Jeronne Maymon stepped up against Ole Miss

Martin wants forward to see his importance

Ole Miss guard Jelan Kendrick (45) goes up for a basket as Tennessee forwards Jeronne Maymon (34) and Jarnell Stokes (5) defend during the second half at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012.  Tennessee won 73-60 over Ole Miss.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Ole Miss guard Jelan Kendrick (45) goes up for a basket as Tennessee forwards Jeronne Maymon (34) and Jarnell Stokes (5) defend during the second half at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012. Tennessee won 73-60 over Ole Miss. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Jeronne Maymon doesn't like disappointing Tennessee men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin.

But the junior forward knew his performance in the opening minutes of the Vols' 73-60 win over Ole Miss on Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena left much to be desired.

While UT got the win and improved to 15-13 overall and 7-6 in the SEC — keeping the team in a tie for fourth-place in the league with three regular-season games remaining — it wasn't until after the Rebels bolted to a 15-2 lead.

"I played bad the first four or five minutes, and Coach Martin got upset with me,'' Maymon said. "Coach Martin was like, 'you better show up, or it's gonna be a terrible night.' "

Martin, whose team plays at South Carolina (10-17, 2-11) on Saturday (TV: FSTN, 8 p.m.), said he doesn't need to say much to get Maymon going.

"You don't have to poke and prod that guy,'' Martin said. "He's a guy that brings is hard hat every day, and he knows what it takes.''

Maymon scored 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting and pulled down 11 rebounds against the Rebels for his eighth double-double of the season.

Consistency has been Maymon's staple, as he has scored at least 12 points in every SEC game this season while leading the defense with 15 drawn charges, including two on Wednesday night.

Maymon has grown into the team leader off the court, as well.

Following the game, he made it a point to tell each person interviewing him that the Vols' bench deserved a great deal of credit for triggering the 19-2 run that enabled UT to recapture the lead and momentum.

"We did not come out ready to play, and we weren't really focused,'' Maymon said. "We were a step slow to everything. I really want to thank the bench that came in and got some stops. They got eight stops in a row, and that was a key for us.''

So was poise.

"We didn't panic,'' UT sophomore Jordan McRae said, asked what was going through his mind when the Vols fell behind by 13 in the opening minutes. "Coach told us during the timeout (at the 14:04 mark) that we were in good shape, and we just needed to settle down.''

Point guard Trae Golden, who had both of his turnovers in the first half, said UT's previous experiences playing from behind helped.

"I wasn't worried; Ole Miss came out with a lot of great shots,'' Golden said. "I knew if we just stuck to our game plan, we'd be able to chip away at it, and that's what we were able to do.''

"Coach Martin told us to calm down and everything would be fine.''

Provided Maymon got things going in the paint.

"At the start of the game, they were pushing us around,'' Maymon said. "Me and Jarnell (Stokes) talked about it, and got it right.''

The Dunk: McRae's one-handed dunk made ESPN's top plays, ranking No. 3 on Wednesday night's countdown.

But more importantly, the dunk at the 11:12 mark gave UT a 10-point lead and energized the crowd and the team.

"It was a huge dunk and one of the better plays of the season for us,'' Golden said. "We need him to make plays like that. When he has an approach like this, I don't think anything can stop him.''

Martin's Take: Martin said he didn't dunk at Purdue because his "wheels were bad,'' but he appreciated McRae's play as much as anyone.

"Surprised? No, I knew he was capable of doing it,'' said Martin, who had two knee surgeries before playing for the Boilermakers. "Once again, he's a guy who's long, but you didn't see a lot of those dunks earlier because his approach wasn't there. Because he attacks with such energy and has an aggressive mind in practice, it carries over into the games.''

RPI Numbers: The Vols' RPI moved up to No. 101 (from 111) with the win over Ole Miss, but UT doesn't figure to make much of a move even if it beats South Carolina.

The Gamecocks have the lowest RPI in the SEC at 174, according to statsheet.com

UT's remaining regular-season games are at LSU (No. 61 RPI) and at home against Vanderbilt (No. 26 RPI).

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32

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Comments » 22

johnlg00 writes:

Nice article. One thing that really stuck out to me was the fact that Maymon only had EIGHT SHOTS in the game. IMHO, any offensive possession where he doesn't touch the ball at least once in the post is likely to be wasted. He is one of the surest ball-handlers on the team and one of the better free-throw shooters. He isn't going to take a stupid shot. I would absolutely sit down any perimeter player who takes a 3-pointer without throwing it into the post first or is wide open and in balance in a fast-break situation. This team's bread-and-butter is the inside game; made 3-pointers should be the icing on the cake; quick 3-pointers that are missed are like replacing the icing with mud.

McRae's continuing progress is wonderful to see. He seems to get at least one of those slashing drives a game that no one else on this team can make. This is because he has learned to recognize when he has an opening to do so. Earlier, he just seemed to take it into his head to drive right in on his own whether he had an opening or not, as if he thought he could just make something up while flying through the air. Now, he is a true weapon that opponents must scheme against, creating opportunities for the other guys.

RunningWithTheVols writes:

Martin is developing this team, steadily.

Best move of the year is sitting Hall, for whatever reason. It sends the message of who's the boss. Prevents future problems from the team and Hall.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

MAYMON..."the love of" Maymon!! Not greedy. Just steady and sure.

I also love McRae's enthusiasm. A little chest beating is ok when the team needs energy.

BolivrBob writes:

Good win but we will really see what this team is made of these last three games. Going to be very difficult to beat LSU and SC on the road, not to mention Vandy at home. I can us winning all three and I can see us losing all three. Like I said, we'll see what they're made of. Go Vols!!! Maymon has been a Rock!

bvol1inSC writes:

Maymon is a hoss...a worker...a leader. Also, I love the way Martin handles this team...can't help but wonder if Dooley will figure it out.

tennlions writes:

SC anywhere is beatable. LSU on the road and Vandy at home will both be tough. UT really needed the Hogs to win tonight.

wigmeister writes:

Maymon's a beast. No other comment necessary!

born2ride writes:

Maymon is playing so well he may go to the NBA.

VolunteerLifer writes:

Maymon has been stepping up big-time all season. Without him, we are nowhere this season. I wonder why he rarely saw action last season.

GreeneVol writes:

Maymon's ball-handling skills are rare for a big man and definitely help against pressing teams. Article earlier in week about him working on his jump shot has me looking forward to that side of his game coming along...he's got all-SEC potential.

As for favorite plays in the Ole Miss game, one that is easily overlooked is the low-block lane clearing that Stokes did on his man which allowed McRae to finish a burst down the left side with an easy lay-in. Really this should be an assist for Stokes, while most of the time, the play goes unnoticed. Even the announcers didn't notice or mention it while doing instant replay commentary. But it was apparent that it was a designed play, coached or on-the-fly between the two.

PHAT_VOL writes:

Good article enjoyed reading it. Coach Martin knows his buisness very well. It would be a crime if we don't make the NIT.

brokendownoldvol writes:

It's hard to believe Pearl played brfore Maymon last yr. Probably cost 6-7 games.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

UT vs S Carolina
My last prediction I had UT winning by 15 points and it was very close to that number. The problem now lies in the fact I have UT finishing the season 0-3. UT scores nicely at home averaging 72ppg but that number drops to only 61ppg away from Knoxville where UT averages losing by a score of 61-67 for a negative 6ppg average. On the year UT stands 2-8 on the road with only one SEC win. S Carolina has not quit as witnessed by the way they pushed Vandy to the end on Wednesday night in Nashville. Luckily for UT the Gamechickens are only 4-7 at home and also lose by a -4ppg margin. UT should come in favored on the road which is a scary propisiton at this point. This is the best chance for Ut to grab a late season win as LSU and Vandy are too big on the inside and will create huge mismatches for a team playing without any resemblance of a Center. I said 2 weeks ago UT would finish 2-5 and I will stick by that prediction..I give a slight nod to S carolina at home vs a terrible road team.

TheRealDragonSlayer writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

UT vs S Carolina
My last prediction I had UT winning by 15 points and it was very close to that number. The problem now lies in the fact I have UT finishing the season 0-3. UT scores nicely at home averaging 72ppg but that number drops to only 61ppg away from Knoxville where UT averages losing by a score of 61-67 for a negative 6ppg average. On the year UT stands 2-8 on the road with only one SEC win. S Carolina has not quit as witnessed by the way they pushed Vandy to the end on Wednesday night in Nashville. Luckily for UT the Gamechickens are only 4-7 at home and also lose by a -4ppg margin. UT should come in favored on the road which is a scary propisiton at this point. This is the best chance for Ut to grab a late season win as LSU and Vandy are too big on the inside and will create huge mismatches for a team playing without any resemblance of a Center. I said 2 weeks ago UT would finish 2-5 and I will stick by that prediction..I give a slight nod to S carolina at home vs a terrible road team.

As usual, a ridiculously horrible analysis. No wonder you are not taken seriously by anyone.

A bad home team is worse than a bad road team. It is common knowledge that it is harder to play on the road than it is to play at home, so us being 2-8 on the road is better than SC being 4-7 at home.

Your predictions are awful, make no sense in any possible way, and the "problem" doesnt lie in your predicting UT to finish 0-3...the problem lies in YOU.

Get a life, Brett.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to brokendownoldvol:

It's hard to believe Pearl played brfore Maymon last yr. Probably cost 6-7 games.

Did you watch any of the games last year?? Maymon especially? Pearl played because he outhustled anybody. He also probably could push Maymon and Stokes both around! Well maybe not Stokes. He was a specialist. He knew he wouldn't score. He new he was in for defense. And I can't recall that many minutes for him either. Maymon and Pearl both were behind some talented players. However I DO concede in hindsight that Maymon probably would have played and therefore developed more if B Pearl hadn't known his own days were numbered.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

UT vs S Carolina
My last prediction I had UT winning by 15 points and it was very close to that number. The problem now lies in the fact I have UT finishing the season 0-3. UT scores nicely at home averaging 72ppg but that number drops to only 61ppg away from Knoxville where UT averages losing by a score of 61-67 for a negative 6ppg average. On the year UT stands 2-8 on the road with only one SEC win. S Carolina has not quit as witnessed by the way they pushed Vandy to the end on Wednesday night in Nashville. Luckily for UT the Gamechickens are only 4-7 at home and also lose by a -4ppg margin. UT should come in favored on the road which is a scary propisiton at this point. This is the best chance for Ut to grab a late season win as LSU and Vandy are too big on the inside and will create huge mismatches for a team playing without any resemblance of a Center. I said 2 weeks ago UT would finish 2-5 and I will stick by that prediction..I give a slight nod to S carolina at home vs a terrible road team.

Wouldn't it be great if we lost all our games here on out EXCEPT vandy? Dang beating the vandilites would prob get us an automatic invite to the great NCAADanm championship.
But I guess it's just one at a time, right?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to brokendownoldvol:

It's hard to believe Pearl played brfore Maymon last yr. Probably cost 6-7 games.

Just another backhanded slap against Steve Pearl. Maymon was fat and out of shape last year, as even he has admitted. He wasn't NEARLY the player last year that he is this year. If he had been in this kind of shape last year, Steve would have stayed on the bench. End of story.

Bubba_Knows writes:

I said at the beginning of the season that if Martin coached this team to a winning record, he should get SEC Coach of the Year. I still feel that way.

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to Bubba_Knows:

I said at the beginning of the season that if Martin coached this team to a winning record, he should get SEC Coach of the Year. I still feel that way.

To be fair, he had little chance of making it without Stokes late entry to the team.

thevoice writes:

in response to wigmeister:

Maymon's a beast. No other comment necessary!

Ditto. He's the MVP of this team hand down.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Bubba_Knows:

To be fair, he had little chance of making it without Stokes late entry to the team.

Well, aside from the fact that getting Stokes shouldn't work AGAINST him for COY, they did beat Florida and gave Duke and Memphis all they wanted in Maui without Stokes. And while Stokes has been a productive player, he hasn't really been the total game changer some prematurely thought he should be. In other words, there just haven't been that many games that the Vols won with Stokes that they wouldn't have had a good shot at winning without him, IMHO.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Well, aside from the fact that getting Stokes shouldn't work AGAINST him for COY, they did beat Florida and gave Duke and Memphis all they wanted in Maui without Stokes. And while Stokes has been a productive player, he hasn't really been the total game changer some prematurely thought he should be. In other words, there just haven't been that many games that the Vols won with Stokes that they wouldn't have had a good shot at winning without him, IMHO.

I predict Golden, Stokes and Maymon have great games tonight!! Golden will get assists and Maymon will score 20 plus and Stokes will get 12 'bounds and 16 points. How do I know this? Ok I don't. BUT I think we will tear South Carolina up!

UT 76
SC 56
Really I just think it'll be a 20 + win. And It'll be keyed by our defense producing turnovers.
Golly this optimism is fun. Miller may show up if he had some good practices.
McRae just needs to let it come to him and he too will do well.

Look out South Carolina.

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