Tonight the Cats are in Knoxville (gross) with the hopes of coming back to Lexington with a win after Saturday’s loss to Kansas. Tennessee isn’t all that great, blowing a double digit halftime lead to TCU (who’s even worse) on Saturday and are under new leadership this year with Rick Barnes at the helm. So that, coupled with knowing that Drew is staying in Lexington and Tyler is making the trip, I feel pretty comfortable with our chances tonight.
The Volunteers are not good; and my brief look into Tennessee fan blogs tells me their fans feel the same way. However, they are positive about one thing: Kevin Punter. So, like every other time I’ve written one of these, here are five things you need to know about Kevin Punter:
He IS their offense
There’s no doubt that Saturday’s loss against a terrible last-place-in-the-Big 12 TCU team was embarrassing for Tennessee, but the one thing that is consistently good in the ugly orange world that all Volunteer fans live in, is Kevin Punter. In Saturday’s loss, Punter had 24 points, three rebounds and three assists. Without him, Tennessee’s guards went 7-24 from the field and had 15 fouls. Their entire backcourt runs through him and him only.
Social media? Not for Punter.
One of my favorite things about writing these posts is that I get to “stalk” various players social media profiles. It gives me a reason to be on Instagram or Twitter and say that I’m “working” instead of actually being productive. Well, because Punter hasn’t conformed to society and doesn’t have any social media, I was cheated while writing this post. Not to say that’s a bad thing; I commend Punter’s decision to not have social media. I periodically consider getting rid of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. But not Snapchat. Gotta keep my stupid selfie game strong. It’s just a little strange for someone of my generation to not have social media, but hey, whatever ya gotta do to block the haters.
Four years ago he almost quit basketball
When Punter graduated high school, he didn’t qualify to play Division I basketball. So in order to boost his test scores to become eligible he went to the Body of Christ Christian Academy prep school in North Carolina. At the end of the year, he found out that his tests scores did not meet the requirements to be academically eligible. It was at this point he called his mom ready to come home and give up altogether. Now, four years later, he’s leading Tennessee and is among one of the top shooters in both the SEC and NCAA.
The dude can shoot
Punter is the SEC’s second-leading scorer, averaging 23 points a game behind Ole Miss’s Stefan Moody. He’s also the ninth-leading scorer in the NCAA, just .1 behind Anthony “the Cat” Barber of North Carolina State. On top of that, Punter is shooting 48% from field-goal range and 38.5% from three-point range.
He’s done pretty well in SEC play thus far
Competition hasn’t been the best in the SEC over the last few years, but this year, South Carolina and Texas A&M have stepped up their game. Both could take down Kentucky later in the season. Tennessee has already seen both the Gamecocks and the Aggies. Punter played well in each outing. In fact, Punter dropped 36 in the Volunteers upset of South Carolina 10 days ago. The least amount of points that Punter has scored in SEC play was 16 against Bama, but that was with about 10 minutes less playing time than usual. Punter could very well be that player that goes off against Kentucky regardless of what we do to stop him.
I’m just gonna leave you with this because it seems appropriate.
LeAnn Tuohy is me pic.twitter.com/7Te3zZffL6
– Haley Simpson (@haleysimpKSR) October 30, 2015