Stanley's story

Posted Jan 3, 2006

No Tennessee basketball player has responded more dramatically to the new coaching regime than Stanley Asumnu. The numbers tell the story:

As a junior in 2004-05 under Buzz Peterson, Asumnu shot 39.1 percent from the field and averaged 2.4 points per game. He produced twice as many turnovers (20) as assists (9).

As a senior in 2005-06 under Bruce Pearl, Asumnu is shooting 51.9 percent and averaging 10.3 points per game. He has produced more assists (19) than turnovers (13).

Considering what a disaster the 2004-05 season was, many fans thought Asumnu might call it quits and not return for his senior season. Instead of quitting, though, he is flourishing. And he’s clearly enjoying himself, as that trademark ear-to-ear grin of his clearly attests.

What brought about this amazing transformation?

“I’m confident in myself,” Asumnu says. “I know what I’m capable of doing. I just want to go out there, smile and have a good time. That’s the main thing – just enjoy my time and just play. I feed off of it. In my head I’m like, ‘I’m about to score on this guy’ or ‘I’m about to drive in there and kick to somebody.’ It’s just fun.”

Playing productively is fun but so is playing successfully. The fact Tennessee is winning regularly – 8-1 heading into Wednesday night’s game with South Alabama – is making the 2005-06 season even more enjoyable for Stanley Asumnu and his teammates.

“We’re in great shape,” he said. “There aren’t many people in the country with just one loss. We have a chance to be 9-1 going into SEC play. Since I’ve been here I don’t think we’ve ever had just one loss going into SEC play, so this is a great opportunity for us.”

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