Planning on tweaking your diet in 2014? What about switching up your wardrobe? Maybe something bigger, like expressing your emotions differently, or stepping outside of your comfort zone?
The Tennessee men’s basketball team can relate.
Well, it can if it listens.
Since it’s so much easier to come up with New Year’s resolutions for others instead of making my own, here are some suggestions for the Vols …
Jordan McRae: Eat healthier
McRae considers himself an old man these days. The senior guard has traded nights out for evening gym sessions and basketball games on TV. But when he’s not working on his game, he’s usually eating. It’s rarely healthy.
UT coach Cuonzo Martin knows better. McRae’s fast food weakness isn’t confined to fried chicken. He’s also a Waffle House regular.
Jarnell Stokes: Play a game sans headband
Stokes’ headband popped off after a hard foul on Monday. I legitimately had a hard time finding him on the court when it happened. If the junior forward started the game without his signature fashion statement, maybe teams would have a harder time finding and double-teaming him?
Jeronne Maymon: Finish the bunnies
The knee injury that sidelined Maymon last season has resulted in a different player. The heart is still there, and that’s a big benefit for the Vols. Proof: Josh Richardson credited Maymon as the main difference between last season’s loss to Virginia and the thumping UT handed the Cavaliers on Monday. But Maymon has developed a knack for missing some shots that should be automatic. There was the blocked layup from behind that changed the game for good against Wichita State. A similar play occurred Monday. The explosion just isn’t there. It doesn’t appear to be coming back, either. Maymon has to find a way to adjust and sink the easy ones.
Robert Hubbs: Make sure the shoulder is good to go
The status of the left shoulder problem that is slowing — or not slowing — the five-star freshman guard is a bit murky. At times Martin has said the injury is not a concern. At other times he has said it’s something the team will examine after the season ends, a comment that encourages speculation of a looming procedure. Hubbs says he injured the non-shooting shoulder during his senior season of high school. For now, the soft brace he wears during games seems to help. But between his freshman and sophomore campaign the Vols should do whatever is necessary to make sure Hubbs is healthy for his UT career.
Rawane ‘Pops’ Ndiaye: Shoot one 3-pointer
It happened again Monday. UT was ahead and the reserves were on the floor as the final minute ticked down. Somehow Ndiaye ended up with his feet on the 3-point arc and the ball in his hands. The crowd clamored for him to shoot it, but the 6-10 center passed it up. Next time Pops should let it fly.
Quinton Chievous: Frustrate the other team for a change
Watch one UT practice and you will see why Chievous is one of the most loved and infuriating players on his team. He’s usually linked to the bumps and bruises guys are nursing after all is said and done. Basically, he is the one you want on your team so you don’t have to play against him. It would be nice to see him beat up on someone not wearing orange.
Brandon Lopez: Make the usher proud
There’s a very nice man who works as an usher near press row during UT games. He’s convinced Lopez could be the Vols’ missing link. When the Knoxville native warms up before games, this gentleman counts the 3-pointers he makes. Sometimes the usher then passes the results along to reporters. Lopez, who played five-plus minutes nine times last season, has appeared in just one game this season. He’ll have to change that trend to prove his biggest fan right.
Cuonzo Martin: Get a tech
In 181 games as a college coach, Martin has never been whistled for a technical. He said he tried to pick one up against N.C. State. The refs let him slide for walking out on the court, though. Here’s a trick that’s sure to bring a T.
Have a resolution that I missed? Let me know in the comments section.