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Lady Vols Basketball 2010-2011: The Future is Here Today (Part 2)

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We've taken a look at the most experienced half of the Lady Vols roster; here is a look at the remaining six players that Pat Summit will wield against the opposition. 

Alyssia Brewer has been in and out of Summitt's doghouse throughout the early phase of her career.  She has moments of absolute brilliance on the court, but an apparent penchant for mental gaffes has probably kept her from seeing as much action as her potential would suggest.  Toward the end of last year, much of the flippancy seemed to have subsided and Brewer provided a lot of valuable time and allowed Kelley Cain to get some vital rest at the end of a long season.  If Cain is the centerpiece of the interior, Brewer is her compliment: a faster and slightly smaller player who will break the double-team by forcing opposing defenses to choose between the two poison pills of doubling up on Cain and leaving Brewer open or single-covering Cain and ... well ... you know the rest.  But at 6'-3", she will be a part of the 'forest of trees' lineup that UT can deploy where every single player is 6'-0" or taller (and if Johnson moves back to guard in place of Bjorklund for a spell, that minimum height increases to 6'-2").

Briana Bass is Summitt's counter to the redwoods that fill out most of the roster.  Standing at a mighty 5'-2", Bass was the unfortunate 'short stuff' who followed Shannon Bobbitt's stellar career.  Bass has been limited primarily by her ability to command the team on the court, due largely to a relatively quiet voice.  If things click for her, she becomes that maneuverable gnat that flits about the court and causes defenses to lose their positioning.  That will depend on whether her ability to process the game at full speed cements in like it did with Bobbitt.  She's had moments of brilliance on the court, however, and is definitely one of the players to keep an eye on in the early going.  A successful Bass gives Summitt a counter to the small, quick guards that have been problems in the past two years.

Kamiko Williams is the biggest enigman on the team.  To a person, she is acknowledged as the most athletic player on the court, and that athleticism did show itself on occasion last year.  Unfortunately, the 5'-11" sophomore guard has had plenty of mental errors as well, and spend much of last year in disfavor with Summitt.  But her upside is that she's very fast and maneuverable, and she can take some shots (e.g. fallaway jumpers from midrange) that most people don't practice and most defenders can't contain.  Once her mind gets in sync with her body, she will become quite the spark for the team.

Taber Spani is the 6'-1" guard/forward who had the better freshman year (between her and Williams).  Her maturity stands out, and there's no reason to believe she'll be anything but the best player she can be when she's on the court.  She has a nice three-point shot and is very fundamentally sound; this year, we're looking for her game speed to increase and her growth to continue on the curve that she started.  If anybody fits the mold of a Summitt player on the team, Spani is probably the one: hard-working, never complaining, unrelenting, and very technically sound.

Meighan Simmons is one of two brand-new freshmen that Lady Vols fans will be treated to this year.  She's a 5'-9" shooting guard who is best known for her quickness and tenacity.  Her long-range jumper is good enough to force defenders to stay close to her, but her acceleration is fast enough to make them pay for guarding too closely.  As with all freshmen, the question is how she handles game speed at the college level.

Lauren Avant rounds out the 2010-2011 Lady Vols, though last is certainly not least.  Avant is a 5'-9" point guard that looks to be the first true point guard that Tennessee will have had in several years.  She's very aggressive in transition and can push tempo, which is a huge plus for any point guard playing under The Legend.  Because she'll be expected to learn to lead the offense, her learning curve is likely longer than most players.  In the early going, look for her fundamentals and reaction time to events on the court; as those facets of her game improve, she'll be asked to handle more complex offensive sets and be more of a contributor on the team.  The hope this year is that she can provide Stricklen with some much-needed breathers in the latter half of the season; more importantly, however, is the hope that she is the solution to the point guard position for the years to come.