Tennessee’s men’s basketball team held its annual Media Day on Thursday morning. Coach Rick Barnes kicked things off with a press conference which led into a gathering of players at Pratt Pavilion.
The whole team seemed very laid back, especially with the expectations that are on this squad for the 2018-2019 season. This group of players is led by a coach who is expecting big things from his returning squad. However, he made it clear the coaches wanted to keep them uncomfortable during workouts, playing guys at different positions to keep them on their toes.
Admiral Schofield made it clear last season was something he and his teammates expected, though the media thought otherwise. Schofield said his biggest memory from last season was the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game against Kentucky. “I thought we kind of broke down in the game, not as a unit, but we got away from who we were for a couple minutes that allowed the lead we had go away,” he said.
“Everything we did last year, I expected us to do, that’s why I thought media day was hilarious by people telling us we’re 13th, because I knew in my head that our hard work would pay off. It’s about us getting better and playing towards our standard,” he added
Lamonte Turner smiled when asked about the facility upgrades. “We love our new locker room, all the things the community and university has done for us, the support and everything else, it’s a great feeling, we’re very appreciative and happy,” Turner said.
I asked Turner about which he prefers most, playing at home or on the road. “I love our fans, they are the best, but there’s nothing like going on the road with people you don’t even know yelling at you and being able to quite them down, I’d say it’s one of the best feelings,” Turner said.
This team will not catch anyone off guard this season, but the way these young men compose themselves, I also don’t believe rankings will go to their heads. The players have a common purpose, win as a team and lose as a team.
This team has the talent and chemistry to win another SEC title. As the players reminded me often, they also look forward to Vol Nation being there with them for the ride.