Tennessee basketball coach Rick Barnes clarifies Santiago Vescovi’s clipboard incident versus Alabama.

seen discussing strategies with the team during a crucial moment with just over 3 minutes left, and the Vols holding onto a 70-65 lead. Holding a clipboard with diagrams, Vescovi sparked intrigue among fans, who wondered what was being drawn up and why Coach Barnes had entrusted him with the clipboard.

During his press conference on Tuesday, Barnes addressed the moment, particularly whether it had occurred before. “Yes, and I love it,” Barnes remarked. “What I love about that, Santi, I looked at him and said, ‘What are you thinking?’ And he played it. He wanted to make sure that Tobe knew exactly where he had to be because he could – I could – when we called the play, we looked at Tobe and we could tell he was not quite as sure as we wanted [him] to be. Santi just took it said, ‘you’ve got to do this right here’, which I think is great when players do that.”

Tennessee big man J.P. Estrella mentioned that Vescovi’s involvement in planning is not new, although it was the first time he had seen him use the board. “That’s the first time he’s drawn it up, but he talks about what to do all the time in plays,” Estrella stated. “Seeing Santi do that, it was awesome. Just watching it happen, and coach was totally okay with it because Santi knows what he’s doing being here five years.”

Regarding the effectiveness of the play, Barnes mentioned that it did not result in a score, but they executed it well. “Well, we ran it. We didn’t score out of it. But first look that we were trying to get, we didn’t get it because they defended it well. We went to got to the second option, got a great look at it. Didn’t make the shot, but we executed it.”

Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James, asSantiago Vescovi drew attention on social media following the Tennessee Vols’ 81-74 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide on Monday. The seasoned guard was the senior members on the roster, have earned the respect and trust of their head coach due to their experience and understanding of the system. Barnes acknowledged their familiarity with him and the system, emphasizing their role as coaches on the floor. “They’re both like coaches on the floor. And they just understand, again, how we’re trying to play, and we talk about them to be able to fix this or fix that.”

While Dalton Knecht has drawn considerable attention this season, the importance of experienced players who can read both their head coach and teammates cannot be overstated. Their ability to perceive things from opponents’ perspectives is also invaluable. If Tennessee reaches the Final Four this year, it’s likely that the most seasoned Vols will have played a significant role in that achievement.

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