Vanderbilt’s Kevin Stallings apologizes for profane comment to player

 

Vanderbilt basketball coach Kevin Stallings issued a public apology through his team’s official twitter account late Thursday night for a profane comment he made toward Vanderbilt freshman guard Wade Baldwin in the aftermath of the Commodores’ 73-65 win over Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena.

“After the game, an incident occurred in which I need to apologize for,” Stallings said. “One of our players acted inappropriately and violated what we believe is good sportsmanship following the game.”

“In my haste to resolve the situation, I made a very inappropriate comment. While obviously it was not meant literally, it was still inappropriate. I apologized to the player immediately following the game. Displaying good sportsmanship is of the highest priority in our program, win or lose. I am very remorseful of my actions tonight.”

Baldwin, who scored 13 points in the Vanderbilt victory, initiated his coach’s wrath when he clapped in the face of UT junior forward Armani Moore after the final buzzer.

Stallings criticized Baldwin after the game, but his apology stems from what said when he lashed out at Baldwin during the postgame handshake line before the ESPN2 cameras pulled away.

“We don’t do that! I will (expletive) kill you!,” Stallings shouts to Baldwin after he learns of the Baldwin’s postgame antics.

Stallings said this in an interview with ESPN:

“I handled it completely inappropriately and I apologized to Wade — and I need to apologize to our fans and the Vanderbilt administration,” the longtime coach told ESPN. “Having said that, and it may seem as though I’m trying to rationalize my behavior, sportsmanship will continue to be a high priority. I did not mean it in the literal sense and I’ve never touched a player in all my years as a coach. That’s not me. I will learn from this and handle this situation differently in the future.”

Baldwin posted this message to his Twitter account late Thursday night.

Kentucky’s Devin Booker checks on Tennessee cheerleader

 

Kentucky freshman guard Devin Booker did a little bit of everything Tuesday night against Tennessee.

He scored a game-high 18 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished an assist.

He also accidentally crashed into a Tennessee cheerleader named Kristen Huskey when he was fouled on a layup attempt.

Here’s the scary scene:

Kudos to Booker, though. He checked on Huskey via Twitter after UK’s 66-48 victory.

Turns out she’s doing just fine.

Tennessee basketball offers scholarship to Khalil Iverson

 

 

The Tennessee basketball team has offered a scholarship to Khalil Iverson, a three-star small forward in the 2015 class.

The 6-foot-5, 205-pound prospect from Delaware, Ohio, also holds offers from Wisconsin, Bowling Green, North Florida, Penn State, UNC Asheville and Winthrop, according to 247Sports. The scouting service considers him to be the No. 61 small forward in the 2015 class, and the 11 prospect in Ohio.

Iverson, who plays at Delaware’s Rutherford B. Hayes High School, visited Knoxville for the Vols’ game against Texas A&M on Jan. 24.

Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall hopes to sign two players during the regular signing period, which runs from April 15 to May 20. Incoming signees include three-star guard Shembari Phillips and three-star small forward Admiral Schofield.

AP photo

Georgia’s Marcus Thornton cleared to play against Vols

 

ATHENS, Ga. — Tennessee will have to face Georgia’s top scorer and rebounder today.

Senior forward Marcus Thornton has been medically cleared to play after missing the last two games with concussion related symptoms, Georgia announced an hour before tipoff.

The Vols (13-8, 5-4 SEC) play the Bulldogs (14-7, 5-4) at noon (TV: ESPN2) at Stegeman Coliseum.

The 6-foot-8, 235-pound Thornton averages 13.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. That ranks 13th and sixth in the SEC, respectively.

“He’s a pretty good player,” UT junior forward Armani Moore said of Thornton this week. “Obviously, he would be one of the guys we would key into for this game. We just have to really focus in and make sure we don’t let him get going early.”

Thornton sustained a concussion against Vanderbilt on on Jan. 27. He finished the game, but symptoms surfaced later. After winning five games in a row, the Bulldogs lost the two they played without Thornton, falling at South Carolina and No. 1 Kentucky.

Carmichael Blog

Game Day: Tyndall hints at switching starters — again

 

Tennessee basketball coach Donnie Tyndall cycled his way through seven starting lineups in his first 10 games. Then, through the last four, it seemed he had settled on Josh Richardson (1), Kevin Punter (2), Devon Baulkman (3), Armani Moore (4) and Willie Carmichael (5). But UT’s worst offensive showing of the season, its 56-38 loss to Alabama on Saturday, might make Tyndall start tinkering again. A different starting lineup could be on display when UT (9-5, 1-1 SEC) hosts No. 19 Arkansas (13-2, 2-0) tonight (TV: ESPNU, 7 p.m.) tonight at Thompson-Boling Arena.

“We have alternated lineups all year and switched some things up,” Tyndall said Monday. “Outside of Josh and Armani, we really don’t have anyone that has just separated themselves from the pack. So, we are going to continue to test different lineups to see what works and doesn’t work.”

Tyndall specifically mentioned promoting sophomore guard Robert Hubbs and junior forward Derek Reese to starters. That means sophomore guard Kevin Punter and freshman forward Willie Carmichael would be out.

Punter, UT’s second-leading scorer at 10.2 ppg, shot 0-for-7 from the field and made two free throws against Alabama. The season-low came after he scored a game-high 15 points at Mississippi State.

Carmichael, who has started every game since the season-opener, is a combined 0-for-4 from the field in the last two games. He grabbed four rebounds against Mississippi State and two against Alabama. Both games brought foul trouble. He fouled out against the Bulldogs after 22 minutes. Four fouls limited him to 13 minutes against Alabama.

“Willie is a young guy who has to get better,” Tyndall said of the 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward.

The coach continued.

“Willie is starting on an SEC team as a freshman. There are not a lot of dudes out there getting to do that. With that comes expectations. He is a guy that, even though he probably isn’t quite ready to be playing the minutes he’s playing, that’s where we’re at. He stays in foul trouble for lack of discipline. He’s out of position. He leaves his feet. He doesn’t get the post fronted. Now, all of a sudden, instead of getting to play 22-24 minutes, he plays 12 or 14. And he’s constantly frustrated. Well, we are every bit as frustrated as he is, because we keep pointing out the same mistakes. But, that’s freshmen.”

Quoteables:

“We didn’t play real well the other night. But I think, overall, we have a group of guys that believe in themselves and think they’re good players. I believe they’re good players. One game doesn’t make or break as season. I do believe this: If we are not on edge and we don’t have a sense of urgency, and we don’t play with detail against Arkansas, it can get ugly real quick.” — Tyndall

“I think he’s arguably one of the top six or eight players in our league.” — Tyndall on Arkansas guard Michael Qualls (15.8 ppg, 5.3 ppg)

“If we didn’t have Josh Richardson, we would score about 15 points per game.” — Tyndall

Numbers to Know:

2: Number of times Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall has taken down a ranked opponent. The first? Morehead State’s upset of Louisville in the NCAA tournament in 2011. The second? UT’s win over Butler earlier this season.

+4.9: Arkansas’ league-leading turnover margin.

25.3: Percentage of UT’s total points Josh Richardson has scored this season (226 out of 895). That’s second-highest among SEC players. Richardson is 35 points shy of becoming the 47th member of UT’s 1,000-pound club.

13: Number of UT players that have fouled out in 13 games this season.

4: The Razorbacks have won 4 of their last 6 regular-season SEC road games dating back to last season

 

 

 

Larry Nance Jr., Cameron Bairstow

AP Top 25: Ben Frederickson’s College Hoops Ballot

 

A weekly look at the ballot Tennessee men’s basketball beat writer Ben Frederickson submits to the Associated Press. Shifts from last week are listed after the team name. Disagree? Sound off to @Ben_Fred.

1) Kentucky
2) Virginia
3) Gonzaga
4) Villanova
5) Duke
6) Utah
7) Louisville
8) Wisconsin
9) Arizona
10) Notre Dame
11) VCU
12) Kansas
13) Maryland
14) Iowa State
15) North Carolina
16) Wichita State
17) West Virginia
18) Oklahoma
19) Arkansas
20) Baylor
21) Texas
22) Wyoming
23) Seton Hall
24) Michigan State
25) Northern Iowa

Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 9.10.09 PM

Just how low did Tennessee go?

 

The Tennessee basketball team lost to Alabama 56-38 on Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

A brutal outing for the offense included a second-half scoring drought of 13:02 and a field goal drought of 14:07. UT scored 14 points after halftime and, at one point, missed 15 shots in a row.

It wasn’t that long ago ( at Virginia on Dec. 5, 2012) that the Vols totaled just 38 points. But such a slim total in a home game is rare. The Vols had never scored fewer than 46 points in Thompson-Boling Arena. They set an all-time low for points in a home game during the shot-clock era. The last time they scored fewer than 38 points in Knoxville? A bizarre, 11-6 win over Temple on December 15, 1973 at Stokely Athletic Center. Former coach Ray Mears encouraged his team to stall, and without a shot clock to force the action, the plan worked.

Only three major conference teams have failed to score fewer than 38 points so far this season, according to STATS LLC. None of those losses came at home. Rutgers lost to Virginia 45-26 on a neutral site. Colorado fell 56-33 at Wyoming. Auburn lost 53-35 to Tulsa on a neutral site.

Providence lost 58-38 at Kentucky, which means only Marquette can truly feel UT’s pain. The Golden Eagles dropped a home game to Wisconsin 49-38 on Dec. 6. Ironically, that loss was the first game Marquette played after beating UT 67-59 on Nov. 30 at the Orlando Classic.

Correction: It was Temple coach Don Casey, not Tennessee’s coach Ray Mears that initiated the stalling match in 1973. The Vols didn’t do much to force the action, though. Here’s a full recap, which includes the following description:

This was before the days of a shot clock. Casey’s idea was to force Tennessee to come out and try to retrieve the ball, opening up his best shooters to score. As time ensued, the crowd wondered how long this repetitiveness would continue. The fans’ demeanor quickly turned from disbelief to anger. They paid to see a competitive basketball game, not two guys passing a ball back and forth.

Despite the crowd’s constant ranting, Temple held the ball until the first half ended and exited the court to a barrage of boos. They trailed by only two points.

The second half opened with more of the same. By now, the crowd became much more vocal and hostile, tossing ice and trash onto the floor, causing game delays. Security was beefed up in the building, including positioning additional police officers behind the Temple bench. 

Mears, visibly agitated by the goings on, yelled several times at the Owls to start playing real basketball. Casey responded by challenging the Vols to come out of their zone and get them. The two coaches were in a stubborn stalemate with neither one giving in.  

 

Florida hoops commit KeVaugh Allen to visit Vols

 

KeVaughn Allen, a 2015 four-star guard from Little Rock, Ark., has an unofficial visit to Tennessee planned for this weekend, according to one of his AAU coaches.

Kahn Cotton of the Arkansas Soldierz AAU program confirmed to the News Sentinel on Wednesday that he and Allen plan to attend the Vols’ game against Alabama on Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Jerry Meyer, 247Sports director of basketball scouting, first reported the visit. Meyer has switched his Crystall Ball prediction on Allen from Arkansas to UT. 247Sports considers Allen (6-foot-2, 165 pounds) the top player in Arkansas, the No. 14 shooting guard in his class and the No. 52 prospect overall.

His ESPN scouting report reads:

“Allen is a long, athletic scorer who does a great job attacking on the break. He has a smooth floater with excellent touch and body control to go along with his mid range pull up and ability to knock down open threes. Allen can defensive rebound and start the break as well. Allen is a decent ball handler that is very quick with the ball and he has a nice burst when he needs to get to his sweet spot on the court.”

Allen committed to Florida in April of 2014, but did not sign with the Gators during the early signing period. Cotton said the following teams are currently in the mix with the Vols include: Florida, Arkansas, Memphis, Oregon, California, Connecticut and Missouri.

“They’ve recruited him hard,” Cotton said of the Vols. “He (Allen) liked Tennessee when (former UT coach) Cuonzo (Martin) and that crew was there. Tennessee has been on him for quite a while. It was Cuonzo’s style that attracted him. What has attracted him with Donnie Tyndall’s style is the freedom that he gives his guards and their style of play.”

Cotton said Allen plans to play point guard in college, which also makes UT an attractive option.

“The opportunity to play the point is there, with Josh Richardson leaving,” he said. “We are not new to researching these schools. We know what areas most teams need. Point guard is a need for the University of Tennessee.”

AP Top 25: Ben Frederickson’s College Hoops Ballot

 

AP image

AP image

A weekly look at the ballot Tennessee men’s basketball beat writer Ben Frederickson submits to the Associated Press. Shifts from last week are listed after the team name. Disagree? Sound off to @Ben_Fred.

1) Kentucky
2) Duke
3) Virginia
4) Gonzaga
5) Wisconsin
6) Louisville
7) Arizona
8) Utah
9) Maryland
10) Villanova
11) Texas
12) Kansas
13) Notre Dame
14) Wichita State
15) West Virginia
16) Oklahoma
17) Seton Hall
18) Iowa State
19) North Carolina
20) Baylor
21) VCU
22) Ohio State
23) Colorado State
24) South Carolina
25) Old Dominion

Josh Richardson

Game Day: Schedule offers Vols chance for strong non-conference finish

 

For the Tennessee men’s basketball team, the most daunting part of the non-conference schedule is over.

It ended Wednesday night in Raleigh, with an 83-72 loss to a N.C. State team that will almost certainly be in the NCAA tournament come March. UT coach Donnie Tyndall said both before and after the loss that the Wolfpack was the second-most talented group his team has played against this young season.

From some coaches that compliment might not mean that much. But the Vols have already played some pretty good teams. After opening their season with a neutral court loss to then 15th-ranked VCU, they fell to then 11th-ranked Kansas in another neutral court game in the Orlando Classic. They regrouped by knocking off a Kansas State team at home in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge then stunned 15th-ranked Butler at Thompson-Boling Arena. Not bad for a team picked to finish seventh in the SEC, even after the loss to the Wolfpack.

“I’m not going to accept that,” Tyndall said. “I’m not going to admit that. I’m not going to let that be tolerated by my team or my staff. But there are going to be some nights, as I said after the Butler game, where we play really, really hard and compete for 40 minutes and it’s just not going to be quite enough. But when we talk with our team and we watch the tape, it will be five or six plays over the course of 40 minutes that, if we make or do something differently, we can win. That’s our job as a staff, to eliminate those five or six negative plays and continue to grow our team. I would be willing to bet by the end of the season we will play a team like this tougher than we did tonight.”

UT senior guard and co-captain Josh Richardson also saw a bit of silver lining.

“We’re still 4-4, he said Wednesday. “We’re not in a terrible place.”

They should be in a better place headed into league play. They should 8-4.

The non-conference schedule softens considerably starting tonight at 7 p.m., when the Vols host Tennessee Tech (6-4) at Thompson-Boling Arena. Three more home games follow: Mercer (Dec. 22), Tennessee State (Dec. 27) and ETSU (Dec. 31).

Tennessee Tech’s six wins have come against Piedmont International, Chattanooga, Southeastern Louisiana, Lipscomb, Hiwassee College and North Florida. It’s already lost road games to USC (70-58), Tulane (73-68) Southeastern Louisiana (86-65) Alabama (65-53).

Mercer is not the NCAA tournament team that stunned Duke before losing to the Vols in the NCAA tournament last season. A chuck of core players graduated. The Bears are 5-5, winless on the road and most recently lost to Dartmouth by 16.

Tennessee State is 2-8. It lost by 32 at Vanderbilt and by 43 at Virginia.

East Tennessee State (6-2) has knocked off Winthrop, Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky on the road. We should know more about the Buccaneers when the play at VCU on Monday.

Tyndall’s teams have been incredible at home during the regular season. He’s off to a 3-0 start at UT. His two Southern Miss teams went 27-1. He hasn’t lost at home during the regular season sine Southern Miss dropped a game to Memphis on Feb. 9. 2013.

The new-look Vols were tested early. This four-game stretch should be the reward. Basketball analyst Ken Pomeroy predicts four straight wins the Vols. Players are thinking the same thing.

“If we win these four straight we will go into conference play in good shape,” Richardson said.