Postgame Quotes: Vols 86, The Citadel 55

Dec. 29, 2011

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Tennessee Head Coach Cuonzo Martin

Opening Statement:
"It was a good team win tonight. I thought the guys did a good job, probably the best game I've seen our guys play all season on both ends of the floor for two halves. I thought the effort was there. I thought the energy was there. I thought the enthusiasm from the bench was there. It was a really good effort. Thirty-two points averaged in the last three games by our bench. I think they had 50 tonight, which is a major step, especially when you shoot at a good clip, a good percentage.

"I thought Yemi (Makanjuola) had a great game. I mean, outside the points, he did a good job rebounding the basketball. He's really focused in practice on rebounding with two hands, being aggressive. I thought he did that. He's really improved his body balance and has spent a lot of time with the strength coach. And you can see that. I thought he did a great job with that.

"The key for us was Trae (Golden) getting off to a good start. When Trae's aggressive and assertive and taking the ball off the bounce, I think we're a good team. He makes us go in that sense when he's aggressive and assertive. He played well on both ends of the floor.

We shot the ball well as a team. Once again, a really good team effort."

On if Makanjuola's 18-point performance was surprising:
"I'm not surprised. I knew eventually it would come at some point, maybe next year. He puts the work into practice. Seeing the past couple weeks, he's really asserted himself. He's a defender and rebounder first, but he's really improved his offense. He knows he's strengths and his weaknesses. Even that shot he shot at the elbow, that's a shot he can make in practice. We weren't surprised as a staff because he can really make shots and he's a good free throw shooter, so it's not necessarily a surprise."

On teammates' support of Makanjuola from the bench:
"I just think you're happy for a guy who puts the work in and doesn't complain and puts his head down and works every day and doesn't make excuses. He cares about his teammates and he's a total team player. I think that's why they're happy, more than anything."

On Makanjuola getting offensive rebounds and putbacks:
"That's his thing. He rebounds the basketball. I think the thing that's most impressive about him at this point is his body balance and being able to control and get those rebounds and keep the ball high."

On if winning in their most dominating fashion this season will help moving into 2012:
"You see it in practice. The one things the guys have done, whether you have four straight losses, the guys have come back to work in practice and put forth an effort. Those guys are really making progress, just focusing on getting better every day, not necessarily looking at the wins and losses but trying to get better every day."

Freshman Center Yemi Makanjuola
(Opening thoughts on his big performance in the second half):
"I just want to thank my teammates for feeding me and keeping me going."

(On if he is getting more comfortable with the game):
"I watched some of my high school tape and I feel like I wasn't playing as hard and I feel like I'm executing better now."

(On wanting the ball in the second half):
"I'm normally not as effective on offense posting up, I normally just try to get in position to get rebounds and make plays off of missed shots and mistakes."

(On his rebounding leading to points):
"That's something I've been working on and something my coaches have been helping me a lot with."

Junior Guard Skylar McBee
(On Yemi Makanjuola scoring off offensive rebounds):
"Can those count as assists? Yemi is such a big body and he gets in there and battles. In practice it's so hard to push him out and he does and really good job of playing really physical."

(On how valuable it was to have a wide margin of victory):
"It was nice to get a big win, and hopefully we keep doing that. The schedule only gets togher from here, so we're just going to try and get better every day. Hopefully, the wins will take care of themselves.

(On his role as a scorer in the first half off the bench):
"Whatever I have to do to come in and help our team, and give us the best chance to win, that's what I'm going to do. Some nights, that may be taking more shots, and some nights it may be just playing good defense. Whatever that role is, I'm going to come in and do it to the best of my abilities and put us in the best position to win."

Senior forward Renaldo Woolridge

On tonight's win
This was definitely a confidence boost. We have been working hard, got the third game at home in the winning streak, and it feels good. We just have to keep building from here and keep getting better.

On his role on the team
I want to continue to help on the inside and on the wing. I feel more confident in my scoring. I just need to do what coach wants me to do that is be more aggressive in rebounding and help be a spark plug off the bench.

On freshman forward Yemi Makanjuola's performance
Yemi has been getting after it in practice so I know he is capable of going out there and doing that. I am proud of him.

Sophomore guard Trae Golden

On freshman forward Yemi Makanjuola's performance
I have never seen anything like that before. Yemi played great and to have a double-double in 13 minutes is amazing. It was a great game for him. You can see his work in practice carrying over into the games.

On tonight's game
We need to play well regardless of the outcome on defense and offense. We need to execute, and we did that tonight. The outcome was good for us. We just need keep improving and get on top of our game.

On his 10 point, 5 assist effort tonight
Coach Martin wants me to keep attacking so I was taking the ball to the goal. I just try to push the ball and get the ball to open guys. My role is to get everybody else the ball.


(On Tennessee's hot shooting)
"Yeah, they shot the ball extremely well. We tried to mix it up on them - a little man, a little zone, a little trapping. But they handled it really well and they got going."

(On Tennessee's Yemi Makanjuola)
"The guy coming off the bench killed us; we did not expect that. We knew he was strong and big and could score around the rim, but we were hoping to keep him out of the paint. He did a heck of a job and it really hurt us."

(On Mike Groselle's play)
"He's played well every game. He's a tough kid, he works hard, he's not the most athletic or gifted, but he really makes up for it with effort. We do the best job we can to get him the ball as much as we can. And he made some good decisions tonight when he couldn't score, so I was proud of him about that."





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