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June 3, 2014
Tyndall's early eyeball results of his Vols
As far as first impressions go, Monday night went well.
Tennessee basketball coach Donnie Tyndall, barely a month into his new job succeeding Cuonzo Martin, put his basketball team through its first workout Monday night, and the returns were about as positive as they can be for a dry run in early June.
"The biggest thing last night was I thought every guy that worked out was very coachable, which is so important," Tyndall said Tuesday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena. "They were energetic, their energy level was fine.
"Obviously, regarding technique and detail, it was (an) all offensive workout. They have a long way to go, but their attitudes were great."
There's plenty to get to know on the court for Tyndall. Of the 12 names on Tennessee's current roster, only three - Josh Richardson, Derek Reese and Armani Moore - consistently got minutes last season. Robert Hubbs III missed most of the year after shoulder surgery.
Tyndall's initial thoughts? He's got an athletic bunch.
"I thought Josh Richardson, of the returning guys, was really good," he said. "I thought Derek Reese showed some athleticism I didn't necessarily expect. And I thought of the new guys, Willie Carmichael really stood out from an effort and energy standpoint. He was fantastic."
The list of those 'new guys' is an extensive one.
The decisions of Darius Thompson, A.J. Davis and Quinton Chievous to transfer, along with losing Jarnell Stokes and Jordan McRae, left Tyndall with the tall task of replacing over half the roster and the majority of last year's scoring production after the coaching change. He's signed eight new players to compensate.
"I think the complement of guys we have in regard to having balanced classes is pretty important," Tyndall said.
Now it's about finding who complements who on the court, with very little emphasis on the past.
"I'm one of those guys that certainly watches tape from last year's team," Tyndall explained, "but on the flip side, whether they did really well or was a small part of last year's success, I want to evaluate these guys with my own eyes.
"So I have watched some tape, but most of what at least I will judge will be what they do in front of our staff."
It's about fit, too. Fitting a new roster under a new coach into a new system.
So far, so good.
"I think they fit well," Tyndall said. "They're long, athletic guys when you look at the length of Josh, Armani, Robert and Derek. All four guys are athletic, all four guys have good length, which (fits) our style of play."
Tyndall, as he promised Robert Hubbs and his family while recruiting the sophomore to return to the program, plans on pursuing a medical hardship from the NCAA for Hubbs' freshman season.
"We'll see if that happens," Tyndall said. "But he knows it was tough sitting out that entire season, or most the season. He feels like he has a lot to prove, and he was great in his first workout, having been out for sometime."
Under NCAA rules, players requesting a medical hardship can't play in more than 20 percent of games in a season. Hubbs, who worked out with the team Monday night but didn't take part in contact drills, played in 12 of Tennessee's 37 games - 32 percent - before undergoing shoulder surgery last season.
Tyndall added that he expects Hubbs to be 100 percent cleared physically in "mid June or early July."
Tennessee is still waiting on the arrival of two players, Tariq Owens and Eric McKnight.
"Eric is what's called a '4-4-4′ transfer, so he has to get a waiver from our league, as we anticipate him being fine there," Tyndall said. "Then Tariq had to take the test one more time, and it's this coming weekend and then he'll be good to go."
Detrick Mostella is on campus and working out while still awaiting word from the NCAA clearinghouse.
"There's no update on his clearinghouse situation, but he is expected to be a qualifier," Tyndall said. "He's working out until we hear a final yes, which means he's fine, or a final no, which means he'd have a choice to make for his future."
As for the status of Rawane 'Pops' Ndiaye, Tyndall said there's not an update just yet.
"He's here in (the first semester of summer school) and he's working out with our team," he said. "I would just say stay the course with me in that deal, there will be an update at the end of (the first summer semester)."