The Tennessee Volunteers are out to prove that they're not just a physical team, but a team with mental strength and drive.
The Vols met at Pratt Pavilion for preseason practice on Tuesday, and men's basketball head coach Cuonzo Martin said he felt the team was doing a good job. Unfortunately, Martin said that the loss of a team leader like former Vol Cameron Tatum is hard to fully recover.
"When you lose a guy like that, it's tough to replace," Martin said. "He did a good job defending in big situations, guarding certain guys, so we need guys who will step up and make big shots like Cam did, but also make big plays."
Martin said senior forward Jeronne Maymon might just fit the bill.
"He's kind of a low key type of leader," Martin said. "He likes to lead by example and his work ethic on the floor. So for him just having the confidence and getting on guys when you have to. As a leader, not everybody's gonna like what you're saying or what you're doing, but as long as you're right that's all that matters."
Martin said the team is working on execution on both ends of the floor, taking advantage of every situation and getting the ball to the team's shooters.
"If we can get guys who are big, physical and strong, we'll take that, but we have guys who are big, physical and strong," Martin said. "They're also talented and I think that helps more than anything."
Junior guard Trae Golden said he feels the team is more experienced than last year.
"Everybody's doing much better being a year in and (having) experience and everything," Golden said.
"I think we've played before and we know what to expect," Golden added. "This experience means a lot and I think that's something people will see, just the chemistry our entire team has."
Senior guard Skylar McBee said he doesn't think the team will see much of a difference between this year's team and last year's, but he hopes the team will be more consistent.
"I don't think the fans will see that much of a difference, I hope they see that we're the same team and we play hard," McBee said.
The team's dependence on McBee for the clutch score doesn't seem to bother him. McBee said he just doesn't feel that much pressure to make the play.
"I think that's what I bring to this team, that's an aspect that I bring," McBee said. "I don't really feel pressure, but I realize that that's the job I have to do in order for us to win, and so that's what I'm trying to do."