VOL BASKETBALL REPORT: Business Trip

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - by special report to chattanoogan.com

KNOXVILLE -- The Tennessee basketball team (1-0) departs early Tuesday morning for Bayamón, Puerto Rico, where they are among eight teams competing in the 2012 Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

The Volunteers face UNC Asheville (1-1) Thursday on the tournament’s first day of competition. Tennessee tips off against the Bulldogs at 12:30 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

The winner of that game faces the winner of Thursday’s Akron-Oklahoma State matchup on Friday. All eight teams are off Saturday before playing a third and final game on Sunday. All tournament games are contested at Coliseo Ruben Rodriquez, and the four teams on the opposite side of the bracket from UT are UMass, NC State, Penn State and Providence.

In the one-year period spanning from Nov. 19, 2011, to Nov. 19, 2012, the Vols will have spent 10 days in Italy and close to a week in both Maui and Puerto Rico.

To view the 2012 Puerto Rico Tip-Off bracket, click HERE.

Cuonzo Martin media comments - http://youtu.be/nz0vLQDoKRI

Josh Richardson media comments - http://youtu.be/D6H7snejdK8

Jarnell Stokes media comments - http://youtu.be/GQ-rxuITi_s

THIRD TIME A CHARM?

Tennessee has competed in two previous early-season tournaments in Puerto Rico but each time failed to return to Rocky Top with a championship.

The Vols went 2-1 at the 1999 Puerto Rico Holiday Classic, defeating American-Puerto Rico and Southern Illinois before falling to Tulsa in the title game. Prior to that, the Big Orange posted a 1-2 record at the 1991 San Juan Shootout, with a win over American-Puerto Rico followed by losses to TCU and Miami (Fla).

When Tennessee faced Southern Illinois in 1999 in Bayamón, the Salukis were led by a savvy freshman guard named Kent Williams. Now in his second year as an assistant coach on Cuonzo Martin’s Tennessee staff, Williams led SIU that day with 15 points on 5-of-17 shooting. He also grabbed six rebounds and had a pair of assists, but UT prevailed 87-74.

PUERTO RICO CONNECTIONS

Williams isn’t the only member of the Tennessee program with noteworthy connections to Puerto Rico.

During his tenure as head coach at Appalachian State, UT director of basketball operations Houston Fancher guided the Mountaineers to the 2006 San Juan Shootout title, posting consecutive wins over Virginia, UCF and Vanderbilt.

Tennessee freshman Derek Reese suited up for the Puerto Rican team at this past summer’s Nike Global Challenge in Washington, D.C. The 6-8 guard from Orlando, Fla., started all four games at the event and averaged 21.0 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals (all team-highs) for the Puerto Rican squad. Reese was eligible for the team because his grandparents, Anselmo and Irma Montanez, were born in Puerto Rico.

Prior to competing at the Nike Global Challenge in July, Reese spent a week training with his team in Puerto Rico. Though he’s returning with his Tennessee teammates this week, he will be inactive on the court, as he is rehabbing from shoulder surgery in August.

Lastly, sophomore guard Brandon Lopez is eagerly anticipating his first trip to Puerto Rico because his father, Hector Lopez, was born there. Lopez’s father now resides in Florida.

EMPHASIS OF THE DAY

Monday’s “Emphasis of the Day” – daily midcourt talking points spearheaded by Martin prior to each practice – centered on the role of a leader.

What a tremendous opportunity and responsibility it is to coach and lead. A leader’s ultimate role is to serve. A leader is a servant.

ABOUT UNC ASHEVILLE

After winning back-to-back Big South championships, UNC Asheville graduated six seniors and returns just one starter from last year’s 24-10 (16-2 Big South) team.

The Bulldogs, led by longtime head coach Eddie Biedenbach, ranked fifth in the nation in scoring last season with 80.7 ppg.

Swingman Jeremy Atkinson is the Bulldogs’ top returning scorer and rebounder (11.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg). Junior 6-10 center D.J. Cunningham and 7-0 sophomore Jaleel Roberts give Asheville two imposing low-post players. Cunningham sat out last season with a knee injury but is now a starter. He has nine blocks through UNCA’s first two games.

Tennessee is 24-4 all-time against current members of the Big South Conference.

MARTIN KICKS OFF SALVATION ARMY’S RED KETTLE CAMPAIGN

Red Kettle Campaign Kickoff Photo Gallery

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin took time out of his Puerto Rico Tip-Off preparations Monday afternoon to help local Salvation Army representatives kick off their annual Red Kettle Campaign.

Martin spoke about the importance of The Salvation Army’s programs and services, which provide assistance to more than 30,000 people in six East Tennessee counties. Martin urged the community to consider donating to the Red Kettles or volunteering their time to serve as bell-ringers and man kettles at area businesses.

The Salvation Army has served the Knoxville area since 1899, and the Knoxville Area Command’s 2012 Red Kettle Goal is $600,000 – 15 percent of the command’s total operating budget.

For the most up-to-date information about the Tennessee basketball program, visit UTsports.com/basketball and follow @Vol_Hoops on Twitter.

(E-mail Stan Crawley at wscrawley@earthlink.net)


Dixie Youth Baseball: Signal Mountain Wins 9-10s Title

Pitcher Forrest Sveadas struck out two and tossed a four-hitter as Signal Mountain American defeated Signal Mountain National, 8-4, to win the Dixie Youth Baseball District 6 championship for 9-10s (AA) Tuesday at Senter Field on Lookout Mountain. Offensively, Sveadas, Jackson Phillips and Sam Eldridge each had a single and scored a run, while Trey Speek and Carter Giles each ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: It's A Wonder We Survived

It's been 51 years since I played my first snap of organized football. I was 13 years old and entering the eighth grade at Madison Junior High School. We had more than 50 boys on the roster for our seventh and eighth grade team, and just one coach. I always held Coach Jimmy Graves in high regard because he very seldom had anyone to help him with drills or any other part of the game, ... (click for more)

Boyd Asks Coppinger For Public Apology; Does Not Get One

County Commissioner Tim Boyd on Wednesday morning read a letter in which he asked County Mayor Jim Coppinger for a public apology. However, he did not get one. Instead, County Mayor Coppinger called remarks last Wednesday by Commissioner Boyd that the county mayor had $4.4 million in discretionary funds "ridiculous." He said that money includes such items as the Humane Educational ... (click for more)

New Family Justice Center Opens Near Eastgate

The fourth Family Justice Center in Tennessee opened on Wednesday in Chattanooga to much fanfare from community members and advocacy groups with comments from Executive Director Valerie Radu, Mayor Andy Berke and City Council Chair Carol Berz among others.       Ms. Berz, who has been an advocate for the establishment of such a facility to unite ... (click for more)

Police Need To Stop The Road Cowboys - And Response

Where is our highway patrol?  If they were known to regularly patrol our interstate highways through our city I don't think it would take long before the "truckers" were aware of it.  There are places in our country where this is the case.   When I have traveled Interstates 24 and 75 I may see the occasional car pulled over but rarely if ever is it an 18-wheeler. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden This July

As the month of July dawns this morning, a walk through my garden shows some flowers blooming, my marigolds dying, and the grass is greener than I thought it would be. But as I look for what’s good and what’s bad, let’s remember that some firecrackers pop while others fizzle. Here we go… A BANG to career criminal Whitely Bulger, the 85-year-old master criminal who in a recent ... (click for more)