The Tennessee Vols ‘Just Keep Pushing P’

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    You’ve probably heard this phrase being used quite a bit over the last few weeks or so.

    One of the first times the phrase was seen from the Vols was after Uros Plavsic’s massive game against LSU.

    Plus, Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes even dropped it in during a promotional video from a few days ago.

    He also made sure to bring it up during Wednesday’s postgame celebration, as well.

    Tennessee Basketball Wins Big in StarkVegas: Vols’ Growth On Display In Win At Mississippi State

    Alright, so let’s now backtrack a little bit. Because ever since the “Pushing P” phrase was used on the Plavsic post, the Vols are 5-1 with zero losses to conference opponents. So what’s the magic to it?

    “Pushing P” is one of the latest internet trends to circulate after it began as the title of a song by the artist Gunna. As the rapper explained in an interview recently with The Breakfast Club, it’s a positive phrase that loosely translates to just keeping it real with someone. And when you’re riding a six-game win streak in SEC play, the overall vibes are pretty positive.

    So how does this connect back to Tennessee?

    Besides the nationwide internet trend, it just seems like something that the Vols’ team is having fun with. Each time Barnes quotes the phrase, you can see the Tennessee players erupting in cheers as the energy in the room is palpable.

    Frankly, in the last few weeks, Tennessee Basketball is a team that has gotten their swagger back. Despite a likely season-ending injury to one of Tennessee’s most reliable starting players, Olivier Nkamhoua, Tennessee found arguably its best win on the road this season Wednesday against Mississippi State.

    “Winning is really, really fun,” Tennessee guard Josiah-Jordan James said with a smile after his 18-point performance against the Bulldogs on Wednesday. “So, thankfully, we’ve been able to do that. But as far as my game, offensively, shots are just falling. Like I said last time against South Carolina, I just give all glory to God because without Him it wouldn’t be the case. I’ve just trusted in my work, my teammates, my coaches. I feel like y’all get tired of hearing me say it, but they don’t let me put my head down when I’m in a shooting slump or I’m missing shots.”

    At the end of the day though, as great as scoring is, winning is “pushing p” for Josiah-Jordan James.

    “I’m having a lot of fun just because we’re winning,” James went on to say. “But I’d be happy if I scored zero points and we won. Winning cures all.”

    Just watch that last video again. From Zakai Zeigler’s bark into the camera to Plavsic demanding his coach speak to Nkamhoua on the phone, to John Fulkerson’s Charlie Brown dance during the celebration. Every single person in that locker room is having fun. And it’s making a difference on the court.

    “We’ve got a team of guys now, I mean, I like watching them coach each other,” Barnes said after Wednesday’s game. “It’s been fun watching that. That’s a big part of it. I like the fact that they’re talking! They come to the huddle and they talk about what they see going on out there. We didn’t have any of that early in the year.”

    It’s safe to say that Rick Barnes and the Tennessee Basketball team have certainly been “pushing p” these last few games. Tennessee will be back on the court in Knoxville this Saturday evening to take on Vanderbilt at 6:00 p.m. ET.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.