This Tennessee Fan's Warming Up To Cuonzo Martin

The official press conference announcing Cuonzo Martin as Tennessee's next head basketball coach is today at 2:30 Eastern. The RTT open thread will open at 2:00.

From all reports, the press conference will likely be the next step for Tennessee fans slowly transitioning from "Who?" to "Okay" to "All right then," much the same way we did with Derek Dooley barely more than a year ago. And boy, doesn't this sound familiar, too: A GVX article on Martin says that "what matters is whether Martin can win over the shell-shocked players he inherits." Yeah. This time next year, we may very well be saying that 2011-12 was Martin's Year Zero.

Is "staples" a style? Fomer Purdue coach Gene Keady says that Martin will focus on the bread, eggs, and milk:

Keady said he expects Martin will bring Tennessee some of the staples that he learned at Purdue, such as tough defense and rebounding.

"We did a lot of defensive drills, and we did a lot of block-out drills in our practices,’’ Keady said. "Rebounding drills, stance, helping each other on defense; I really would have liked to have pressed more, but we didn’t have enough quickness to stay with it.

"I think you will see good defense, they will rebound well, they will take good shots and they will work hard,’’ he said. "I remember when he was a sophomore he was 0-for-6 from the 3-point line, and then as a junior he made 88 (3-pointers).

"So he’ll expect his players to work hard in the offseason.’’

That sounds like a promising start, as does this: Martin's a finalist for not one, but two national coaching awards, the Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year Award (honoring the top mid-major coach) and the Ben Jobe Award (honoring the top minority head coach in Division I). Both awards are presented during Final Four weekend.

I'm going to take Martin winning the Ben Jobe award as a sign because we Tennessee fans have been Job for the past several seasons. Ha. I kill me.

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