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)


GPS Head Of School Dr. Graves Profiled In #SheBelieves Campaign

GPS Head of School Dr. Autumn Graves is officially a part of the U.S Women's National Team's #SheBelieves campaign. Before the World Cup soccer champions defeated Costa Rica in front of a record crowd of 20,535 at Finley Stadium on Wednesday, Aug. 19, Dr. Graves met with USWNT midfielder Heather O'Reilly and hosted a photographer and director of communications from the U.S. Soccer ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: The Ball Is In Your Court

To the Hamilton County Board of Education: The ball is now in your court. You know which ball I'm talking about. The proverbial football that has been kicked and bounced all over East Ridge. It's finally been placed in your court because the stadium where the Pioneers have played their home football games for the last 50 years has been condemned. Other than a few coats of orange ... (click for more)

Hutcheson Medical Center Seeking Court Approval To Sell Trenton Family Practice For $350,000

Hutcheson Medical Center, continuing to make cost-cutting measures, is seeking court approval to sell the Trenton Family Practice at Trenton, Ga., for $350,000. Ted Rumley, county executive for Dade County, said the medical center is so important for the county that officials have arranged for the Dade County Industrial Development Authority to buy it. He said arrangements ... (click for more)

Truck Driver Killed In Wreck On I-75 SB After Striking Guardrail

A driver of a tractor-trailer was killed in a wreck on I-75 southbound near the Bonny Oaks Drive exit early Monday morning. The victim was Kenneth Mills, 59. The cause of the tractor-trailer’s collision with the guardrail is still under investigation. At approximately 5:51 a.m., Chattanooga Police officers responded to the traffic accident at the 700 block of I-75 ... (click for more)

DWT Is DUI - And Response

A routine narrative of a DUI arrest report goes something like this:   The defendant was operating a motor vehicle in the 00 block of sonsoroad. The driver was weaving back and forth across the marked roadway. The defendant drove through a stop sign. Was stopped at an intersection despite the traffic light was green. Entered the lane of another vehicle and caused a ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UT’s Gender-Neutral Dopes

With due apology to Smokey, the University of Tennessee’s famed blue-tick hound, the tail is wagging the dog at UT-Knoxville. Donna Braquet, the director of the university’s Pride Center, wants to suck 99.9 percent of the 28,000 students into a ridiculous scheme that will make the campus “welcoming and inclusive for all” … .01 percent. Her idea is to do away with binary gender ... (click for more)