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Rocky Top Talking Points: the complete continuum of maturity edition

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  • Yeah, okay, but it's home. See? I told you we can take a joke.
  • Respect for the Discombobulator. Our very own Chris Lofton has been named one of 22 finalists for this year's Wooden Award All-American Team and Wooden Award Player of the Year. The winner will be announced April 7, 2007.
  • Disrespect for the Discombobulator. What does Chris Lofton have in common with Brandan Wright, Spencer Hawes, Chase Budinger, Daequan Cook, D.J. Augustin, and Mike Conley? They're all bench players in Bill Simmons' whimsical USA Olympic basketball team. His starters would be Kevin Durant, Greg Oden, Julian Wright, Jon Scheyer, and Darren Collison. Okay, then.
  • Size. Does it matter? Something struck me while I was reading the above-linked article. Kevin Durant of Texas and Greg Oden of Ohio State, both freshmen, are also on the list. We played both this season, beating the Longhorns at home and almost beating the Buckeyes on the road. Either coach Pearl is lying to us (lie to me some more!) that our size is a weakness or he's doing an excellent job of coaching us through it.
  • Props for R. Smith. Ramar Smith has been named the SEC Freshman of the Week ($).
  • On becoming a man, Act I. Coach Fulmer has suspended Tennessee sophomore center Josh McNeil for "part" of spring practice. Why, you ask? Underage consumption and public intoxication. And still, why? I hope Fulmer gave him the tongue lashing of his life behind the scenes, but here's Fulmer's official statement:

    I am very concerned about Josh. He has embarrassed himself and his wonderful mom and dad, and he has let this team down. He will be suspended for five practices during the spring. He will not be allowed to leave for spring break and will be required to perform community service along with internal punishment. He also will be required to have an alcohol assessment to determine what measures to take for his physical and mental well-being and health. Josh is a good young man from a good family, and we will continue to try to help him as long as he tries to help himself.

    Fulmer Cup points pending.

  • On becoming a man, Act II. On a more positive note, junior running back Arian Foster is putting last year's troubles "in his back pocket" and focusing on the maturation process this year. So far, it's paying dividends.
  • On becoming a lady. Lady Vols basketball has picked up two SEC awards. The AP has named Candace Parker the SEC Player of the Year and Pat Summit its SEC Coach of the Year. Congrats, ladies.