Pearl: Hopson better than last year

Scotty Hopson, a Kentucky native, averages 13.1 points per game and is a 40 percent 3-point shooter.

Scotty Hopson, a Kentucky native, averages 13.1 points per game and is a 40 percent 3-point shooter.

"Scotty is a better player than last year," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "He is stronger, more physical, a better defender, more aggressive getting to the rim and just playing with more confidence. I think Scotty is still making great progress. He has terrific tools and athleticism and he does work hard. I would sometimes like to see him work harder in games to get open looks.

"There is a lot of talk about who is the most improved sophomore in the league and Scotty's name is never brought up in the conversation. I think folks have missed the boat on that." Pearl said Hopson is "making more plays off the bounce" and is getting fouled more (he's 31-for-53 at the foul line).

"I thought he showed great patience last year in not trying to force offense. Now you can just see him knowing we need him to step up and play more physically and be improved on both ends of the floor. The shots he takes are shots I want him to take and he is playing better defensively," Pearl said.


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