Mike Strange: Jeronne Maymon working to extend his range — eventually

Monday afternoon at Pratt Pavilion, he worked an arc, just inside the 3-point line, from corner to key to corner and back again.

Shot after shot, with a rapid-fire pit crew rebounding and feeding him basketballs.

This wasn't one of Tennessee's perimeter guys attempting to remedy an oh-fer day at Alabama. It was a player who has scored nearly all his team-leading 121 field goals within arm's reach of the basket.

"Man, it's tough,'' a winded Jeronne Maymon said. "You've got to make consecutive shots in order to move on to the next spot.

"I could make four and miss the fifth one and I've got to stay at the same spot and start over again.''

If you can't recall Maymon making or even taking a lot of 18-foot shots in 27 UT games this season, it's because he hasn't.

He's averaging 12.3 points — and a team-high 14.1 in SEC games — and virtually all of them come in the paint. Or at the free-throw stripe because he is UT's most-fouled player.

"For him, it's just the next step,'' said coach Cuonzo Martin.

A step he won't take until next year.

Maymon is a 6-foot-7, 265-pound junior. He's in his second season at UT, a transfer from Marquette where he cut bait nine

games into his freshman year.

Between Marquette and Tennessee, Maymon is 0-for-7 on 3-point attempts. But don't write him off.

Martin on Monday compared him to Michigan State's Draymond Green. That's high praise.

"They're very similar,'' Martin said. "The key right now is Draymond has a better stroke from the 3-point line.''

He didn't always. Green made only two treys in his first two years as a Spartan. He made 37 as a junior and is clipping along at 38.6 percent as a senior.

Martin is an even better role model. He was nonexistent beyond the arc his first two years at Purdue, then blossomed into a prolific and accurate 3-point marksman his last two years.

"I've said from day one,'' said Martin, "the next phase of Jeronne's game is really knocking that 3-point shot down.''

For now, Maymon is playing to his strength, literally and figuratively.

He's averaging 7.9 rebounds, has seven double-doubles and has narrowly missed four others. After seeing very little playing time as a sophomore, he broke out in Maui in November with a 32-point, 20-rebound explosion against Memphis.

He is the team's MVP, it says here.

Extending his offense beyond the paint has always been on the table. It was, according to his father, Tim Maymon, the primary reason he left Marquette so quickly.

In Martin's system, Maymon primarily plays inside but he isn't anchored there. He frequently handles the ball at the key and has success driving the lane.

I wondered if this is the role he envisioned in leaving Marquette for Tennessee.

"I didn't envision anything,'' he said. "I just wanted to get on the floor.

"I'm a ballplayer. Wherever Coach Martin wants me to play, that's where I'm gonna play.''

Next year he'll probably shoot more from where Coach Martin wants him to shoot. He's got all summer to work on it.

"My shot is fine,'' Maymon said. "I've just got to be more confident in myself.

"It would add another dynamic to our team.''

Maymon is already adding several dynamics to his team. One more wouldn't hurt.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 14

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

Would love to see Maymon add this to him game, for the team and for himself as well.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

Repost. Instead of "him game", should have said "his game". Never claimed to be a neurosurgeon. Sorry.

VolunteerLifer writes:

If he did add the three point shot, what could keep him from playing at the three? He's quick with hands and feet, a good defender, and a good ball handler.

carbonzip writes:

I enjoy watching Maymon. I wish Golden would use his screens better and pass the ball to him on mismatches. It will bring everybody into play because Maymon isn't selfish.

flatrock writes:

Maymon is a warrior and should have been on the court more last season under what's-his-name. I believe he would be an NFL first-rounder as a tight end!

One_in_West_Knox writes:

Why can't all players practice shooting (mid-range and further) and other things, especially from April to November??

Or maybe, put me on the team and let me be like McBee and/or Tatum.

And maybe I'll wonder why it's 2012 and this team STILL has not made it further than the Elite Eight.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to One_in_West_Knox:

Why can't all players practice shooting (mid-range and further) and other things, especially from April to November??

Or maybe, put me on the team and let me be like McBee and/or Tatum.

And maybe I'll wonder why it's 2012 and this team STILL has not made it further than the Elite Eight.

put you on the team? now that's funny! NOT!!!

lomas98 writes:

Just the threat of Maymon hitting the 3 would do wonders for him and open up that lane either for himself or Stokes. He is good at taking his man off the dribble and a pump fake from 3 would help that too. Nobody gets out on him now from 18 feet because they know he won't shoot it. A post man like that will sometimes think he is a guard and stay out there if he hits a couple though. If he remembers his strength and just uses the 3 when open, he could really be a good player. One of my favorite plays over the Pearl years was when Wayne Chism trailed the break and hit that open 3 from the top of the key. Maymon could be in a position to do that as well.

SouthPaVol writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

If he did add the three point shot, what could keep him from playing at the three? He's quick with hands and feet, a good defender, and a good ball handler.

VL, you make a good point. JM is better suited as a small forward, except for his lack of shooting range. He would be a tough match up as a 3, small fwd.

I have always thought of JM's game similar to an old KY player from a few years back-Mashburn. Quick first step; good drive; confident inside. If he develops a reliable jump shot, JM goes 2nd or 3rd round next year as a small fwd.

dcap8424 writes:

in response to SouthPaVol:

VL, you make a good point. JM is better suited as a small forward, except for his lack of shooting range. He would be a tough match up as a 3, small fwd.

I have always thought of JM's game similar to an old KY player from a few years back-Mashburn. Quick first step; good drive; confident inside. If he develops a reliable jump shot, JM goes 2nd or 3rd round next year as a small fwd.

Jeronne's game is nothing like Mashburn's. Mash could play inside, but his game was more finesse with his fade away jumpers and leaners. Maymon doesn't have the touch to pull that off at this point. Mashburn could shoot the 3 with ease. Maymon is also much more physical than Mashburn ever was. Maymon is twice the rebounder. There games are polar opposites really? If you want to find a Mashburn-esque player, you should look at Tobias Harris. Sound fundamentally and is working on his shooting touch.

Sorry, always been a huge Jamal Mashburn fan. Just don't see the likeness to Jeronne, for better or worse.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to One_in_West_Knox:

Why can't all players practice shooting (mid-range and further) and other things, especially from April to November??

Or maybe, put me on the team and let me be like McBee and/or Tatum.

And maybe I'll wonder why it's 2012 and this team STILL has not made it further than the Elite Eight.

"Put you on the team"? Golly! You can't even make it as a UT fan!!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Oh yeh! The article. I love this kid!!

richvol writes:

Sorry,I have no desire to see Maymon shooting three point shots. Martin should recruit pure shooters who do that. Maymon should be under the basket at all times where he is so effective. If he wants to expand his range he should practice hitting the 10 footer. The percentage would be much higher and he would be unstoppable.

bkgunter writes:

in response to One_in_West_Knox:

Why can't all players practice shooting (mid-range and further) and other things, especially from April to November??

Or maybe, put me on the team and let me be like McBee and/or Tatum.

And maybe I'll wonder why it's 2012 and this team STILL has not made it further than the Elite Eight.

There is no position on this team for a jock-sniff. Don't quit your day care.

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