Knoxville (WVLT-TV), Monday's and Wednesday night's are gonna be pretty fun around here for the next few weeks or so. The new Pilot Rocky Top basketball league is off and running and judging by the turnout Monday, this is a hoop dream for area fans. All games will be played at Bearden High School and Monday night, there was plenty of barking going on in the Doghouse! It was pretty steamy in the gym and the action was just as hot on the court. Featured are each of coach Pearl's Volunteers including transfers JP Prince and Tyler Smith.
Smith plays for Knoxville News Sentinel Red team and certainly impressed those in attendance with his skills. At 6'7", Smith can dunk, rebound, run the floor and even hit the outside jumper. Smith scored 33 points Monday night. The Vols have petitioned the NCAA for Smith's immediate eligibility. The program could know something within the next two to three weeks. His fellow transfer JP Prince added 30 points in a 107-102 win over the Blue Team. By the way, on that Blue team, rising UT sophomore Duke Crews who led all scorers in his game with 44 points. Duke was certainly impressive going strong to the hole and even shooting from the outside.
There's plenty of East Tennessee talent as well in this league, including former Halls standout and Carson-Newman signee
Cameron Sharp. When asked about this new league while signing copies of the new Vol Network DVD: "We're Back", coach Pearl told us,"..this league is also important for the guy at Carson-Newman or the guy at Roane St. Junior College or the guy at East Tennessee State or the guy at Tennessee Chattanooga that thought that they should've been a Vol or play at the SEC level, so I think it's good for everybody and it's great for the fans because you know what, the admission is free and all they have to do is buy a bag of popcorn and Coke and sit there and watch the Vols and the future of our program."
By the way, until the July evaluation period, Coach Pearl and his staff are prohibited from being in the gym to watch these games, with the exception of coach Pearl being able to attend the games in which his son Stephen is playing in.
Action continues Wednesday night at Bearden High. The new Pilot Rocky Top League will run through July 16th.