Tennessee Vols morning report: Men’s basketball 2022-23 SEC Media Days

Tennessee fans cheer during a game between Tennessee and Akron at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.Kns Utvakron0917
Tennessee fans cheer during a game between Tennessee and Akron at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.Kns Utvakron0917 /

Football success continues, but with NBA season already underway, the Tennessee Vols men’s and women’s basketball programs are in full preseason mode, leading to excitement surrounding all the major programs. All of them made news on Wednesday as well.

Our morning update on Rocky Top follows up women’s basketball SEC Media Days with men’s basketball media days. We’ll cover the press conferences, who spoke and where UT is projected. Speaking of press conference, two weekly football media sessions also made news.

A football player on a midseason watch list and a women’s basketball player on a preseason watch list also made news. We’ll close out with previews in swimming and diving, soccer and women’s tennis, so there’s plenty to touch on.

Josh Heupel speaks at SEC teleconference – SECSports

On the heels of the Tennessee Vols football team’s win over the Alabama Crimson Tide and ahead of their matchup with the UT-Martin Skyhawks, Josh Heupel spoke at the weekly SEC Teleconference Wednesday. Here’s a bit of what he said about the players this week.

"“They’ve got a dose of reality from myself and from our assistant coaches as we went back and looked at the (Alabama) tape. The thing I love about them is they were eager to learn and continue to improve.”"

Vol Calls features Josh Heupel, Glen Elarbee – UTSports

In addition to the SEC Teleconference, Tennessee football head coach Josh Heupel also spoke on Vol Calls Wednesday night along with offensive line coach Glen Elarbee. Here’s a bit of what Heupel said about the experience of the Alabama win.

"“Just hearing the highlights, obviously that takes you back to that moment. That will always be a really special one. The great thing for fans is they get to enjoy it and should enjoy it up until we kick off this Saturday. For us that are competing inside the program, had to move on. Coaches did it on Sunday, players did it on Monday, and it’s been a good week of practice up until this point.”"

Elarbee talked about how the offensive line played so well against Alabama and particularly Will Anderson Jr., the Tide’s elite edge rusher. This is his explanation.

"“Good teams get better. I feel like we’ve gotten better as the season’s gone along and probably played our best game for sure Saturday. It’s just now making sure that’s the standard and we do even better the next week.”"

Jalin Hyatt on Biletnikoff Watch List – BiletnikoffAward.com

After six catches for five touchdowns and over 200 yards, Tennessee Vols football wide receiver Jalin Hyatt has been added to the 2022 Biletnikoff Award Watch List. Cedric Tillman, who has been out since Week 3, is still on the list as well.

"The Biletnikoff Award recognizes the college football season’s outstanding FBS receiver, regardless of position. Any player, regardless of position (wide receiver, tight end, split end, inside receiver, slot back or running back) who catches a pass is eligible for the award."

Vol basketball takes stage at SEC Media Days – SECSports

Rick Barnes, Josiah-Jordan James and Santiago Vescovi all spoke as the Tennessee Vols men’s basketball team took the podium at SEC Media Days Wednesday. Here’s a bit of what Barnes said about the questions still surrounding the team.

"Defensively, we expect to be a good defensive team, but we think that we have more depth than we’ve had in a long time, quality depth that we think that we can play and versatility. The question I think anybody would have with us right now is what kind of production that we can get from our post players consistently. So that’s what we’ll wait and see."

James talked about the success UT is having overall as an athletic program. Here is a bit of what he said about that.

"“I already knew it was going to happen. There were people out there who were skeptical, but I knew it because of not only the hard work that our team but all of the other athletic programs throughout the university put in.”"

Vescovi acknowledged the basketball team has unfinished business from last year. This is his explanation for that.

"“We definitely think about how last year ended. That’s in the back of our minds. The way I feel about that is  that can’t think of it in a sense of failure.”"

Basketball picked third in SEC – SECSports

At the end of SEC Media Days, Tennessee basketball was picked third in the Southeastern Conference behind the Arkansas Razorbacks and Kentucky Wildcats. UT also had three All-SEC players, more than anybody else, including Santiago Vescovi, who made first team, and Josiah-Jordan James, who made second team. Zakai Zeigler also made second team.

"Kentucky was predicted to win the 2023 Southeastern Conference men’s basketball championship in voting by a select panel of both SEC and national media members.Reigning national player of the year Oscar Tshiebwe was the choice of the media for SEC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year."

Rickea Jackson on Cheryl Miller watch list – HoopHall.com

Mississippi State Bulldogs transfer Rickea Jackson of the Tennessee Lady Vols has been named to the 2022-23 Cheryl Miller Award Preseason Watch List. Jackson follows teammates Jordan Horston and Jasmine Powell, who were also named to watch lists for their respective positions.

"Named after the three-time Naismith Player of the Year and Class of 1995 Hall of Famer, the annual award in its sixth year recognizes the top small forwards in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball. A national committee of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates."

Swimming and diving set for meet at Louisville – UTSports

Coming off last week’s losses to the N.C. State Wolfpack on both sides, the Tennessee Vols and Lady Vols swimming and diving programs will take on the Louisville Cardinals Thursday night on the road. UT comes in ranked No. 7 on the women’s side and No. 13 on the men’s side.

"Tennessee would look to build on some strong performances from its two-day meet against No. 4 NC State over the weekend. On the men’s side, the Vols won both sprint freestyle events. Jordan Crooks took home first in the 50 free, matching his season-best time of 19.36, while Gui Caribe won the 100 free with a 43.36 mark.…On the women’s side, the squad of Josephine Fuller, Mona McSharry, Sara Stotler and Brooklyn Douthwright took first place in the 400 medley relay with a time of 3:38.48."

Soccer to visit Auburn – UTSports

Ranked No. 18 in the nation, the Tennessee Lady Vols soccer team will visit the Auburn Tigers Thursday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.

"UT (9-3-2, 5-1-1 SEC) will be looking to extend its shutout streak to five games, having recorded clean sheets against Ole Miss, Missouri, Georgia and LSU over the last four contests. In their most recent outing, the Lady Vols tied LSU 0-0 at home."

Women’s tennis to begin ITA Ohio Valley regionals – WeAreCollegeTennis.com

The Tennessee Lady Vols tennis team is set to begin the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Ohio Valley Regionals Thursday. UT will host the event, and play will last through Tuesday, Oct. 24.

"Over 8,000 student-athletes from NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA, Junior and Community Colleges compete across 85 ITA Regional Championships around the country. In Division I, regional doubles champions and regional singles champions and finalists qualify for the season-ending ITA National Fall Championships."