Archive for the 'Andre Patterson' Category

Tennessee Volunteer Chris Lofton thwarts sports conspiracy-theorist’s worst fear

Friday, March 17th, 2006

It was a recipe for disaster. A sports conspiracy-theorist’s worst fear. The work of a diabolical mastermind bent on televising an upset of an over-seeded, over-confident team on a losing streak by an under-seeded, no-name school whose time had come.

Too bad Chris Lofton hadn’t read the script.

The game had turned into a defensive struggle, and the drama was building as planned. Senior and team leader C.J. Watson was sitting out extended minutes with four fouls. Coach Bruce Pearl’s spread motion offense wasn’t producing any open looks. Every time that Lofton, the team’s biggest scoring threat, tried to rub a defender off of a screen, he found himself sandwiched between two defenders instead.

With 5:00 minutes left to play and the score tied at 58, Watson finally re-entered the game. Tennessee hit a two, Winthrop hit a three. The teams traded missed opportunities, fouls, and turnovers.

With the game tied at 61 and 21 seconds remaining, Watson scambled around the perimeter awhile before stopping and popping at the top of the key. The shot was too strong, and the long rebound was grasped by six hands: Lofton’s and those of two opponents. Nobody really won this battle, but Lofton at least succeeded in pushing the ball away from the crowd, and Bradshaw ran down and secured the loose ball. Pearl called time out with 2.9 seconds left and possession of the ball.

Pearl made up a play on the spot and diagrammed it for the players. Wingate would later admit some serious confusion. “I didn’t know what was going on,” he said after the game. “Coach Pearl drew up three different diagrams and told me to go some place.” Controlled chaos without the control.

Anyway, Bradshaw positioned himself courtside to inbound the ball. Wingate decided to stand at the near post. Lofton stood at the far post, Patterson was at the top of the key, and Watson was at mid-court. The whistle blew, and all of the players moved at once.

Lofton darted to the free throw line to set a pick for Patterson, who used Lofton to scrape off his defender and headed toward the basket on the far side of the court. For a split second, Patterson was open for a lob next to the basket, but Bradshaw did not see him until Patterson’s defender caught up with him.

Meanwhile, Wingate slid toward the perimeter to set a screen for Lofton, who was continuing around the arc, his man absolutely glued to him and holding him the whole time. Lofton gained the slightest amount of separation from Wingate’s screen and raced toward the corner, looking over his right shoulder for the pass from Bradshaw. Bradshaw tossed the ball to Lofton, who awkwardly twisted and squared up to the basket in two steps. The second foot planted, he executed an amazing, high-arcing fade-away jumper over the outstretched arm of his defender.

Patterson thought it was long. Wingate thought it was short.

Lofton knew it was in.

Vols win, 63-61.

Coach Pearl began his post-game interview by ticking off a few of the more memorable finishes to games in this magical season: Lofton’s steal-and-heave to Bradshaw for a layup against Florida the first time, Bradshaw’s sweet steal-and-spin move to beat Florida the second time, and Lofton’s awkward twisting fade-away jumper with .4 seconds left for the first post-season win in what seems like forever.

Oh, and don’t forget these guys:

  • Andre Patterson had a double double;
  • Major Wingate will not have to be fed to his snakes after all, as he had one of the best games of his career, going five for eight from the field and five of six on free throws while blocking three shots. Plus, he played solid defense against Winthrop’s Craig Bradshaw, who was a handful all game.
  • Jordan Howell, who played heavy and important minutes while C.J. Watson was on the bench with foul trouble.

Bob Kesling’s call of Chris Lofton’s game-winning shot.

Coach Pearl’s post-game interview, from

Take a look at the picture of the shot just before Lofton lets it fly. Does it look like it has any chance of going in? Winthrop’s Torrell Martin, who defended Lofton on the play, didn’t think so. “It’s a one-in-a-million shot,” he said after the game. “It looked like the ball curved in.”

Tennessee Volunteer basketball team suddenly finds its weekend free

Saturday, March 11th, 2006

It was supposed to be the beginning of a reversal of fortunes for tournament play.

Instead, it was a double reverse. Same as it ever was.

The Tennessee Volunteer basketball team lost — again — its first game in the SEC Tournament. Go ahead and erase those penciled-in appointments for 1:00 today and 1:00 tomorrow. Florida or Kentucky or LSU or some other team will be SEC Champions after all.

Point guard C.J. Watson showed up with 23 points on eight of 12 shooting including three of five three-pointers. Dane Bradshaw was okay, despite having a wrist injury for over a month that requires surgery. Christ Lofton and Andre Patterson, however, had subpar games with only 12 and two points respectively.

The key to the loss, however, was probably the turnovers. Tennessee had 21 to South Carolina’s 16.

What does this mean to the Vols’ chances in the NCAA Tournament? Not sure. On the one hand, Tennessee is on a skid, losing four of their last six games. Maybe their shallow depth is showing late in the season.

On the other hand, South Carolina had seen Bruce Pearl’s controlled chaos style of play for the third time, and the conventional wisdom is that it’s just very hard to beat a good team three times. How many of the Vols’ opponents in the NCAA Tournament will have seen the odd style and have time to prepare for it?

And the Vols will get some rest now. By the time they crank up the music for the Big Dance, the team will have played only one game in almost two weeks. That should help with the legs and the hops.

Back to the other hand again, there’s the rust issue.

Is Tennessee’ basketball season down to only one more game? Or do they have one last run in them?

What do y’all think?

Volunteer basketball seniors hope to sweep the ‘Cats in final home game of magical season

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

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 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.

Tennessee Volunteer basketball team takes on Gators at 8:00, ESPN2′s The Season at 7:30

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

ESPN2 is profiling the Tennessee men’s basketball team and head coach Bruce Pearl on its reality show The Season at 7:30 p.m. tonight. The show was shot in Knoxville last week.

Apparently, the ESPN crew followed Pearl to the cafeteria, where he often eats and mingles with students in his ongoing effort to sell UT basketball, and players C.J. Watson and Andre Patterson to class.

Get an inside-the-huddle look at coach Pearl keeping the team loose by instructing Patterson and Dane Bradshaw to play rock, paper, scissors to determine who would start the second half against Georgia.

Hey, make it an evening — Jefferson Pilot is showing the Vols-Gators game at 8:00 p.m. Tune in to see how Major Wingate responds to Pearl’s public criticism of his desire.

Oh, and now seems like a good time to refer to Pat Dooley’s column on on why everybody hates the Gators (Hat tip to EDSBS). I would add a few to the list, not the least of which involves the showering of visiting fans with cups of urine and post-game murders.

Volunteer basketball fans dreaming of Big Dance

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

After its 81-65 win Saturday night against South Carolina at Thompson-Boling Arena, the Tennessee Volunteer basketball team now has the same number of wins as last year’s basketball team had all season. Going into the season, no one was sure whether the team would make it to the NIT, much less the NCAA Tournament.

Basketball coach Bruce Pearl, who gets all of the credit for the great surprise this season, has yet to admit that the Vols are headed to the Big Dance, but that’s not stopping the fans. So much for wondering whether they’ll get invited, now it’s about where they’re re going to be seeded.

Anyway, about the game:

  • The crowd at Thompson-Boling topped 20,000 for the third consecutive game, something that’s not happened since 1988. Tennessee apparently ranks 10th in the nation in home attendance with an average of 16,863 per game. They’re second to Kentucky in the SEC. The whole attendance thing is really resonating with recruits.
  • Senior Andre Patterson got his third consecutive double-double (13 points and 12 rebounds).
  • The Vols struggled — at halftime, the Vols had turned the ball over nine times and had hit just 6 of 23 3-point attempts — but won 81-65.
  • Credit team chemistry for the victory despite the adversity. Credit Coach Pearl for the chemistry. See, e.g., the Andre Patterson/Stanley Asumnu swap. Last Wednesday, Pearl removed Asumnu from the starting lineup and inserted Patterson. Both Patterson and Asunmu have responded positively. Asumnu had 10 points, four rebounds, and zero turnovers against South Carolina after a mini-slump prior to losing his starting job.
  • Tennessee out-rebounded South Carolina 43-30.
  • The Vols are first in the SEC East. Over Florida. Over Kentucky. Over the rainbow.

Getting to Know the Tennessee Volunteer Basketball Team: The Bench

Saturday, January 14th, 2006

A vital component of Tennessee Volunteer basketball coach Bruce Pearl’s “controlled chaos” style of play is a solid bench. UT forces its opponent to play the entire length of the floor and utilizes a strong bench to wear the other team out, the effect usually becoming noticeable early in the second half.

Here’s a look at two of the Vols’ key role players off the bench:

  • No. 2 JaJuan Smith, a 6’2″ sophomore guard, and 6’7″ senior forward Andre Patterson (No. 22) usually enter the game at the same time.
  • Smith, who is usually at his best in big games, is sometimes called “Juice,” and the duo calls themselves the “Bench Mob” or the “222 Duo.”
  • Smith is hitting 42.1 percent of his three-point attempts and is averaging 9.1 points per game.  Coach Pearl says that Smith is now “coachable” (an earlier problem) and occasionally has what the coach calls a “huh?” shot, but he likes Smith’s aggressive, street-ball mentality.
  • Last season, Patterson started much of the time, but he was agreeable to coach Pearl’s suggestion that he was more productive off the bench.
  • The chemistry between Smith and Patterson is one of the main reasons for the Volunteers’ early success.
  • Other key contributors off the bench include 6’3″ sophomore guard Jordan Howell and 6’9″ freshman forward Ryan Childress.

The bench play will be key tonight as the Volunteers travel to LSU to take on the Tigers.

Forthcoming Details of Volunteer Players Discipline Alarming

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

According to John Pennington, the as-yet-unknown details surrounding the dismissal of Tennessee Volunteer football player Daniel Brooks and basketball player Jemere Hendrix (and the suspension of basketball player Andre Patterson) are alarming:

This will be another embarrassment for the university, of course. . . .

Especially if some of the details I’ve heard about this situation are confirmed and are then made public (and they WILL be made public if I, or my Sentinel brethren, can get further confirmation). Heck, the fact that the UT football captains held a meeting to make sure that there was no “football team vs the basketball team” retribution might tell you how serious this thing was.

At this time, Brent Hubbs of has the most information, reporting that the fight was the culmination of an ongoing feud between Brooks and Hendrix, this round centering around Patterson not being allowed to attend a private party Saturday night. Hendrix and Patterson reportedly found Brooks on his way to class Monday morning, and fisticuffs ensued. Even though this round was not instigated by Brooks, he was on a zero-tolerance policy due to several fights over the last year or so.

UPDATE: Well, maybe not alarming, but certainly not good (subscription required).