Mocs' Pryor quickly shines as freshman point guard

Mocs' Pryor quickly shines as freshman point guard

November 15th, 2013 by David Uchiyama in Sports - College

Greg Pryor (1) takes a shot at the UTC men's basketball open practice at McKenzie Arena on Thursday.

Greg Pryor (1) takes a shot at the...

Photo by Maura Friedman /Times Free Press.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga freshman Greg Pryor has played two basketball games and started both at point guard.

He's already embarking on history.

The Mocs have not had a full-time starting freshman point guard since Wes Moore started 23 of 27 games as a freshman during the 1995-96 season.

Moore guided the Mocs to the Sweet 16 in his sophomore season.

"It's a lot to ask of a freshman to come in and run a team," Moore said. "I think it's a good move by [head coach] Will Wade. When you're putting in a whole new system, you may as well start from day one with Greg."

The Mocs went 15-12 in Moore's first season at the point. They won nine SoCon games and lost five. The next season, with Moore running the show, UTC made the front page of USA Today after reaching the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

Nobody has similar expectations for Pryor, especially after just two games. It's a small sample size. But he is in no danger of losing the starting job even though Anthanee Doyle has been practicing for about 10 days and is expected to make his season debut Saturday against Montreat.

Pryor plays with a demeanor beyond his years -- even in practice -- which led Wade to decide quickly who would run the point in his first season at UTC.

"I realized he could play for us during his first real workout," Wade said. "He was in much better shape than I anticipated. He did a bunch of shooting drills and battled fatigue, and I thought, 'There's something here we can work with.'"

Pryor, who played for Wesley Henning at Ridgeway in Memphis, earned the job when he faced competition other than teammates for the first time.

"After our first scrimmage, it became apparent that he'd be our starting point guard as we evaluated things," Wade said. "It was pretty obvious he was our best option, and he hasn't done anything to put that in doubt."

Pryor had 17 points, three assists and zero turnovers in 32 minutes in his first college start on the road at Radford -- the only competition similar to the Southern Conference that he's faced. And he has hit all 14 of his free throws this season.

"Nothing is easy for me, because everything is new to me," Pryor said. "I have so many people around me who have helped me get through it all."

During practice Thursday, he asked strength coach Greg Goldin to time him during a drill, which shows a desire to improve. He spends much of his time with assistant coach Turner Battle, who was the Mid-American Conference player of the year in 2005 while playing for the University of Buffalo.

"We watch a lot of film and we stay in the gym a lot working on moves and decisions when I'm coming off screens, and keeping my game simple," Pryor said. "I know every game is not going to be a good game. I know I'll have up-down points throughout the season."

He's started on an up.

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