Team preview: Tennessee Tech

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

As Tennessee Tech coach Mike Sutton continues to recover from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, his basketball program moves along into the 2005-06 season.

Technically, associate head coach Steve Payne is running the team. Payne, however, says leadership has not changed a bit since Sutton became paralyzed shortly after the end of last season.

"There is no doubt who is in charge of the program," Payne said in August. "Even if he's not in the office, it is his program."

After winning the OVC regular-season title and losing in the tournament semifinals, Sutton was accompanying Willie Jenkins -- the OVC Player of the Year -- to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, an audition for NBA scouts, in Virginia.
On the trip, Sutton was stricken with the disease, an inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nerves that causes paralysis.
At first, he was completely paralyzed and put on a ventilator. He was moved to Vanderbilt Memorial University Center in Nashville and required 24-hour care, but he was moved to Cookeville Regional Medical Center in July.