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8 Tennessee How far the Vols go will again depend on whether their go-to guy goes south

Nov. 20, 2000
Nov. 20, 2000

Table of Contents
Nov. 20, 2000

College Basketball 2000-2001

8 Tennessee How far the Vols go will again depend on whether their go-to guy goes south

Tony Harris is no John Philip Sousa. Sure, he has better moves
than the composer did, but no one has ever called the Vols' point
guard the March King. "He has been a great player for us from Day
One to the time the postseason starts," says Tennessee coach
Jerry Green. "But he has really struggled in the postseason."

This is an article from the Nov. 20, 2000 issue

In six career NCAA tournament games Harris has shot 22.4% from
the floor, and in his last two SEC tournament games--both
first-round losses--he has gone a combined 4 for 28 from the
field. "I don't have the answer," says Harris, a two-time Wooden
Award finalist. "I just haven't played up to par."

Harris has been the go-to guy for three years, but Tennessee's
leading scorer last season was swingman Vincent Yarbrough, who
was one of the nation's most sought-after high schoolers three
years ago. Yarbrough nearly doubled his scoring output (from 7.6
points per game as a freshman to 14.8) after flattening out his
rainbow J a bit and improving his ball handling. "He felt like he
had something to prove his sophomore year, and he improved his
game a lot, in every phase," says Harris. Now that the 6'7"
Yarbrough has become more of a threat on the perimeter, Green has
the luxury of sliding him to shooting guard on occasion and
playing 6'8" Ron Slay at small forward, giving the Vols a big
lineup in what is a relatively small SEC.

During the regular season Yarbrough was often able to pick up
the slack when Harris had a bad day. But his 13 points weren't
enough in the Vols' loss to North Carolina in the Sweet 16 last
March, when Harris went without a field goal until just 13.6
seconds were left. By then Tennessee had squandered its
three-point halftime lead, leaving Harris with a bitter but
familiar taste in his mouth. "Knowing that your team can go
farther than it did is frustrating," he says. "But I'm just
thankful I've got another year to try to prove myself."

--Mark Bechtel

STARTING LINEUP

POS. PLAYER HT. CL. KEY STAT

SF [*]Vincent Yarbrough 6'7" Jr. 14.8 ppg
PF Ron Slay 6'8" So. 9.7 ppg
C [*]Isiah Victor 6'9" Sr. 6.1 rpg
SG [*]Jon Higgins 6'3" So. 2.2 apg
PG [*]Tony Harris 6'0" Sr. 14.6 ppg

1999-2000 record: 26-7 Final rank (coaches' poll): No. 14
[*]Returning starter