Team preview: Tennessee-Martin

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

Tennessee-Martin coach Bret Campbell relied on two of the better players in the Ohio Valley Conference during the 2005-06 season, but senior swingman Jared Newson and senior point guard Jeremy Kelly were able to take the Skyhawks only so far.

Now, Campbell looks to make the transition from a star system to a team with more balance.

"Obviously we lost our top two scorers," Campbell said. "They took half the shots our team ever attempted. Needless to say, we'll be a lot more balanced this year. When Newson and Kelly were good, we were good."

And when they weren't so good … well, the Skyhawks finished 8th in the league.

Newson (18.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg), chosen to the All-OVC first team, was second in the league in scoring and fifth in rebounding. He shot .453 from the field (ninth in the league), .709 from the free-throw line (10th), and averaged 1.71 steals (fifth).

In conference games, Newson averaged 19.3 points (third in the league) and 6.0 rebounds (tied for eighth).

Newson, 6-5 and 215 pounds, was the OVC Player of the Week on consecutive weeks, Feb. 6 and Feb. 13, for a five-game stretch in late January and early February when the Skyhawks won five straight OVC games.

Newson played with the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA Summer League, but wasn't picked up in the draft.

Kelly, who was on the All-OVC third team as a sophomore, started for much of his career.

Last season, Kelly (16.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.4 apg, 2.1 spg) was eighth in the conference in scoring, third in assists and led the league in steals. He played for the Timerwolves in the NBA Summer League.

Campbell said both were likely headed toward playing overseas.

"They were a big part of our team," Campbell said. "They were really good for us, but we depended on them so much. I'm looking forward to being more balanced."
Six seniors give the Skyhawks good experience this season.