Hoop Vols earn accolades

Numerous members of the 13th-ranked Tennessee basketball team have received honors in recent days following the Vols' championship performance in the NIT Season Tip-Off last week at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Junior guard Scotty Hopson recorded his first career double-double in UT's semifinal win over VCU last Wednesday, tallying 18 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. The Hopkinsville, Ky., native then dropped 18 points on seventh-ranked Villanova in the NIT championship game on Friday en route to tournament Most Outstanding Player honors.

The Southeastern Conference office took note of Hopson's championship effort, and on Monday Hopson was named the SEC Player of the Week. It is the 16th time during the tenure of sixth-year UT head coach Bruce Pearl that a Vol has been named SEC Player/ Freshman of the Week.

Freshman forward Tobias Harris also starred in his first collegiate appearances in his home state last week. The Dix Hills, N.Y., native was named to the NIT Season Tip-Off All-Tournament Team after averaging 15.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in Tennessee's wins over VCU and Villanova. In the title game against the Wildcats, Harris was just one rebound shy of recording his first career double-double (15 points, nine rebounds).

Finally, senior point guard Melvin Goins—whose fierce defensive effort against Villanova helped to stifle the Wildcats' high-powered backcourt—was selected as Tennessee's CAREacter Star Athlete of the Week.

The CAREacter Program is based on a five-point star system that includes the basic traits of a true champion, whether on or off the field. Those traits are attitude, character, grades, community service and performance. Every week coaches select one student-athlete as their school's "Star Athlete of the Week" based on these five criteria.

Tennessee returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Middle Tennessee (3-3) at 7:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised regionally on Fox Sports South, and fans who bring a new toy to donate to Mission of Hope will receive free admission.

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