Discussion

CBB Summer Buzz: Tennessee

Bruce Pearl is gone, and the Cuonzo Martin era begins in Knoxville

Updated: August 11, 2011, 6:46 PM ET
By LaRue Cook | ESPN Insider

Insider knows you're hot for hoops during the summer, so we're bringing you a closer look at a few of the big-profile schools before most freshmen have even moved into their dorms. We continue with Tennessee.

Tennessee Volunteers

2010-11: 19-15, NCAA tournament -- round of 64

When Insider requested an interview with new Tennessee head man Cuonzo Martin, the school hinted that he was just too busy during the July recruiting period. And we can't blame him.

Not only did the Vols lose the face of their program in Bruce Pearl -- the man who made Creamsicle orange a fashionable color on the basketball court again -- freshman Tobias Harris and junior Scotty Hopson decided to enter the 2011 NBA draft.

The duo accounted for 373 (44.6 percent) of Tennessee's 837 made field goals last season and took 42.4 percent of the team's shots, and both played more than 68 percent of available minutes. As if matters weren't bad enough, seniors Melvin Goins, Brian Williams and John Fields graduated -- there go 208 more field goals. What remains is a senior who averaged 8.8 points per game (Cameron Tatum), a senior who played in just eight games (Renaldo Woolridge) and a handful of Pearl's recruits who have yet to pan out considering their potential.

So we understand -- Martin should have hit the recruiting trail the minute the NCAA gave him the go-ahead. "He's not Bruce Pearl," says assistant Jon Harris, who was under Martin at Missouri State and was the head coach's first hire. "But he's a guy these fans are going to love. Coach Martin isn't flamboyant, but I've never seen a guy work harder -- he just does it under the radar."


To read the complete Summer Buzz preview on the Tennessee Volunteers, you must be an ESPN Insider.

MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES