The Vol basketball team returned to Pratt Pavilion Thursday afternoon in preparation for their Saturday exhibition matchup with Lenoir-Rhyne (7 pm, SEC Network+). Here are notes from the floor plus the media appearances from Robert Hubbs, Donnie Tyndall and Kevin Punter. We’ll have video from practice posted this evening.
Practice, Man: The Vols went through individual drills for a portion of practice before scrimmaging full court for an hour.
Baulkman Out: Vol wingman Devon Baulkman was held out of practice and “might not play Saturday” due to a shoulder injury. Baulkman was present in the complex and his injury isn’t believed to be serious.
Braxton Bonds: The NCAA has yet to rule on the eligibility of walk-on point guard Braxton Bonds. Tyndall said if Bonds is eligible, he’ll play 8-12 minutes per game. “He’s a true point guard, he has a very good feel. He can make his teammates better. He’s not a great scorer by any stretch but he’s got good feet to be a good defender,” Tyndall said of Bonds.
Dom Woodson: Tennessee’s big man started Monday’s exhibition game but played just 12 minutes. Tyndall said Woodson could play 14-18 minutes based on his conditioning. Woodson had several big buckets during Tennessee’s scrimmage and made some even more impressive passes. He has a soft touch and excellent court vision for a big man.
Tariq Owens: Much has been made of Owens’ shot-blocking ability and it was on full display Thursday. He got chewed out by Tyndall for not getting a rebound early in practice but bounced back to have an impactful scrimmage. He had at least two blocks on one possession and had to get close to double-digit blocks on the day. He also had a nice dunk while streaking down the baseline. Owens has loads of potential and should show flashes at times this season.
Punter Shoots: Vol JUCO shooting guard Kevin Punter made several big 3s during the scrimmage and his team got out to an early lead. Before practice, he told the media he should have been more aggressive during Tennessee’s exhibition game – when he was 2-5 for 7 points. Punter has the potential to lead the team in scoring this season. Look for him to be more aggressive Saturday.
Hubbs’ Improved Stroke: Though his shot didn’t fall particularly often, Hubbs was just barely off today. His 3-point shot is much more consistent than it was last season and he looks like he’ll be a much better shooter this year. He’s more square to the basketball and his shot is more repeatable. Tyndall has confidence in him beyond the arc as well so don’t be surprised if he lets it fly this year.