Quotes: Josiah-Jordan James and Santiago Vescovi talk Vols hoops

Josiah-Jordan James Quotables

On how this offseason is different than last season…

“Last year with COVID was hard to get the camaraderie that we wanted throughout the season, but this year with the restrictions kind of loosening up a little bit, the camaraderie has been there since day one. I’d definitely say that this is the closest team that I’ve been on since being here, and that’s not a knock on any of the other teams. This unit is definitely close. We’ve done a lot of activities outside of basketball and we really just like each other. We have a genuine love and care for each other outside of the game. So I’d say this team is a close knit group and we really like each other.”

On how the newcomers have picked up Tennessee’s system…

“I think they’ve picked it up really quickly. We still have a long way to go as a team, not just the eight newcomers. But they definitely have hit the ground running and they’ve picked up a lot of the new stuff quickly and easily, especially on the defensive end. They’re still learning. Freshmen go through their lumps and bruises and things like that, they’re still learning the system. They’ve definitely learned it a lot quicker than I did, I’ll say that.”

Josiah-Jordan James & Santiago Vescovi / Credit: UT Athletics

On who on the team has stood out during the offseason…

“Definitely (Santiago Vescovi). He’s gotten his body in shape, his game is the best that I’ve ever seen it offensively and defensively. I think that he’s definitely in for a big season this year.”

On what Santiago Vescovi has done to improve on the defensive end…

“Just the effort he plays with. He plays hard 24/7. He leads his team when we got four on four or five on five and the leadership he shows on the defensive end and the pride he takes in defense has really improved.

Santiago Vescovi Quotables

On how he has improved his game since last season…

“I don’t like to talk about me, but I think the whole team has made a really big improvement from last year. It’s a much stronger team in terms of everybody has each other’s back. Speaking about me personally, I think quickness was one of the things that I struggles with last season and I feel that I’m a lot better in that aspect this year. Just creating offense for me and other people will be a lot better as well this year.”

On which players have shown improvement this offseason…

“There are a lot of guys. Not counting the new guys, I think Olivier (Nkamhoua)  has made a huge improvement. Fulky, we know we can count on him. Uros (Plavsic) has been a lot better than last year. Josiah after his wrist surgery has recovered really well and he’s doing a really good job too. VJ (Bailey) is very focused. I think everybody is doing a good job, a lot better than last year.”

On Tennessee’s newcomers fitting in and adjusting to UT’s style of play…

“I think it was pretty easy, especially with the type of guys we had coming in. I think all of them are super good guys, they all have good intentions, they’re pretty good listeners. In terms of building the team, I think it was pretty easy this year. I think we have a really unique team that has each other’s backs and I think we’re super close to each other now. Josiah has also done a really good job in terms of leadership. I think that also has played a pretty big role in terms of building a family this year.”

On how his role on the court is different than last season…

“It’s pretty similar to last year, but I’m playing a little bit more of the two now, especially having Zakai (Zeigler) and Kennedy (Chandler) playing the one, which they’re smaller than I am, so they play the point and they’re really good at it. I’m feeling really comfortable playing either way, either playing the point guard or the two, I think it feels natural.”

-UT Athletics

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