Oct. 30, 2012
HOOPS REPORT: Four Practices Remain for Fine-Tuning
Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin identified a few areas in need of improvement after evaluating the film from Sunday's "silent scrimmage" against Georgia Tech in Chattanooga.
Tuesday's two-hour practice in Pratt Pavilion focused on fine-tuning some of those flaws before the Volunteers host Memphis-based Victory University in exhibition play Monday at Thompson-Boling Arena at 7 p.m. ET. Only four more practices remain before tipoff with the Eagles.
"I was happy with the effort our guys showed (in Sunday's scrimmage)," Martin said. "But after watching the film there were a couple of things that I noticed where we can do a better job. Spacing on the offensive end is one area. We need good spacing in order for the offense to work as it's supposed to.
"Another key for us is ensuring that Jarnell (Stokes) is getting a lot of touches down low. He needs to be aggressive and demand the ball. And our perimeter guys need to understand that post feeds are a big asset for us offensively."
Stokes, who was named to the media's preseason All-SEC first team, averaged 9.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game as a freshman last season. And a gold-medal-winning stint with the USA Basketball U18 National Team at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship this past summer aided the Memphis native's development.
With returning All-SEC senior forward Jeronne Maymon currently sidelined with a knee injury, Stokes is expected to shoulder the load in UT's frontcourt offensively.
Tuesday's practice also saw Martin and the Vols spend a significant amount of time on the program's defensive principles.
STRIVING FOR PERFECTION
Recent Tennessee basketball practices have included a drill named simply "perfection."
For six and a half minutes, the Vols sprint up and down the court, working full-speed on fundamental actions. Player must achieve perfection for the duration of the drill.
Every rebound must be grabbed with two hands; players must leap off the correct foot when doing layups from the right and left side of the hoop; players must call out their teammates name before receiving a pass, etc.
It may sound simple, but as fatigue sets in, the urge to grab a rebound with one hand grows stronger. Footwork flaws become more likely to occur.
It takes mental toughness and intense focus to achieve the level of perfection at which championship-caliber teams operate.
"It's all about attention to detail," sophomore guard Brandon Lopez said. "I think we do that drill because when there are five or six minutes left in a game, that's when teams really need to buckle down. It's important to talk to each other out on the court. You have to secure every rebound with two hands. If you go up and try to grab a rebound with one hand, someone might rip through and steal it from you. And that rebound might be the difference between winning and losing."
Workers spent almost a full day Monday installing the newly refinished basketball playing floor at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Arena manager Tim Reese, who has been responsible for the daily oversight of Thompson-Boling Arena since its opening in the fall of 1987, shared some noteworthy numbers related to "The Summitt."
16 - The crew that is brought in for installation of the basketball court includes 16 people working in four groups of four.
90-120 - That's how many minutes it typically takes the aforementioned work crew to put the court in place fully assembled.
225 - A total of 225 rectangular wooden panels fit together to form the court. The panels are assembled in 15 rows of 15 pieces.
200+ - Each of the 225 panels that make up the court weighs more than 200 pounds.
6 - The current Thompson-Boling Arena basketball court is entering its sixth season.
25 - The court is taken up and put back down approximately 25 times each basketball season, as the arena is booked for various events such as winter graduation ceremonies, concerts, volleyball matches, etc.
MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
Tuesday marked one of the Tennessee basketball team's favorite days of the year, as UT's award-winning athletic broadcasting crew shot the team's pre-game intro videos.
True to form, this year's video shoot had the feel of a major motion-picture set. The shoot featured three stations - two for video and one for still photography. Other elements included a pair of pyrotechnic experts, a fire safety representative from the local fire department, a highly-specialized "Red Epic" camera rig valued at approximately $100,000, a classic Bolex film camera and a pair of HDSLR cameras.
Red Epic cameras have been used by major motion-picture studios to shoot feature films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Spiderman and The Social Network. The camera shoots raw, uncompressed video at a resolution that is higher than HD. It also has the capability of using variable frame rates to shoot in super slow motion.
Approximately 500-700 GB of video/photo content was captured during Tuesday's shoot.
"I love seeing how it all comes together," junior guard Jordan McRae said after taking part in his third pregame intro shoot as a Vol. "Today we shot all these different things, and there was a lot going on. It's amazing to me how all of that gets clipped up and ends up flowing together. In the end, it always ends up looking incredible."
For junior-college transfer D'Montre Edwards, it was a new experience.
"It was a lot of fun," Edwards said. "I had never done something like that before. Getting the chance to experience something like that shows how much goes into it. It's an entirely different level.
"I can't even picture what the final product will look like, but I know it will turn out nice and I think our fans will really like it."