Dane's ready to score

Dane Bradshaw has launched thousands of jump shots since the 2004-05 Tennessee basketball season ended, and his teammates have noticed a difference in him. Senior guard C.J. Watson recently mentioned him as perhaps the Vols' most improved player.

"Dane's shooting the ball a lot better," Watson said.

Told of the comment, Bradshaw grinned broadly.

"That's a big compliment coming from him, and I really appreciate it," he said. "Each year you try to figure out what you can do to get better. I continue to work on my game. I've been coming in late at night, putting some shots up, and I'm hoping the hard work will pay off this year."

Asked just how many shots he took during an average offseason evening, Bradshaw shrugged.

"I'm not sure," he said. "But we have great managers here who are available to rebound for us so we can get some extra work in late at night. I just want to become more reliable on the offensive end for us, hopefully contribute a little more."

Bradshaw, a 6-4, 200-pound junior from Memphis, shot just 40 percent from the field, 57 percent from the foul line and 26 percent from 3-point range last season. He scored just 3.0 points per game, despite playing 17 minutes per outing. Those numbers won't cut it in a Bruce Pearl offense that relies on outside shooting to spread the defense for back-cuts and drives.

"With this fast-paced offense, if you get an open look you need to take it," Bradshaw said. "He's more of a shoot first/pass second type of coach. As long as you're playing hard on defense, you get a little more freedom on offense. I want to take advantage of that."

With Scooter McFadgon and Brandon Crump out of eligibility, Tennessee must replace 26 points from last year's lineup. As a result, Bradshaw is looking to score more this fall.

"I am," he said. "Without Scooter and Brandon – two of our primary options last year – that opens up things for some other players. With just nine scholarship players, everybody on the team has an opportunity to step up, whether they're a star player or at the end of the bench. Hopefully, everybody will take advantage of that."

The Vols are adjusting from the deliberate half-court style of Buzz Peterson to the fast-paced style of Pearl. Bradshaw says the players feel good about the new coach's system and his enthusiasm.

"His whole attitude has rubbed off on the rest of the team," Bradshaw said. "When we see how he approaches it, it's easier for us to buy into it. His system has worked at every level, so it's not hard to see that it can work here."

Now that Jemere Hendrix has been dismissed and Andre Patterson has been suspended, the powerfully built Bradshaw is being projected to play some as a 6-foot-4 power forward.

"I've been joking around, saying that I'll be a 4 man by default," Bradshaw said. "I'm ready for anywhere they put me. If they put me at the 4, it doesn't sound as bad as it is."


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