While it may be the offseason for new Tennessee head basketball coach Donnie Tyndall, his players aren’t slacking off this summer. They’re putting in work in the weight room, and a good number of them are participating in the festive Pilot Rocky Top League this summer.
The Rocky Top League is an exhibition league comprised of six teams sponsored by businesses in the Knoxville area. The League has games twice a week for the first two weeks, a day of games the third week, then two rounds of tournament action.
The six teams that make up the league are Campus Lights, Knoxville News Sentinel, Clancy’s Tavern, Choice Spine, Rice Buick GMC, and DeRoyal Industries.
The six teams are comprised of current Vols basketball players, former Vols, players from area schools, and other basketball players who want to play in the league. The current Vols on rosters are Josh Richardson, Armani Moore, Derek Reese, Brandon Lopez, Detrick Mostella, Kevin Punter, Willie Carmichael, Devon Baulkman, Jabari McGhee, and Galen Campbell. Some notable former Vols on the rosters are Wayne Chism, Cameron Tatum, Kenny Hall, and Bobby Maze.
While the League may lack anything resembling SEC defense, it makes for some exciting games to watch. Games regularly score in the 100’s, and deep threes, monster jams, and alley-oops are common sights in the games.
Monday night’s action saw three games and many current Vols showing off their offensive weapons.
The first game was easily the most exciting of the night, as it saw DeRoyal Industries and Clancy’s Tavern go into overtime. Eventually Wayne Chism led DeRoyal to their first victory in the League with a 119-117 victory. Chism poured in 41 points and had a handful of blocks as well.
His teammates and new Vols Willie Carmichael and Devon Baulkman had solid games as well. Baulkman showed off some of his mid-range and three-point game, scoring 34 points on 12-of-24 shooting. Carmichael added 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
Clancy’s Tavern had both Kevin Punter and Jabari McGhee on their roster, and both were impressive while on the court. Punter made some great cuts and showed great offensive versatility, scoring 31 points on 9-of-26 shooting, hitting 12-of-14 free throws as well. McGhee showed off his mid-range game, which is something the Vols haven’t had from a big man since Chism played. McGhee added 16 points on 7-of-16 shooting.
The second game featured some high-flying players and offensive outbursts as Campus Lights remained undefeated by defeating Knoxville News Sentinel 101-92. Richardson was the only current Vol on Campus Lights’s roster, and he looked to be in the same form he was at the end of last season, scoring at will and making moves towards the basketball with great quickness. Brandon Lopez was the only current Vol on the roster of Knoxville News Sentinel, and he was able to distribute the ball effectively, but he failed to hit any of his three-point attempts.
The last game of the night pitted Rice Buick against Choice Spine, and it was full of electrifying offense. Rice Buick triumphed over Choice Spine 128-120 thanks in part to Detrick Mostella. At one point, Mostella nailed 5 consecutive three-pointers for Rice Buick. He finished with 7 on the night and scored 29 points total. Former Vol Bobby Maze also contributed to the offensive show, dishing plenty of assists to set up some highlight-reel plays.
Choice Spine lost despite an absolute bombardment by Armani Moore. His 45 points came out of nowhere, and he seems to be trying to make the point in the Rocky Top League that he is, in fact, an offensive threat for the Vols. He’s been working on his three-point shot, and it certainly showed last night.
While the results of these games won’t likely translate to anything the Vols do as a whole come late fall, it does allow fans to get an early glimpse at some of the new Vols joining the team for the 2014-15 season. Donnie Tyndall has made an emphasis on getting involved in the Knoxville community, and the Rocky Top League is the perfect way for his players to do the same.
Plus, a little offensive show never hurt anyone, right?