce's Pearl's buyout at Auburn, $5m, pay it and be done, bring him back. Give him a 5 year contract for $3m per year, and with the caveat he leaves or we get on probation--we won't--in that time he pays $5m. By the 3rd year of the contract it is a bargain, and he gets a 3 yr extension, with a 2m bump.

Pearl if hired here can and will dominate Memphis, and it as a recruiting ground is prime for our picking if he returns.

Please, for the love of the vols, buy him out at Auburn and bring him home.

If this sounds absurd, ask FL fans about how absurd it was for Billy D to leave, change his mind, and whether they have any regrets bringing him back.

Hire Pearl Now, before it is too late.

I agree that the apparent attitude of the powers-that-be toward hiring Pearl back is somewhat hard to fathom. Lots of coaches have run afoul of the NCAA for worse offenses than Pearl committed, paid the price--an exorbitant one in his case--and gone on to successful careers. However, while I also agree that the financial arrangement you laid out might be necessary to get Pearl back, it is totally unrealistic in view of the current state of the UTAD's finances and UT's historic "football-first" emphasis.

In short, nobody who counts in the athletic power structure cares enough about basketball to pay ANY basketball coach more than the football coach, and the chances of boosting Jones' pay to keep him ahead of Pearl or whoever before he has proven that he can get UT football back into championship contention are practically nil. I love to daydream as much as anybody else, and I congratulate you on coming up with a real doozy.

Written on Acclaimed freshman Diamond DeShields transferring from North Carolina:

in response to ATL_VOL_FAN:

Link to the ESPN article. Debbie Antonelli indicates she doubts SC would be on her radar as they don't have room on their roster, however, UT could be as well as UGA or GA Tech (Neither of which has a very strong fan base).

Thanks for the link. After reading that article, I don't really see much chance that Diamond will come to UT. She seems to be somebody who really loves the limelight, and she wouldn't likely be "the one" at UT. That part of her personality reminds me of Sade Wiley-Gatewood. She came in with Candace Parker and was thought to be the outstanding guard in her class, but she made it known that she intended to be THE star in the class and was determined to play her game, her way. She shortly transferred to Maryland, got hurt, and, as far as I know, sank without a trace. For better or worse, the LVs have always been more about the program than about star players. This story and others like it show why playing successful big-time college basketball is always about WAY more than sheer talent. It would seem right now that Diamond would be happier playing closer to home, but how long might THAT preference hold?

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

in response to vut5686#1405392:

This is the most accurate depiction of our situation thus far; those who have clamored...past and present...for a "big name" are going to be sorely disappointed; not going to happen. Any "up and comer" will be just as much a gamble as was Martin; if lightening does not strike, we will be just as frustrated in a year or two as we were three months ago. That and the Gator who related our reactions to coaches past might have rankled a few Smokeys but he described our past pretty well. The facts of our past speak for themselves.

The best we can hope for is that Hart lands an up and comer who, on the surface, shows some credibility.

I am a fan of all Vol sports, but I am more of a basketball fan than anything else. I would LOVE for UT to be one of those marquee programs mentioned regularly among the top 20 or so in the country. However, I have never believed, in my 50+ years of following Vol sports, that UT has ever been really serious about elevating the basketball program to such heights, and certainly not to a level that would even give the appearance of favoring basketball over football. It is fair to say that football almost HAS to have precedence at UT since it is the only sport that can fund what at least used to be an attempt to be competitive in ALL sports. Until UT fans come to terms with this, all we can do is hope for occasional runs at the top of the conference.

Pearl did a great job, but even if he hadn't tripped himself up--with considerable "help" from the Hamilton administration--if he had continued winning at a high rate, he would have eventually been hired away from UT UNLESS the football program was ALSO experiencing great success. One could even make the argument that UT didn't stand behind Pearl because the UTAD was worried about possible sanctions on the football program and didn't want any additional trouble with the NCAA. So until the football program gets back on a solid path to national prominence, we are just going to have to sort through the Petersons, Pearls, and Martins of the world and hope we can get lucky for a few years here and there.

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.