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16 Tennessee Last season the Vols showed they were good. Now they have to prove they believe it

In a land where success is celebrated with a ditty called Rocky
Top, Tennessee coach Jerry Green is learning just how rocky it
can be at the top in Knoxville. Last season the Vols summitted to
an SEC division title--their first title of any kind since
1982--and their first sweep of despised rival Kentucky in 20
years, only to suffer the free fall of an 81-51 drubbing from
Southwest Missouri State in the second round of the NCAA

Amid a torrent of criticism, Green quipped that his popularity
had dropped from "where I could've been elected governor to where
I couldn't get elected dogcatcher." Frustrated guard Tony Harris
publicly questioned the Vols' heart, suggested that he was "too
coachable" and said he thought about leaving Tennessee for the
pros. Green chalked up the turbulence to the growing expectations
being placed on a program that for years skulked in the shadow of
the Lady Vols and their six national titles. "Building a team is
as much a battle of the mind as of the body," Green says, "and
sometimes you take two steps forward and one step back."

Tennessee's inconsistent 1998-99 results were due partly to the
fickle jump shooting of the Vols' two starting guards, who
combined to make just 38.6% of their shots from the field. Green
will adjust by playing Harris more at the shooting guard spot and
handing the point to transfer Jenis Grindstaff, who will
distribute the ball better to slashing 6'9" forward Isiah Victor,
a potential NBA lottery pick. C.J. Black, Charles Hathaway and
Vincent Yarbrough are all capable of breakthrough seasons that
would help compensate for the loss of guard Brandon Wharton, who
led the Vols in scoring the last three seasons.

Green's goals are to set a Tennessee single-season victory record
by winning at least 23 games and to advance more than one round
in the NCAA tournament for the first time ever. A rededicated
Harris vows he won't allow this year's Vols to take a step back.
"When I look up at all the championship banners in our gym, I
think that time waits for no man," Harris says. "The Tennessee
boys are ready to raise some banners of our own."


COLOR PHOTO: PATRICK MURPHY-RACEY Tough town The women's Hall of Fame in the background reminds Harris that females rule in Knoxville.



SF Vincent Yarbrough[1] 6'7" So. 7.6 ppg
PF Isiah Victor 6'9" Jr. 7.3 rpg
C C.J. Black[1] 6'8" Sr. 9.4 ppg
SG Tony Harris[1] 6'0" Jr. 12.4 ppg
PG Jenis Grindstaff 6'2" So. 3.6 apg*

1998-99 record: 21-9 Final rank (coaches' poll): unranked
Returning starter[1] *As freshman at Virginia Tech