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Martin’s Discipline Working Off-Court At UT

Cuonzo Martin is a disciplinarian.  Tennessee’s hottest offensive hand will be yanked to the bench if he’s slothful on the defensive end.  Like Norman Dale at Hickory High in “Hoosiers,” Martin put his team through a number of drills in preseason sans basketballs. 

After a slow start, the Volunteers have shown enough improvement in 2012 to upset Florida and UConn at Thompson-Boling Arena.  Picked or 11th in the SEC, Martin’s Vols are currently eighth in the league standings.  While no one in Knoxville is going to be throwing any parties over those types of numbers, but it does appear Martin’s discipline is having a bigger impact away from the court.

According to UT faculty representative Dan Murphy, the basketball team had one of its best academic semesters in “four or five years” last fall.

“I think Cuonzo Martin has really made it clear to the students that you go to class, you do your best.  You’re a student-athlete.  Being a student is part of what he expects from his athletes — and it shows.”

Martin isn’t being paid to raise GPAs, he’s being paid to win games.  But for those who believe discipline — in all areas of life — is key to winning games long-term, Martin’s approach in Knoxville bears watching. 

And looking at the numbers provided by The Knoxville News Sentinel in the article above, Derek Dooley might want to have Martin talk to his football team, too.

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Martin Asks For Patience At UT

Looks like we could have dropped another coach’s name into our “patience” post from earlier today.  And this one’s smack dab in his very first season.

Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin — like Darrin Horn at South Carolina and Mark Fox at Georgia — is trying to rebuild a program.  Like Horn and Fox he’s trying to do so with a schedule that features two games per year against Kentucky, Florida and Vanderbilt. 

Not easy.

Last night, Martin’s Vols got clubbed by cross-state rival Vandy 65-47.  It was the latest down in a series of up-and-down efforts from UT.  At home, they’ve knocked off Florida, UConn and battled valiantly against top-ranked Kentucky over the past three weeks.  On the road, they’re oh-for-the-season. 

Tennessee’s coach is asking for a little perspective:

“You have to be patient.  They are getting better and making progress.  I don’t get caught up in the final score.  We played a physical, experienced team tonight.”

Ya know how to get fans riled up?  Have a coach say after an 18-point loss that he doesn’t get caught up in the final score.

As was the case with Fox and Horn, Martin took over a program with a number of issues — few scorers, no true point guard, little experience, in Martin’s case.  All deserve time to fix the woes of their programs.

But if Martin is telling people they have to have patience midway through his first year — when his team was already picked to finish 11th in a 12-team conference — it further reveals just how little patience there is to be found around SEC programs these days.

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