Tennessee basketball's Santiago Vescovi explains how to pronounce his last name
But the way Vescovi's last name was being pronounced on the ESPN broadcasts attracted almost as much attention as the junior guard's play.
"Since I have gotten here, people call me Vescovi and I have always rolled with it," said Vescovi, placing emphasis on the second syllable.
Vescovi's last name had been mispronounced since he arrived at Tennessee in December 2019. The broadcast correctly pronounced Vescovi's last name, placing emphasis on the first syllable opposed to the second.
"Back home, it would be Vescovi," said Vescovi, emphasizing the first syllable. "The accent would be on the first 'e' instead of the 'o' like people say here."
Vescovi's last name is pronounced "VESS-co-vee," according to Tennessee. The pronunciation previously was listed as “vess-CO-vee."
Tennessee corrected the pronunciation of Vescovi's name in its media guide and game notes this offseason. UT associate athletic director Tom Satkowiak noticed Vescovi's family pronounced the name differently than it was listed and how it was being pronounced.
He corrected it, including sharing the change with broadcasters this season. ESPN's Fran Fraschilla and Jon Sciambi were on both broadcasts for UT in Connecticut.
Tennessee fans took exception to Fraschilla's pronunciation, which was correct. He responded by calling them "idiots" on the broadcasts.
“Can I just do one more thing?” Fraschilla asked while Tennessee was leading 33-30 late in the first half. “For these idiots in Tennessee, it’s Vess-cuh-vee. Ok? We asked him. So stop tweeting me.”
Vescovi said he heard from people Sunday and Monday via text and in public asking him how to pronounce his name.
Vescovi is averaging 16.8 points per game through four games this season for Tennessee. He scored 40 points in UT's games against Villanova and North Carolina. The No. 15 Vols (3-1) face Tennessee Tech (2-3) on Friday (3 p.m. ET, SEC Network+).
"I can go either one," Vescovi said. "Since I have gotten here, everyone has called me Vescovi. I am totally cool with. Just to clarify it. I don’t really care. I had a lot of people reaching out to me, asking me how to pronounce my last name. I am like I really don’t care, especially for the people that are closer to me.
"I was like just call me Santi. That is it.”
Josiah-Jordan James injury stats
Josiah-Jordan James did not play in Tennessee's 89-72 win against North Carolina due to flu-like symptoms. Rick Barnes said afterward that James also tore a ligament in a finger on his left hand.
He said UT is "still waiting to see" James' status.
"Of course, Jo, nobody is more diligent and resilient in terms of trying to do what he does to get ready," Barnes said. "But we’re still not really sure where he is.”
Sophomore guard Justin Powell, an Auburn transfer, started in James' place against UNC. Powell had eight points against the Tar Heels.
“We wanted to make sure we still had some length out there," Barnes said of starting Powell. "That was really the reason there. We felt like we needed to have some more length on the floor at that time.”
Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.