After one week of practice, there is already plenty to talk about:
On the point-guard situation: Coach Tubby Smith said there is still no favorite for the starting job, but pointed out that Julian Welch has so far impressed in practice. The JUCO transfer is handling the ball well, has shot well from the outside and “probably has the least amount of turnovers” of any of the guards (27 assists to 11 turnovers in practice stats). Other guard notes:
- Smith also had high praise for Andre Hollins, who is leading the team in 3-point shooting.
- Maverick Ahanmisi, Smith said, has struggled with turnovers. “I just need to take care of the ball,” the returning guard said. “Assist-turnover ratio is real important for a point guard.”
- Freshman Joe Coleman has shot 5-for-10 from 3-point range in scrimmages, Smith said.
Injury update: Smith called the team “healthy” but there are still a few old injuries lingering.
- Smith said Mo Walker would not play “for a while” – probably another week or two – because of soreness in tenderness in his right knee from reconstructive surgery last season. Walker was out on the court for warm-ups and looked to be hopping around just fine on his brace, but left the team once contact drills began.
- Andre Ingram, who is recovering from hip surgery is now practicing, but being closely monitored.
- Elliot Eliason missed the “All-Star Friday Night” due to a sprained ankle, but is practicing again and looks to be getting around well.
- Hollins had a large bandage on his left cheek in practice from what Smith described as four or five stitches from a “collision” with guard Austin Hollins when the two were going after a ball. “You can imagine – two Memphis boys, you would have thought they’d fist fight,” Smith joked.
- Oto Osenieks is another player whose shooting Smith has been impressed with, shooting 46 percent from 3-point range. “I think it’s the best shooting group in a long time,” Smith said.
- Smith on Rodney Williams, who has been re-tooling his shot from last year: “He has a lot of work still to do, let’s put it that way.”
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