Archive for the 'Dane Bradshaw' Category

A glimpse: 8-4 knee injury expunged on schedule due to overachievement in the NIT

Friday, May 12th, 2006


I’m a Realist breaks down the 2006 Tennessee Volunteer football team and predicts we’ll go 8-4.  Running back Montario Hardesty, who missed most of last season after tearing the ACL in his right knee, will undergo another surgery for a less serious injury to his left knee suffered during spring practice.  He’s expected to be available this fall.  At least projected starting running back Arian Foster’s recovery is on schedule.

Senior linebacker Marvin Mitchell received diversion on his May 1 disorderly conduct charge. The misdemeanor will be expunged from his record as long as he stays out of trouble for the next 30 days and pays court costs.  Coach Fulmer said that he’ll be allowed to return to the team if he remains incident-free and faces the team’s internal punishment.

Basketball observes that the fact that 6-4 forward Dane Bradshaw played his power forward position so well even though he was undersized made an impression on recruits, who reasoned that the coaches must know what they’re doing if they can get their players to over-achieve like Bradshaw did.

The Volunteer basketball team was chosen along with North Carolina, Gonzaga, and Indiana as one of the top four seeds in the pre-season NIT.  We’ll open the pre-season against Fordham in Nashville.

A Glimpse: Basketball awards; graduating prisoners

Saturday, May 6th, 2006

The Volunteer basketball team had its annual pat each other on the back postseason awards banquet last night, and the following awards were presented:

  • JaJuan Smith and Major Wingate were named the most-improved players.  (Okay, I’ll play along with that one.)
  • Dane Bradshaw took home the Team Before Self Award and the John Stucky Lifter of the Year Award.  (Good, good, good.
  • The Burchfield-Moss Most Courageous Award went to Jordan Howell.  (Hmmm.  Not sure what this is about.  Any ideas?)

Basketball head coach Bruce Pearl is still trying to fill his assistant coaching vacancy.

Offensive Coordinator David Cutcliffe took quarterbacks Jonathan Crompton and Bo Hardegree with him to a graduation ceremony at the Morgan County Correctional Facility where coach Cut addressed prisoners who were receiving their GED or a vocational trade certificate.  That ought to give EDSBS something to play with.

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’s first opponent Winthrop motivated by low seed

Sunday, March 12th, 2006

The Tennessee Volunteer basketball team is overjoyed with its No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Its opponent, Winthrop, is not.

A four-and-six close to a season, the Dane Bradshaw cat-out-of-the-bag wrist injury, Chris Lofton’s struggles to get open, the team’s wading-pool depth, and a penchant for early exits in tournament season.

An opponent with something to prove.

Could spell trouble for the Volunteers.

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?

Bradshaw’s sweet steal-and-spin move seals Vols’ victory over Gators

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

A thing of beauty.

No, not coach Bruce Pearl’s game-long impersonation of a soaker hose. Definitely not that.

And no, not Noah’s multiple blood-seeping facial lacerations. Well, maybe that.

And no, not the over-contrasted Jefferson-Pilot telecast of the game, rendering all things orange the color, saturation, and hue of a solar flare instead. Somebody please tell me it’s not my t.v.

No, the thing of beauty was Dane Bradshaw’s game-sealing play of the game.

With the game tied at 72 with 18.8 seconds remaining and the Gators’ Corey Brewer inbounding the ball at half court, the Gators just need to hold the ball for the last shot. If it goes in, they win. If not, they go to overtime.

When the whistle blows, Brewer’s fake pass to his left is tracked inch-for-inch by the long arms and big body of Tennessee’s Major Wingate. Brewer shakes Wingate to the right before attempting a bounce pass back to the left, but Bradshaw explodes out of Wingate’s shadow to get a hand on the ball at the top of the key.

Several things then happen all at once.

Four players — Bradshaw, still looking for a handle on the ball, two Gators, and Vol guard C.J. Watson all converge on the ball. One Gator sprawls to the floor after bumping into Watson. Meanwhile, Bradshaw gets traction on the ball and does a sweet, sweet, sweet 360 spin move away from the remaining defender, covers the distance to the basket in a single step, and finger-rolls the ball into the goal.

Brewer stands slack-jawed at the top of the key, and coach Pearl wets the sole remaining dry spot on his two-thousand dollar suit.

On the other end, Brewer misses a three-point attempt, and the Gators foul Chris Lofton, who clinches it with two free throws. Vols win 76-72, sweep the hated Florida Gators, hit the 20-win mark, and clinch the SEC East Championship. They are well on their way to a No. 2 seed in the Big Dance.

All after beginning the season unranked.

Somebody say sweet!

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.

Dane Bradshaw quickly becoming the face of Volunteer basketball

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

The Tennessean has a nice article on junior forward Dane Bradshaw, who is becoming the face of Tennessee Volunteer basketball.

Tennessee Volunteer basketball win over Florida Gators has Knoxville buzzing

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

A day after the Tennessee Volunteers’ huge win over the Florida Gators, and Knoxville is still buzzing:

“It was like Knoxville was a different town today, you know?” Pearl said. “I can still feel the excitement.”No doubt, the carryover from the Vols’ 80-76 upset over No. 2 and previously unbeaten Florida has been impressive.

Turn on the radio to get a taste of what’s being discussed in every barber shop and office water cooler.

What’s just as remarkable as Knoxville’s transformation to a basketball town is the short time it’s taken Pearl to put the pieces in place to make it all happen.

Pearl said Friday it’s more than just his team’s fast start, which has the Vols 12-3 overall and 3-1 SEC, on the brink of cracking today’s Top 25 polls.

“The fans aren’t coming (Saturday) night because we’re winning,” Pearl said Friday. “They’re coming because of the effort our players our putting out.”

The players, in turn, put out the effort because they believe in Pearl. Already, Pearl’s fan-friendly ways have rubbed off on his players.

The actual game atmosphere was apparently something not seen since football season.  Well, since the beginning of football season.

Fans camped out (yes, this is Knoxville, but it’s still winter) to get tickets to the sold out game, and coach Bruce Pearl gave them pizzas and a pep talk while they waited.

At C.J. Watson’s suggestion, the players entered the arena through the crowd in sort of a mini Vol Walk.  Football coach Phillip Fulmer and his wife and Lady Vols coach Pat Summit were on hand to lend their support.

As for the game itself, the team reminded me of a yippy little dog nipping at the heels of an oversized opponent, more of a nuisance than anything else.  It looked like they were playing as well as they could, but that it would not be enough.

With only a few minutes remaining, though, they tied the game and then traded leads until the end, when they finally pulled ahead.  There were a couple of moments when it looked like poor shot selection was going to doom them, but Chris Lofton made the play of the game when he intercepted the ball on a Gators 2-on-1 break and heaved the ball the length of the floor to Dane Bradshaw, who converted a lay-up to seal the victory.

The fans rushed the court in celebration.  If there had been goal posts, they would have been torn down.

A great win for the basketball Vols.

Tough Tennessee Volunteer basketball team makes Memphis earn its 88-79 victory

Thursday, January 19th, 2006

The Tennessee Volunteer basketball team, led by Memphis native Dane Bradshaw, gave the Memphis Tigers all they could handle but couldn’t quite escape with a win. Bradshaw led the uprising:

[He] was the catalyst, scoring a career-high 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting while pulling down a team-high 10 rebounds. He also had a team-high four assists and a game-high five steals.

“To have a double-double and fill up the stat sheet,” UT coach Bruce Pearl said. “What more can you say about Dane?”

Memphis fans chanted “Mem-phis Re-ject” at Bradshaw during the warm-ups. But the undersized junior forward quickly proved he was anything but that.

Bradshaw, a Memphis White Station high school star, scored six points and had five rebounds in the first 6A 1/2 minutes.

“I got comfortable early and realized where I could break the defense down,” said the 6-foot-4 Bradshaw, who scored most of his points in the lane. “I was hoping more than ever to play well in this type of game.”

If you didn’t see the game, you missed a tough, scrappy performance by Bradshaw, who at one point took a vicious elbow to the eye courtesy of one of the larger Tiger players.

Bradshaw staggered, but remained on his feet and celebrated the foul.

Come to think of it, the entire team took the Tigers’ best shot, remained on its feet, and served notice that the next 9 years of this heated rivalry is only beginning.