Posts Tagged ‘Wayne Chism’

08-09 Tennessee Basketball: An Epilogue

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

The Story of the Season…In a Week

Now that it’s over and done with, I think it’s time to take a look back at this past basketball season. As is with seasons in most sports, this year’s Vols had quite a number of ups and downs and everything in between over the course of a long season stretching from November to mid-March.

But this year’s ups and downs (more downs than ups really) seemed to be more prevalent this season, since this team showed a numerous occasions it’s ability to be terribly inconsistent. At times you thought that this team might still be playing at this point of the season. Other times you wondered what the hell the Bruce and the players were thinking and why they looked like they didn’t care and if they would even make it into the Tournament.

The last week of the season was the story of the season in a complete and total nutshell. A nutshell that interestingly enough was paired up with Tennessee’s spring break and my trip to New York.

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Finally, some positive momentum! Florida 63, Tennessee 79

Florida Gators Tennessee Basketball Final Score: Florida 63 • Tennessee 79

Postgame: QuotesBox Score PDF Document

The BasketVols managed to get back in the win column versus the Florida Gators, grabbing a key win in the Tommy Bowl.  The win was the Tennessee Volunteers’ 4th straight and 6th win out of the last 7 games against the Gators.  More importantly, with the Kentucky Wildcats losing back to back games against first Ole Miss and then South Carolina, Tennessee moved back in the running for the SEC East, in a three way tie with Florida and the Wildcats (I know, they are technically a 1/2 game back, but who’s counting?).  At 13-7 (4-2 SEC), the Vols are very much in the mix as they enter the final month of the season.

The key feature of this game was the absence of mental lapses.  This was the first “complete” game the Vols have managed since beating Vanderbilt on the 20th of January.

Hopefully, this was a turning point…

'Scuse me! Comin' through!

The Vols only shot 49.2% from the field, but made up for it by shooting 42.9% from behind the 3-point arc.  The Vols were led offensively by Scotty Hopson, who scored 20 points, followed by Tyler Smith (16), Wayne Chism (12), and Bobby Maze (11).  Defensively, the Orange led in steals 10-5 over the Gators who gave up 18 turnovers.  This was probably the best defensive showing by Tennessee this season.  Of course, it is easier to play god defense when you jump out to a quick lead, which is exactly what the Vols did.

Starting out 6-0, Tennessee grabbed the lead and never relinquished it.  Leading by as much as 23 points in the second half (16:03 remaining), the closest Florida could get from there was 9 points (7:09 remaining).  The Vols responded by putting on more steam and kept it going down the the stretch, securing the 16 point victory.

Player of the Game Scotty Hopson seemed to really turn a corner, shooting 4-6 from 3-point range, along with his 27 minutes of solid defense and “smart” play moving the ball. Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism both did their part, each with 9 rebounds and a stifling presence.  Still, the win was a team effort with each of the Vols contributing in a positive and meaningful way.

T. Smith 35 5-14 3-8 3-6 1 9 4 2 0 0 3 16
W. Chism 27 4-10 0-1 4-7 4 9 1 2 2 1 4 12
J. Prince 34 1-2 0-1 0-0 0 2 9 1 2 1 3 2
S. Hopson 27 8-12 4-6 0-1 0 3 0 3 2 0 1 20
J. Tabb 18 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 0 5 1 0 0 2 3
B. Maze 22 4-8 1-4 2-3 0 1 4 0 1 1 2 11
C. Tatum 13 3-6 3-6 0-0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 9
B. Williams 13 2-3 0-0 0-0 0 3 0 2 1 0 3 4
E. Negedu 8 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 2
R.Woolridge 3 0-2 0-1 0-0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 29-59 12-28 9-17 7 32 24 11 10 3 18 79
49.2% 42.9% 52.9%
Stats Courtesy of: CBS Sports

With ESPN’s College GameDay crew in Knoxville, it’s nice to see the men in orange send a message to the nation.  What was that message?

We may be young, but we don’t quit, and we are getting stronger…

After the game, Tennessee Head Coach Bruce Pearl, said that he felt that the Vols were ready to beat Florida.  After losing to the LSU Tigers earlier in the week, he was heartened by the effort he saw getting ready to face the Gators, “After we lost Wednesday to LSU, we practiced hard Monday; they showed me at that time they intended to move on.

Apparently, Bruce Almighty was right.

Now, if the Vols can capitalize on the momentum over the Gators and push forward as they get ready to take on Arkansas, Auburn, and Georgia, they can put themselves in a good position to compete for the SEC East title, with the overall SEC Title still within reach.  The Vols face the Arkansas Razorbacks 13–6 (1–5 SEC) on Wednesday, 4 February at 8:00 pm in Fayetteville.

– So it goes …About Lawvol

Image Courtesy of: / AP – Wade Payne

Much Like Last Year…Almost

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

So yesterday’s 54-52 loss to Memphis hurts. Sure, it’s less the day after, but I won’t lie – I needed a couple hours to chill out and relax after exerting quite a bit of energy and emotion. Things go on and Tennessee has two more HUGE home games coming up this week in the SEC.

I don’t want to spend too much time of why Tennessee lost, because the answer’s pretty short one. Missed opportunities aplenty and just some untimely plays. Memphis was 11-of-14 on free throws, Tennessee was 14-of-23 from the line. Tyler Smith shot 5-of-18 from the field, many of them decent – and contested – looks. Wayne Chism didn’t get the ball enough down the stretch – he only had 7 field goal attempts the entire game.

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Signs of Improvement

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

Thanks Kentucky?

After the utter embarrassment of watching one guy score 54 points on you in your own arena – something that won’t stop being talked about this year, so get used to it – Tennessee has made a bit of a bounce-back. Now beating South Carolina was pretty much expected. Last night though? Keep in mind last year’s team – the best in school history – lost in Memorial Gym.

I know Vandy lost Shan Foster and they are lacking in athletes, but I never got the feeling watching the DVRed game (intramural hoops game at 10 pm…) late Tuesday night that the Vols were going to lose. Perhaps the Kentucky loss truly was the wake-up call that can get this team playing to its potential…

No doubt Wayne loves playing Vandy

From the hot start courtesy of Wayne Chism to the constant answers to any signs of a run that Vandy made, that was a very solid win for Tennessee last night. Much was made of the players’ only meeting following last week’s loss to Kentucky during the ESPN telecast, and I think it’s safe to say it’s had some sort of effect on this team.

Now there have been moments of poor play. Many will point out nearly blowing a 15-point lead to South Carolina late. I don’t get too caught up in games like that where one team dominates and the team trailing makes a late run to make it really close. If not for Teddy Valentine and Co., the Chickens probably aren’t within 20 at half anyways. Wayne has as many points as I did, and I was in the student section.

Speaking of Wayne, Vanderbilt and softy A.J. Ogilvy are his biotches. 20 points, 7 boards, and a sweet T last night, and he was really the spark plug, even though he didn’t start. Kudos to Bruce (yes, he can actually coach people) for realizing Wayne’s recent history of early foul trouble in Nashville and not starting him. Brian Williams filled in nicely in both games, as Carolina had nobody big enough to keep him off the glass and Ogilvy might be softer than the softest of the softy big-men, Pau Gasol. Going back to Chism’s technical, if Vandy was normal and put their benches on the sidelines like everyone else, I really highly doubt he gets T’ed up. Plus, he was just yelling in Kevin Stallings’ face…Stallings deserves it…

Tyler Smith has had slow starts in each of his last two games, but has been dominant in the second half of the past two games. That’s good to see from the team’s leader – it was mentioned during the ESPN telecast that Tyler had made a point that he needed to watch his facial expressions/body language, aware of its effects on his teammates. I thought that was interesting and it’s good to see.

More of this please, Mr. Hopson

The two biggest stories from these past two outings have undoubtedly been the improved defense and Scotty Hopson gaining some confidence. I believe Devan Downey had four points at half in that game, and most of Carolina’s points came from the foul line (as I mentioned before, that was a poorly officiated game). Vandy couldn’t throw it in the ocean from the beach last night, but Tennessee’s defense had something to do with that.

You may have also noticed that Tennessee hardly pressed either Carolina or Vandy. I know it’s a Bruce Pearl staple and all that, but given this group’s past defensive issues, if not pressing continues to help improve the halfcourt defense, I’m not sure we’ll see the press this year – at all.

I had said on numerous occasions that Hopson had been settling too many times for an outside shot and needed to attack and do what he’s clearly the best at doing – getting to the rim. He has done that these past two games, and you can see him gaining some confidence offensively. His development is crucial in the ceiling of this team, so hopefully he can build on these past two performances going forward.

The Vols now get set for a big week – Memphis, LSU and Florida, all home games (which of course I love). The Memphis game is always one I personally circle every year – for reasons I’ll explain tomorrow – and LSU is rolling, having won three SEC games in a row in routs, and Florida is Florida. Obviously these three games are all crucial, and they won’t be easy. Hopefully, however, the glimpses of improvement the guys have shown the past two games will continue.

There’s More!

Shame on me for neglecting the exciting things that have been going on with Tennessee football the past however long it’s been since I posted about them last. Obviously the staff has now been completed, as you are very well aware of by now. I won’t go too in-depth on each of the new coaches, but what can you say? Lane Kiffin told us to be patient – and he delivered.

Stealing Lance Thompson from Nick Saban and Alabama was quite the joy, because (a) he can recruit and (b) we stole him from Alabama. The recruiting ability of this staff is without a doubt just ridiculous. Whether or not these guys – outside of Monte – can actually coach is still to be seen, but I see absolutely no reason for any Tennessee to not be absolutely excited about the future of Tennessee football with this staff.

I saw him! I finally saw him!

The recruiting work these guys have put in in just a couple of weeks is something I have never seen before. And the scary and exciting thing is that they have been making waves as well – getting visits from committed prospects and getting in on players who had been unknowns under the previous staff. Give these guys a full year to do this? How can you not be pumped out of your mind about the future of Tennessee football?

On a bit of a side note, I did actually see Lane Kiffin at the South Carolina game – with the rest of the staff and the recruits as they paraded in during first half media timeout – and can confirm his existence. Prior to that I honestly wasn’t even sure if the man existed, seeing as I had never seen the guy around campus or introduced at basketball game I attended – at all. Seriously, he could have been an imaginary puppet figure for all I knew. But hey, when he’s busy traveling all over the country recruiting, I can take never seeing the guy.

These next two weekends of official visits will be just amazing. Quite possibly the two biggest weekends that I’ve remembered since I began following recruiting a few years ago. Hopefully the hoops guys can win and make the atmosphere leave an impression on these guys. They think the crowd is passionate about their basketball team? This is a football school after all…

All of that said, amidst the excitement, let’s temper things a bit. I’m expecting at least a consensus top 15 class this year, and anything would be gravy, given the coaching change and getting in late with most/all of these prospects. As for next season, yes, I know the schedule’s manageable: the four non-conference games should be gimmes, add in the annual November punching bags (Dores and Cats) and winnable home games against Auburn and South Carolina and you have 8 wins right there. Yes, I’m getting WAY ahead of myself…

Eight wins seem pretty doable, but we know we have a ways to go and that it’s going to take time. Lane asked us to be patient in the hiring of his staff and he delivered. I suggest we be patient in letting Lane and Co. build this thing back to a championship level. Can they do it? I think they can and I certainly don’t think I’m in the minority – but it’s going to take time.

Let’s just let them do their work, heaven knows they’ve been doing it tirelessly the past few weeks…


About Home Sweet Home... … to me.

Images Courtesy of: Mark Humphrey / (AP) DaylifeAmy Smotherman Burgess / KNS

Jodie Meeks

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

Does this post really need any other name?

When Meeks had 26 and Kentucky had a 41-37 halftime lead, I kept telling myself and by friends watching the game with me from the student section that he was going to have to cool off eventually. At some point his legs would away and his shot would stop falling. Or maybe, just maybe, we’d come out and play lockdown defense and at least get up in the tight blue Nike #23 jersey Meeks was wearing.

Shows what I know…

What else could Tennessee have done?

First off, mad props to Mr. Meeks. Dude cemented himself into all that Kentucky lore, history and tradition with his performance, one that many Wildcat fans believe is the start of their ascension back to national relevancy and the top of the SEC. I hate Kentucky basketball in the same category as the Florida-Alabama-Georgia football triumvirate of hate, but you have to tip your hat to the guy for scoring 54 points. On the road. On ESPN.

After dwelling on Tuesday night, thoughts filled with visions of Meeks draining jumpers from all over TBA, I have nothing. I mean, what can you do? The best comparison I have is to when LeBron James scored 29 of the Cavaliers’ last 30 points in a playoff win in Detroit. What were the Pistons to do to stop the guy? Sometimes in the game of basketball no defense (which many argue is what the Vols play) can stop a single player from scoring at will. What can you do?

I know, Jodie Meeks is no LeBron James. Granted. But I didn’t think Tennessee’s defense was all that awful Tuesday night. OK, any time some guy on the other team hangs 54 on you in your own gym your defense is atrocious, yes, but I thought it was better than on Dionte Christmas in the Temple debacle and last week against Gonzaga.

Once you get past the lingering feelings of shock and “Did that really just happen?” you feel terribly embarrassed. The Vols were torched by Christmas, by Belmont’s Alex Renfroe, Kansas’ Sherron Collins, Gonzaga’s Matt Bouldin. But none of those guys scored 54 freakin’ points. In Thompson-Boling. In the hoops equivalent of the Alabama game. And you think I/you are embarrassed? Think about the players.

Give Tyler some help!

Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism need help. Both those guys seem to me to be doing everything they possibly can. I see effort from the rest of the guys, and I’m not going to question their heart. But let’s just say the basketball IQ on this Tennessee team is lacking – big-time. Some would say it has been for a couple years now and Chris Lofton and JaJuan Smith were able to bail Tennessee out with their shooting. I have lamented the poor defensive communication already. This team has several glaring weaknesses, and the most troubling aspect of all this is that Tennessee’s been exposed a number of times.

Honestly, I don’t know what to think or expect with this team anymore. The rate of opposing guards setting career-highs is very alarming, and as down as everyone says the SEC is this season, these guys have all got to be eagerly awaiting their shot at Tennessee: South Carolina’s Devan Downey twice (Saturday night is Round 1), Memphis State’s Antonio Anderson and Tyreke Evans, LSU’s Marcus Thornton, Florida’s Nick Calathes twice, Arkansas’ Courtney Fortson and Stefan Welsh, Auburn’s DeWayne Reed, and Alabama’s Ronald Steele and Senario Hillman.

Oh, and Tennessee plays Meeks and Kentucky again. In Rupp. February 20th.

So now what? The first positive that came to mind is that Tennessee’s struggles this season will likely keep the fringe basketball fans in the UT student population from coming to any games other than Memphis or Florida. This of course means less of the whole waiting two hours in the cold part of going to games. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for that and it’s enjoyable and part of the whole experience – but let’s be reasonable.

For me, I’m going to take the approach I took during football season: LOW EXPECTATIONS. Why? I honestly had high hopes for this season. I had high hopes for the Gonzaga and Kentucky games, and left frustrated and disappointed each time. Considering the football season we all just experienced – yes, I know we’re all excited now for the future and all – I think that’s a great way to handle the frustration and losses that are still likely to come unfortunately.

I’m also not worried at all right now about the NCAA Tournament, the Bubble or any of that. It’s still mid-January and there’s 15 games left on the year. Taking it just one game at a time. As Ghost over at 3SIB said yesterday, just leave it to Bruce Pearl. This would be a good idea…

About Home Sweet Home... … to me.

Images Courtesy of: Amy Smotherman Burgess / Knoxville News-Sentinel

Black, Blue, and Beaten: Kentucky 90 Tennessee 72

Final Statistics:  Kentucky 90 • Tennessee 72

Postgame:  QuotesBox Score PDF Document

Well, so much for being optimistic.  Despite their best efforts, the Tennessee Volunteers were whipped by the Kentucky Wildcats 90-72 last night.  Actually, it would be more accurate to say that Jodie Meeks whipped the BasketVols—his school-record 54 points building a wall that the Vols had no hope of overcoming.  ESPN’s SportsCenter crew rather pointedly noted, Meeks was unstoppable, putting on an absolute clinic in front of the 20,474 in attendance at the Tommy Bowl.  Here are the highlights courtesy of

Kentucky Bests Tennessee |

As if watching Meeks break Dan Issel’s 39 year-old single-game scoring record wasn’t enough, the Vols did not exactly do themselves any favors.  The Vols only shot 37.9 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from behind the arc.  On top of Meeks’ display and the Wildcats’ 56.6 percent shooting percentage, Kentucky piled it on by hitting 12 of 19 three point shots (63.2 percent), and hitting 90 percent of their free-throws.

After trailing by four at the half, Tennessee cut the deficit to only two points early in the second period.  Led by Meeks, however, Kentucky responded by stretching its legs and jumping out to a 15-point lead.  Tennessee refused to go quietly, however, cutting Kentucky’s lead down to 8 points, 71-64, with 6:52 remaining in the game.  That push by the Orange quickly faded, however, as the Vols scored only one point to Kentucky’s nine over the next 3 minutes.  From there, Kentucky glided on home to take the Victory, and the lead in the SEC East.

Chism Looks on in Disappointment

After the game Coach Pearl pointed to a lack of confidence as a key to the Vols poor showing, especially when it came to defensive play at guard, who at times appeared to be standing still Kentucky pushed the ball up.

Kentucky was clearly the better team, and we thought we could beat them if we played well. Our guys wanted this one, and they worked hard for it.  We play our best when everybody contributes, but that was not happening tonight.

— Coach Bruce Pearl Commenting on the Loss to Kentucky

Still, there were bright spots, as Tennessee led in turnovers 15 to 6, but only managed a total of 16 points of of those turnovers.

On the whole, Tennessee’s defense did not look as bad as its offense.  Again, the BasketVols found themselves vexed by another bout with “inconsistent inconsistency.”  Once again, the men in Orange will have to sit down and try to figure out how to bridge the gap between valiant effort and often excellent individual play (Tyler Smith 19 points, 2 rebounds • Wayne Chism 19 points, 9 rebounds , Bobby Maze 11 points, 2 rebounds), and the mystical nirvana of playing a complete game as a team.  It would also be nice to finally figure out the answer to why the guard play has been so disappointing.

With this loss, Tennessee falls to 10-5 on the season and 1-1 in SEC play.  Up next the Vols face the 12-1 (1-0 SEC) South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday at 6:00pm at the Tommy Bowl.

Needless to say, the Vols will be focused on exacting a little revenge when they meet the Wildcats again on 21 February, at Rupp Arena.  Hopefully, they will be ready to go then.

To reach that point, however, the Vols have a long way to go…

– Go Figure …About Lawvol

Image Courtesy of: KNS / Amy Smotherman Burgess

Should Auld “Lawvol” be Forgot…

Well, Home Sweet Home did such a good job getting all of us into the “New Year” frame of mind, that—as you can see above—Gus went ahead and brought out the Champagne early (may have to hit refresh for header to update).  Given the fact that I have been so lazy this last week, it is probably high time for me to get back up and running here at the Gate.  Once we ring in 2009, I will be back in full swing.

In the meantime, I offer up a few announcements, observations, and rude remarks to close out 2008.

  • First, in case you haven’t noticed, I added a page about our “Ushers” (calling me a writer is simply going a bit too far) which finally recognizes and gives HSH his due as a major contributor here at the Gate.  Along with that came his new badges, signatures, and other goodies which will hopefully make it more obvious (as if the quality of his writing wasn’t enough to make it clear that it wasn’t yours truly) who is saying what around this joint.
  • Second, it is nice to hear that Wayne Chism has survived his battle with the Rajin’ Cajuns.  The last thing the BasketVols need is the loss of one the most productive players on the squad before facing Kansas.  Let’s not do that again…
Wayne Chism on the Floor


Oh my!  Things is a gettin’ excitin’!

With all of this going on, it looks like 2009 could really be something special.  So everyone have a Happy New Year, and be safe.

See you in 2009!

– Go Figure …About Lawvol

Images Courtesy of: Knoxville Radio History
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