Horn, Pearl highlight SEC Media Days; Franklin speaks

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

Day 1 of the SEC Basketball Media Days is in the books. Highlights from Wednesday's session included Tennessee's Bruce Pearl and Darrin Horn's first visit to the media gathering.

Day 1 of the SEC Basketball Media Days is in the books. Highlights from Wednesday's session included Tennessee's Bruce Pearl and Darrin Horn's first visit to the media gathering.

Pearl was a popular interview, drawing a large crowd of scribes. Part hoops junkie, part carnival barker, Pearl's engaging and candid, and can crank out the quotes, which newspaper guys love. Pearl also coaches the pick to win the SEC Championship.

Despite having seven new players, UT is the choice to repeat as kings of the SEC. "It's speaks to the program," Pearl said.

Tates Creek grad Darrin Horn seemed to enjoy his first Media Days.  Horn bounced around the Birmingham Marriott, doing live radio interviews, talking to certain Lexington TV types, to handling recruiting calls on his Blackberry. 

"I'm really fortunate to be at a great place with great people. For me, growing up in Lexington, with Kentucky being dominant, to be a coach in the SEC is a great thrill,"  he told us. 

Apparently, his team isn't so thrilled with the work they've put forth in practice thus far.  Players Dominique Archie and Devan Downey agreed Horn's approach is different than Dave Odom.  It's much more demanding. 

"He's the most demanding coach I've ever had. He makes us work hard; and not just at basketball. He demands the best of us in the classroom and in our personal lives. He wants us to be the best both on and off the court,"  Downey said.

Vandy coach Kevin Stallings also attended on the first day of the session.  Stallings says even though Tennessee is picked to win the East, don't count out Kentucky. 

"Every time you think they might be ready to slide back, there's something about that program, that fan base, those coaches and players, that it never happens.  They're always good.  They're always battling for a league championship and they usually win it," he said.

UK coach Billy Gillispie, along with women's coach Matthew Mitchell make their appearances on Thursday at the SEC Media Days. 

We'll have more from Birmingham on Thursday, beginning at 5:45, on WKYT.

Franklin breaks silence

The big news of the day here didn't involve an SEC basketball coach, but rather, a former conference football coach.  Tony Franklin, who was unceremoniously dumped at Auburn two weeks ago, spoke about the matter for the first time.

Appearing on Paul Finebaum's radio show in Birmingham, Franklin's remarks were the lead story on Wednesday night's news.

Franklin was asked if he took the fall for Auburn head coach Tommy Tubberville.  "I think it's a calculated gamble. I felt like he probably did the right thing, to be honest about it. He knew he had to take a chance on me or some other guys. He chose the other guys."

Read more here.

Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.

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