A cross between King, Slay?

If you could combine the explosive jumping ability and intensity of Bernard King with the enthusiasm and showmanship of Ron Slay, you undoubtedly would have yourself one heck of a basketball player.

You just might have Tennessee freshman Duke Crews.

Crews exhibited the King side of his persona throughout last Friday's 100-57 exhibition defeat of Tusculum. Crashing the backboards with a vengeance, he speared nine rebounds – SEVEN off the offensive glass – in just 19 minutes of action.

When asked about his offensive rebounding after the game, Crews exhibited the Slay side of his persona by showcasing a big grin and tons of charisma.

"In high school I probably grabbed more because it's a little bit higher competition here," he said. "I'm not going to grab 10 of ‘em like I used to but it was a good night for me. I worked hard, and it paid off."

Packing 233 pounds on a chiseled 6-8 frame, Crews may be Tennessee's most physically imposing post player since Ian Lockhart. The Bahamas native grabbed 10.9 rebounds per game in 1989-90, becoming the only Vol since King left in 1977 to post a double-digit average. Crews may be Tennessee's best rebounder since Lockhart, as well. Certainly, the Vol rookie loves crashing the offensive backboard.

"The offensive boards turn into more points," he said. "You can get kick-offs with great shooters and second-chance shots. I'm all for it."

He's all for burying opponents, too. Like King, Crews plays with remarkable focus and determination. Asked about the 25-1 second-half explosion that broke Tusculum's spirit, he offered a somewhat chilling response: "That's when you smell blood and go for it."

Because of their speed and stamina, Crews and fellow freshman Wayne Chism (6-9, 245) are ideal fits for Bruce Pearl's up-tempo game. Most big men simply can't run as fast or as long as the Vols' gifted rookies.

"When the other team gets tired that pushes us harder," Crews said. "We know how hard we work on our conditioning. When we see they're tired, we play harder."

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