Scooter's skid continues

Scooter McFadgon continues to do a convincing Tony Harris impersonation.

As noted two weeks ago in this space, McFadgon and Harris share several similarities. Both hail from Memphis. Both were high-scoring guards in high school. Both love to shoot the 3-pointer. Both wound up playing for Tennessee. And, unfortunately, both hit the skids late in their senior years.

Harris mysteriously lost his shot and his confidence midway through his final collegiate season. His slump coincided with a finishing fade that saw the Vols lose 10 of their last 16 games, costing Jerry Green his job. Now McFadgon seems to be following the same script. His shooting woes have contributed significantly to a slump which has seen Tennessee lose six of its last seven games.

Here's a statistical recap of Scooter's last seven outings:

- 2 of 7 from the field (0 of 3 from 3-point range) in an 85-62 loss at Louisville
- 2 of 9 from the field (1 of 5 from 3-point range) in an 84-62 loss to Kentucky
- 5 of 19 from the field (2 of 6 from 3-point range) in a 62-59 loss at Auburn
- 5 of 13 from the field (2 of 5 from 3-point range) in a 67-62 loss at Vanderbilt
- 4 of 11 from the field (2 of 6 from 3-point range) in 77-55 defeat of LSU
- 2 of 10 from the field (0 of 2 from 3-point range) in a 72-54 loss to Alabama
- 4 of 11 from the field (0 of 3 from 3-point range) in an 84-73 loss to Florida

For those keeping score at home, McFadgon has made just 24 of his last 80 field goal tries, a chilly 30.0 percent. This includes 7 of 30 from beyond the 3-point arc, an icy 23.3 percent.

''It's been a tough year shooting for him, really,'' head coach Buzz Peterson said. ''The approach I've taken with Scooter is to keep encouraging him, trying to stay positive with him. Hopefully, he gets out of it.''

Like Tony Harris, McFadgon never met a shot he didn't like. Still, his main problem lately has been his shot direction, not his shot selection.

''I'll give him credit: He hasn't taken many bad shots compared to last year,'' Peterson said. ''He has stayed within the framework of things. But the ball just hasn't gone his way much this year. I hate it for him, especially with him being a senior. You'd like for him to have a tremendous year, but he hasn't had one of those years he was hoping to have.''

Having already lost his shot and his confidence, McFadgon may lose his starting job, as well.

''I've thought about maybe having him come off the bench,'' Peterson said. ''You hate to do it late in the year like that but it may be the best thing for him right now -- to relax a little bit, come in when the ballgame has already started and maybe take advantage of some situations there.''

The Vol coach is both concerned and saddened by McFadgon's puzzlingly poor marksmanship of late.

''I feel for him,'' Peterson said. ''He's had a tough stretch ... a tough year, really, with his numbers. It's like I told him: You've got to stay positive, keep your head up. Nothing good's going to happen if you've got your head down.''

Vol freshman Chris Lofton ranks second among SEC players in 3-point field goals made (2.63 per game) and fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (40.5). Still, Tennessee's offense runs through McFadgon most of the time.

''I still go to him a lot,'' Peterson said. ''I've put him in situations where it's his ball to score, make a play happen for us. It's been unfortunate for him a lot of the time but I still believe in him.''


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