Anytime Tennessee plays Kentucky in basketball, it is highly anticipated in Knoxville.
To help us preview the upcoming meeting between Kentucky and Tennessee, and discuss the UT basketball team, we invited frequent guest Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee Volunteers men's basketball coach, back on to our sports talk show.
Evan Woodbery and I visited with Cuonzo Martin on the “News Sentinel Sports Page” radio show on Thursday. Some quotes from our visit are below.
To hear our entire interview with Cuonzo Martin, click the video to the left.
Cuonzo Martin on the importance of the fans coming out vs. Kentucky:
“I think at the end of the day that’s who we are at the University of Tennessee. Our Volunteers fans, that’s how we represent. Regardless of ups-and-downs, highs-and-lows in the season; that’s just what we do. If we are the best and we are who we say we are then we have to represent like that. We expect our fans to be there to support at a high level.”
On how vocal he is on the bench:
“I’m just really more of a sixth-man. I don’t really do a lot of coaching offensively unless there’s a play we need to run. It’s more on the defensive side of the ball, helping those guys out.”
On UK not having the injured Nerlens Noel on Saturday:
“You gain a level of togetherness, closeness when you lose a key guy like that. Teams rally around. So we expect those guys to compete, play hard and try to win the basketball game. It’s how Tennessee’s playing basketball that night. That’s the most important thing.”
Kenny Hall going from starter to not playing at all at Vanderbilt:
“Time just went, all of sudden you realized, man Kenny Hall hadn’t been in the game. You just have a certain flow to it. It was nothing Kenny Hall has done to say we would not play him. You had to go smaller, Quinton Chievous and Derek Reese, and it worked out for us.”
“I really think a guy out of high school should have the right to go to the NBA, if that’s what he chooses to do. The NBA has to work with college programs from this standpoint. The NBA has to say ‘this kid is a first-rounder.’ I think if a kid is a second-rounder coming out of high school, he shouldn’t be allowed to go to the NBA. The NBA has to guarantee the fact that this kid is a first-rounder. If not, he should go to college for at least two years.”
On a photo I saw of muscular strength and conditioning coach Nicodemus Christopher of the Vols:
“That was me that you saw. That wasn’t Nicodemus.” (laughing)
On what love advice he would give on Valentine's Day:
"Love the ones you love."
I also contribute blogs and predictions to MrSEC.com’s Overtime section.
Follow me @VinceSports on Twitter and see everything I’m working on in sports. Download theWNML App for your mobile device, so you can hear the “News Sentinel Sports Page” radio sports talk show that I host (weekdays 10am-12pm ET/9-11am CT) at www.sportsanimal99.com.