Bruce Pearl had two pleas to Tennessee fans when he spoke briefly Wednesday at the Big Orange Tipoff Club:
Trust us, and stick with us.
“These have certainly been trying times,’’ the Vols’ basketball coach said, referring to the indefinite suspension of four of his players on gun- and drug-related charges.
UT plays its first game without the four tonight when Charlotte visits Thompson-Boling Arena.
“Trust that the leadership from the university,’’ Pearl said, “both from the administrative and the athletic level, are doing the very best we can in very difficult circumstances.
“We’ve got everybody to consider as we make these decisions (on further penalties).
“More than anything, like family, I would ask you to stay with us in the good times and stay with us in the troubled times. As we work our way through this, I ask you to trust us.
“And for the guys that remain, I’d ask you to be there for us tonight and Sunday (Kansas game) and as we go on through this season. We’re going to need you more than ever before.’’
Pearl didn’t reveal any new developments in the case involving Tyler Smith, Melvin Goins, Cameron Tatum and Brian Williams.
He said the remaining players are excited about playing Charlotte tonight.
“I don’t know how good we are,’’ Pearl said. “I can’t tell from three practices we’ve had together.
“We have absolutely destroyed the scout team, we have. And that’s good since I have nine players — we’ve destroyed those four kids every time.’’
That got a laugh from a crowd that had come to hear former Vol standout Bernard King speak.
Pearl continued: “Every guy, they all have to do more, but do more in the framework of what they do.”
Of guard Josh Bone: “Whatever you see in Josh Bone tonight, it’ll really improve as time goes on, when he gets his feet wet. He’s not a true point and I’m sure Charlotte is going to come after him hard.’’
Of forward Renaldo Woolridge, who will be making his first start: “His interior defense is going to get challenged tonight.”
Of freshman forward Kenny Hall, whose minutes in the post will increase: “Offensively, Kenny is going to be fine. Defensively is where he’ll be challenged because he’s still thin and not quite as strong as you need to be against some of the guys he’s going to be going up against.’’
Of forward Steven Pearl: He has been there three years preparing himself. His experience in Israel (at the Maccabi Games) this summer will help him tap into being out there on a big stage. His experience should get him through.’’
Jus thought id put this out there for the people who havn't read it yet.