Inside the SEC: September 6

6 Sep

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

Hart Named UT Athletic Director

After nearly a three month search, Tennessee has a new Athletic Director. Chancellor Jimmy Cheek announced that the school had hired Dave Hart to replace Mike Hamilton, Monday afternoon.

“I am very pleased to have Dave as our new vice chancellor and director of athletics,” Cheek said. “He has extensive experience as an athletics director, and he has the passion and drive to lead our great athletics program”

Hart, who worked under Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore the past several years, was the AD at Florida State from 1995 to 2007, a time when the Seminoles athletic budget more than doubled.

“I want to thank Chancellor Cheek, and all of those involved in this process for their confidence and commitment” Hart said. “I am anxious to demonstrate my passion for Tennessee and the Volunteer Nation.”

Not only will Hart inherit a basketball team on probation and a football team still recovering from the Lane Kiffin era, but he will also be the first AD to be over both men’s and women’s sports at UT.

Interim AD Joan Cronan was over the women’s department before taking over for Hamilton, but is stepping away from those duties next June to become an advisor to the chancellor for two years before retiring.

Hopson Signs with to Play in Greece

Ever since not being taken in the NBA Draft, Scotty Hopson has been waiting on the right opportunity to continue his basketball career.

The former All-SEC selection from Tennessee thinks he has found just that with Kolossos Rhodes, a top level Greek team.

“This deal gives me an opportunity to jump-start my career in a great place,” Hopson said in an interview with GoVolsXtra. “I’ve had a few offers over the past month, but I wanted to wait for the right one. I’ve been getting feedback from my agent and other guys who have played overseas, as far as what would be good for me.”

Hopson averaged 17 points and 3.3 rebounds in his final year with the Volunteers.

Tennessee Gets First Commitment of 2012

Some recruits fear competition, some look at it as an opportunity to get better. Derek Reese is definitely the latter.

The 6-foot-7 forward from Orlando, Florida verbally committed to play for the Volunteers last week, saying he wanted to be play at the highest level.

“Every kid when they first start playing basketball wants to play at the best level. That’s what Tennessee does,” Reese told the Orlando-Sentinel last week. . “They play against the best teams.”

The fact that Tennessee was not facing any other penalties than those self-imposed by the University eased Reese’s mind about the decision.

“That bothered me a little bit because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen,” the Olympia senior said. “As I found out, they’re just going to be on probation, they’re going to be okay. It was the other coaching staff that was really in trouble, not this coaching staff. It doesn’t bother me at all now.”

While the Volunteers were the only SEC school to have offered Reese a scholarship, his AAU teammate Reggie Tucker has no doubts he will succeed.

“He’ll blossom in the SEC under Coach (Cuonzo) Martin; he fits into that philosophy and system well,” Tucker told

Rated a 3-star prospect by, Reese had trimmed his list to the Volunteers, Georgia Southern, James Madison, and UCF.

Kentucky Has BIG Recruiting Weekend on Tap

Coach John Calipari and the Wildcats have no verbal commitments for the 2012 class or any class for that matter, but don’t think Kentucky’s recruiting prowess has diminished just yet.

When college basketball officially kicks off on October 15th , Coach Cal and staff will have quite the list of visitors on Lexington for Big Blue Madness.

As of now there are 10 confirmed visitors, but’s Evan Daniels thinks a few more names might join the group, that already includes: Shabazz Mohammed (2012), Dejuan Coleman (2012), Archie Goodwin (2012), Willie Cauley (2012), T.J. Warren (2012), Alex Poythress (2012), Andrew Harrison (2013), Aaron Harrison (2013), Chris Walker (2013), and Dakari Johnson (2014).

“They’re not done yet, either,” Daniels told Kyle Tucker of the Louisville Courier-Journal. “There’s a couple names that I’m not allowed to put out there yet, but I’ve talked to some AAU coaches for guys who want to be there.”

None of the ten players listed are ranked lower than 28th in their respective class, leading Daniels to call the gathering of the best he can remember for a Madness event.

“It’s shaping up to be arguably the best list of Midnight Madness visitors that I’ve ever seen. Anybody that they’re recruiting, it appears they’re getting in for Midnight Madness,” he said “Kentucky fans are going to sell (Madness) out and it’s always a big-time atmosphere. Calipari seems to do everything big, and this is huge. This is classic Calipari.”

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