Vols’ team meeting getting results

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Updated: December 31, 2013

9573914image via Matthew S. DeMaria / Tennessee Athletics

From the seats of Thompson-Boling Arena or home watching on TV, fans may have felt the Tennessee Vols were not doing anything to try to improve their sometimes lackluster play so far this year. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Coach Cuonzo Martin was concerned enough about the slow starts, that he began to analyze how they did almost everything to see if he could solve the problem.

“How are guys eating, you look at those things,” said Martin. “Are they sleeping too much, are we getting guys up too early. A lot of different things you look at, and I feel offensively before we get into our actual play that we are trying to run, get movement to throw the defense off. To get guys constantly moving and rotating, then you get into your action. So now you have flow to what you are doing.”

Martin’s decision to use more motion has worked very well in the wins over Morehead State and Virginia.

The players meanwhile were working on their own trying to figure out why this team was under-performing.

“We had a team meeting not too long ago and we talked some stuff out,” said Josh Richardson. “We’ve just not been putting the action in on the court. It was just talking, nothing serious. We went to dinner and just talked some stuff over.”

“A lot of people were going through the same struggles and I had no idea it would make this big of an impact,” added Jarnell Stokes. “I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not but since the player’s meeting the guys have had their heads up when we’re at practice and in games and the numbers show.”

Stokes said the meeting after a disappointing loss to North Carolina State didn’t start on a good note, but ended up being very positive.

“Everybody was saying how they felt, you know,” Jordan McRae said. “Hearing it from your coach is one thing, but me saying or somebody telling me you need to do this right, and hearing it from one of your players, you need to do this better, I mean, that helped us out a lot.”

“We were tensed up with a couple losses and we were just trying to tell the young guys not to panic and to keep plugging and it sure worked well for us tonight,” added Richardson.

Based on the results on display Monday in an 87-52 beat down of a pretty good Virginia team, it appears the players have unburdened themselves and Martin’s added motion is helping the offense pick up steam.

Tennessee started fast and kept pouring it on at the end; they shot 50 percent from the floor, 61 percent from three-point range and 88 percent from the free throw line. These aren’t yesterday’s Vols, and that’s a good thing if Tennessee wants to get to the NCAA Tournament.

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