3-point shot: Vols' Italian experience

August, 24, 2012
8/24/12
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1. What did Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin learn about the Vols on the recent trip to Italy? "Jarnell Stokes and Yemi Makanjuola are more explosive; Trae Golden did a good job running the team and he really exerted energy on the defensive end; Jeronne Maymon is healthy." Martin, whose squad should be in the top four in the SEC with Kentucky, Florida and Missouri, also said the Vols got great experience playing together in tough atmospheres, got plenty of reps for the newcomers and the extra practice time on fundamentals was a must. The team bonding was invaluable for a squad and staff that is entering its second season together. Meanwhile, the Vols lost freshman guard Derek Reese for the next six months due to right shoulder surgery. But the Vols actually have depth and Martin said it won’t hurt UT at this time. The Vols finished 10-6 in the SEC, 19-15 overall and lost to Middle Tennessee State in the NIT second round.

2. Wyoming head coach and former Florida assistant coach Larry Shyatt has been organizing a coaching clinic for fellow colleagues the past 29 years, with this year's event the ninth straight in Gainesville. The clinic has been a major hit for coaches in their professional growth. NBA and college coaches get together to discuss their own specialties. The roster of coaches that were attendance this week from college basketball reached all levels with Shyatt, Florida’s Billy Donovan, Purdue’s Matt Painter, Pitt’s Jamie Dixon, San Diego’s Bill Grier, UTEP’s Tim Floyd, UNC-Wilmington’s Buzz Peterson, Wofford’s Mike Young, UCF’s Donnie Jones, Bucknell’s Dave Paulsen and Weber State’s Randy Rahe highlighting the list of head college coaches. Shyatt, Dixon and Grier said they were enriched by the clinic and it aided in their professional development.

3. The 16-team NIT Season Tip-Off still isn’t finalized despite a number of schools starting the fall semester. The NIT is still waiting for one more team to fill a pod. That means the four hosts -- Kansas State, Virginia, Pitt and Michigan -- still don’t know how the bracket would be set if they all advanced to New York for the Thanksgiving week tournament. The NIT won’t tell the four schools the exact pairings since the final team may force a possible change in the other pods. The NIT is the only remaining pre-conference tournament that leads to a neutral site without predetermining the semifinalists.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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