Dec 15, 2011, 11:15 AM EDT
Two years ago, Jeronne Maymon quit.
At the time, Maymon was coming off a Wisconsin state title as a high school senior, and was a top 100 recruit, nationally.
That’s when the then-6-6, 230-pound forward Madison, Wisc., native promptly announced he was leaving Marquette and would transfer.
He had been averaging four points and just over four rebounds for the Golden Eagles off the bench. His father, Tim Maymon, said his son was displeased with his place in the Marquette system.
Tensions between the elder Maymon and Marquette head coach Buzz Williams were palpable, and Maymon held no punches.
“The whole problem with the whole Buzz situation was he didn’t want Jeronne to out-do anybody on that team until his sophomore year,” he told Madison.com. “They didn’t want to play the game right, so now we’re going to watch them lose every game. That’s just how it works.”
That was then.
Now, Jeronne Maymon is a 6-7 junior who weighs 265 pounds. He has traded Marquette baby blue for the electric orange of the Tennessee Volunteers.
Under first-year Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin, Maymon and the Volunteers have lost four in a row and six of seven, following a 71-65 loss to College of Charleston on Wednesday night.
Not exactly what he may have been looking for.
But on the year, Maymon is averaging nearly 14 points and eight rebounds, becoming the strong contributor that his father thought needed a chance at Marquette.
In the absence of Tobias Harris and Scotty Hopson, who both tested the waters of the NBA Draft, Tennessee has had to lean on young guards Jordan McRae and Trae Golden.
Maymon is Tennessee’s best inside presence and his overall consistency, peppered with a few impressive outings, has been dampened and discounted by the Volunteers’ other struggles.
At the Maui Invitational, despite losing in double overtime, 99-97, Maymon posted 32 points and 20 rebounds, including a clutch drive to the basket that sent the game into overtime.
But, with little defense on the perimeter, including a defense that allowed 24 points to Charleston’s Antwaine Wiggins (though a skilled player in his own right), the Volunteers have been buried.
Combine that with spurts of high turnover rates – 17 turnovers versus Austin Peay and 16 more Wednesday night against Charleston – and Tennessee is quickly behind in the SEC.
With four more games before a rematch with Memphis, then moving into SEC play, the 3-6 Vols are destined for growing pains this season.
Maymon came close to a double-double against Charleston, tallying nine points and eight rebounds. If Martin’s team increases their efficiency, which includes continuing to work the ball into the post, they may be able to help their cause in conference play.
They play again on Dec. 20 against UNC-Asheville.
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