KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s men’s basketball team might not have gotten much bigger from a season ago, but Coach Rick Barnes and his players believe the Vols have gotten better.
“We’ve got a group of guys that have really come together in terms of the culture, where they are working to help each other,” Barnes said. “We’re more skilled overall. I think we’re a better passing team, and we don’t have a lot of size, but we have more than a year ago.”
Barnes reiterated at Wednesday’s Media Day in the Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Studio what he said last week in Nashville at Bridgestone Arena, that he couldn’t pick a starting lineup right now.
The Vols biggest concern, Barnes said, is the lack of size he referenced in his initial team breakdown — Tennessee has just one player taller than 6-foot-8, 218-pound sophomore Kyle Alexandar.
Freshman Grant Williams, a 6-foot-5, 234-pounder from Charlotte, N.C., explained how the Vols plan to compensate for their lack of size, and what Vols can expect out of this season’s team.
“It’s about being one of the toughest teams in the country,” Williams said. “It’s playing with strength and skill … and learning to be quick in the post.
“You have to be mentally tough and learn to take away their bodies.”
The Vols will have a closed scrimmage with Davidson on Saturday before going on display in a Nov. 3 exhibition game against Slippery Rock in Knoxville.
Tennessee opens the season on Friday, Nov. 11, against Chattanooga in Thompson-Boling Arena.