Oct. 25, 2011
BY DREW RUTHERFORD
With head coach Cuonzo Martin beginning his first season at Tennessee, it's safe to say there have been plenty of changes around the Vols' basketball program. New coaches mean a new style of play, new personalities and new philosophies.
But there is a constant.
Since arriving on campus as a freshman in 2007, Cameron Tatum has seen the ups and downs of Tennessee basketball. He's been to four NCAA Tournaments, three Sweet Sixteens and an Elite Eight.
And when UT's new coaching staff arrived in Knoxville last April, the Georgia native was one of the first to stand out.
"I think anytime you've been around for a long time, it means you've seen the good, the bad and the ugly," assistant coach Tracy Webster said. "Having all those experiences means that not much can surprise you — on the basketball court, in the classroom or just life in general."
Webster hopes Tatum can help Tennessee's eight newcomers transition to a new college, a new city and a new team.
"Cam can help these younger guys a lot," Webster said. "He can help them weather the storms that will come and give them direction. We need him to lead in a positive direction and a positive way. If he does that, we'll be fine."
Tatum's teammates agree.
"Cam is definitely a leader," junior forward Kenny Hall said. "He's been consistent, and he's got more experience than the rest of us."
Tatum accepts his role as a leader, and he knows it's not always about talking.
"A leader is not just appointed, it's something you have to earn," Tatum said. "To be a good leader, you have to be a good follower. You have to listen to the people you're leading and hear what they have to say. The best leader is a good listener, and that's what I'm trying to be."