Tennessee Volunteer basketball fans get a chance to honor C.J. Watson, Stanley Asumnu, and Andre Patterson during tonight’s game against the Kentucky Wildcats. The three seniors will attempt to do what was almost unimaginable this time last year: sweep the dreaded Wildcats in front of a sold-out Thompson-Boling Arena and the world’s first gigantic, human orange and white checkerboard.
As VolQuest.com put it:
With a win, Tennessee sweeps the regular season series for the first time since the 1998-99 season, and would give Pearl a very impressive 4-0 mark against his two biggest division rivals in Kentucky and Florida. Not a bad way to punctuate your maiden voyage through the SEC.
Not a bad way for the seniors to say goodbye, either.
Coach Pearl’s thoughts on Watson:
He just does it all for us and he’s logged a lot of minutes. This league has got the best point guard play in college basketball. C.J. has to bring it every single night, and he has on most all occasions. He’ll go down as one of the best point guards in the history of Tennessee basketball, and especially now that he’s got a championship, that will add credibility to his legacy.
He’s got a great future. He will make an NBA roster. He’s just going to be one of those guys that plays for a long time because he can defend, he can run a team, he can make open shots and he’s a really smart player. He’s really, really good off the ball.
Pearl also had some good things to say about Patterson despite the fact that he introduced himself by suspending him:
Andre has been one of those guys, that if you look back at our preseason comments, we said he had to step up. I felt like of all our players, Andre had more to give, and he has stepped up. He’s still an undersized player in the SEC who is our best rebounder. He’s one of our best inside scorers and a guy that’s able to take the ball to the basket and break defenses down.
I feel closer to Andre as the season has progressed. There was a lot of discipline involved and a lot of tough love early. Andre has made progress, but he had a ways to go. His experience has helped us win basketball games.
If you can get tickets to tonight’s game, go and become part of the checkerboard. If you can’t get tickets, tune in. Regardless of what happens the rest of the season, the 2005-2006 team should be remembered and revered as one of the greatest stories in the history of Tennessee basketball. The team has over-achieved its way from obscurity to a national top 10 ranking and positioned itself for a run in the Big Dance.
Tonight will be the last opportunity for the home crowd to show the senior leaders of the team their appreciation for the magical season.