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Rick Barnes looking for consistency, leadership to emerge out of sophomore class

He called out a key player.

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee Summer Practice Calvin Mattheis-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee head basketball coach Rick Barnes addressed the media for the first time this season at media day. He talked positively about his roster, praising his team’s depth.

But as any good coach does, he wants more — specifically from his key forward.

“Grant (Williams) hasn’t shown the consistency that we want him to show. There were times last year where he would dominate some practices — he hasn’t done that to this point. Hopefully that’s because we’ve improved,” Barnes said of his stud sophomore forward.

Williams — an undersized post presence — emerged as one of Tennessee’s top players last season. He averaged 12.6 points per game and 5.9 rebounds per game last season.

Barnes went on to admit that he was concerned about how Williams would follow up his outstanding freshman campaign. “It’s human nature to sit back and relax and think that they’ve gotten things done. But I can tell you, Grant, Jordan Bone, Jordan Bowden — they’ve all improved.

He continued, “It’s not just the numbers, it’s the mental side of it. How much are they going to embrace being a leader? What you look for is consistency. We haven’t gotten that from all of the guys in the sophomore class right now.”

You have to love Barnes’ direct tone. He’s not afraid to call his guys out and send them messages through the media. He’ll tell you exactly how he feels about his team. Today, he sounded pretty confident, but he’s never going to stop pushing his guys.