Thursday, the Lady Vols Basketball program held media availability ahead of next week’s exhibition game. Coach Kellie Harper and her players as well her three assistant coaches were all available to the media and the Daily Beacon was there.
The Lady Vols roster features a relatively small group, including only twelve players, three below the limit the NCAA places on scholarship players for women’s basketball.
The Lady Vols return six players including two returning starters, Zaay Green and Rennia Davis. Of the “Newcomers”, as they are listed in the Lady Vols’ media guide, Lou Brown, who was on campus last year but was hurt all year, and Jaiden McCoy, a junior college transfer from Knoxville, the rest are freshmen.
“Well, we're all excited to get started," Kellie Harper said. "It's almost unbelievable that we're less than a week away from putting on uniforms and playing in Thompson-Boling Arena. I know our players are excited about that, ready for that opportunity.”
Coach Harper, who played on the 1998 championship team, discussed what it's been like since her return to Knoxville.
“Listen, I have had more stories about me playing in the last month than I need to hear," Harper said. "It's been great to reconnect with fans and to reminisce with some of my former teammates, and to reminisce about my former teammates and about our time here. I think it's been important for me to be out in the community and out visiting with our fans …”
Coach Harper played point guard in her time at Tennessee and coaching them has been an emphasis in her return.
“For me, I want our point guards to know what I see, and sometimes I'll back them up and I'll say, 'Do you see this?' I want them to look at the court the way that I do as their coach, so sometimes that takes a little bit of extra communication," Harper said.
“My expectation this year is that we're going to come out, play hard, be intense every game and we're going to get better," sixth-year senior Lou Brown said. "We're going to get better throughout the season. We have a long way to go as a team, but I'm really excited to watch us get better."
Jazmine Massengill, who played 17 minutes a game last year, is hoping to have a break out sophomore season.
“I definitely worked on my defense and offensively, being more aggressive," Massengill said. "Just working on being more of a scoring point guard and not being as passive as I usually am.”
Massengill also talked about the transition with a new coach.
“It’s not been difficult because she’s made it really easy. But, we’ve got to trust her and just let her know that we know that she knows exactly what she’s talking about.”
The Lady Vols start their season with an exhibition game against Carson-Newman on October 29.