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Vols Hoops Notebook: Cuonzo Martin media luncheon at Grant Ramey

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Vols Hoops Notebook: Cuonzo Martin media luncheon

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Tennessee Missouri BasketballOn Jarnell Stokes not getting the ball most of the second half at Missouri:

“There was definitely plays called for him. I think more than that, I thought our guys on the perimeter had some good looks and they shot the ball. But you have to do a better job of getting it inside to him, even if I have to throw it inside to him myself as a coach from the sidelines.

“And we watched film as a team, there were opportunities. And I think there were a couple times where I didn’t think he posted aggressively to get the ball. Like I told Jarnell, sometimes you have to come off the block and get it. You might not get the deep post that you would like to just catch and shoot, but come off the block.

“It’s tough, but you have to take that double team if it’s coming, and just find guys. I thought he did a great job of really, especially in the first half, of finding guys when they doubled him, making plays. He does a really good job with that anyway. Keeping balls alive offensively.

“But I think from our standpoint, me as a coach, we’ve got to really lock in on that, make sure he gets the ball. He’s a very unselfish player. I’d like him to be more selfish, or more assertive, especially around the rim. Because that’s just not his nature to shoot balls, because we’ve to get the ball to him, and our guards gotta do a great job of really finding him.

“And sometimes, like I told our guys, it’s gonna be tough passes because the way teams hover around him. We’ve gotta try to punch it in there.”

On if he feels the pressure surrounding his job:

“Not at all. I just think as a coach you have to do your job, that’s the bottom line. You stay locked in on what you need to do to be successful. Because, I mean, I’m constantly watching film, doing my job, whatever it takes for our team to be successful. Put forth the best game plan for your game to be successful.

“I think that’s what you do as a coach. You don’t consume yourself with the peripheral, whatever pressures. I don’t think anybody or anything can put more pressure on me than myself.”

On his team not playing well late in close games:

“I think in some cases, you can always say execution when it comes down the stretch of ball games. I think for us, again we watched film on it, it’s some of the execution on the defensive side of the ball. We always talk about execution offensively, but it’s the same thing on the other side of the ball. I just think, down the stretch, getting your key stop on a guy like (Missouri’s Jabari) Brown, force him to go left as opposed to going right. He made a couple plays going right. We did such a great job down the stretch of making him go left, and forcing him to make plays, and it was tough for him. But you allow him to go right and he makes plays.

“Just different things like that. Because it goes both ways on both ends of the floor.”

On if the problem is his players playing tight late in close games:

“I just go back to my days as a (player). I don’t know if you call it nerves, but I was locked in to games like that. Nerves, tight, butterflies, whatever the case may be down the stretch of games. I think that’s when you get sharp on both ends of the floor.

“But you have to step up. If there’s an open shot, you have to knock it down. You have to take care of the basketball. You have to carry out assignments, whether offense or defense. But you have to have execution.”

On calling timeouts after a made 3-point field goal by his team:

“Two things: One, if you have guys (with) long minutes. Say, for instance, you have Jarnell’s out there the whole time, Jordan McRae, let’s get some rest. Then all of a sudden, if we broke down on the previous play offensively, if we’re on defense, ‘Guys, this is what we need to do. Keep this guy going left.’ Whatever the case may have been.

“Either way, it’s either rest or let’s carry out these assignments on the other end of the floor. And I like to do it after a made shot like that because now the guys are calm, they’ve got a piece of mind, as opposed to all of a sudden teams making a run. ‘Let’s lock in, guys. Let’s get back to where we need to be, let’s focus on certain things and keep moving forward.’”

On balancing taking a timeout after a made 3 and not killing momentum created by the made shot:

“Just what I feel. How I feel the guys (are in) the flow of it. If we’re down, if we’re up, depending on the situation, home, road. Just real feel. For the most part, it’s how guys physically look, how they feel, exhausted, drained. Let’s get a timeout, gather yourself, get ready to go.”

Written by Grant Ramey

February 17th, 2014 at 10:31 am