Anytime someone starts a new job in a new setting there is an adjustment period where you must get acclimated to the environment.
This notion applies to Tennessee basketball’s freshman point guard Santiago Vescovi.
Last night’s contest versus Arkansas marked the Montevideo, Uruguay native’s twelfth game in an orange and white jersey, and it was his most productive game as a Volunteer. He finished the game with a season-high 20 points and season-high eight assists, all while shooting 60 percent from the field, 75 percent from three and 83 percent from the charity stripe.
Vescovi didn’t get the opportunity to participate in Tennessee’s non-conference slate, as he was not even on the roster at the time. His learning curve has had some added degrees of difficulty when you take into account that he was thrown into the starting lineup in conference play of a team that had just lost its starting point guard to a season-ending injury.
As a result of that, Vescovi’s play on the court hasn’t always been pretty.
“When he first got here, he wasn’t in shape,” head coach Rick Barnes said. “There’s nothing harder to do than play the minutes that he was playing, when he had to play through fatigue. Now, I think for the first time, I think after the last game he was even with assists-to-turnovers. Tonight, it started building up there. In the last couple of games, he’s done a much better job taking care of it.”
Despite all of the challenges being thrown his way, head coach Rick Barnes is pleased with the way his point guard has conducted himself on the floor.
“For a freshman, I keep telling everybody for what that guy has done and the way it’s gone about, it’s really remarkable,” coach Barnes said. “He learns. He’s a fast learner.”
There’s almost nothing a coach loves more than a player that is willing to learn and Barnes has that in Vescovi.
When a player is willing to learn and start to put things together, the game becomes easier for them and it makes it more fun.
“I am really enjoying it now,” Vescovi said. “I feel really fine playing and also I appreciate all the feedback that the guys are giving me.”
Even Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman had high praises for Vescovi.
“I thought their point guard was phenomenal; very entertaining player to watch on tape as we prepared for Tennessee,” Musselman said. “It’s a great find for their coaching staff to be able to find a point guard who can come in and play with great intelligence, and is a guy that can really knock down the three, and make his foul shots. His composure for a freshman: phenomenal.”
In a season that’s had its fair share of highs and lows, Vescovi is a big reason that Vols fans should be excited for the future.
Under Barnes’s tutelage, Vescovi has the potential to develop into one of the best point guards in the SEC down the line.