Postgame Quotes: Tennessee 105, Fla. So. 80

Nov. 2, 2013

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(Opening statement)
"First off I would like to give credit to Florida Southern. They played last night in Gainesville against Florida. For those guys to travel to be ready to play and that isn't an easy thing to do. It reminds me of my days playing for CBA. We would travel 8 or 10 hours. They way they came out, competed and played is credit to their program and Coach Darner. They really pushed the ball. One thing I noticed when we played against those guys that I liked about it and coach has done a great job for years with his teams was the way they pushed the ball. They do a tremendous job pushing the ball without turning it over. It was very impressive. I thought our guys did a better job in the second half. We really settled down on the defensive side of the ball. What we try to do in exhibition games is run a motion offense without calling any plays. Probably the toughest offense to defend and toughest to do without calling any plays. We didn't do a very good job in the first half getting the ball inside to Jarnell (Stokes) and Jeronne (Maymon). We have to do a better job working at that in practice. I thought in the first half at defense we really just needed to attack the baseline. I think part of that and not making excuses for any of our guys is that our approach as a coaching staff on the charge call with the new rule. If you can't get there in time with the new rule the way it is, it will probably a block. We were there about four or five times where we were hesitate to step up and take that charge. The thing I told our guys in the second half is to play it until the referees make the call. If you can step up and take a charge, take a charge. If the refs call it then they call it. I didn't think was a lot of changed since last year for us the way the game was called. Because we try to teach playing arms length on defense without fouling. I thought they did a good job. One of the things they do is attack the rim consistently, dribble penetration and keep their space. We have to do a better job with our bigs and guarding smaller guys like that. We won't see a lot of smaller guys, 6'5 or 6'6 power centers at this level. I don't think those guys, mainly Jarnell, did a good job with moving their feet and containing."

(On Robert Hubbs III)
"I thought he did a good job. One thing Robert always can depend on is shooting the ball and around the rim he is explosive. The area of the game he can improve on is his mid range, off the dribble making plays that way, finding guys when pressured, attacking off the bounce, move and motion, setting screens and all of those things. That is just a matter of time, process and picking it up. He can shoot the ball. The thing I liked and had to talk to him was I didn't think he was that aggressive then he started playing a lot better basketball as opposed to earlier when he wasn't looking for a shot or being very assertive. I think he is doing it a lot more now being aggressive looking for a shot. We need that from him."

(On Hubbs' first points coming from a dunk)
"I don't want to say that is who he is because he is a great athlete, but he can make great shots from the perimeter. He is a guy that just plays the game. He plays within himself. He understand his role. He knows what he needs to do to be successful. The thing I talked to him a couple weeks ago was just being aggressive offensively and taking what the defense gives you."

(On Darius Thompson's shot)
"I thought it was solid. He has to get better defensively. I think that is the biggest area of concern when it comes to Darius is defending. He has got to really take pride in defending and play with passion. He understand offensively that he can make shots and again when you are not running plays and it is a motion offense your guys have to get open for you on the wing. You have to have space, cuts and you have to read because we don't have a lot of ABCD in motion. It is reads, cuts and movement. It is actions. They run motion so they know the cuts and angles. He has to be aggressive in his cuts and screening. I thought that he did a solid job offensively. He didn't turn the ball over. He just has to do a much better job defensively."

(On missing Antonio Barton especially in the first half)
"I think we missed him more as a point guard offensively. We can make the adjustments defensively. I didn't think we were very aggressive in the first half. I think we were on our heels. I think you are missing from the stand point of having him as a point. You are trying to put Jordan (McRae) in that position where he has only spent maybe 3 or 4 days at it since Antonio (Barton) has been out. When he is programed to do a certain thing and all of a sudden you want him to run the team. It is not an easy thing to do. Hopefully we can get everybody healthy so we can get rolling."

(On Antonio Barton)
"He is more day to day if anything. I think he will be ready for the Xavier game. We will see how it goes on Monday. We are off tomorrow."

(On Barton needing to play in an exhibition game)
"No if he is in the fold then he is in the fold. I would like for him to play in that game if he is healthy enough to play just so he can get a feel for the pace of it but also really running the team. I think he spent three years in split positions and most the time probably played off the ball. So now as a point guard, running the team and knowing the plays because when you are out of practice there are a lot of plays that you should go over. He has to be aware of his plays because once we hit November 12th we will call plays in the game so he has to know his assignments."

(On Barton being ready by November 12th)
"I think so."

(On effect of Jarnell Stokes's improvement and having Jerrone Maymon back)
"I think it was a combination of both because you are talking about two guys who can rebound the basketball. If you are trying to double team one the other is driving to the rim. It is hard to keep either one of those guys off the glass with one guy boxing out it isn't an easy thing to do. They understand each other and have a good feel of playing with each other. They know when a guy is down how to read it. That part is good. I think it helps both guys because it is hard to double team one guy when you have another guy that can rebound the ball."

(On improvements from Jarnell Stokes)
"I think it is the weight loss, and the focus of becoming the best player possible. He is starting to take care of the basketball. One thing that he has always done, when being pressured or double-teamed; he always does a good job of taking care of the basketball. He has improved with his shot, follow through, and touch around the rim."

(On the play of people coming off the bench)
"Well Armani Moore has been out with injury for three or four days, and he just played today. I think he did a good job with playing through the ankle injury. You could tell that he was a step slow. He is usually a guy that is cutting through the lane, but I could see that he was a step slow. One thing about D'Montre Edwards is that he is a team player. He took advantage of the minutes that were presented to him."

(On Quinton Chievous not playing)
"He just needs to keep pushing. He is a good guy, but he needs to just keep pushing."

(On having Jeronne back)
"It was good to have him back. He gives us all of our parts that we need. The only thing we were missing at this point was having Quinton Chievous in the rotation and Antonio Barton. Someone is always going to be injured, and you just have to make adjustments. The biggest adjustment was not having a consistent point guard out there. When you run an offense, everything flows through the point guard, and it isn't easy to make those kinds of adjustments. It was good having Jeronne out there though. With him being out so long, it was good for him to get a game under his belt. I think he will be ready for the next game. It will be good for him."


(On being more mobile)
"It is something that I haven't had in previous years. I feel like I still need to work on a lot more stuff. I need to get in better shape because this team plays fast. It is a different speed than practice."

(On amount of weight lost since last year)
"Last year, I weighed about 270 pounds, and I am now at 258 pounds. The goal was 260, but I feel like I want to lose about three or four more pounds to be able to play at this speed. I need to get into better shape."

(On differences since losing weight)
"I have gotten a lot faster. I watched film from last year, and I feel better. Last year, I played slow. I played standing up. I wasn't in a stance at any point in the game. I was too tired to talk and head screens. I definitely wanted to make sure that I lost that weight so I would be ready to play and lead."

(On confidence after getting the tip off)
"It definitely helped. I probably should have dunked the ball a lot more. I just need to get in better shape."

(On getting the ball inside)
"When I am posting up real high, I expect to get the ball. I can drive it or at least get something out of a play. I didn't mean to get Robert Hubbs when he missed me down low. That is something that he will learn. In the second half, we definitely looked to get the ball down low. It definitely paid off for Jeronne Maymon and me by making our free throws. With Jordan McCrae scoring, that helped out. One thing Jordan did different was he rebounded the ball. He took a couple of mine, but I am glad to see that with us playing at such pace."

(On having Jeronne Maymon back)
"I am just glad he is out there. He is older and plays older. He understands the game. That is the biggest thing that was missing last year at that position. He understands the game so I feel like if I duck in, he will see me on the high-low pass. That is what was missing last year. He also takes up my slack. On defense, he helps with rebounding and getting to that ball. I have to get better at that. He gets the rebounds that I couldn't get."


(On the first game)
"They defiantly played as a faster pace than even a regular team. They got up and own the court a lot. It was different. It was everything I expected and more. It was a great experience to that under your belt, first game."

(on playing time)
"I wasn't sure to be honest. I had no idea how much I was going to play. I was gonna trust Coach [Martin], whatever he felt was best if I need to be in the game or not. If I wasn't gonna be in the game I was just gonna cheer for my team and encourage everybody else but I ended up playing a lot. Whatever Coach wanted."

(on nerves)
"It was just kind of getting used to it. Especially playing in such a big arena. It takes some time to get adjusted to it. Actually I wasn't that nervous."

(on Robert Hubbs III)
"Robert is a great scorer, to be that athletic but to still understand the game, to be able to shoot the ball like that. He takes great shots too. He knows when to take his, where his shots are gonna come from. He's just a smart basketball player, super athletic. It didn't really surprise me, he's a great basketball player, great scorer."

(on first basket)
"I missed my first layup so I was like dang after that one. After you score your first point it feels great. Its just get it out the way, its something off your shoulders. It defiantly felt great to get a bucket in, especially it being a layup. It feels good."

(on different PG dynamics)
"It's the same. Darius just has to get a little more vocal. Antonio as just so much experience. You can tell a difference. Darius does great job, he's just young just like I am. There's things that Jarnell [Stokes] and Jeronne [Maymon] and the other guys talk to me about everyday. They talk to Darius everyday. We're still learning. It just takes time. It's obviously gonna be different when Darius is running the point just because he's new to it. Jordan [McRae] and Antonio [Barton] are just great leaders and thats what helps them at the PG position."


(On things to improve on)
"I need to work on staying in front of my man, bowing out, and just the simple things on the defensive side."

(On getting a dunk for first score)
"It felt good. At first, I was a little nervous. My teammates came over to me to get me involved, talk to me, and encourage me to let the game come to me. I just went on from there."

(On getting the first shot out of the way)
"I was saying to myself that I had to hit the first shot. Once I make that shot, my confidence goes from a little to a lot. I was in my groove. Usually when I get a dunk, it gets my rhythm going fast. I try do it sometimes, but I want to get my teammates involved and let the game come to me."

(On having a good performance)
"It means a lot. I wanted to go out and do the best that I can. I still have a few things on the defensive side that I need to improve at though."

(On improving on defense)
"I knew it was coming from Coach Martin. He talked about it, and we are going to watch film to get it corrected."

(On difference between a game and practice)
"It feels a lot different. You have fans and the lights in this big arena. I think I adjusted to it well."

(On coming off bench instead of starting like in high school)
"It wasn't difficult. That is how I started off my high school career as a freshman. I will do it again. It isn't a big deal. Darius Thompson got his opportunity, and he made the most of it. I did what I had to do."

(On turning over the ball in the first half)
"In the first half, we were trying to force the ball down low. I know for myself, I was trying to get Jarnell and Jeronne involved early. In the second half, we started to move the ball around. That opens up the game for everyone."

(On improving team chemistry)
"I have to work on making better decisions with passing the ball. If they collapse on Jarnell or Jeronne, I have to be ready to spot up shoot."

(On getting Antonio Barton back soon)
"He will help us. He is very explosive. He is a true point guard. He knows what he is doing."


(On first game of the season)
"I wouldn't say how I expected it exactly. I didn't think I would be as nervous as I was coming out there. That's really all that bothered me- a little nervous trying to get used to college games."

"Yes, the first half I really, that's not how I play. The second half, I just got a feel for the game, starting getting comfortable- when I got comfortable, I started playing better."

"Probably, just when we started making a run and I start getting some assists to my teammates. Usually when I start setting people up it helps me out when I play."

(On finding out when he would start)
"I found out two or three days ago."

"Yes I think it was after Thursday's practice."

(On defensive play)
"Yes, defense is what we're working on every day. He said we need to work on a few things to get better at, but it's our first game, that's going to happen."

(On personal defensive play)
"Yes, it's a lot more meaningful here. Coach is more, that's his main emphasis is defense first. Defense is going to set us up on offense, so we have to start working harder on defense."

(On first shot in college career)
"I felt like, everybody told me my first shot was going to be an air ball, so I tried to say, my first shot, I'm trying to get a lay-up. Whatever I can do, I'm going to get a lay-up. It just happened to be that way. I got that first lay-up."

(On first college game)
"It's hard to describe. It's something you just have a feeling. You look around, it's so different from what you're used to. It's hard to explain."

(On going into the rest of the season)
"Whatever we do in practice, just get in the game. Be more focused."


(On young guys)

I think they played really well. They played with lots of enthusiasm. [Robert] Hubbs played especially well. He was getting his shots up. AJ [Davis] was very active on both en of the court. Darius [Thompson] was really a floor leader. He was nice and calm. Darius [Thompson] is always calm. You can't shake him.

(On surprise from other players)

"It's pretty cut and dry with these guys. Your gonna get what your gonna get.

(On nerves)

"I was very nervous. My hand swede cold. I wen out there and missed a couple wide open layups like a said I probably would. I get nervous every game. Hopefully when the season gets rolling i'll find my footing"

(On last time with cold hands)
"Probably our first game under Coach Martin."

((On officiating and rule changes)

" I couldn't really tell from one game. Maybe as we get three of four game you'll probably start seeing a little difference. I was very effective the year before last on taking charges, but it's a little different now so I have to be careful."

(on Jarnell since last game with him)

"You can tell he's way more focused. You can also tell he's way more selective on his shots. He's making a higher percentage on his shots. Thats really gonna benefit us and him in the long run."

(On word from other before the game)

"I really didn't look at my phone just for that simple fact. I didn't want to think too much of it. Just wanted to go out and get a game under my belt. "

(On getting jitters out)

"It's still a process. Im still trying to find my way. Its been a long time since I've been out there. Thats just one game so I gotta make sure I take the next game like I did this one."

(On biggest change on game)

"Probably just more patience, and my free throws. I spent a long time in the gym practicing free throws. Just my shooting stroke in general, you'll see that as the season goes along."



(On playing against Coach Martin)
"Yeah ever since he got the job here in Knoxville, I bug him every time I see him. When they called this year, we were excited and wanted to come up here to play. It's great for us in recruiting. The schools we've played in the last six years since I've been there; we've been to Butler, Maryland, Purdue, Illinois, Miami... we've really had the opportunity to go play and it really helps in our recruiting. I'm glad he did it and I thank him. The one thing about the way we play is a lot of teams try to think what can we do to win, where we didn't worry about winning. We weren't going to win, but what can we do to make ourselves better. We're going to play the way we played, that's getting up, picking up full court and running our offense. You know it's probably not a great style for us to ever try winning these games, but I think teams like to play us because we play. We don't sit in the 2-3 zone or a "gimme" defense trying to run the shot clock down thirty-five second every time because they're not going to see that in SEC play. They won't see that when they start the season playing good teams, so I think it's always a benefit to play us because of that."

(On playing back-to-back)
"When we got the call, we right away went to the SEC schedule. They called and gave us the two dates. We play on the ninth in Cleveland, Mississippi, and the other date was the seventh which one came to play; I said well we can play the second. When we went and looked at the SEC schedule for football, we knew that Georgia-Florida was 3:30. When they started playing, we were kind of hoping when they got to the tough part of their schedule they could lose a few here then they'd be the 12:21 game with Tennessee because Manziel and Arkansas were playing the night games. Maybe they'll play at 12:21 so we won't have to play until four or five and maybe even six o'clock at night. Actually it's probably going to turn out a lot better because we're going to get back earlier and I give our guys a lot of credit for the bus trip. We played Florida last night, come up and play the way we did; you know I thought we played well the first twenty-six minutes."

(On player play)
"We didn't extend a lot of guy's minutes. I've got to see who can play, and we played eleven guys last night where everybody played at least sixteen minutes. Today we played all eleven where every guy got at least I think twelve minutes. I think just the physical strength going against Florida and Tennessee today in the size war wore us down more than the bus trip."

(On comparing Florida/Tennessee)
"I think Tennessee right now is a lot deeper than what Florida was, you know Florida has a few guys out. I think Tennessee is longer and more athletic; the difference between Florida and Tennessee is young inside where Tennessee's got two veterans. The way the new rules are this year, it'll be interesting to see how you keep Tennessee off the offensive glass. You're not allowed to shove or push guys on rebounds; how are you going to keep their two guys off the glass? It's going to be real interesting. I think it would be real interest because Tennessee didn't have their point guard and Florida's freshmen point guard is really good. It doesn't help that we tried to press him, he just went right by us, but he's really good."

(On expect more Maymon/Stokes together on floor)
"Yeah I thought they'd want to play them together some and get them away from each other some because we played a lot of small, we're a smaller team. They'll play together when they play teams with two bigs inside I'm sure."

(On double teams)
"I think so because they're both so physically strong, it's hard to double team them. I thought we won decent a couple times on them but they still got in and what they can do is finish at the basket. We fouled them a few times, and I don't think it bothered them. They went in and laid it in, and I thought we hit them pretty hard a couple times."

(On seeing Tennessee as contender)
"I think so with their depth and everything, I think so. I believe that is one of the biggest keys, being depth. They have scoring on the perimeter, they got the two guys on the inside that can score, I thought (Robert) Hubbs came in and played well. If they can get another guy to make shots, they're going to be really good."

(On Tennessee potential)
"I think that's a question you always ask at the end; injuries, who's healthy, and things like that but I think talent wise once you hit the tournament anything can happen. They could be a tough matchup with what they have."





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