Monthly Archives: August 2013

Honoring Parker

Retiring Candace Parker’s jersey is the easy part when honoring the former Tennessee Lady Vol All-American.

What’s harder is recognizing the concerns and hurt feelings expressed by Parker in the wake of longtime athletic trainer Jenny Moshak’s sudden retirement less than two weeks ago.

It would be better to address Parker’s reaction long before the Jan. 2 ceremony planned for her. And the best person to do it is Lady Vols head coach Holly Warlick.

Warlick is beginning her 32nd year at Tennessee as either a coach or a player. She’s well acquainted with Parker and virtually every  player associated with the program.  A sampling of the rank and file in the wake of Moshak’s announcement indicated a sense of bewilderment that likely isn’t rare in nature.

Given the events of the past two years, Warlick ought to consider reaching out to the women’s basketball alums and sharing with them her thoughts about the present and her vision for the future.

A few private words would be worth just as much — if not more — than any public ceremony.

A few thoughts on the 2013-14 schedule:

With the freshmen talent on both sides, the Nov. 11 game at North Carolina should be chaotic but also entertaining.

Don’t overlook the Nov. 17 home game against Georgia Tech, given Kaela Davis’ presence on Tech’s roster.

Given road games at Georgia, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt along with playing LSU twice, repeating as SEC regular season champions will be a tough task.

The home schedule gets better after New Year’s Day, beginning with LSU on Jan. 2 and continuing with Notre Dame (Jan. 20), Vanderbilt (Feb. 10), Kentucky (Feb. 16) and South Carolina (March 2).

Recruiting note: Jaime Nared, a 6-foot-1 wing player from Portland, Ore., who is ranked No. 13 in the Class of 2014 by ESPN HoopGurlz, will make an official visit to Tennessee the weekend of Sept. 27.






Color them blue and bewildered

Abby Conklin runs a signage company in San Francisco. She has painted a wall in her office orange and blue,  the colors she wore as a Tennessee women’s basketball player from 1993-97.

She wonders whether the paint job is too retro — or worse.

“I don’t think they respect the tradition that’s been built there,” said Conklin, referring to the current UT athletic department administration. “The Lady Vol tradition is different than the men’s tradition.”

You can dispute the merit of Conklin’s viewpoint, just as you can argue the circumstances surrounding the sudden, surprising retirement of longtime Lady Vols athletic director Jenny Moshak over equality issues. But there’s no debating the sense of bewilderment expressed by Conklin and three other former Lady Vols in the wake of Moshak’s announcement. Conklin, Cait McMahan, Chamique Holdsclaw and Candace Parker all used the word “sad” while sorting through their reactions.

“It’s sad; I’m hurt,” Parker said. “I have so much respect for the University of Tennessee. I realize changes are going to happen. At the same time, you can’t forget where you came from.”

Parker went on to say: “I’m not bashing the program. I don’t know what’s going on. But when things like this keep happening, it’s not an accident.”

Likewise, it’s no coincidence there was a distinct echo in these players’ comments. It’s one thing from them to be disillusioned. It’s another matter, though, if the feelings evolve into a sense of disconnect with UT. That’s the worst.





Catching their attention

The July viewing period just ended for the Tennessee Lady Vols coaching staff and at least two women’s basketball recruits are believed to have caught their attention .

One is not surprising. Lynee’ Belton, a 6-foot-2 forward from Bullis School in Clinton, Md., is ranked No. 20 in the Class of 2014 by ESPN HoopGurlz.

The other player — 6-foot wing Kia Nurse — will raise some eyebrows. Nurse is from Hamilton, Ont. She’s played on age-group national teams in Canada from 2010 through 2012. In the FIBA U17 World Championship last year, she averaged 13.6 points per game in eight games.

It’s not known what level of interest, if any, these players have in Tennessee.

Tennessee is looking for a wing player after Jannah Tucker decided not to enroll with this season’s freshman class.  Wing Sierra Calhoun, who’s ranked 10th in the class by HoopGurlz and was being recruited by UT, committed to Duke on Sunday according to ESPNW.