Major improvement

Five games into the 2005-06 Tennessee basketball season, Major Wingate rekindles the rhetorical question about viewing a glass as half full or half empty.

Those who want to focus on the positive will note that the 6-10, 250-pound junior has scored in double figures every game so far. He had 11 points vs. ETSU, 12 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, 18 vs. Eastern Kentucky, 10 vs. Murray State and 12 vs. Appalachian state. His scoring average is 12.5 points per game, more than double the 5.0 average he posted a year ago.

Those who see the glass as half empty, however, will point to the fact he is averaging just 3.6 rebounds per game – a shockingly low number for a guy who stands nearly 7-feet tall. They also could note that Wingate is hitting just 49 percent of his field-goal tries. For a guy who takes most of his shots within six feet of the basket, that isn't very good. Basically, Wingate attempts too many fall-away jumpers, rather than attacking the basket with power moves.

After weighing the good and the bad, first-year UT head coach Bruce Pearl prefers to accentuate the positive. He is encouraged by Wingate's improved scoring and seems confident the rebound average and shooting percentage will improve in time.

"He's had five games in double figures, and his average is way up," Pearl noted. "Major can play better but I'm happy with him. I personally think he's a really, really fine player."

Still, Pearl concedes that Wingate has the potential to be much, much better than he has shown to date.

"I think Major should try to be an All-SEC caliber player over the next two years," Pearl said. "To do that, he has to play better. I think he has the potential to do that."

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