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Postgame Quotes: Vols 76, Kennesaw 67

Nov. 9, 2012

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Tennessee Head Coach Cuonzo Martin
(Opening remarks)
"I thought it was a great crowd tonight. I want to thank our fans and thought they had good energy and it was good early in the game and we gave them something to cheer about in the second half. We defended well. Their best player, number 6, is a very talented guy. A big guy, bigger I thought in person and a physical player.

"I thought early in the game they would have been more aggressive by a physical standpoint. Nothing illegal, just physical. Eventually our guys accepted the challenge late into the first half and into the second half. I thought Jarnell did a really good job. I am going to have to go back and watch film to see if we could have gotten him the ball in other areas but I thought he did a good job in the post of sitting and getting in position, passing on the double team. I thought he played well and kept his hands on a lot of offensive rebounds keeping that ball alive. He did a good job with that.

"Jordan came off the bench and scored the ball well for us. He was aggressive scoring late in the first half. We had a balanced scoring attack and guys did a good job of distributing the ball. In those tight games and you gain a big lead, you can slip and lose focus and they made a run. They had some quick guards. It doesn't matter a team's record from the past, it is a new team, a new season and they wanted to come here and play well and I thought they did a good job of playing well and playing physical."

(On boxing out)
"I think it is tough when you have games like that. The poor job of boxing out is our guys not putting bodies on guys but also us not spending a lot of time on it in practice. It gets physical and you can get key guys injured on box out drills so we try and talk about it as opposed to doing it. Part of that is my fault."

(On Kennesaw State late in the second half)
"They were subbing guys in and out. We were telling our guys it is not fun time, it is win the ball game. It is not to say that guys came in relaxed but it is tough when you have games like that, that team is steady pushing. They made plays and never gave up so give those guys credit."

(On the smaller look Kennesaw gave)
"You have to. I am not sure what time they made a decent run. We were subbing guys in and out and had different lineups. It is tough to call plays late in the second half when we had four guards out there. Josh and D'Montre were in positions that they hadn't been in, in practice. It is tough on a lot of the players and we got a little stagnant there and really tried to pound the ball inside to Jarnell. They were setting a double team, but I thought he did a good job when he got the ball of making decisions with it."

(On Jarnell Stokes)
"I think so. He is one of the guys that does a really good job of making passes and making decisions with the ball. But also dribbling out of the double teams as well. He is a big, physical guy. It is tough for one guy to contain him the whole night because he is making moves and laying his body on guys but he is also dribbling out."

(On Jarnell Stokes' patience)
"I would like to take the credit for him being patient but he does that on his own. He does a good job of slowing down and making the right decisions. In most cases with the double team you have to feel it. Sometimes it is being aggressive and getting out of there, sometimes you probe the defense and finding your shooters. It is really a feel thing more than anything."

(On Kenny Hall)
"I thought he did a solid job, especially in the second half of boxing out, especially a couple of those free-throw box outs. His game was solid. He is a guy that is a strong guy in the post but making moves as well."

(On Armani Moore)
"I thought he did a good job on the offensive side of the ball. He might be a step slow in some areas, but those were quick guards that were making him move off of the dribble. But he is 6-4, 6-5 and that is not an easy thing to do in moving off those screens and I thought he did a good job."

(On getting the ball more to Stokes)
"It wasn't bad. When Jarnell gets the ball, he is tough to guard. I'll have to watch film and see how many times we missed him, but when you get the ball down low to him inside, good things happen because he makes good decisions."

Tennessee Senior Forward Kenny Hall

(On the Kennesaw trying to take the lead)
"We can't really make excuses, it is really all about us. We have to finish the game a lot better than that. There are going to better teams out there and that will get us into a lot of trouble."

(On learning from tonight's game)
"I need to step up and be more of a vocal leader on the court especially towards the end of the game when they start making runs. I have to bring us together, settle everybody down, get us calm and let them know we have to finish the game a lot stronger."

(On coming back from last year)
"I wasn't nervous. This is my fourth year going into it so this is something I have been experiencing."

(On working on being consistent with the ball)
"It is putting in work and always at the gym that comes with the territory of being a basketball player."

(On playing hard through-out a blow out game)
"The toughest part is keeping the mentality. Thirty points is a lot but in the game of basketball with twelve miuntes left in the game it really is not that important. With a lot of teams they can come back and win. We just have to be focused on finishing the game."

(On staying focused as a team)
"We got off to a good start. We just have to finish better."

Tennessee senior guard Skylar McBee

(On maintaining the lead)
"We have to execute down the stretch. It is hard even you have the lead like that, not to take some plays off and things like that but we can't do that. Coach Martin talks to us about how you have to team down and keep on going. We just have to do a better job of that."

(On feeling the momentum change)
"I think that it is easy for a team that is down like that to not hit a couple shots and keep on rolling because they don't have anything to lose. It is sometimes hard to guard to teams like that. I think we went nine minutes with them scoring three points in the second half. We just need to keep that intensity up for that rest of the half. If we do that we can keep that lead and beat them pretty bad."

(On working better when playing teams you expect to beat)
"It is part of the game. It happens to people. It has happened to me more than once in my years of play. You just have to get out there and play as hard as you can play and try to cut down on the middle mistakes. If we do that we will be fine."

(On importance of getting the first win of the regular season)
"I think you also have to look at the times during the year when we are going to be up and teams start clawing back and we have to keep that not just in a blow out but in a close game. I think that shows us that if team starts making a run on us we can stop that and still get the win. I think that is a big confidence booster for us because that is what happend during last season. I think we did a good job on that."

(On the team playing up tempo)
"We are going to play up tempo and try to push the ball as much as possible. We play from the inside out. We have two post presence in there that require double team everytime. We are going to do the best we can to play from the inside out and when we do that the guards are going to get good looks and open shots."

(On Kenny Hall)
"I look for good things from Kenny this year. I think he is doing a great job for us. He talks a lot for us on defense and has done a great job rebounding and on offsense. I look for him to get better and better as the year goes on."

Tennessee Junior Guard Jordan McRae

(On being disappointed with mental lapses that took place in the game)
"It was, but like Coach Martin told us in the locker room, we had some mental lapses. I took a bad shot at the end and we had some other guys take some, so we just have to stay focused throughout the game."

(On being up big and slowly letting Kennesaw State back into the game)
"When we have leads like that it is really hard to stay mentally focused, and I think we did a poor job of that towards the end. We just lost focus."

(On playing with a guy like Jarnell Stokes)
"It is easy to play with someone like Jarnell. Jarnell is one of the most unselfish big men on our team with him and Kenny Hall. Playing with someone like him is easy because he will find you when you are open."

(On Coach Martin being calm after the game despite giving up the huge lead)
"He was, but at the same time he just let us know games like that cannot happen because that is how you get beat; having a nice lead and getting comfortable."

(On playing in physical games)
"There isn't anything wrong with that. We are going to defend ourselves but that is the referees job to make sure it doesn't go any further than that. It is just part of the game."

(On getting ready for Puerto Rico)
"We are ready for it. We have a lot to do these next couple of days. We got out rebounded and just like I said, we just have to stay focused throughout a whole game."

Tennessee Sophomore Forward Jarnell Stokes

(On being comfortable in second year)
"Yeah, I feel a lot more comfortable. The game is slowing down for me going through offseason and practice, and playing competitive with guys. I think this is one of the first times seeing double team at the college level, so I think I did the right thing. I lost some mental focus towards the end as far as seeing double-teams, and that's how I got those two turnovers. The first half I really did well with the double-team."

(On plays with Kenny Hall)
"Yeah we work on that in practice, using each other to run. I think Kenny did a really good job, a lot of people would be surprise at how much better he's gotten from last year."

(On scoring off dribble)
"I try and stay away from it. It's something that I had in high school and I kind of got away from it. I stay away from it, but when it's there I'll drive guys. Think I'll stick to bullying guys in the post because that's my strength."

(On scoring against opponent)
"Yeah, I felt like I could score anytime I got the ball. Double-teams is something I need to work on this year, and it's a good test for me. I just have to trust in my teammates to make plays, and they did."

(On on-court decision making)
"It's a big difference because just knowing the guy is coming, you really can't be too passive. You still have to impose your will and score so they keep double-teaming you. When you don't know somebody is coming, I feel it is easier to score."

(On missing Jeronne)
"I mean, I definitely miss Jeronne. As far as defense, I feel like we gave up a lot of boards that Jeronne would've gotten. I think we still have a lot of learning to do."

(On overall offense)
"We've had time to work with each other. I think this is a real passive team, just loving and trusting each other. I don't think anyone on this team is selfish. A lot of double-teams came my way and I feel like I could've made some better passes. I could've had better mental focus towards the end of the game as far as finishing up with the double-teams. That's just something I have to work on."

(On Martin postgame)
"He said it's a good win. A win is a win, but we shouldn't be happy with it because of the way we finished. It just gives us something to work on in practice. Offensive and defensive rebounding is something we should address."

(On take-aways from this game going forward)
"Personally I think double-teams and just keep playing hard. I feel like even though I didn't get big numbers, I was the most impactful player on the court. The numbers don't show that but going into the next game just play hard and finish the game next time."

Kennesaw Coach Lewis Preston

(On the experience of playing at Tennessee)

"I think the most positive thing I take from tonight is that we were plus three on the boards against these guys. I keep trying to tell our guys, it isn't about size it is about the heart and the fight that you have in you. We are going to continue to work hard and we are going to continue to fight each and every game."

(On preparing to play Tennessee)

"We went back and looked at a lot of film on them last year, you go back to Middle Tennessee State when they beat them in the second round of the NIT. They kind of did the exact same thing in regards to passing and then kind of coming of off that down screen, coming off and attacking and getting into the paint. We have a lot of work to do. I was proud of all of our guys who got in tonight, especially a lot of our young guys, four of our freshmen got out there on the floor tonight and played some significant minutes. I have to make sure that i treat this as a marathon and not a sprint. Make sure that we get their bodies right for our game against South Carolina State Monday night."

(On Jarnell Stokes)

"That is the first time i had seen Jarnell Stokes up close and personal. From my days at Florida, i totally 100% agree with what Billy Donovan said about having a chance to coach him this summer. I don't think there are many people who can stop him once he gets two feet in the paint. He is much more agile than a lot of people give him credit for. I think he does a very good job, he has gotten better at passing out of the post. I thought he and Kenny Hall played very well together. The way Kenny was diving off of the double team."

 

 

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