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Posted: Friday, February 24th, 2006, 11:55 AM
by Beano
• Permalink
I finally figured it out. I hadn’t quite been able to find the word to describe the amazing transformation of Tennessee basketball from fall-out to all-out. It came to me as I observed Bruce Pearl’s sweat saturated suit during last nights Tennessee-Florida basket-brawl game. The word is Pearl-spiration. What is it? It’s a combination of the infectious effort and inspiration that Coach Pearl lives and has instilled in the 05/06 Vols. Its:

-being picked 6th in the East and clinching the
Division title with three games left to play
-going 5-2 in SEC road games after winning 2 of 16 in the last two seasons
-winning games at Kentucky and Florida when your two most hated rivals and their fans were desperate for a win
-standing toe-to-toe with a more physical Gator squad in a game that the officials allowed to become Australian Rules Football
-Dane Bradshaw’s play invoking fans to cry out “what grit” instead of “Oh (something that rhymes with grit)”
-JaJuan Smith unafraid to take big shots and clogging passing lanes
-Major Wingate contributing while smiling and enjoying himself at a time in the game when fans are seemingly dying a thousand deaths
-CJ Watson rarely turning the ball over while defending the seemingly endless string of outstanding SEC point guards
-Andre Patterson rebounding and scoring against much more imposing physiques
-Stanley Asumnu in a system where he can succeed
-Chris Lofton invalidating the “slow footed only a shooter” tag erroneously placed on him
-everyone conditioned, everyone shooting, everyone diving after loose balls, everyone providing help defense, everyone cheering for their teammates, everyone listening to their coaches (who amazingly all coach rather than sitting on the bench like the Darlin Boys)
-Stegman sold-out, Coleman Coliseum sold-out, O-Dome sold-out, TBA sold-out
-Tennessee basketball fans making travel plans
-fans on the floor and players in the stands
-a successful, demanding, demonstrative, coach who magically is everywhere except in the players way during the game

That in a nutshell is Pearl-spiration. It’s all out, it’s contagious, it’s fun, it’s pure, and above all else it’s ours.
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