Mike Strange: Jeronne Maymon giving Vols what he can

Mike Strange
Tennessee forward Jeronne Maymon (34) shoots a layup against Auburn center Matthew Atewe (41) during the first half at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. Tennessee won 78-67. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Lau

Tennessee forward Jeronne Maymon (34) shoots a layup against Auburn center Matthew Atewe (41) during the first half at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. Tennessee won 78-67. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

When Josh Richardson arrived in the media room Wednesday night to discuss Tennessee’s 78-67 win over Auburn, he was unencumbered except for a pizza box.

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Comments » 7

atnvol#283282 writes:

Thanks Jeronne...your efforts are appreciated. Good write Mike.

johnlg00 writes:

Jeronne needs to try to adjust to the fact that his game is all about dominating his piece of ground. He should concentrate on being the master of the one square yard in any direction that he is standing on.

If he is on offense, all he needs to do is stay oriented toward the ball, spread in a crouch, ready to catch, scan the defense, find his strongest angle past the nearest defender's shoulders, and kiss it in. He never has to leave his feet. He fakes them up and then ducks under. It has worked forever at every level of basketball. A decent face-up jumper from 15' in would be really nice, too.

On defense, he should be aware of every man within half-again the area of that "square yard" and orient his body to be a half-step from the most likely spot the offensive player might like to go. No galloping across the court here, just shifts in weight and positioning to be ready to move somewhere else with authority. Much the same thought process should go into positioning under the boards.

Then, if the legs keep improving--rare, but it could happen--it will be time to start working back out toward the perimeter. Most assume that Maymon's possibly inherent but certainly current lack of lift would prevent him from playing inside in the pros. So he would need to extend his shooting range, eventually to the NBA 3-point line and he would need to be able to show that he can defend in space to play outside. He has a good handle and good instincts for keeping the ball moving and getting it where it needs to go. Better free-throw shooting would also help.

However, it is worth considering that NBA greats such as Paul Silas, Charles Oakley, Rick Mahorn, and any number of other such, who have numerous present-day peers, weren't much if any bigger than Jeronne and were also rather earth-bound types. Yet they are champions and record-setters, with long productive careers. It's all up to you and God, Jeronne. Good luck, and thanks for all you've done.

underthehill writes:

Maymon has to take Rankin in the Ky game..he did an outstanding job every time he faced Terrance Jones and how he does against Rankin may be the key to giving the Vols a chance..

johnlg00 writes:

in response to underthehill:

Maymon has to take Rankin in the Ky game..he did an outstanding job every time he faced Terrance Jones and how he does against Rankin may be the key to giving the Vols a chance..

I'm afraid I don't give the Vols much of a chance inside. Stokes and Maymon will have to play at least 30 minutes each and record double-doubles for the Vols to be anywhere close to even inside. The Vols' best chance may be to press in the back court and drop back into more of an interior defense. I would just say "zone", but a sagging, switching man-to-man might work. On the edges of that defense, they need to be active with their hands, waving and not slapping, and move their feet to keep the UK guys in front of them. They need to stop and surround all penetrators and allow them to turn it over--don't bail them out with cheap fouls! All five Vol players have to hit the defensive board.

On offense, they should either try to score immediately or pull it out and work the clock. The longer they make UK play defense, the more likely one of them gets overanxious or inattentive. They should keep the middle as open as possible with no more than one post player underneath at once. Penetrators should, in order, 1) take it straight to the hoop, 2) pass to a cutting post man, or 3), pull up for the mid-range jumper. Three-point shots should only be taken in transition, following inside feeds, and after offensive rebounds. Finally, hope UK is missing from outside, doesn't make their free-throws, and puts the Vols in the bonus early in both halves, with the Vols making most of them. In other words, lotsa luck, Vols. I love ya', but you're gonna need some luck.

johnlg00 writes:

PS, UTH; I think you meant Randle. I'm afraid his name will be stamped all over our memories of the game, unless we succeed in flushing them entirely. Just kidding! The Vols may come out smokin', the UK frosh come out overly hyper to avenge the Arky loss...who knows? We might see history.

fannotsheep writes:

No doubt Maymon's and Hubbs' inability to fully recover from their injuries have hurt this year. I guess Hubbs will have no choice but to return for another year -- I just don't know if the Vols will have much to put with him, assuming Stokes finally tries his luck the NBA. After witnessing Maymon's misfortune you couldn't blame him for going. But the cupboard looks bare if he does.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to fannotsheep:

No doubt Maymon's and Hubbs' inability to fully recover from their injuries have hurt this year. I guess Hubbs will have no choice but to return for another year -- I just don't know if the Vols will have much to put with him, assuming Stokes finally tries his luck the NBA. After witnessing Maymon's misfortune you couldn't blame him for going. But the cupboard looks bare if he does.

I think you're right. Couple those with Barton's season-opening stretch of injury, and it was just going to be an uphill slog for this team to play up to its potential.

I see Hubbs staying for two years unless he comes out like Michael Jordan next year. That will be difficult if he has to be the Vols' main threat. If he succeeds, he may well try his draft luck after next year, but my guess is that the best-case scenario is that he will need two years of high-level college performance to be worth a draft pick.

I think chances are better than average that Stokes will come back. This year's NBA draft is said to be uncommonly deep. Even if nobody in this country will have ever heard of most of the big men chosen in June 2014, virtually all of them will have a more polished offensive game than Jarnell. I see him trying to incorporate some little improvements in footwork and ball fakes, but he still has a long way to go to develop a "go-to" move in the low post. His jumper has promise, but it too needs to be smoother and more assured. I think he can rebound at the next level, but not well enough to be drafted for it unless he shows he can score, too.

The wild card in all these calculations is the coaching situation. If the team finishes playing at a high level, makes the NCAAs, wins a game or two, etc., Martin is almost certainly back. Opinions vary about how much guys like Hubbs and Stokes actually benefit from being in the Vol program compared to some mythically perfect situation somewhere else. None of us fans know how Stokes and Hubbs feel about Martin and playing at UT. Maybe they love it. They have seen how McRae and Richardson have gotten better and how the young ones are coming along. With those two "big guns" back, that team would not be helpless. So I'll guess we'll see.

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