No more foul-fests

Three games pretty well sum up Tennessee basketball player Kenny Hall's 2010-11 season:

- He picked up three fouls in 14 minutes Nov. 16 against Belmont.

- He committed three fouls in just nine minutes Nov. 30 against Middle Tennessee.

- He topped himself on Dec. 11 - surely setting a program record in the process - by fouling out in a mere five minutes against Pittsburgh.

The 6-8, 215-pounder's knack for the hack was a mere inconvenience in 2010-11 because he was the No. 3 center behind Brian Williams and John Fields. Now that Williams and Fields are out of eligibility and Hall is counted on to be the No. 1 center, however, his propensity for fouling must stop. Given his history, that's asking a lot.

Hall committed 69 fouls in just 435 minutes as a freshman in 2009-10, averaging one foul every 6.3 minutes. That pace would've fouled him out 32 minutes into each game. As it was, he fouled out of two games that season, despite averaging just 12.4 minutes per contest.

Incredibly, Hall was even more foul prone last season, committing 36 in just 176 minutes. That's an average of one every 4.9 minutes, a pace that would've fouled him out 25 minutes into each game.

Hall was a 4-star recruit as a senior at Redan High in Stone Mountain, Ga., and has been productive in his limited role at Tennessee. Despite playing just 10.2 minutes per game during his first two seasons with the Vols, he averaged 3.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per contest. That suggests he is capable of being a 12-point, 10-rebound player if he could stay out of foul trouble.

The question is: Can he play aggressively without fouling?

Yes, says new Tennessee head man Cuonzo Martin.

"Just work hard doing the drills every day," Martin said. "It's like a shooter working on his shot every day. I think it's easier for him to develop that on the defensive side. It's about confidence, about not getting over-excited and trying to block a shot ... not trying to swipe at a guy. Just be big, learn how to take a charge in the right way.

"It's not a case of whether or not he can do it; I know he can do it."

Tennessee desperately needs a big year from Kenny Hall in 2011-12. Although he averaged just 12.4 minutes per game as a freshman and 7.0 as a sophomore, he is the Vols' most experienced inside player.

"We can't look at him as an experienced inside guy," Martin said. "He's only experienced because he's been in college two years. Experience is minutes, and he only played seven minutes a game (last season). I think the experience will come in time, with him getting in the trenches and playing. His hunger is his experience right now more than anything."

Knowing he is the heir-apparent at center, Hall went all out during the Vols' individual workouts in April. His efforts did not go unnoticed.

"He's physical, he's strong, he's a quick leaper," Martin said. "He attacks around the basket and with the mid-range game. He's better off the dribble than I thought he would be. He's got a chance to be a good scorer for us.

"I thought he did a really good job in the workouts."

That may be true. But the real test arrives in November, when three of the guys on the floor will have striped shirts and whistles.

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