2005 Tennessee Volunteers Basketball Preview
2005 Tennessee Volunteers Team Preview
The Vols have lost two sound shooters and rebounders in forward Brandon Crump (11.3 PPG and 5.8 RPG) and guard Scooter McFadgon (14.3 PPG and 4.0 RPG). Those two key loses have everyone asking-- where will the points come from? Tennessee was ninth in scoring in the SEC, finishing fifth in the East at 6 -10.
That’s what faces former Wisconsin-Milwaukee coach Bruce Pearl in his initial year as Tennessee's head man. Pearl enters the SEC believing that he has the possibility to get his new team to the NCAA Tournament within a year. This season the Vols will need to take some mighty big steps in starting what should be a march to the tourney sooner than their coach anticipates.
Senior guard C.J. Watson is back and that’s very good news. So is Chris Lofton which is even better. Watson, one of the leagues best point guards, was good for close to 12 points per game last year, while sophomore guard Lofton poured in 13.2 per contest in his freshman season. Watson is the veteran starter on the court with a fluid style that enables him to be a fine play maker. As a freshman Loften hit 46.5 from 3-point land, shot 48.1% from the floor, and converted 85.4% of his free throws. With a year behind him those stats could go up as long as he doesn’t hit a sophomore slump.
At center 6’ 10”, 250-pound junior Major Wingate will need to be more active, generating more than last season’s 3.0 rebounds per game. At forward senior André Patterson proved that he can bang the boards by collecting a team best average of 6.2 rebounds. Patterson is one of the team’s most accurate shooters too, which says he should be able to habitually hit double digits from the floor.
Coach Pearl’s first freshman signing was 6’ 8”, 210-pound forward Ryan Childress-- a rugged guy already able to compete in the physically tough SEC. That signing may be a sign to the entire team that it’s time to get tough, mix it up, and fight to the top of the SEC. It’s clear that Pearl has no desire to dwell in the cellar with Pearl's expertise expect a good shot at making the big dance in his inaugural season.
For more info on the 2005 Volunteers check out the official Tennessee athletic site.