Wayne Chism is well on his way to permanently cementing his name in the Volunteer record books and in the hearts of Vol fans as one of the greatest to ever don the Orange and White. JP Prince is finishing up his career at UT to the delight and to the disappointment of some. While JP does have his moments of bone-headedness he will definitely be missed next year. Bobby Maze is finishing out strong as well in his career at UT. Tonight the trio will lead the Vols on the hardwood against a Florida team that is fighting for its NCAA chances. First lets get a little news out of the way on the basketball front:
- This 5th 20 win seasons in a row ties the record set by Don DeVoe’s 1981-1985 squads
- The vols have had 7 starting line ups this season
- UT will have played 3 of the 4 #1 seeds if things stay on course this season (Kansas, Kentucky 2x, and Purdue)
- UT ranks 4th in national attendance this year with 18,952 per game
- According to Rivals UT has the 4th ranked recruiting class with one more spot to fill. Moses Abraham a Nigerian Basketball player is coming in this weekend and he is a four star player down low. Him and Harris would be great add’s to this program.
- UT’s +4.3 turnover ratio ranks 2nd in the SEC and 10th nationally
- UT is 49-4 (.925 winning %) under Coach Pearl when holding the opponent to under 40% shooting including 15-0 this season
- Former Vol Bernard King is a finalist for the Hall of Fame this year
Wayne Chism is finishing out his senior season very strong. He is almost averaging a double-double in SEC play and posted a career high 30 points earlier this season vs. South Carolina. UT is undefeated this season when Wayne hits the double double mark. During his time here at UT the Vols are 96-35 (.733) overall. He has scored a total 0f 91 points against Florida. He is working on cementing himself into the top 15 of all major categories, except 3 pt shots and free throws, in UT history:
- With the last rebound in the South Carolina game, Wayne now logs 850 rebounds putting him at 7th in UT history
- Wayne currently ranks 15th in overall scoring and only needs 87 points to move into 14th ( assuming we go 1-1 in the SEC tourney, and make it to the sweet 16 he only needs to average 9.7 pts per game to reach this)
- His 143 Career blocks rank 3rd all time (2.1 blocks per game in SEC play this season ranks 3rd in league)
- He is currently tied at 4th in all time wins with 96 with Quinton Cannington and is currently behind Ryan Childress, Justin Jackson, and Tanner Wild (last years) who have 98.
- He is on top of the record book in most games ever played by a Vol
Wayne received SEC Player of the Week honor for his efforts at home against UGA and on the road at South Carolina. During the week he averaged 13.5 points per game, 10 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.0 steals (16 pts 11 reb against UGA, 11 pts 9 reb against USC). In my opinion Chism is one of my top 3 favorite Vols ever and is definitely one of the best to ever don the Orange and White Uniform. He is a fan favorite with his personality and he enjoys the game of basketball. I hope an NBA team gives him shot as he deserves it.
JP Prince is also helping Wayne out down low this year and in my opinion his work hard attitude and defensive abilities will be missed greatly next season. JP ranks 4th in the SEC in steals per game at 1.6 and 10th in assist/turnover ratio at 1.5 per game. This season alone JP has scored more than 10 points 11 times, more than 6 rebounds 10 times, more than 5 assists 5 times, and more than 3 steals 6 times. He does have his crazy offensive fouls and travel calls but he plays hard and with passion and I for one will miss him.
Scotty Hopson is going to have to be on tonight for us to win. Scotty was .526 from the floor and .462 (6 of 13) behind the arc last season against the Gators. He hit the game winner last month in Knoxville and secured the game winning rebound as Tyus’s shot rolled out with 2 seconds left.
- Pearl on tonight’s game: “Florida’s playing better. They’re playing with a sense of urgency. They had two great wins last week. I think this is the third-straight year that we’ve gone there with either a conference championship or an NCAA berth at stake. In some cases for both teams.”
- Pearl on the Gators: “Chemistry, confidence, toughness and size. I think (Vernon) Macklin’s helped them in that area. I think (Dan) Werner is becoming a guy who’s a little like J.P. in that he can create, he can dish. He can create possessions with his defense. He’s a high basketball IQ guy.”
- Chism on the Gators frontline: “They are really good on the inside. They can match-up with us or anyone else in the SEC. Tyus is roaming out and making a lot of jump shots this year as well as playing better in the post. They’re a lot better there than last year. We’ve got to battle against those guys in there, that’s a key,:
- Pearl on Tennessee’s tourney hopes: “I still think we’re playing to get in. If you look around the country and there’s a lot of good teams out there and a lot of basketball left. You just don’t want to be in a position where you’re not in control of your own destiny. We’ve got to continue to approach these games like you’re playing to get in. I was in this situation a year ago. I just don’t want folks to take an invitation to the Big Dance for granted. It’s a special invitation. Every selection Sunday I get goose bumps and I get emotional because I can tell you how hard it is to get in. This year will be no different. I think the last two Sunday’s have been just ‘ok’. Two years ago, only Duke since 1985, had someone with our RPI not been a No. 1 seed. Then last year as SEC East champions we were a nine-seed. Nine is pretty close to 12 and 13 and those are the last teams in. We’ve got to keep playing.”
Coach Pearl is right we should not take the Tourney for granted, at least not yet. The men’s team is not the women’s. These past few years the senior classes are continuously setting the win’s record. This is a special time at UT and it will only get better. We need to appreciate what he is doing not just think “oh we made it again, oh boy!” Right now the Vols are a # 6 seed in Providence, RI playing Marquette with Ohio State looming in the second round. The Ladies however are a # 1 seed playing here in Knoxville with Memphis as their Sweet 16 and Elite 8 location.
PJ Polk was voted the SEC Player of the Week in the first week of the season. PJ was on fire hitting .750 batting average on 9-12 hits. He also had a 1.083 slugging %, 4 doubles, 5 singles, 2 stolen bases, 2 RBI’s, a sacrifice fly, an assist from his position in left field, and a team high 7 runs. This is the 2nd Player of the Week award PJ has earned in his career.
The BaseVols travel to Oregon State this weekend. The Beavers are 3-1 this year and have won a title 2 of the past 4 years. This will be a tough test for the vols and probably will be tougher because preseason all american Cody Hawn will more than likely sit to let his shoulder heal completely before the long season really takes start.