Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball May Be a Year Away From Another National Champion

Mark HancockContributor IIIDecember 3, 2010

Tennessee Lady Vols Head Basketball Coach Pat Summitt
Tennessee Lady Vols Head Basketball Coach Pat SummittAl Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Tennessee Women's Basketball head coach Pat Summitt is desperately seeking leadership on the 2010-2011 edition of her Lady Volunteers. However, it appears to be in short supply on this year's team.

Summitt has benched Angie Bjorklund due to poor shooting and lack of leadership. She certainly has the capability to be a leader and shoot the ball well, but so far, she has failed to do either.

Bjorklund's self-confidence appears to be shattered. She is certainly no longer playing the key role she once did on The Hill. Arguably, she hasn't improved much from her freshman season at UT.

The Lady Vols got a shot of reality from Georgetown in the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands, and their ball handling continues to be a big issue. Summitt will certainly be on the warpath as they have a three-game road trip starting this Sunday, traveling to Old Dominion, Texas and Baylor.

The Tennessee women appeared overrated at fourth nationally. Juniors Glory Johnson and Alicia Manning have not played up to par.

Summitt still does not have a true point guard, even with freshman Meighan Simmons and sophomore Kamiko Williams. They seem like they both would rather shoot than pass.

There's something amiss with this year's team.  Simmons is a potential superstar and hopefully can be Summitt's first really great point guard in many years. But, both Bjorklund and Kelley Cain seem to have disappeared from playing key roles.

Vicki Baugh must not be able, physically, to contribute much. Maybe Summitt has been too intimidating in coaching these kids and not allowing them to have fun. There is no way UT should be manhandled as they were by a decent, but over-matched Georgetown team down at the Jam. 

Will we see the Lady Vols in the Final Four this year? I'm not so sure. Next year, however, they should be an odds-on favorites to win it all with UConn losing Myra Moore.

If Summitt chalks up her ninth national championship, will she keep on coaching to try to break John Wooden's record of 10 national championships? It's about the only record she has left to break. That may be what drives her, in addition to staying ahead of Geno Auriemma!

Even though Mickie DeMoss was brought back on staff as Summitt's heir apparent, when she ever does retire, don't look for that to happen very soon. Summitt appears to have plenty of fire left in her to continue the job she has done so well for so long.