John Winchester, who backs up Watson at the point and senior Jon Higgins at shooting guard, will see considerable minutes tonight in his dual role. Seven-footer Boomer Herndon, though, is likely to get some minutes in the opener, as well.
Asked what he expects from his freshman contingent, Vol head man Buzz Peterson said, ''I hope they play like veterans. C.J. Watson and Stanley Asumnu will probably be in the starting lineup, but all of them need to contribute. They all need to grow up quickly, and they need to soak up as much coaching as they can here early in the season.''
Through two exhibition games, Peterson is pleased with the work of Watson at the sensitive point guard position.
''C.J. has had two tremendous outings in our exhibition games,'' the coach said. ''He handles the ball extremely well, and -- I really like this -- he hasn't had many turnovers. He needs to come out here Friday night and play like a veteran by creating opportunities for his teammates.''
Tennessee's backcourt lacked athleticism and outside shooting last year -- problems which were addressed with the signing Asumnu, Watson and Winchester. Each has shown offensive skills in practice, but they did not deliver in the warmup games.
''C.J. Watson, Stanley Asumnu and John Winchester can all shoot from outside,'' Peterson said. ''They have to make some shots. We haven't had the shooting in the preseason I was hoping for. We may see some zone until we prove we can hit outside.''