Posted on: September 20, 2008 1:08 pm

Pearl, the great predictor, predicts a Vols win

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- It did not come with as much flair as usual.

But yes, Bruce Pearl has predicted the Vols will beat Florida ... in football.

"I'm going to predict a Tennessee football win with all due respect to Florida," Pearl said this morning after a workout at Thompson-Boling Arena. "The bottom line is this: We have great respect for Florida; they are an unbelievable team. But we're not underdogs here in Knoxville very often. I tell you what, Al Wilson spoke to the team Friday. I feel good about that. I feel better about our chances to win the game knowing Al Wilson talked to those guys."

This might not seem important in the grand scheme of things. But it should be noted Pearl has a history of great predictions, dating back to 2006 when he went bonkers at a pep rally before a game against a Florida team that was undefeated at the time and in the middle of a national championship season.

This is what he said: "We are your basketball team. I am your basketball coach. And we are going to kick Florida's ass!"

Final score: Vols 80, Gators 76.

And then there was last season, when Tennessee traveled to Memphis to meet the top-ranked and undefeated Tigers. At a pep rally before tip-off, Pearl promised his Vols would "kick Memphis' ass!"

Final score: Vols 66, Tigers 62.

So again, Pearl is good at this sort of thing.

We'll see if he can make it three for three this afternoon.

On another note, Pearl hosted a slew of prospects at this morning's workout -- among them Kenny Hall (ranked 29th in the Class of 2009 by Scout.com) and Josh Selby (ranked seventh in the Class of 2010 by Scout.com) -- though Dominic Cheek (ranked 15th in the Class of 2009 by Scout.com) was not in the building despite an online report earlier this week that stated he would visit. Anyway, a few hundred fans opted to postpone tailgating for an hour to watch Pearl run practice, but it was clear football was still on their minds when they gave the biggest applause of the morning to Marlon Brown, a two-sport athlete from Memphis who is the top-rated football prospect in the state.

Brown was standing on the baseline watching practice when Wayne Chism deflected a pass with his foot and sent the ball flying into the air. Instinctively, Brown stretched out and caught the ball, proving a scouting report that claims he's tall, quick and reliable with his hands is accurate. When Brown hauled it in the fans stood and cheered, and a small chant of Mar-lon ... Mar-lon ... Mar-lon broke out behind the Vols' bench in an attempt to convince the receiver he should commit to catching balls inside Neyland Stadium next fall.

Posted on: June 21, 2008 2:39 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2008 2:41 pm

The Emmanuel Negedu videos are up

Ever wanted to know how it sounds when a recruit calls a coach and verbally commits?

If so, we've got the video of Emmanuel Negedu ringing Bruce Pearl earlier this week.

Click this link and check it out.
Posted on: June 18, 2008 11:00 am
Edited on: June 18, 2008 3:21 pm

Dear Gary ...

Here's Wednesday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: I understand CBS is doing a documentary on Emmanuel Negedu. Do you know any details?

-- Tony

It's not a documentary as much as it's a Day in the Life type thing. It should be up later today here on CBSSports.com, and I figure this is as good a time as any to explain what's going on and how this all happened.

Emmanuel, as you probably know, attended Brewster Academy, which is also the alma mater of Hollywood producer Griffin Guess. Small world, huh? Anyway, Griffin was invited back to campus this past January to speak to students, and so he and his wife Marisa Miller -- yes, she's that Marisa Miller, the supermodel -- traveled to Brewster and while there attended a basketball game, at which time they met Emmanuel.

Long story short, Griffin became interested in Emmanuel's story.

He kept up with how things were going.

And when the story took a strange turn with the release from Arizona and the recruiting battle between Tennessee, Memphis, Indiana and Georgia Tech, Griffin decided to invite Emmanuel to California to film some stuff and make his announcement from there. So that's what's been going on this week. While you are living whatever life you live, Emmanuel Negedu is kicking it in Santa Cruz with a Hollywood producer and a supermodel (who happened to top Maxim's Hot 100 list this year, case you didn't know), and it's times like these when I really wish I was Emmanuel Negedu.

Or better yet, Griffin Guess.

In all seriousness, check back later today.

The Negedu stuff should be up then with something bigger later in the week.

Posted on: May 22, 2008 5:44 pm
Edited on: May 22, 2008 6:43 pm

Lots of people go to Kentucky basketball games

The final figures are in: Kentucky led the nation in attendance this season. Again. It marks the 12th time in 13 years that the Wildcats have led in attendance, a statistic that demonstrates how UK has the most committed fans in the country ... and a really big home arena.

Kentucky averaged 22,554 fans to top the list by more than 2,000 people per game.

Interestingly, three of the top eight schools are from the SEC.

The entire Top 10 is below:

1. Kentucky (22,554)

2. North Carolina (20,497)

3. Syracuse (20,345)

4. Tennessee (20,267)

5. Louisville (19,481)

6. Maryland (17,950)

7. Wisconsin (17,190)

8. Arkansas (17,148)

9. Indiana (16,876)

10. Memphis (16,748)
Posted on: May 20, 2008 2:29 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2008 3:18 pm

Arizona releases Negedu from LOI

Arizona has granted Emmanuel Negedu an "immediate and full release" from his national letter of intent.

A 6-foot-7 forward, Negedu told CBSSports.com early Sunday that he requested the release in a weekend meeting with Lute Olson. When Olson left that meeting he gave the prized recruit no indication of whether the release would be granted. But Arizona officials released a statement this afternoon announcing the development, and now Negedu is free to be recruited by other schools.

Scout.com ranks Negedu as the 71st best senior in the nation.

Rivals.com has him at No. 40.

(Update: I just spoke with Negedu by phone. He said the four schools he's considering are Tennessee, Indiana, Memphis and Georgia Tech.)

Posted on: May 18, 2008 3:57 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2008 4:25 pm

Ebanks to WVU; Negedu wants out of Arizona

Sunday is turning out to be a big day in basketball recruiting.

Devin Ebanks has verbally committed to West Virginia.

Emmanuel Negedu has asked Arizona for a release.

That means one Top 50 player (Ebanks) is off the board and another (Negedu) is at least trying to get back on it.

So it's been a good day for West Virginia and a bad day for Arizona.

Assuming Arizona grants Negedu a release, the leading candidates to land him will be Tennessee and Indiana. If Negedu wants to play for a legitimate Final Four team, UT should be the spot. But if he wants to be a primary option from the start for a team that'll need him to be a star from the start, IU makes more sense because the Hoosiers will be seriously short-handed during Tom Crean's first season in charge.
Posted on: April 18, 2008 2:43 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2008 6:42 pm

Are you in or out, guys?

None of the North Carolina stars seem ready to make a decision about their future.

Thus, we wait.

But for those keeping count, there are now really just four schools whose national title hopes hinge on a yet-to-be-made decision by an underclassman. They are North Carolina (Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Tyler Hansbrough), Texas (D.J. Augustin), Connecticut (Hasheem Thabeet) and Tennessee (Tyler Smith). If things were to break correctly for those teams -- which is to say, if their players return for another season -- any of them would be a legitimate national title contender. If not -- which is to say, if their players enter the NBA Draft -- any of them would be damaged considerably.

So how will it play out?

Any guess is a reasonable guess on Lawson, Ellington and Hansbrough. They could all go, all stay or some combination of the three could go or stay, meaning there is no simple answer with the Tar Heels. It's likely nobody will know anything until next week. But if they all happen to return, you can go ahead and slot UNC as the preseason No. 1 in every relevant poll.

Moving on, it seems the smart money has Augustin and Thabeet entering with Augustin the most likely of that duo to return (though most believe he's absolutely leaning towards at least testing the waters). And if I had to pick one player from this entire list who I think will return it would be Smith, a 6-foot-7 forward who seems to get pushed down the board every time some other underclassman declares. Smith is aware of this, I'm told. So don't be surprised if he opts for another season at Tennessee, where he could team with McDonald's All-American Scotty Hopson to make the Vols the SEC favorites for the second straight year.

The deadline to enter the draft is April 27.
Posted on: April 10, 2008 2:24 pm
Edited on: April 10, 2008 2:24 pm

Tyler Smith is in no hurry to make a decision

The list of early entrants for the NBA Draft is star-studded and filling up fast.

O.J. Mayo is in. So is Brook Lopez, Donte' Greene, DeAndre Jordan, Jerryd Bayless and most every NBA prospect you've ever heard of (besides the ones who just participated in the Final Four and need more time to make an announcement). Michael Beasley is an obvious exception to that statement. But trust me, he'll join the ranks soon.

One unknown: Tennessee's Tyler Smith.

It remains unclear what the talented sophomore will do after averaging 13.6 points this season.

Smith is a forward trapped in a guard's body, which is why he was never going to be the Top 10 pick some projected. Sources close to Smith told CBSSports.com late Wednesday that Smith understands as much and thus plans to wait before making a decision on his future because he's a guy who could slip into the bottom of the first round if this draft is too deep. In other words, Smith wants to see exactly who is in and out before moving one way or another. So UT fans are probably going to have to be patient before finding out for sure whether the cornerstone of the SEC Champions will return for another SEC title run.
Category: NCAAB
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