The early, EARLY staff/team assessment thread

#1

lvocd

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#1
I’ve got to head out to work now, but I thought I’d get this started first.

Quickly, if I were to give a letter-grade based on my early impression of the job the staff is doing — ALL of the staff, including social media staff — I would give them an “A.” The players get a A-, but only because they’re missing too many shots at close range. That’s a focus issue, which is 100% on them.

Only five games in we can already see steady increments of improvement, JUST as Kellie mandated from the start. The players have obviously bought in.

You might say, “A-minus? With all those turnovers?” My answer is “Yes!” That the team is already beginning to reduce turnovers even before the staff has made that a top priority is really, really encouraging.

I look at Jordan Horston and think, “Now THAT’s a kid who is not being (mis)coached into playing tentatively. She is being allowed time to go out there and mix it up... to get a feel for the college game and what she can do, can’t do, and needs to work on. But, thank goodness, she’s not being reeled in too early and made to feel like she can’t try things. Yes, she occasionally tries something that doesn’t work, but man oh MAN! I sure like how she works!!! Eventually, with more experience, her decision-making is going to match her skills and then WATCH OUT. I just got goosebumps thinking about it.

In short, I am crazy about this team and staff. More later...
 
#2

Tennesseefan2019

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#2
I’ve got to head out to work now, but I thought I’d get this started first.

Quickly, if I were to give a letter-grade based on my early impression of the job the staff is doing — ALL of the staff, including social media staff — I would give them an “A.” The players get a A-, but only because they’re missing too many shots at close range. That’s a focus issue, which is 100% on them.

Only five games in we can already see steady increments of improvement, JUST as Kellie mandated from the start. The players have obviously bought in.

You might say, “A-minus? With all those turnovers?” My answer is “Yes!” That the team is already beginning to reduce turnovers even before the staff has made that a top priority is really, really encouraging.

I look at Jordan Horston and think, “Now THAT’s a kid who is not being (mis)coached into playing tentatively. She is being allowed time to go out there and mix it up... to get a feel for the college game and what she can do, can’t do, and needs to work on. But, thank goodness, she’s not being reeled in too early and made to feel like she can’t try things. Yes, she occasionally tries something that doesn’t work, but man oh MAN! I sure like how she works!!! Eventually, with more experience, her decision-making is going to match her skills and then WATCH OUT. I just got goosebumps thinking about it.

In short, I am crazy about this team and staff. More later...
I like this team they have a lot more energy and hustle than the 2018-2019 team did and they're much better coached
 
#3

OrangeBeachVol

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#3
I think winning the first 5 games has gone a long way in the players buying in to what the coaches are teaching them. When you see it works you want to do it. And using a lot of players both builds depth and keeps players happy. i think when SEC games start the rotation will have to be shorted some. Horston looks like she will live up to the hype and having a coaching staff that can coach her up instead of bring her down is huge plus.
 
#4

jeff1vol

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#4
I've criticized the LV's for sloppy play, etc. Which was fairly warranted, IMO.

BUT... I ALWAYS give credit when it's due and the LV's shot the ball MUCH better than they have all year. Even though they still miss too many bunnies. That needs to be fixed ASAP if they have ANY hope of being successful this year in the SEC.

Horston has a chance to be "special". She just needs to slow down and bit and not get SO excited that she loses control.
 
#5

ttharpe

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#5
Great post, lvocd!

I’m glad we now have a coach who has a vision for the team as a whole, as well as each individual player’s development. We will have bumps in the road, but I don’t think player/team regression will take place, which REALLY bodes well with the young team we have.
 
#7

Volfan2012

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#7
Were further along defensively than offensively. How good we'll be offensively will depend on people finishing shots when the point guards set them up with shots they should make. A few of the turnovers have been players not able to catch the ball when the passes were great. You also have to wonder how long some players will get the extended minutes they are getting. Horston 11.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in 24 minutes a game you have to think you want her in there a lot more like 32 maybe as much as 35 in some games. Same for Davis 27 minutes a game. Massengill in at 25 minutes a game. This is our most efficient guard combo Horston and Davis on the wings and Massengill dishing. Love Burrell as far as energy but when you see her numbers your cringe 34 percent from the field, 23 percent from the three, and 40 percent from the free throw line. Burrell makes a lot happen but she seldom cashes in for points. Inside play has been fine as Key and KK have combined to average 15.4 points and 11 rebounds in 34 minutes between them we can live with that all season especially if they are shooting 55 percent as a duo as they have thus far.
 
#11

Voltopia

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#11
I dig the enthusiasm but we've barely scratched the season. How often did our previous coach get the team to 7-0 or 8-0 before more disciplined programs overtook it? And yeah, they look more organized, and better coached in many situations, but ... it's only been a few games. The SEC schedule will prove out what this first year means for Tennessee. If you look at the dominant programs, they *own* their conferences. That's what happens in a sport with low to moderate parity like this one. If Tennessee owns the SEC this season, and can get a plus of winning some of the big games against the likes of Notre Dame, Stanford, and yes, Connecticut, then let's start firing up the superlatives.

But let's also not pull out the knives when this team takes steps back, because it's likely to happen. Zero to sixty is something few coaches can pull out of their rears; that's usually where a good coach takes over a roster that already had talent but didn't have the execution around that talent necessary to free it up to produce (see also: Chris Lofton).
 
#12

lvocd

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#12
But let's also not pull out the knives when this team takes steps back, because it's likely to happen.
I keep preaching that, too, but I know that the pitchforks will come out within a nanosecond of the final buzzer the first time this team stumbles. It’s both a blessing and a curse to be a part of a passionate fanbase when that fanbase too often takes an all-or-nothing attitude. I fully expect this team in this transition year to go through some painful growing pains. And when they do lose, I WON’T be one of those fans who start acting like nothing has changed from last year because — I’m calling it early — THAT’LL BE A LOAD OF BULLSH T.
 
#13

VolBall09

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#13
I've criticized the LV's for sloppy play, etc. Which was fairly warranted, IMO.

BUT... I ALWAYS give credit when it's due and the LV's shot the ball MUCH better than they have all year. Even though they still miss too many bunnies. That needs to be fixed ASAP if they have ANY hope of being successful this year in the SEC.

Horston has a chance to be "special". She just needs to slow down and bit and not get SO excited that she loses control.
I truly believe she doesn’t need to slow down, her teammates need to catch up. That will come with playing time. She makes a lot of beautiful passes her teammates aren’t expecting because they don’t feel open. She has incredible court vision and reads the defense very well for a young player. As they gel and get used to playing with one another at least half those turnovers will be layups instead.

Burrell still needs to slow down a bit. She has awesome potential too but her brain gets ahead of her feet too much still. She knows what she wants to do, but she’s already mentally made the move before she gets there. Hopefully it becomes more natural for her.
 
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#14

JFP

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#14
The most talented and formidable team to put on the floor at one time is: Tamari center, Lou forward, Ray forward, Rennia guard,
Jordan guard.
 
#15

VolBall09

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#15
The most talented and formidable team to put on the floor at one time is: Tamari center, Lou forward, Ray forward, Rennia guard,
Jordan guard.
I would agree with this, that lineup has both foot speed (aside from Lou on her bum knee) and size. I would swap Lou and Rennia though. Rennia is a matchup problem for a ton of teams playing the 3/4. You either guard her small and she’ll post you up or go big and she’ll beat you from the perimeter. Lou is a better set shooter and makes great passes around the top. She doesn’t appear to have much of a back to the basket game though. She’s definitely a face-up player. I suspect as time moves on we will see this lineup a lot. I still like Rae coming off the bench though. She’s a real spark, a great effort player/rebounder and makes the most of her minutes. She could have a real case for 6th woman of the year in the SEC this season.
 
#16

Volfan2012

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#16
Last year team ended up giving up 1.12 points per field goal attempt and after five games had a 0.93 points per field goal attempt on defense. After five games this season the average is 0.78 per attempt and the goal would be to be under 1.00 for the entire season. I tend to be optimistic about this team barring no more injuries to key players but still to early to define how good this team can be. Seems almost certain we can do better than the 19 and 13 of last season. I think we could finish anywhere from 13 and 3 to 10 and 6 in the SEC don't see us doing any worse than 10 and 6 in the league.
 
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#17

madtownvol

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#17
The most talented and formidable team to put on the floor at one time is: Tamari center, Lou forward, Ray forward, Rennia guard,
Jordan guard.
When is Massengill going to get some love? She has been doing very well at PG and getting better with each outing.

I think the teams "best" five is Key, Davis, Brown, Horston, and Massengill. As it stands though, KK is starting to make a case for herself as deserving a spot in that top 5 but again, she and Key will share a lot of minutes so who starts is really academic. The telling thing will be who finishes in close games.

Right now, Rae is the 6th person spark and she is well suited to that role and she will probably logs as many or more minutes than Lou in most games.

Harris is showing that she can also come in and make positive contributions. Her improvement is quite impressive.

I feel pretty good about those 8. Let's hope the team can dodge any other serious injuries because I don't think Rennie, Saunders are really going to be ready for conference competition this season.

Have not seen enough of McCoy to assess what she can bring.
 
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#19

lvocd

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#19
Have not seen enough of McCoy to assess what she can bring.
I have a very good feeling that McCoy could end up being the strongest, toughest post player we’ve got. She seems like the type of player who just needs to get more consecutive game minutes to build chemistry with Jaz, Rennia, Jordan and Lou. She really hasn’t played much, but in the two games she started it was Jaiden who calmly, cooly scored Tennessee’s first points in both games. That tells me she’s likely not be hampered by early-game jitters like some players are.

I can’t wait to watch her shine. And how cool is it that Kellie’s got Tamari, Kasi AND Jaiden that she’ll be able to play? We’re rich!
 
#22

Volfan2012

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#22
We'll have to stay consistent on the shooting and shot selection part of the game. Still have a couple players that need to be reeled in and play in a more team concept. Some players are already knowing and fitting into their roles. Some still trying to figure it out. Very weak from the foul line thus far got to get better making the free ones. On defense I think were gonna be a really good team. When players know what to do and where to be they don't forget. The improvement against the dribble drive has been impressive. Very few uncontested threes. Now playing defense without fouling is where we need some improvement. You must keep teams off the foul line because if they can't get there really weakens any teams offense.
 
#23

Amb3096

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#23
I would agree with this, that lineup has both foot speed (aside from Lou on her bum knee) and size. I would swap Lou and Rennia though. Rennia is a matchup problem for a ton of teams playing the 3/4. You either guard her small and she’ll post you up or go big and she’ll beat you from the perimeter. Lou is a better set shooter and makes great passes around the top. She doesn’t appear to have much of a back to the basket game though. She’s definitely a face-up player. I suspect as time moves on we will see this lineup a lot. I still like Rae coming off the bench though. She’s a real spark, a great effort player/rebounder and makes the most of her minutes. She could have a real case for 6th woman of the year in the SEC this season.
They tried playing Rennia at the 4 last season, and she was getting abused. She's too slight to defend P5 posts.

Her best spot is at the wing. If only one of Tennessee's 6'3+ posts had a consistent mid range jumper and some mobility (sorry Lou). They could go big in the post.
 
#24

FrozenLVFan

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#24
They tried playing Rennia at the 4 last season, and she was getting abused. She's too slight to defend P5 posts.

Her best spot is at the wing. If only one of Tennessee's 6'3+ posts had a consistent mid range jumper and some mobility (sorry Lou). They could go big in the post.
We need to see how Jaiden fits in. I haven't seen enough of her to know how far out she can really shoot.
 

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