Players singing Martin’s praises — and they aren’t Vols

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New Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin’s already earning raves from SEC players. He’s patient, instructive and earns their respect with his hoops knowledge.

Just think how much his own players will love him.

Martin’s spending most of August as an assistant to Matt Painter on Team USA’s World University Games team. It’s there that he’s earning raves from the 12-man roster, which includes some of the SEC’s top players in Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins and Kentucky’s Darius Miller.

And how does he do it? As Ignacio Marquez writes for the Knoxville News, he neither barks no screams and ensures the players understand why they’re practicing and what’s at stake. No screaming might be an anathema to many coaches, but Martin makes it work.

“He makes sure we talk and that we encourage teammates. He makes sure we are good character guys like helping each other out when somebody falls and all the little things.

“The way he coaches is very unique,” Jenkins said. “If you mess up, he will tell you what you did wrong and how to fix it. This helps us out a lot and it’s been keeping us trying to get better because most coaches don’t do it that way. His style is unique and I like it a lot.”

That’s notable praise from a guy who’ll likely be the SEC player of the year. More importantly for the Vols – in full recovery from the Bruce Pearl fallout – it’s a great advertisement for any potential recruit. I’d call that a two-fer.

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