Wait till next year?

With Tennessee's 2004-05 basketball season apparently headed down the tubes, head coach Buzz Peterson is focusing a good bit of his attention these days on acquiring some help for 2005-06.

The Vols signed three newcomers in November -- 6-7 Tyler Smith of Pulaski, 6-8 Matthew Dotson of Centerville and 6-9 Damion Harris of Greenville, S.C. Peterson hopes to add two more prospects during the spring signing period -- 6-4 Jamont Gordon of Oak Hill Academy in Virginia and 6-10 Antanas Kavaliauskas of Barton County (Kansas) Community College. The Vols also are looking at 6-8 Jack Jenkins of Daytona Beach (Fla.) Community College.

When asked if he feels he ''has to get some more wins,'' Peterson shrugged.

''I want to win badly,'' he said, ''but does that do anything for '05-06? I don't think so.

''I think a lot of the future we've got to look at is recruiting. There's a couple of young men we need to add to our program to help us. To me, that's what's huge. We can get some more wins if the guys keep doing what they're doing ... doing what we're asking them to do.

''There'd be no better feeling, especially for me for these guys, than getting a win. That would be nice. But the thing I look at is 'For the future, let's make sure who we're recruiting, what we're doing there, stay on course there and get it done.''

Tennessee has lost seven of its last eight games and stands 11-14 overall, 4-8 in SEC play. Asked what the Vols' goals are now that a winning record is virtually out of the question, Peterson replied:

''You don't even worry about your record. You're concerned about each day in practice ... continuing to work hard....That's the No. 1 goal -- to make sure we work hard in practice and try to outwork our opponent during the games. When you work hard you want to get rewarded, and a win is the best way to get rewarded.''

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