Tabb at the point

Due to an academic issue one Tennessee basketball player spent three weeks of preseason drills running the scout squad. The move – meant to be a punishment – turned out to be an audition.

Josh Tabb did such a good job of running the scout-team offense during his three-week suspension from varsity activity that he has assumed the backup role behind first-team point guard Bobby Maze. He filled that role Friday night vs. Middle Tennessee, recording 7 points, 3 rebounds and an assist.

"I thought Josh did really well," head coach Bruce Pearl said, " although he had two back-to-back turnovers. One was given to Wayne (Chism). On the other one he just about killed some child in the crowd throwing the ball to Tyler. Tyler, the referee, Middle Tennessee – they all ducked ... didn't even try to catch the ball – because it would've hurt their hands if they caught it. It took out like the third row. We've had fun watching that one on tape.

"I thought Josh did well. I think he'll continue to grow in the position."

Tabb, a 6-4 junior, is Tennessee's best perimeter defender. That makes him a great fit for the point, where he can harass the opponent's lead guard and disrupt the opponent's offense. Originally signed as a point guard prospect in November of 2005, he moved to wing when the Vols landed Ramar Smith in the spring of 2006.

Tennessee has suffered considerable attrition at point guard in recent months, however. Smith transferred last May and Jordan Howell exhausted his eligibility. Freshman signee Daniel West was ruled ineliglble in October, leaving junior college signee Maze as the only true point guard on the Vol roster.

These setbacks left Pearl to choose between 6-8 junior J.P. Prince and Tabb as Maze's backup. For now, at least, Tabb appears to be the best option.

As Pearl explained earlier today: "Josh Tabb playing point guard was a function of two things: One, the fact I felt like J.P. played so well with Bobby on the floor. Having J.P. on the floor gives me another breakdown guy, another ball-handler, another cagey vet.

"The second factor was that Josh Tabb was with the scout team for three weeks and running the scout team for three weeks, and running it well.... He can play the position. Defensively, he can help us a great deal."

Although Tabb's play vs. Middle Tennessee was encouraging, Pearl chuckled when he was asked about his comfort level at the point.

"Can't you see how comfortable I am?" he said. "I wouldn't say I'm particularly comfortable right now."

Inside Tennessee Top Stories