Tennessee received good news this spring when the Volunteers two leading scorers — Jordan McRae and Jarnell Stokes — decided to return to Knoxville for the the fall. Monday afternoon provided even more of a lift to a program that saw its bubble burst on Selection Sunday.
Jeronne Maymon sat next to his coach Cuonzo Martin on Monday as the Vols coach told reporters that his 6-foot-7 forward looks back to form after redshirting the 2012-2013 season because of a left knee injury.
“First and foremost, I’m excited to have Jeronne sitting next to me,” Martin told reporters. “Having a healthy Jeronne is a great part about this meeting as we speak today.
“He looks good and his body looks great. He is back to his old ways,” Martin added. “The only thing is that he hasn’t played in live games in a year. But other than that, he is back. He is banging. He is physical and aggressive.”
As our own Rob Dauster will tell you, Martin has a way of misleading the media, especially when it comes to the health of Maymon. But on Monday, Maymon answered questions about his knee, and he felt confident that he would be ready for the season debut.
“I think I most definitely will,” Maymon told reporters. “As the season goes along, I’ll continue to gradually get stronger and faster. I think that is a good thing. While everyone else is maintaining, I’m getting stronger and improving.
“I feel good. I’m working out and lifting weights constantly. I’m in the gym rehabbing early in the morning. I feel good and my body feels good. No pain or anything like that. I’m ready to go.”
With Maymon — who averaged 12.7 points and 8.7 rebounds in 2011-2012 — back in the lineup, the Vols have strengthened their chances at landing an NCAA tournament bid, and makes their conference matchups against Florida and preseason favorite Kentucky that much more interesting. Remember, Tennessee also adds Memphis transfer Antonio Barton, who is eligible to play this season, per NCAA rules.
Tennessee opens the season on Nov. 12 at Xavier.