Woolly bully

One Tennessee basketball player fell in love with the 3-point shot when he arrived on campus two years ago. Fortunately for the Vols, the love affair appears to have cooled.

Although he still nailed three treys in Tuesday's opening night of the Rocky Top Summer League, Renaldo Woolridge spent most of the evening relentlessly attacking the rim. The strategy worked as the 6-10, 210-pounder finished 15 of 25 from the field and 6 of 8 from the foul line en route to a 39-point explosion.

All of those points didn't produce a victory - Richardson Construction still lost 115-104 to DeRoyal - but it produced an inkling of what Woolridge can do when he relies more on his athleticism and less on his 3-point stroke.

"That's what I've been working on - trying to get back to how I was in high school and taking it to the rack," he said. "If my shot was falling, I would've stayed with that. Since it wasn't, I wanted to mix it up. Then, when I get the shot back, I'll be able to do a lot more.

"I want to be a complete player - more physical and more explosive. That's what I'm trying to do this offseason."

The Richardson-DeRoyal game matched Tennessee's two tallest players. DeRoyal's Brian Williams, a 6-10, 270-pound senior, used his heft to score 25 points. Woolridge, who is just as tall but considerably thinner, used his agility to score almost at will on driving dunks and finger rolls.

"It helped working against Brian," Woolridge said. "This was a post workout for me. He outweighs me for like 150 pounds, so this was a good workout for me."

After playing the 3 (small forward) as a freshman, Woolridge made the switch to 4 (power forward) as a sophomore in 2009-10. He believes he'll be much more effective inside now that he's had a year to get acclimated.

"My freshman year I played all 3 and my sophomore year was all 4, so I have both positions down," he said. "Now I'm going to work on my offensive game, so I can come out and do whatever Coach (Bruce Pearl) needs me to do."

Although defense is a lost art in summer-league play, Woolridge believes he'll benefit considerably from playing in the Rocky Top League.

"It helps," he said. "Everyone's going hard. People might say there's no defense but everybody's going at it. You can work on stuff and build your confidence."

Renaldo Woolridge built 39 points' worth of confidence Tuesday night.


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