Dave Hooker audio:
- Dave Hooker and John Adams interview Hutchison (Kansas) Community College head coach Ryan Swanson about his star basketball player, Bobby Maze.
- Dave Hooker and John Adams interview UT basketball coach Steve Forbes about landing Bobby Maze
- Dave Hooker and John Adams interview Bobby Maze about signing with UT and even get some freestyle rap
Tennessee found the solution to its point guard issue when junior college All-American Bobby Maze signed a basketball letter of intent Wednesday to play for the Vols next season.
“Stevie Wonder could see this is where I needed to be,” said Maze, who transferred from Oklahoma to Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College last year. “They’ve called me ‘The Solution’ here, so you do the equation: What better place could I be?”
It certainly adds up for Tennessee, which announced last Friday that incumbent point guard Ramar Smith would not return to the team.
Maze, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound seasoned point guard, averaged 20.7 points, 6.7 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game last season and led the Blue Dragons with 55 steals.
Maze arrived in Knoxville for his visit Tuesday and fell in love with the campus and facilities while growing even more comfortable with the coaching staff.
“The plane landed and I breathed in that Knoxville air,” Maze said. “You see those seats in the arena and how high they go up, and all the sellout crowds, the Jumbotron screens everywhere, the practice facility. You have every tool here to be successful.”
Maze said he has some classwork to finish up to gain full eligibility, and said he has no doubt he will get that done.
“This is a done deal,” Maze said. “I wanted to play on a team where I had a chance to win a championship, and the players here at Tennessee are the best players you could want to play with.
“I like how everyone bonded on this visit.”
Maze said the relationship between Hutchinson head coach Ryan Swanson and UT assistant Steve Forbes was a factor.
“That helped me a lot, just knowing Coach Forbes was the guy who gave Coach (Swanson) his first job,” Maze said, referring to Forbes’ stint as head coach at Barton (Kan.) Community College. “Then you’ve got Coach (Bruce) Pearl, and how all of the coaches made me feel like I was a part of the family.”
Maze said he plans to enroll the first term of summer classes at UT and take part in the Pilot Rocky Top summer league at Bearden High School in June.
“I’m definitely going to play,” Maze said. “I’ll give you some summer league action.
“I haven’t seen this much orange in my life. I know basketball is a real big deal here, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Maze visited Cincinnati last weekend and was scheduled to visit Kentucky this weekend.
“There’s no need for me to go visit Kentucky,” he said. “There’s not a better situation than this.”