• Thoughts on Hoops: What I think I think I know

    I think I think I know:

    1. That Cuonzo Martin has an opportunity to win and win big in Knoxville. In a period of weeks he has -- literally -- transformed the basketball team into his own image. Gone are the early season contests that involved making enough threes to hang around in a ball game. Since the Charleston loss, the Vols are giving up a respectable 61 ppg and playing a defensive style not seen since the O'Neill years.

    2. That Bruce Pearl didn't leave the cupboard completely bare. Trae Golden and Jeronne Maymon have played some excellent if not sometimes inconsistent ball this year. This is what their alleged 4-star rankings were about, and Cuonzo Martin has developed these young men into the soul of the team.

    3. That when we make the list of Vol greats -- King, Grunfeld, Ellis, Houston, and Lofton -- the name Stokes will feature prominently in the conversation. Not since a young Allan Houston has a freshman Vol been so far and away the best player on the court it didn't require thoughtful consideration. To be so big and also, dare I say it, nimble, is a rare combination for someone built like my grandmother's old Oldsmobile Cutlass. He doesn't possess the swagger of a Chism or Slay, the gracefulness of an Ellis, or the quickness of a King... but he is the sort of player you can build an SEC championship around.

    4. That we all need to face the fact that Skylar McBee is an important role player on this team. I know I know. He couldn't guard your brother in a church league basketball game. But he's going to get his minutes, take his shots, and occasionally make a steal or tip a pass that results in a score. The quicker we stop worrying about Skylar the better we will all be for it.

    5. That Josh Richardson is the JaJuan Smith/Brandon Wharton this team really needs. He's not as good a shooter as those other two -- frankly his shot is downright awkward looking. But he always seems to be doing something when he is in the game... the types of things that endear fans and drive opposing coaches batty. And he's a freshman.

    6. That we should never give up on Kenny Hall. Hall has, for lack of a better term, some type of basketball bi-polarity. Some days he's Shaq and other days not so much. It isn't for lack of trying. Hall has genuinely improved as a basketball player; he has basketball moves now, good ones, I might add. And he can be asset on this team on those days when it seems to really click. We need more of those days.

    7. That Yemi Makanjuola can, with proper seasoning, be a good basketball player. Lost in the Stokes euphoria is that Yemi was developing into a fine off-the-bench player who showed both offensive and defensive prowess at times. It's too early to crown him the future, but there is something there, and I hope we're fortunate enough to see it all.

    8. That this team could really make a run in the SEC tournament. I believe our best basketball is ahead of us.

    9. That days like today -- a packed house and an upset victory -- may portend things to come. I don't expect most Tennessee fans were reared in following Vol hoops. I get that. But the possibilities are really endless for this program, even when 9 months ago it seemed like all was lost. We are much closer today to another Ray Mears era, thanother Wade Houston era. Let's hope we capitalize on this momentum.
    This article was originally published in blog: Thoughts on Hoops: What I think I think I know started by volfanjo