Where's Boomer?

Seven-foot freshman Boomer Herndon played less than a minute Wednesday night as Tennessee's basketball team tripped homestanding Arkansas 70-62 in Fayetteville. He has played in just eight of 20 games to date, getting roughly 25 minutes of court time.

Why?

Simply put, Vol head man Buzz Peterson says Herndon's minutes will increase as his effort in practice increases.

''Boomer needs to understand that it just doesn't take place on a Wednesday night or a Saturday afternoon,'' Peterson said. ''It takes place on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (Tennessee's weekly practice days).

''When Boomer accepts that and understands how hard you've got to work in practice, it's going to make him better and relay on to our games. He's got potential ... a lot of potential. But he needs to bust his rear end a little bit harder in practice.''

Herndon was a perpetual motion machine in UT's recent blowout of UMass, recording five points, seven rebounds, an assist and four fouls in just 11 minutes of action.

Said Peterson: ''He's done some things in games we've never seen in practice before, I can tell you that.''

Before he can be a force at the collegiate level, though, Herndon must add heft and strength to his lanky 235-pound frame.

''He's put on about nine pounds since he's been here,'' Peterson said. ''But then you take somebody like Jemere Hendrix (transfer from Clemson), who has probably put on 18. Some people put on weight quicker. Boomer's a little slower.''

Peterson had hoped to redshirt Herndon this year, but Tennessee's lack of frontcourt depth forced him to play the raw 7-footer.

''If Marcus Haislip was here, this could've been a year Boomer could've gotten stronger and not had to play in games,'' Peterson said. ''But we were not fortunate to have that this year.''


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