Posted on: January 9, 2010 9:07 am
I'm headed to Knoxville today in advance of Sunday's showdown between No.1 Kansas and No. 16 Tennessee. It'll be the Vols' second game since four players were arrested on guns and drug charges, the first since Bruce Pearl dismissed one of those players, Tyler Smith, from the team on Friday.
Smith was averaging 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
On the surface, the Vols will miss him.
But sources around the program have indicated in recent days that Smith hasn't been the best leader (shocker, right?) or hardest worker over the past year or so, and that it's possible the Vols could, in Smith's absence, get back to playing with the same type of energy they displayed in Pearl's first three years at Tennessee. The problem, of course, is that with Smith (dismissed) and Brian Williams (suspended) out of the lineup, UT is really light up front, which makes the preseason loss of Emmanuel Negedu (heart condition) much more damaging than it seemed when it happened.
Still, Tennessee fans seem OK with the decision to remove Smith. As I type, a poll on the Knoxville News-Sentinel site shows that 91 percent of voters believe dismissing Smith was "fair." Granted, it's probably unfair -- or at the very least unwise -- to read too much into that. But the poll does hint at how much Smith's reputation had declined within the UT community, or perhaps it's simply more of a reflection of the fact that the senior forward was enduring the worst season of his career.
Either way, it's KU vs. UT on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS.
And it should be noted that Pearl has managed upsets like this before.
In January 2006, the Vols beat an undefeated (and eventual national-title-winning) Florida team that would've, if not for the loss, subsequently moved to No. 1 in the AP poll. In February 2007, they beat a fourth-ranked Florida team that also went on to win the national title. And in February 2008, UT went to Memphis and dealt the top-ranked Tigers, who ultimately played for the national title, their first loss.
In each of those games, the Vols were seemingly out-manned.
But they won anyway.
So it'll be interesting to see if they can do it again.
Posted on: January 8, 2010 1:00 pm
Edited on: January 8, 2010 1:04 pm
Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl announced Friday that Tyler Smith has been dismissed from the basketball team.
"When we have a situation like this involving our student-athletes, we want to make sure we get as much information as possible before making difficult decisions,” Pearl said. "From the beginning, the student-athletes involved have been accountable, remorseful and cooperative with me. While we are not allowed to discuss specifics, we felt we had enough information at this time to dismiss Tyler Smith from the team. Melvin Goins, Cameron Tatum, and Brian Williams will remain indefinitely suspended."
Smith, Goins, Tatum and Williams were arrested New Year's Day when police found guns and marijuana in their car after a routine traffic stop. It remains unclear whether Goins, Tatum and Williams will be reinstated, and if so, when. But a source close to the program told CBSSports.com that it's reasonable to think at least two of those players will eventually be reinstated, although details about what happened and how it happened are still being gathered.
Tennessee plays No. 1 Kansas on Sunday.
"First, I want to thank the University of Tennessee, the UT Athletic Department and the basketball program for my support here," Smith said in a released statement. "This place is a family for me and I look forward to a long relationship with this team and program as I go on in life. I am truly sorry for my actions in the recent case that everyone is familiar with. From the beginning, I have accepted responsibility for my actions and what I have been charged with, and I am very sorry that my decisions have affected Brian, Cam and Melvin. One day soon I hope I can finish the 12 classes that I need for my degree. My recent actions do not reflect who I am and I can only hope that what I do in the future can make everyone believe in me again."
Smith was averaging 11.7 points and 4.7 rebounds for the Vols.
He was named Preseason First Team All-SEC.
Posted on: January 5, 2010 9:03 am
You could tell how much the arrest of four Tennessee basketball players is wearing on Bruce Pearl during Monday's press conference in which he addressed the Vols' upcoming game with Charlotte. Pearl looked tired and stressed, just as you'd expect. But what stood out to me was the somber tone, particularly from a man who's usually upbeat and ready to joke about anything and everything.
The best moment came when Pearl was talking about how UT will obviously miss Tyler Smith, Cameron Tatum, Brian Williams and Melvin Goins, all of whom were arrested Friday on drug and weapons charges and subsequently suspended from the team. Pearl was lamenting about how short-handed he'll be Wednesday against Charlotte, and then he said, "But we've got weapons. We still have got weapons."
(Click this link to check it out. It's around the 50-second mark.)
Quickly, Pearl caught his unfortunate choice of words and stopped.
But rather than laugh or joke, he just shook his head and apologized.
And that's the best indication that the chest-painting coach is having a rough week.
Posted on: January 1, 2010 6:29 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2010 6:50 pm
Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl plans to indefinitely suspend all four players who were arrested Friday morning and then gather more details before determining which players, if any, will continue their careers as Vols, a source has told CBSSports.com.
An official announcement should come in the next 48 hours.
Cameron Tatum, Tyler Smith, Melvin Goins and Brian Williams were arrested on drug and weapons charges Friday when the car in which they were riding was caught speeding in Knoxville. Police found a baggy of marijuana in the car. They also discovered guns -- one of which had an altered serial number -- under both the driver's seat and the front passenger's seat.
Tatum is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and having an open container of alcohol. Smith is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of firearm with an altered serial number. Goins is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of marijuana. Williams is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm with an altered serial number and possession of marijuana.
According to a source, each player refused to claim ownership of the guns, which is why all four are facing gun charges. The reason Smith and Williams got additional charges is because the gun with the altered serial number was under Smith's seat and accessible by either him or Williams, who was seated behind Smith.
Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk told CBSSports.com the players were in a rental car when arrested. He said it's unclear who rented the car, but that finding out would "be part of the ongoing investigation." This development is of special concern to Tennessee because it could mean NCAA problems if it's determined that the players were using the car in a way that doesn't comply with NCAA regulations about extra benefits.
The car was a Dodge Charger with Illinois tags.
Tennessee beat Memphis 66-59 at FedExForum on Thursday.
The Vols are 10-2 and ranked No. 14 heading into Wednesday's game against Charlotte.
Posted on: June 11, 2009 1:44 pm
Tennessee forward Tyler Smith is holding a Thursday afternoon press conference to announce that he is withdrawing from the NBA Draft, a source close to the Vols program told CBSSports.com.
Smith averaged 17.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last season.
This development means the Vols will return every relevant player from a 21-win team.
Posted on: November 3, 2008 1:01 pm
But that doesn't mean there shouldn't be some debate.
The reality is that when I put together my team the only must-have-players were Tyler Hansbrough, Stephen Curry and Luke Harangody. I can't understand why any ballot wouldn't include those three names, but I can't understand a lot of what happens on AP ballots. So whatever. As for Blake Griffin and Darren Collison, yes, I also featured both. But I considered teams without those names and actually almost went one of the following:
G: Darren Collison (UCLA)
G: Stephen Curry (Davidson)
To be clear, I love Griffin and Collison. But Collison's dreadful Final Four appearance is something I nearly couldn't get out of my head, and though Griffin was dominant as a freshman his numbers weren't quite as good as Hansbrough's or Harangody's. So that's why I considered dropping one or both for Harden and/or Smith. But in the end, I think I got it right. And I think the AP voters got it right, too.
So good for me.
And good for them.
And we'll just have to argue some other day.
Posted on: April 18, 2008 2:43 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2008 6:42 pm
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
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.