This season, as we take a Total Access look at Tennessee, we'll also have quick visits with the Lady Vols. Sophomore Ariel Massengale, a 5-foot-6 point guard averaging 8.2 points and 4.6 assists per game this season, stands up to our Tenn Questions survey:
1. Is there a story behind your first name, because it of course makes us think of Disney's "Little Mermaid"?
Ariel Massengale: There's no story behind my name. At first, my mom was going to name me Constance. But one of her co-workers had a daughter who was named Ariel, and that's what my mom picked … which is good. Constance is not cute to me. Ariel is just a name, and I've never asked where it came from. Or where my middle name came from. My name is supposed to be pronounced Air-ee-el, so that it rhymes with my middle name, which is Chanel. Air-ee-el Chanel. But everyone just says Ariel and my mom got tired of correcting people when I was younger. When I came to college, my mom wanted me to change it. But I said, "Mom, at this point of my life, all my teammates know me as Ariel."
2. If you could be any superhero or cartoon character, who would you be?
Massengale: Probably Shrek. No, Fiona. I love the Shrek movies. They're hilarious. When Shrek finally got married and they had the three little Shrek babies, they are the cutest things for me. They're adorable. I love that movie. (Why?) Fiona's parents wanted her to marry somebody but that's not who she was in love with. She stayed true to herself and didn't mind being ugly and being an ogre. She was in love and she was happy.
3. Did you watch cartoons growing up, and if so, which one was your favorite?
Massengale: I loved "Barney." Barney was the best. And right behind "Barney" was "Arthur." I still watch it to this day when it comes on. He and his brother, D.W., remind me of my brother and I. Oh, and I love "The Magic School Bus."
4. Who is your basketball idol, either presently or while growing up?
Massengale: On the men's side, it has to be Dwyane Wade. He's from the Chicago area. I love his game, his body control. He's so diverse he can do so many things. On the women's side, it would be Tamika Catchings.
5. When you were younger, what was your parents' favorite saying?
Massengale: If I was sitting home being lazy, my dad used to tell me there was a girl who lived in California, same age as me, but she was outside working on her game or in the gym to get better at basketball. I'd blow him off, say, "You don't know anybody who lives there. You're messing with me." But he'd say, "I'm serious. She's out there, working hard."
So then I was s sophomore in high school and came to Atlanta, where I met [Connecticut's] Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis [who is from Anaheim, Calif.]. I didn't know a girl in California really existed. But we all know how good she is. And I've never forgotten. After I met her, I ask my dad if he really knew a girl in California. He said, "I had no idea, but I told you!"
6. What's your favorite TV show?
Massengale: I kind of just got hooked on "Scandal." I love that show. I love watching "The Parkers." I could watch every episode of that show. And I love watching "Martin." And I also like the "Super Life of the American Teenager."
7. Is there one song that you have to listen to before a game?
Massengale: No, listening to music doesn't do anything for me. I do it because everybody else does it, and I can't fault them for doing that. I can listen to any gospel music.
8. What's your favorite food or pregame meal?
Massengale: My favorite food is fried chicken. I can eat anything before a game.
9. Why do you wear No. 5 at Tennessee?
Massengale: I wanted to wear No. 22 because it was my high school number. But it was retired by Coach Warlick. No. 5 was my USA [Basketball] number.
10. Finish this sentence: Life as a Lady Vol is …
Massengale: Challenging but rewarding.