The Tennessee Vols hit the practice court Tuesday afternoon in preparation for a weekend scrimmage with Davidson. Here are a few notes and observations from Tennessee’s practice and media availability. Make sure to check out video highlights from practice here.
Injuries: Derek Reese was back in action after missing some time with a foot injury. During the open portions of practice Tuesday he didn’t show any lingering effects from the injury. Vol forward Jabari McGhee was held out of practice due to illness. He warmed up with the team and stayed on the floor to take in the action, but he didn’t participate in the contact portions.
Starting Five: Take these with a grain of salt, but Kevin Punter, Devon Baulkman, Robert Hubbs, Armani Moore and Derek Reese worked together during the majority of Tennessee’s 5-on-5 work. Barnes singled out Punter, Baulkman and Moore has players who have separated themselves, so they’re probably a lock to start. Look for Tennessee to play ” a ton of guys” during the early part of the season as they try to settle on a rotation. Shembari Phillips, Admiral Schofield, Kyle Alexander/ Ray Kasongo, Detrick Mostella and LaMonte Turner worked with what appeared to be the second unit.
Post Play: Admiral Schofield, who could conceivably play a variety of positions for Barnes, worked with the Vol post players. He’s undeniably physical, though a bit undersized to play in the paint. For now it looks like he’ll be in the post rotation and not with the guards.
AD in the House: Tennessee Director of Athletics Dave Hart was in attendance for portions of Tennessee’s practice. He also watched the Lady Vols practice on the adjacent court in Pratt Pavilion.
Clean Passes: Barnes emphasized clean and precise passing for a good bit of practice. He told his players to take open shots but not if the pass keeps them from catching and shooting in rhythm. For the most part, Tennessee looks like an improved team in that area.
Improved Strokes: I can’t recall Armani Moore, Kevin Punter, Robert Hubbs or Detrick Mostella shooting it as consistently as they shot it on Tuesday. They were raining in 3s from all over the court. The hitch in Punter’s shot is no more and he’s certainly more consistent due to that improvement. Moore, who looks like he’ll play more guard than forward to start the season, clearly spent some significant time working on his stroke during the offseason.
Coming Up: Tennessee will scrimmage Davidson (closed to the public and the media) this Saturday. Barnes has scrimmaged them before every season for at least a decade. He thinks his teams get more out of physical and competitive scrimmages than exhibition games against outmatched opponents. The Vols will, however, play an exhibition game against Alabama– Huntsville next Friday (Nov. 6) at 7 pm (TV: SEC Network+).