Summer league comes to close

The Pilot Rocky Top League came to an exciting finish Thursday night. Go "Inside" to see what leading scorer and Volunteer Scotty Hopson had to say about his performance and the summer experience.

The Pilot Rocky Top summer basketball league came to an exciting close Thursday night when Scotty Hopson put the nail in the coffin with two pressure free throws.

Hopson led the Knoxville News Sentinel team with 41 points in Thursday night's title game - a 127-122 win at Bearden High School over DeRoyal Industries - and said the league has been a benefit for both him and his Volunteer teammates.

"This league is competitive and there are a lot of talented guys out here competing every day and trying to get better," Hopson said. "This is a league to keep your energy and stamina up."

Hopson credited the summer league in helping prepare him for another pressure-packed season in SEC and NCAA tournament play.

"Throughout the season and this summer it has really helped me out to prepare myself for big SEC games and tournament games," he said.

Hopson was just relieved to finally finish in first place after finishing second in his two years previously with the Rocky Top League.

"It was two years in a row that we came to the championship and didn't win," Hopson said. "I wanted to be seen as a winner. So I came out with that mentality. I wanted to get my team the win."

And it may just be a summer league, but Hopson says winning the league isn't small potatoes.

"It means a lot," he said. "I want to be seen as a winner not just a scorer and playmaker. I know winning games is what is really going to carry us. This is a good experience for me for the season."

Hopson gained valuable experience this summer including draining pressure-packed free throws to deliver the Rocky Top League Championship.

"I want to put myself in a position to make game-winning plays," he said. "I wanted to get to the free throw line and put the pressure on myself to win the game."

Hopson said his mindset for 2011 is completely different, and he is ready to shoulder the load of a leadership role.

"It's a totally different mindset for this season," he said. "Now I am seen more as a leader and I am expected to do more. Our coaches put that pressure on me, but I am ready to go out and produce for him and my teammates."

With new Volunteers joining the teams things are sure to be competitive, but only in a way that will help improve all that are involved.

"It's going to be competitive," Hopson said. "We are all going to compete with each other, but at the same time we are going to be on the same page and the chemistry is going to be good.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories