Called Out: Martin Comes To Players’ Defense

Sunday, January 27, 2013 - by Kevin Connelly

Tennessee head basketball coach Cuonzo Martin made a call that may have saved his team’s season. However, it wasn’t on the court.

 

It was made to the SEC league office concerning how one of his best players, Jarnell Stokes, was being officiated.

 

“It just wasn’t looking right and I wanted it looked at and balanced out,” said Martin following his teams nail-biting victory over Alabama Saturday afternoon.

“My thing is just be fair, whether we’re at home or on the road, let’s just be fair.”

 

Stokes has averaged just 21 minutes in the Vols’ last three losses. He fouled out in two of the three and totaled just 16 points and 16 rebounds.

 

“I watch certain things with Jarnell Stokes, when he gets hit, because he has such a strong frame, he’s not moving like most guys, and it’s probably not seen as a foul, but a foul’s a foul,” said Martin.

 

Martin’s message must have gotten through, because the 6-foot-8, 270-pound sophomore finally got a chance to play his game on Saturday. The Crimson Tide got a heavy dose of Tennessee’s big man, as he logged 35 minutes and registered his seventh career double-double.

 

“Eighteen rebounds in the game, 15 points, and he was able to stay out of foul trouble today,” said Alabama head coach Anthony Grant. “If he can do that for his team on a consistent basis, obviously this was a physical game today, he’s a huge factor when he’s able to do that.

 

Stokes’ teammates know what kind of force he can be when he’s out on the court. His biggest problem has just been staying out there.

 

“He has just been frustrated on how he gets fouled a lot and refs don’t call it,” said guard Jordan McRae. “At the end of the day we are just trying to keep Jarnell going up strong and finishing strong.”

 

The recently turned 19-year-old has overcome a lot in just his second season as a Volunteer. After losing his frontcourt partner Jeronne Maymon for the season to a red shirt, the Memphis native has been asked to play against double teams for most of the season. Something even he says has been a learning adjustment.

 

“I knew they would double team me, I think every team has double teamed me,” said Stokes. “But I just wanted to have an impact.”

 

As for his recent foul issues, Stokes has talked with the coaches and his teammates and is trying to learn from it.

 

“It’s definitely hard when you go into a game mentally prepped and ready to win and ready to lead your team on and then you get two quick fouls,” said Stokes. “It throws off your rhythm. I have been struggling with that a lot this year.”

 

Prior to Saturday’s game, the Vols had lost five of six and were staring at last place in the SEC. With the win they improve to 2-4 in the conference and 10-8 overall.

 

More importantly they got their big man back on track in time for an important stretch run. Tennessee’s next five opponents are a combined 8-14 in the SEC, giving the Vols a chance to climb back into the top half of the conference standings.

 

More performances like the one they got from Stokes on Saturday would help.

 

“He played like a monster,” said guard Trae Golden. “I think he is one of the best big men in the country, so that is something he has to play like.”

kconnel1@utk.edu


Hawks Fall To New Hope In NACA Tourney

DAYTON, Tenn. – Hamilton Heights opened the National Association of Christian Athletes tournament quarterfinals at Fort Bluff on Wednesday with a tough 57-55 loss to New Hope, of Thomasville, N.C. The Hawks, No. 2 ranked team in Tennessee, according to the latest MaxPreps.com poll, placed four players in double figures, led by Milos Andelic’s 14 points that included two 3-pointers. ... (click for more)

Hixson Kiwanis Softball League To Hold Organizational Meeting On March 10

Hixson Kiwanis Softball League will hold an organizational meeting on  Tuesday, March 10, at 7 p.m.  at Hixson United Methodist Church,  5301 Old Hixson Pike.   There will be both men's and women's leagues.   For more information, contact Geoff Holden at 423 710-3933 . (click for more)

FCC Votes 3-2 To Approve EPB's Request To Expand Its Broadband Offerings

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to allow EPB to expand its broadband offerings to neighboring communities. Chairman Tom Wheeler and two other Democrats were in favor, while the two Republican members said the agency was acting illegally in overriding state law. EPB's phone, Internet and TV offerings have been far more successful than expected and ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Schools, UTC To Close Friday; Other Closings Announced

Due to remaining snow on some of the roadways and the potential for black ice overnight and into the morning, Hamilton County Schools will be closed on  Friday . School Age Child Care will also be closed. Employees who accrue vacation will report by  10 a.m.  and maintenance employees will report on regular schedule.  All classes are being ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Always Been A Battleground Between Good And Evil

From the thousands slain in nearby Chickamauga Battlefield during the Civil War…  To the launching point of the Cherokee Indian’s Trail of Tears…  To the lunch counter sit-ins led by Howard School students — the only high school student sit-ins in the nation — during the Civil Rights Movement…  To Walter Cronkite calling the polluted Southern industrial town ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: They Are Americans, Too

Roger Dean Kiser is something of a legend. Aside from being one of the best story-tellers I know of – I’ve read his works for years – the fact he came upon it honest, like Chattanooga’s Roger Allan Wade, makes him kind of special. Again, I’ve followed him for a long time. By the time he was four, he had been abandoned by parents and grandparents alike. The state of Florida placed ... (click for more)