Hall is one of a kind

Tennessee has showcased some good post players since Bruce Pearl arrived on campus but none quite like the Vols' newest prospect.

At 6-9 and 220 pounds, freshman Kenny Hall is long, lean and lethal around the basket - blocking shots and grabbing rebounds with a rare blend of athleticism and aggressiveness new to the Big Orange program.

"I don't think we've had anybody quite like Kenny," assistant coach Tony Jones said this week. "We've had Andre Patterson and Duke Crews and Wayne Chism but they didn't have the length that Kenny possesses and the athleticism.

"He's obviously long. He looks like he gets taller each and every day. He's 6-9, maybe 6-10, now. He's a tough kid that doesn't back down. We're going to expect him to play quality minutes for us this year."

Hall, who signed with the Vols out of Redan High in Stone Mountain, Ga., could be the program's best shot-blocker since C.J. Black concluded his career nine years ago with a school record 212 rejections.

"Kenny's going to be out there to create some havoc defensively," Jones said. "He can block shots. He checks out (as a rebounder) each and every time, and that's something you can't teach a young player."

Hall understands that the key to his playing time this winter is how well he defends and rebounds.

"Always," he said, nodding emphatically. "That's the most important part of the game. If I'm doing that part I'm going to be on the floor."

Hall did some impressive defending and rebounding in Wednesday's intra-squad scrimmage, blocking several shots and doing an excellent job on the backboards. Afterward, Pearl praised his energy.

"I'm trying to help us," Hall said. "I'm trying to run the floor and do what I came here for - make lots of plays, get rebounds, block shots, whatever I can."

Since Tennessee has plenty of returning scorers, Hall won't be counted on to provide points. That's a plus, although he doesn't see it that way.

"It really doesn't matter to me," he said. "If they were expecting offense, I'd be giving 'em that, too. Whenever I get the ball I'm going to try to make things happen, whether it's scoring or dishing it off ... whatever will get the ball in the hoop."

Although he remains a bit slender, Hall is a lot sturdier now than when he played in the Rocky Top Summer League at 210 pounds in June. The added weight is helping him adapt to the rigors of college post play.

"The biggest adjustment is just strength-wise, banging with the bigs," he said. "I'm starting to get more physical with 'em. That's starting to come to me."

The adjustment to college hoops isn't all physical, of course. There's a mental side, as well.

"Out on the floor in September he was a little slow in understanding some of our terminologies," Jones said. "But the more repetitions he's gotten the better he's become.

"He just needs to concentrate at all times. When the coaching staff calls a play, he's got to be able to decipher it and get right into it. But that will come with the repetition of doing it over and over again. The quicker he grasps our terminology and our offense, the quicker he's going to get quality quality minutes.

"Obviously, he's going to play but he'll determine how much he plays."

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