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Pearl presser highlights, Monday Feb. 7

  • Hey guys, I've got to get to the radio studio, but here's just about everything you need to know from Pearl's Monday presser, which just ended.

    BRUCE PEARL

    - Joked that Slive initially wanted to suspend him 10 games, but went for 8 so he’d have to go to UK and Florida.

    - UK “extremely talented,” especially Knight and Jones, both future “NBA talents.”

    - UK much different than last season. Zoned them all last season because strong on the inside, not great shooters. This season, much better around perimeter. Can’t zone them anymore.

    - Excellent defensive team, best in SEC except Alabama. “Very solid.”

    - UK “very close to putting it all together,” only lost in SEC on the road, had a chance to win them all.

    - “Night in and night out” in this league. Balance. Bama showing West better at top than some thought.

    - Could not do much physically Sunday because of late Thursday game followed by OT game Saturday and then Tuesday game. Need to be “fresh and furious” tomorrow, so might not go hard today, either.

    - “Scotty is still questionable. He went through the walk through yesterday, but we didn’t run.” Some things he can do, some things he can’t do. Today’s tests will be key. He’d never missed a game in college and couldn’t remember one in HS, which is good, but he can’t remember playing hurt, either, so that will be a challenge. Will Scotty in reduced minutes and less than 100 percent be effective? Yes, Pearl said. But they’ll see what he can do.

    - Knight and Jones “future pros.” Knight better shooter than John Wall, but Wall “might be the fastest guard from end to end to ever play the game.” Knight has good length, though, and good feel, like Wall. They’re comparable except Wall’s rare athleticism and explosiveness and speed with the ball.

    - Goins “will be challenged.” “Brandon Knight likes to score on smaller point guards.” “This is the most size Melvin will go at.” But defense not 1-on-1

    - Pearl said Rupp’s his favorite road game because of “all the history and tradition.” “It was one of Coach Mears’ favorite places to play. He relished the opportunity.” “But it pales in comparison to Thompson-Boling Arena as far as my favorite arenas to coach in.”

    - Pearl would rather have talent over experience, butt the combination makes you a championship contender.

    - “I like the bus, actually. I’ve actually spent more time on buses and cars than planes, so I think it’s going to be good to get on that bus again.”

    - “I’ve been (to Rupp) five times. We’ve played well three times.”

    - “Alabama’s a good fast-breaking team. Kentucky is special.”

    - Kentucky “always plays well early, home and away, so we’ll have to hang in there.”

    - Hoping to make UT’s depth a factor at UK.

    - On his return: “Hopefully, I can help. I don’t know if we’d be in any different position if I’d been here eight games. You don’t want to play that game. ...I just want to help.” Alabama game was the toughest, because he only had one day to prepare the team between games. Had at least two days for the others.

    - “When you’re running and pressing, it’s all effort and energy,” because it has to be. You have to have play harder. Have to remind guys to give that extra energy when you’re not extending the defense full-court. “We’re trying to get them to play a style that fits our abilities.” “It’s harder to do some things when you’re not playing Helter Skelter.

    - “We’re probably not doing a whole lot today. We just have to be fresh and furious (Tuesday), and we’ve got some guys nicked up. We should be fine by 9 o’clock on Tuesday.

    - On his suspension: “Unprecedentedly (sic) severe.” Very challenging to recruiting still. “We’re going to continue to compete and try to win. Hopefully we’re leading the right way.”

    - “I’m just glad to be back in a position where I could help. Whatever’s over not over. That eight-game suspension is over, but there’s other areas that we have to contend with, and we are contending with.”

    - Pearl admitted they have to coach games a little bit differently at Rupp to quiet crowd and avoid runs, but he still doesn’t like using TOs unless necessary because Vols have more depth, and they don’t want to let other teams rest.

    - “Tobias won’t be 100 percent for a couple of weeks.” Might be 2-3 weeks. “He’s still feeling it, so there’s a little bit of limitation” in several areas, but he’s a tough kid and is playing OK through it.

    - Comfortable without Scotty at Auburn because of their personnel. Not comfortable against Alabama without Scotty because of personnel. Won’t be comfortable at Kentucky without him.

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    Senior Writer, govols247 Email: wrucker@247sports.com Twitter: www.twitter.com/@wesrucker247 Facebook: www.facebook.com/wesrucker247

  • They're really going to need an effective Hopson tomorrow to have a chance. I think Harris and Tatum have played pretty well the last couple of games with him out, so as long as they can continue that It should at least be close and give us a chance to win it.

    Brian Williams better be able to put up something close to his Ole Miss/Auburn numbers against Harrelson...