"I'd probably say coming off the bench is tougher - having to be ready without starting the game," Trae Golden said following the Vols' recent 91-42 exhibition drubbing of Div. II Brevard. "It wasn't that big, though."
Apparently not. Golden finished his college debut with 11 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds and a steal. He struggled a bit out of the gate, however, going 1 of 5 from the floor and scoring just two points in the first half.
"I considered it a slow start," the stocky 6-1, 207-pounder said. "I had a little bit of first-game jitters. I really didn't know what to expect. Once I got it going, it was pretty good."
Asked to pinpoint the biggest step he made in his debut, Golden replied: "Just getting over my first-game jitters, getting in the flow of the game. It's new for me, coming off the bench. Once I got past that it was pretty good."
Golden has been working diligently on his playmaking skills all fall, and that work showed up Wednesday night. He played 15 minutes without a turnover.
"The best thing I did was just getting my team involved, running the break," he said. "I think I did a better job of keeping my man in front of me in the second half, pressuring the ball and things like that."
Golden is eagerly anticipating the Vols' second exhibition game, Monday night at 7:30 against Div. II Indianapolis. He's happy that the Game 1 jitters are behind him.
"Yeah, I'm glad," he said. "Next game I expect to play much better."
He expects his teammates to play better next game, as well.
"I think we did all right," he said of the opener. "But I think everybody was kind of nervous. I think we did good but I think there was a lot of first-game jitters. We had a lot of new faces out there, and none of us knew what to expect. Now you've got a game under your belt, and it just gets better."