Playing four ideal for Quinton Chievous with Jeronne Maymon out

Tennessee basketball's Quinton Chievous, pictured on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at Pratt Pavilion. 
  
 (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2011

Tennessee basketball's Quinton Chievous, pictured on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at Pratt Pavilion. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

At least for the start of the men's basketball season, 28.1 minutes per game of strong-scoring, rebound-grabbing production will be planted on the Tennessee bench.

Jeronne Maymon isn't easily replaced.

The senior forward, out with what coach Cuonzo Martin calls "a minor setback," leaves a 6-foot-7, 260-pound hole in the Vols' frontline.

Much of it might be filled by an atypical plug.

"Bigger forwards can't guard me on the wing so I feel like I can be a great scoring threat, plus I can bang down low with those bigs."

Those are the words of 6-5, 201-pound guard Quinton Chievous.

Tangled in a deep backcourt rotation, Chievous has carved out a niche this offseason as an undersized four. The redshirt freshman from Chicago can rebound in traffic, post-up smaller and larger defenders and effectively defend in the post.

Chievous got a taste of the role during the team's summer trip to Italy. Now with the Vols in need of depth down low, he'll get a mouthful.

"He's 6-5, a perimeter player, but him playing at the four for us, it's tough for big guys to guard him because he moves and has spacing and you have to guard him at the 3-point line," Martin said Tuesday.

"He's also a better post player than most guys in terms of offensive production. He creates a lot of mismatches for big guys, especially when his shot is going."

But a mismatch one way correlates to a mismatch the other way. It might not be seen in next week's season opener against Kennesaw State, but when Chievous faces high-major power forwards, opponents will see an advantage.

Chievous said battling forward Jarnell Stokes, a 6-8, 270-pound bull, and center Yemi Makanjuola, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound ox, has offered plenty of preparation.

"They'll tell you I'm tough to play against," Chievous said. "I don't worry about size."

Maymon's Knee: Regarding Maymon's knee, Martin reaffirmed the senior will miss the exhibition opener Monday against Victory University and offered no timetable for his return.

Martin said the issue at hand is not related to any "character issues" or team rules violations, dispelling the always swirling Internet gossip.

Martin said he hopes to be able to offer specifics on Maymon's status in "a week or two."

Playing The Game: Not only was Maymon UT's best post player last season, but he fouled out of just three league games despite playing nearly 30 minutes per contest.

Asked if the Vols' new-found lack of depth up front should change the approach of Stokes and other post players, Martin shook his head.

"It's playing the game," he said. "If you start worrying about not fouling and things you can't control, that's when you have struggles."

McBee's Shooting: UT coaches and players have recently raved about senior guard Skylar McBee's shooting. Martin has repeatedly said, "It's at the point where if I see him pull-up, I expect it to go in."

During Tuesday's practice, the point was proven. McBee couldn't miss. Rolling off screens, in transition, pull-ups. Good. Good. Good.

"It's all confidence," said junior guard Jordan McRae. "His mechanics have always been there, but Skylar is shooting the ball with a lot of confidence right now."

McBee shot 39.1 percent from beyond the arc last season, tops among UT players, and the Vols went 10-1 when he scored 10 or more points.

His number dipped, though, over the second half of the season. McBee shot 23-for-67 (34.3 percent) on 3-point attempts against SEC foes.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn

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Comments » 17

Ironcity writes:

Can't wait to see this team play.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Q. Mr. Q ?? Quint Quinty? Chevi

I don't know. He probably already has a nickname. Like Iron I want to see this team go at it!!!

johnlg00 writes:

My first thought on reading this was that this guy had better be one hard-nosed, raw-boned rocket to survive much playing time at that position in the SEC. On second thought, if he really is that versatile on offense, he should help give Stokes more room to operate on the inside.

As for posting up bigger guys, there is an entire array of post moves that have all but vanished in today's game. Since Q's dad was an NBA player in the old-school days, he might have taught the youngster some of these moves. If he has such moves as the up-and-under, the half-hook with either hand, the full array of pivots, how to look for the "blue sky", quick leaping ability, and great awareness of floor position and balance, he could make a lot of bigger guys look pretty silly.

If Q really is "all that", Austin Nichols might want to pay attention. If he plays his cards right and learns all those moves, that could be HIM next year, only bigger.

samvol writes:

maymon should have been recovered...whats really wrong...

johnlg00 writes:

in response to samvol:

maymon should have been recovered...whats really wrong...

That depends on a whole host of factors that none of us can possibly have any idea about, so we'll just have to wait until the administration decides to let the word out. Apart from the fact that no coach wants to let the opposition know just what the condition of his best player is, as long as he is a student most of this medical information is covered under student privacy standards. We will find out when we find out and until then all we can do is fret. And, no, I'm not happy about that, either.

johnlg00 writes:

PS: One other asset Quinton brings to the party is the fact that almost no standard-sized power forward is likely to beat him down the floor on a fast-break. Even if he doesn't get the layup, he is likely not going to be boxed out on the follow-up. Not only can he likely bring it up on the break himself, he will be another target on the wing for whoever DOES bring it up. If the Vols need more size for any reason, there are still Hall, Makanjuola, and Miller to bring the beef. This could be a very interesting season!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

PS: One other asset Quinton brings to the party is the fact that almost no standard-sized power forward is likely to beat him down the floor on a fast-break. Even if he doesn't get the layup, he is likely not going to be boxed out on the follow-up. Not only can he likely bring it up on the break himself, he will be another target on the wing for whoever DOES bring it up. If the Vols need more size for any reason, there are still Hall, Makanjuola, and Miller to bring the beef. This could be a very interesting season!

Just speculation. I wonder if Hall, Makenjuola, and Miller are playing light on defense in practice. Or maybe Martin wants to get Quinton going. Or maybe they'll all be needed in various schemes. I like the last one of those.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Just speculation. I wonder if Hall, Makenjuola, and Miller are playing light on defense in practice. Or maybe Martin wants to get Quinton going. Or maybe they'll all be needed in various schemes. I like the last one of those.

It may just be that CCM would like a little more speed and quickness on the floor. Neither Stokes nor Maymon are ever going to be confused with greyhounds. However, if at least four of the starters are quick, they may get a good deal more early offense out of them. If the break doesn't work, set up in the half-court and let Stokes pound on them, surrounded by guys who can shoot and drive. After all, if Stokes leaves early and Nichols doesn't sign, they may well have to play the speed game next year.

HooRay_Vol writes:

If he can shoot like his dad, there will be instant offense!

rclarkvols#224537 writes:

I remember another player about 6'4" who played power forward and did ok. Dane Bradshaw!

Bark_at_the_Moon writes:

You can't lose Maymon and turn it into a positive period...... except to give the bench some experience. Skylar can shoot the ball and his basketball IQ is really good as well. I like the kid, but he is a little slow and finds it tough to get open against better defenses which is why his numbers diped. Agree aout the comment on confidence and shooting percentages.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Bark_at_the_Moon:

You can't lose Maymon and turn it into a positive period...... except to give the bench some experience. Skylar can shoot the ball and his basketball IQ is really good as well. I like the kid, but he is a little slow and finds it tough to get open against better defenses which is why his numbers diped. Agree aout the comment on confidence and shooting percentages.

I guess you're right about McBee being a little slow. But his defense improved a lot last year by mid-season. His shooting didn't dip a lot compared to other 3 point shooters. He maintained his presence well. He drew opposition away from others. I don't see anyone getting his starting job but I could be wrong. There is definitely more talent around if they choose to play as hard as he does. None of them can shoot as well so far.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Bark_at_the_Moon:

You can't lose Maymon and turn it into a positive period...... except to give the bench some experience. Skylar can shoot the ball and his basketball IQ is really good as well. I like the kid, but he is a little slow and finds it tough to get open against better defenses which is why his numbers diped. Agree aout the comment on confidence and shooting percentages.

I don't think anybody, except maybe Vol opponents, sees Maymon's "setback" as anything to celebrate. One could call this lineup merely making the best of a bad situation, but there is also the argument that you have to find ways to win with whoever you have, not necessarily who you WISH you had. I was a Pearl fan right up until the end, but one thing I didn't like was how he constantly complained after his second or third year about not having the personnel to run his system, when by then he had recruited all of them in the first place. There is ALWAYS more than one way to win basketball games besides simply having the best players in the country playing the coach's ideal system to perfection. I haven't heard much of that from CCM, nor do I expect to. He strikes me as the kind of guy who will say, "We're coming after you with whoever we've got, so you had BETTER be ready!"

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Well I just wanted to post somewhere that no one is putting UT down. but it's hard to say anything nice about our football defensive efforts. PLUS I've said many times this is a bball site! sure am ready to watch some bball.
Dang to me it was fun to watch two good if not great offenses play. I've never seen that much open field for opposing team's offenses! Never that I recall.

Oh yeah. Bball. uhhhI hope we have a defense in bball.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

A few years ago most of us thought Maymon was an undersized post player. Don't underestimate desire and hard work.

johnlg00 writes:

I am a huge fan of desire and hard work. I even think Quinton might surprise some people at how productive he can be. However, "undersized" means different things referring to Maymon and Chievous. Maymon is shorter than the average SEC post player but has the bulk and strength to make up for it. Chievous is perhaps only a little shorter than Maymon but is a good 60+ pounds lighter. I hope Chievous can make up for some of that difference with speed, quickness, and more confidence shooting from medium range, but as another poster said, it is hard to see this change as a real positive for the Vols right now, though I certainly wish Chievous luck and I think the Vols will still be pretty good.

brod writes:

in response to samvol:

maymon should have been recovered...whats really wrong...

double knee surgery isn't that easy to recover from. although i did have the same thought go through my head.

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