A little over an hour after a press release announced Da’Rick Rogers’ dismissal from the Tennessee football program last week, Derek Dooley stood before local media following practice.
The news of Rogers’ washout was already buzzing on Twitter.
Dooley addressed the press release saying, “It’s probably the No. 1 professional hazard — the behavior of 18-to-22 year olds.”
He continued on …
“There’s not one member in the whole organization that we’re not prepared to go play without.”
Dooley finished his opening statement saying that Rogers’ absence wouldn’t distract the Vols. All attention, he assured, was focused on the season-opener against N.C. State.
Then a long, awkward pause hung in the air of UT’s Football Training Center.
“Unbelievable,” Dooley quipped with a hint of mockery.
Keep an eye on Twitter around on Monday around 10 a.m., but don’t get your hopes up.
According to Jason Smith of The Commercial Appeal, five-star 2013 forward Nick King will announce his college decision Monday morning in the Memphis East High School library.
The finalists: Tennessee, Memphis, Vanderbilt and Texas.
King, who one knowledgeable follower of the Memphis hoops scene once described to me as “a Nike kid all the way,” has long been pegged as a future Tiger. Memphis, if you did not know, is a Nike school, as are Vanderbilt and Texas. Tennessee, if you also didn’t know, is an Adidas school.
Smith, who has covered the ins and outs of King’s recruitment, tweeted on Friday, “(Gut feeling) hasn’t changed. I would be shocked if Memphis isn’t the pick Monday.”
King made an unofficial visit to Tennessee on Aug. 3, two days before the Vols jetted to Italy for a 10-day overseas tour. He told the Commercial Appeal Friday that he’s “comfortable” making his decision without taking an official visit to any of the schools involved.
A 6-foot-6 left-hander with strong ball-handling skills, King is ranked as the nation’s No. 18 recruit by Scout.com and No. 23 by Rivals.com, while 247Sports ranks him 48th. He averaged 21 points and 15 rebounds per game as a junior and led Memphis East claim to a state championship.
Since taking the Tennessee job in March of 2011, Martin has pursued King and fellow Memphis high school stars Austin Nichols, Johnathan Williams III, Robert Hubbs and JaJuan Johnson.
Martin’s ability to snag Jarnell Stokes out of Memphis midseason a year ago has given some hope that he can help UT finally tap the spring of talent six hours west.
MILAN, Italy – I was posed a question on Twitter last night following Tennessee’s 109-59 victory in their Italian tour finale.
What UT players improved their standing the most with the team during the trip?
The last nine days flew by. It feels like Tennessee basketball landed in Rome yesterday.
But alas, the Vols arrived on August 6 and their jaunt through Italy has come to its final full day. Departure for the United States is scheduled for 9:50 a.m. local time Wednesday. The team will arrive in Atlanta at 2:30 p.m. and push their internal and external clocks back six hours.
UT’s last sightseeing morning abroad delivered a spectacular sun-soaked tour of Lake Como. An hour long ride to Bellagio stopped at notable villas belonging to the likes of Richard Branson, George Clooney and Gianni Versace. If you have an extra $10 or $20 million sitting under the mattress, I highly recommend a villa on Como. Looks like good livin’.
The highlight of the boat ride, however, was a freestyle battle between Jeronne Maymon, Armani Moore and Jordan McRae. Consensus says Moore took the crown.
As for the hoops. Three games, all wins, are in the books. Tonight’s fourth and final dance comes against Amici del Campetto at 8 p.m. — that’s 2 p.m. ET and I’ll be tweeting live updates if you want some entertainment in your cubicle.
What do I know about Amici del Campetto? Well it lost to Arkansas by 42. That’s pretty much all I need to know.
I’m anticipating Cuonzo Martin to give a bulk of the game’s minutes to newcomers and walk-ons.
Also, as a side note, for about the 10th time on the trip, an Italian bellowed (in broken English), “Tennessee! Jack Daniels! No 9!” The locals might not know what a Vol is, but they know their whiskey. To that I say …
Tennessee will meet Georgia Tech in a closed-door preseason scrimmage at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Oct. 28, UT coach Cuonzo Martin revealed during the Vols’ trip abroad to Italy.
The scrimmage will be held at UTC’s McKenzie Arena. Only team personnel and three referees will be permitted inside.
Georgia Tech went 11-20 overall in Brian Gregory’s first season as head coach. The Yellow Jackets joined Boston College, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest in the ACC basement with a 4-12 league record.
The Ramblin Wreck lost leading scorer Glen Rice Jr., who was dismissed from the program in the middle of his senior year, but returns talented point guard Mfon Udofia.
Tennessee and Georgia Tech last met in 2004, a 77-62 Yellow Jackets’ win at Thompson-Boling Arena.
UT director of basketball operations Houston Fancher said the teams agreed to meet in Chattanooga so that each could treat the scrimmage as a road game. UTC falls directly between the schools’ campuses in Knoxville and Atlanta.
The game’s officials will be from the SEC.
The Vols last played at McKenize Arena in 2007 and left with a narrow 76-70 win over UTC.
The NCAA allows teams two play either two closed-door scrimmages against other Division I programs, two exhibitions against non-DI teams that are open to fans and media or a combination of the two.
The Vols will host Victory University from Memphis in an open exhibition on Nov. 5 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The above title is tad misleading. I’m actually writing this from the Tennessee team bus churning along a scenic Italian highway that leads to Lake Como.
Upon settling into my seat this morning, UT sports information director Tom Satkowiak asked if I’d heard about the boys from BC Atletas Kaunas. I had not.
A highway in Italy – Pleased to say this is the first blog I’ve ever written with the countryside of Tuscany riffling by outside the window.
As I peck away, the Vols are en route to Florence, the second stop on the 2012 Italian tour. It’s approaching 11 am local time, 5 am back in Knoxville. I wanted to pass along some additional notes and quotes from UT’s 83-32 win over All Star Italy on Wednesday to accompany the game story and videos as you procrastinate starting your work day. If there are any typos, blame the bumps in the road.
Dig in …
Rome – Tip-off is just over four hours away. Three long jet-lagged, sightseeing-filled days have passed since Tennessee men’s basketball pulled out of the Pratt Pavilion parking lot Sunday morning.
But now it’s time to play. Here are five quick-hit focal points I’ll be eyeing at tonight’s game against All Star Italy (7:30 pm in Rome, 1:30 pm ET).
Battle of wounded knee: Both Trae Golden and Jeronne Maymon underwent offseason knee surgery. Tonight will offer the first of four tests on Tennessee’s four-game tour. The Vols’ regular season doesn’t begin until Nov. 9, but a steady showing from Golden and Maymon, two of UT’s three leading returning scorers, would most definitely ease any concerns of UT fans. I’d be surprised to see either play more than 15-20 minutes (Maymon probably less than that).
Take your best shot: A constant talking point of coach Cuonzo Martin is one of the most simplistic aspects of the game: making shots. UT has one pure shooter (Skylar McBee) and a collection of guards and wings that are hit or miss. Golden, Jordan McRae and Josh Richardson are all more than capable of hitting perimeter jumpers, but need to do so consistently. All have tirelessly worked on their shooting since the season ended, according to Martin. Even in Italy the rims are 10 feet high and the ball is 30 inches around. No excuses. Martin wants to see open jumpers fall.
Bigs on the outside: Though much isn’t known about tonight’s opponent, plenty is known about European basketball. One prime distinction is the unique offensive skill sets of typical Euro post players. Martin has said he’s curious to see how his big men – Maymon, Jarnell Stokes, Kenny Hall, Yemi Makanjuola and Dwight Miller – are able to defend on the perimeter and not get beat on back cuts. So am I.
Hi, my name is: Tonight brings the UT debuts of freshmen Derek Reese and Armani Moore, juco transfer D’Montre Edwards and redshirt freshman Quinton Chievous. Martin and his staff finally get to see each face a new set of opponents outside practice. Getting a first glimpse of these four is probably the most interesting aspect of tonight’s test.
Here goes nothing: The Vols are a long way from home and haven’t had a true practice since Saturday. With limited access to gyms in Rome, no one has dribbled a ball or fired a shot since the group arrived. Instead it’s been sight-seeing, hanging out and catching up on sleep. Now it’s time to compete. Tonight’s gym opens one hour before tip. How will the team respond?
I’ll do everything in my power to provide as many updates as possible during the game via Twitter (@BFQuinn). Looking forward to some hoops, Italian style.
A buon intenditor poche parole,
Rome – The Vols spent the second morning of their Italian trip touring the grounds of Vatican City. They strolled the stunning halls of the Musei Vaticani (Vatican Museums arched their necks toward the ceiling of the Cappella Sistina (Sistine Chapel) and strolled through the grandiose Basilica di San Pietro (St. Peter’s Basilica). Tennessee freshman Derek Reese called the experience “unimaginable.” The team (and its entourage) was given an afternoon of free time to rest up or explore Rome untethered. Check back to GoVolsExtra later today for a full story on the Vols’ morning at Vatican City.
Had a couple requests for UT’s game schedule on the upcoming trip to Italy. Ask an ye shall receive …