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Balanced Praise For Scotty Hopson And The Tennessee Basketball Team

  • "Mixed bag" seems to be the general consensus about the Vols' 73-67 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks last night. Bruce Pearl was leading the charge of balancing compliments and criticism, calling out Cam Tatum for going 1-6 from the free throw line ("That's OK for a freshman. That's not OK for Cam.") and turning right around and praising him for doing a "nice job of redeeming himself" defensively. He loved Scotty Hopson "attacking the rim," but bemoaned the fact that neither Hopson nor Tobias Harris had any assists. The balance theme trickled down to the players, too, as Melvin Goins, who had more assists in the first half (4) than he had in the prior three games combined, said, "It felt good, but we have a lot of work to do." Yes on both counts. Good.
  • Hopson himself, though, was so stoked after not one, not two, but three Sport Center highlight dunks and an excellent all-around game that he came out of character a bit and responded to hearing Pearl's complaint about his lack of assists by smiling and saying, "Hey, I'm a two. My job is to score." (duplicate link). And he really enjoyed doing it, too, especially his two-handed throw down:

    "The first one, when I jumped over the guy, that was nice," Hopson said. "But that two-hand one, I liked that one. I liked the two-hand one. I threw that one down with authority. That was tough. Yeah, I liked the two-hand.

    "I’ve already got some posters up right now. But, yeah, if they come out, I’ll definitely get them.

    "Print ‘em up, I’ll put ‘em on the wall."

    So Hopson's getting some well-deserved high praise -- from his coach, his fans, and himself -- after last night, and if he comes out and does it again the next game and the game after that, then I'm going to say that he's ready for the furniture.
  • You can find highlights of the game here. Here's Pearl's post-game presser:

  • Season ticket prices for football are going up $30 from $360 to $390. In light of an acknowledgment that "all of us understand we're not where we want to be right now on the product side," the spin (it's sort of an anti-spin, because they say it but say it's not a factor in the decision) is that the cost-per-game is actually going down because there are eight home games next year. Okay. Hope not only floats, it sells.
  • Mark Pancratz has thoughts on what it means to "treat every game and every opponent the same." If you're not reading his blog daily, you're missing out.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the McBeiber.