Tennessee Vols morning report: Basketball preseason stories continue

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half of the game against the Indiana State Sycamores at Neyland Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half of the game against the Indiana State Sycamores at Neyland Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Media sessions with men’s and women’s basketball lead our Tennessee Vols news for Nov. 13.

A four-game losing streak plagues the 2-4 Tennessee Vols football team, UT’s game scheduled for this weekend is one of four that have been postponed, and now it’s Friday the 13th. Simply put, it’s a crazy time.

However, the news continues, and we move on to basketball. Our morning update on Rocky Top deals with media sessions for both basketball programs and more preseason projections on the men’s side. We also have news of a former Lady Vol taking on a new role.

Beyond basketball, though, football is still making a bit of news with one player in particular receiving certain recognition. Women’s soccer awards are also part of this morning’s report, so we have plenty to discuss. Let’s start with the basketball storylines.

Men’s basketball picked to win SEC – UTSports

Thanks to a top five recruiting class and the return of a ton of talent, the Tennessee Vols men’s basketball program is the preseason media favorite to win the SEC Title. Meanwhile, John Fulkerson earned First Team All-SEC, and Yves Pons earned Second Team.

Coaches Poll places men’s basketball in top 15USA TODAY

After coming in at No. 12 earlier in the week, men’s Tennessee basketball came in at No. 14 in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll. They are the second-highest SEC team, behind the Kentucky Wildcats, who came in at No. 9.

Basketball freshmen meet with media – Rob Lewis, VolQuest.com

Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer, the two five-star guards who helped the Tennessee Vols men’s basketball team have a top five 2020 recruiting class, met with the media on Thursday to discuss getting ready for the season. Johnson talked about the adjustment to the college game. Here’s a bit of what he said.

"“The biggest adjustment for me has been my time management. Being able to balance my time with both ball and school, while being able to get extra shots up in the gym, whether it’s late at night or before practice.”"

Springer training and being ready to play this season. This is some of what he said on that front.

"“The biggest thing from high school to college is probably the speed of the game. So, the biggest thing I’ve been working on is conditioning and trying to get in the best shape possible.”"

Four Lady Vols meet with media – Maria M. Cornelius, GoVols247

Entering their second season under head coach Kellie Harper, the Tennessee Lady Vols women’s basketball program continued preparing for the season on Thursday. Tamari Key, Jessie Rennie, Emily Saunders and Rae Burrell all met with the media. All of them are having to prepare amidst this pandemic, which was a major storyline.

"Teamwork doesn’t just apply to the court this preseason. With COVID-19 protocols, players have to hold each other accountable in terms of what they do – and who they interact with – when not involved in basketball."

Brandon Kennedy a Campbell Trophy finalist – FootballFoundation.org

Sixth year senior Brandon Kennedy, the starting center on the Tennessee Vols football offensive line, has been named a National Football Foundation National-Scholar Athlete. The NFF and College Football Hall of Fame also announced him as a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the football player with the best combination of academic and on-field success.

"The 12 finalists will each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2020 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments. Later this year, one member of the class will be declared the winner of the 31st William V. Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000."

Soccer Vols earn SEC coaches’ postseason awards – SECSports.com

With a 4-3-1 regular season and the SEC Tournament set to begin on Tuesday, Nov. 17, the Tennessee Lady Vols soccer program had two players earn All-SEC recognition on Thursday. Junior Mackenzie George was named a Second Team All-SEC forward, and redshirt freshman forward Jaida Thomas earned Freshman All-SEC honors.

"First-team and second-team All-SEC honorees, All-Freshman team in addition to the individual awards were chosen by the league’s 14 coaches. Ties were not broken."

Former Lady Vol named interim Kentucky head coach – UKAthletics.com

Kentucky Wildcats women’s basketball head coach Matthew Mitchell announced his retirement Thursday. Kyra Elzy, a former Tennessee women’s basketball player, has been named interim head coach. Elzy played for Pat Summitt from 1996 to 2001, winning two national titles, and has been an assistant at UT, Kentucky, Kansas and Western Kentucky. Here’s a bit of what she said.

"“Coach Mitchell means so much to me and I owe him an enormous amount of gratitude for his guidance throughout my coaching career. This is not an easy day for any of us as we come to grips with his decision to retire. My immediate focus is on our players and making sure that they are dealing with this change that has happened so abruptly. As you can understand, this has been difficult for them to process.”"