Pearl goes six-deep at point

Not many teams can go three-deep at point guard and win. Tennessee proved Monday night it can go six-deep and win.

Michael Hubert, a walk-on who joined the team via tryout two weeks ago, was pressed into service as the No. 2 point guard in the Vols' 87-73 exhibition defeat of Div. II Indianapolis by an odd series of events:

- Junior J.P. Prince, the second option at the position, is recovering from a labrum injury.

- Junior Josh Tabb, option No. 3, is benched while he resolves some academic issues.

- Freshman Daniel West, option No. 4, is awaiting a standardized test score.

- Walk-on Tanner Wild, the fifth option, is sidelined by back problems.

All of which forced Michael Hubert to play 10 minutes as the backup point guard in the exhibition opener. He did OK, though, registering 1 assist, 1 foul and zero turnovers.

"I just learned his name today," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl quipped following the game. "I've been calling him Mark for about. He said, ‘Coach, you've got to stop calling me Mark. It's MIKE.

"I met Mike about a week ago. He made the tryouts two weeks ago but I only really met him about a week ago when J.P. (Prince) got hurt."

Tennessee is actually the second college stop for Hubert, a 6-2 sophomore from Hendersonville. He began his career at Chattanooga.

"Believe it or not, I think he got cut a couple of years ago from Chattanooga," Pearl said. "I think he tried out there and didn't make it a couple of years ago.

"He wasn't good enough to walk on at Chattanooga but he's good enough to be my backup point guard. That tells you a little bit about the state of our backcourt right now."

Although Hubert will be relegated to mop-up duty once Prince, Tabb and West join the Vol roster, he distinguished himself in his first college appearance.

"I think Mike did a terrific job. I really do," Pearl said. "He got 10 minutes and he kept us in the stuff. You've got to be proud for the young man but we had no other options."

Laughing at the situation, the Vol coach noted that Hubert is "really my sixth-string point. On a basketball team, you don't often go six-deep with 13 scholarships and five positions."

Hubert may get a chance to face his original school, Chattanooga, when the Vols host the Moccasins in the regular-season opener on Nov. 15, depending on how Prince's recovery progresses.

"He's made a lot of progress," Pearl noted. "He will not be back for the next exhibition game (Friday vs. Carson-Newman) for sure. Chattanooga puts him at close to three weeks (since the injury occurred), so he's close. We're shooting for that one."

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