KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s Rick Barnes doesn’t have the men’s basketball team where he wants it, and the veteran coach doesn’t hold back in his assessments of the Vols.
“I didn’t think we started the game with the kind of aggressiveness we want to play with tonight,” Barnes said after Tennessee’s 83-48 exhibition game win over Division II Slippery Rock Thursday night in Thompson-Boling Arena.
“We’re still learning a lot about these guys,” said Barnes, who has nine newcomers on the team. “I’ve said for a long time there’s not a big gap between a lot of these guys.
“There was good things, but there’s a lot of work to be done.”
More observations from Barnes:
On shooting 35-percent from 3: “We weren’t great offensively, we turned down shots we need to take. I think we’ve got a group of guys that can shoot it. I took guys out tonight for not shooting the ball.”
On Robert Hubbs III performance: “Robert will play more minutes than he played tonight. What did he play tonight, 11 minutes. He’ll probably play 13 more. He’ll lead us in minutes.”
On being out-rebounded 44-35: “We didn’t rebound the ball. That’s something we talked about. It was the second- and third-attempt rebounds that we weren’t coming up with. Some of it had to do with length, but some of it had to do with our guards (not) coming down.”
On Kwe Parker: “He’s a guy that … we think he’s a game-changing type of player. He can come in and provide some energy.”
On the half-court offense: “We took care of the ball, that was a game we were playing quick and fast, but we weren’t real smooth offensively … I don’t think we moved the ball, I don’t think we were setting scoring screens or looking for cutters.”
On having more questions to answer: “We’re too young. What we do have figured out is we have a good group of guys and we have a good team spirit about us. They are playing hard, that’s non-negotiable.”