Basketball season is underway. The opener on the men’s side took place Tuesday night, and the women are set to begin the year tonight. This all comes with tons of football news continuing to happen as well.
Our morning update on Rocky Top involves heavy coverage around all three sports. Each sport has press conferences for us to cover, and we also have awards watch lists in all of them. It makes for a loaded Wednesday.
Football and both basketball sports aren’t the only thing generating news, though. We also have another women’s soccer award to bring you ahead of the program’s first NCAA Tournament game. Let’s dive into today’s coverage.
Rick Barnes, players talk UT Martin win – UTSports
Without John Fulkerson, the Tennessee Vols men’s basketball team overcame a sluggish start to defeat the UT Martin Skyhawks 90-62 in their 2021-2022 season-opener Tuesday night thanks to a record 17 three-pointers. Rick Barnes spoke after the game, as did Kennedy Chandler, Santiago Vescovi and Olivier Nkamhoua.
Kennedy Chandler was perfect from beyond the arc, hitting four threes. With 20 points, he tied for the team lead in scoring with Santiago Vescovi. Vescovi drained six jumpers, all 3-pointers.
Junior Oliver Nkamhoua registered the second double-double of his career, scoring 11 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
Football assistants talk Georgia – Austin Price, VolQuest
Ahead of the Tennessee Vols football matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday, linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary and wide receivers coach Kodi Burns met with the media Tuesday. Jean-Mary talked about the depth of his unit. Here’s a bit of what he said about the backups.
“I think those guys are, when we talk about those guys — the Willises, Aaron Willis, William Mohan and Pakk Garland — I think they all have a chance to be outstanding players. Obviously, we’d like to speed up the clock to get them there now.”
Burns, meanwhile, talked about the matchup between Georgia’s defense and Rocky Top’s offense. Here’s how he described it.
“Obviously once you play Tennessee, the threat of explosive plays is kind of what we do, so it’s obviously a really good matchup. It’s going to be fun to see how we match up against if not the best defense, one of the best defenses in the country.”
Defensive players talk Georgia – Jack Foster, SI.com
In addition to the two assistants, Tennessee football senior defensive back Theo Jackson and senior defensive lineman Matthew Butler talked about preparing for the Dawgs. Jackson talked about the Vols’ motivation playing the No. 1 team in the country.
“We’re not looking at them as like they’re Superman. We’re just going in. We’re going to work hard this week and go into the game the same way that we went into every game, expecting to win.”
Butler talked about the experience of Georgia’s offensive line. Here’s what he talked about the prospect of going up against them.
“Obviously, they’re well-coached. They play for a historically good program, and obviously they’re going to find good coaches all around the board to coach them and everything, but obviously we have a game plan, and we’re going to go in there and execute and do our thing and throw some wrinkles in there to give ourselves the upper hand.”
Kellie Harper talks Lady Vols season-opener – Maria M. Cornelius, GoVols247
One week after their 108-44 exhibition win over Georgia College, the Tennessee Lady Vols women’s basketball team will open the season Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn. against the Southern Illinois Salukis. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET. Head coach Kellie Harper talked about the opener Tuesday.
“Very, very, very familiar with Coach Stein and her program,” Harper said. “Playing them multiple times for six years, you get to know an opponent really well. They are going to be tough, they are going to be disciplined, they are highly skilled on the offensive end. It’s a veteran team, and they are going to come in not afraid. I think those are some of the qualities of her team and things we can expect to see.”
Hendon Hooker on Davey O’Brien watch list – DaveyOBrienAward.org
With a 69.4 percent completion rate, 10.2 yards per attempt, 1,894 passing yards, 457 rushing yards, 21 passing touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns to only two interceptions, Tennessee Vols football quarterback Hendon Hooker is now being mentioned with the best of them. Hooker is one of 20 semifinalists for the 2021 Davey O’Brien Award.
The next step in the process will be to select the award’s three finalists based on voting from the Davey O’Brien National Selection Committee as well as the second round of the Davey O’Brien Fan Vote, which will take place on the award’s three social media accounts—Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. The top five vote getters on each platform will receive bonus committee member ballots which will be added to the votes cast by the National Selection Committee.
Kennedy Chandler, Rae Burrell on Wooden watch list – WoodenAward.org
Freshman point guard Kennedy Chandler of the Tennessee Vols men’s basketball team and senior guard Rae Burrell of the Lady Vols basketball team are both on the John R. Wooden Award preseason watch lists for their respective sports. Each side has 50 players.
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award Program hosts the most prestigious honors in college basketball recognizing the Wooden Award Most Outstanding Player for men and women, the Wooden Award All American Teams for men and women and the annual selection of the Wooden Award Legends of Coaching recipient.
Rae Burrell named to Naismith Watch List – NaismithTrophy.com
There’s not just one award watch list that Rae Burrell and Kennedy Chandler are part of. One day after Chandler was named to the preseason Naismith Award Watch List on the men’s side, Burrell made it on the women’s side. Again, she was one of 50 players to make it.
Each year the club’s board publishes the “Naismith Watch” list that is made up of the top 50 players to watch in men’s and women’s college basketball. The organization also releases a list of 30 mid-season Naismith candidates.
Wade Trophy watch list includes Rae Burrell – WBCA.org
Yes, Lady Vols senior Rae Burrell cleaned up Tuesday when it came to making preseason watch lists. The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association named Burrell among 30 players to the Wade Trophy preseason watch list.
First awarded in 1978 by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), now known as SHAPE America, the Wade Trophy has been presented to the WBCA NCAA Division I National Player of the Year since 2001. The 2021-22 season will be the first in which freshmen are eligible for the honor. However, no freshmen made the list
Abbey Burdette named TDS Player of the Week – TopDrawerSoccer.com
Thanks to her efforts in helping the Tennessee Lady Vols win the SEC Tournament Championship and earn a No. 3 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, senior Abbey Burdette was named the Top Drawer Soccer Player of the Week. This comes after she was named SEC Tournament MVP.
Burdette did score a goal in the 5-2 win against Florida. But she was also a monster in the air, broke up plays, blocked shots, and helped her side possess the ball over the course of the week. Her aerial prowess was particularly crucial as Tennessee absorbed pressure against No. 1 seed Arkansas on Sunday.