When Andy Katz tosses praise toward the SEC is usually flows in the direction of Lexington, Kentucky and John Calipari (and why not, all he does is win and sign the top class in the nation annually). But in recent weeks he’s shown a little love to two ex-Purdue assistants… Rick Ray of Mississippi State and, today, Cuonzo Martin of Tennessee.
Katz had this to say just one day after the Vols and Martin landed a commitment from a five-star West Tennessee prospect whom Duke and Kentucky were also chasing:
“Cuonzo Martin is doing a tremendous job of increasing the talent and perception of Tennessee basketball. Martin secured another commitment Monday for 2013 in landing 6-5 shooting guard Robert Hubbs. The Vols will be just fine going forward in the SEC under Martin.”
After inheriting a messy situation from Bruce Pearl and the NCAA, Martin got off to a wretched start last season before his squad finally bought into his defense-first system. When they did, he led Tennessee to a surprising #2 seed in the SEC Tournament in New Orleans before losing in the NIT.
In addition to securing a commitment from Hubbs in Monday’s daylight hours, Martin also got a commitment from the son of 13-year NBA vet Antonio Davis last night.
He might not have Pearl’s style, flash and flair — and it seems some Vol fans miss that — but Martin seems to be doing everything else right. Including “increasing the talent and perception” of the Vol hoops program.