Memphis' Chris Crawford, left, and Will Barton, right, defend as Tennessee's Jeronne Maymon (34) goes to the basket in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011, in Lahaina, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
KNOXVILLE — Jeronne Maymon knew what was going on while it was happening.
The bouncing of the ball and the increased attention from the opponent kept Tennessee's junior forward from doing what he does best.
The Volunteers' leading rebounder grabbed just one board in UT's loss to 15th-ranked Pittsburgh last Saturday, and, as Maymon noted after the Vols finished practice at Pratt Pavilion late Wednesday afternoon, the lone board came late in the game on a free throw when the Panthers didn't even put any players in position for a miss.
"I did [know] the whole game," he said. "I don't know, the ball just wasn't coming my way. I wasn't in the right spots at the right time. It was just an overall bad game.
"That was the first game I've had with just getting one rebound. I dwelled on it that night and the next morning and the day after that, but I'm over it. I'm ready to move forward."
What's forward for Maymon and the Vols is the easiest stretch of schedule they'll see all season. UT plays Austin Peay on Saturday before traveling to College of Charleston next week, which is followed up with home games against North Carolina-Asheville, East Tennessee State, The Citadel and UT-Chattanooga. The schedule turns in January, when seven of UT's nine games are against teams that are or have been ranked this season.
After his 32-point, 20-rebound performance in the double-overtime loss to Memphis at the Maui Invitational two weeks ago, Maymon has battled a lower-leg injury and increased efforts of opponents to keep him off the glass. The 6-foot-6 Maymon, who's averaging 13.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in seven games this year, had six in the loss at Oakland before his one-board game against Pitt. The Panthers' Nasir Robinson collected 12 rebounds and nine offensive boards, which prompted first-year UT coach Cuonzo Martin to say Robinson "dominated" that individual matchup after the game.
"[Maymon's] been fine and once the game was over, I don't put a lot of stock in it," Martin said Wednesday. "We just say execute our game plan the next day in practice. I don't put a lot of weight on them like that from the standpoint of, 'He let us down.' We lost as a team, it's not one guy.
"I have never been that kind of guy to put that type of pressure on a player. In order to improve, you have to accept individual matchups and challenges when you try and take that next step as a player, but he didn't win or lose the game for us. [Pitt] did a good job of rebounding as a team."
Despite his bulldozer-like appearance, Maymon has shown an ability to put the ball on the floor and drive this season, something he didn't do last season. Martin called him an "inside-out guy," though Maymon has been most effective at grabbing offensive rebounds for easy putbacks. Maymon had nine offensive boards in his outstanding performance against Memphis, but he knows that also made him less of a well-kept secret for future games.
"From time to time I realized that two or three guys were trying to box me out because the way and how hard I crash the glass," he said. "I noticed that. I think that's what teams are going to start trying to do. It's just toughness, toughness to get the rebound.
"Either you can get it or you can't, so you've just got to rebound. There's no other way around it."
The Vols got a surprise unofficial visitor for the Pitt game last week.
Jarnell Stokes, a five-star undecided forward, made the drive up from Memphis for the game. The 6-8 Stokes is not playing high-school basketball this year after transferring from Central to Southwind last summer, which presents the possibility he could enroll in January and play immediately as long as the team he joins has an open scholarship for him. Stokes' six finalists are Memphis, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky and the Vols.
UT also nabbed its first public commitment for the 2013 class after losing to Pitt. Point guard Travon Landry, a three-star prospect from Bob Jones High School in Madison, Ala., picked the Vols after watching the game as an unofficial visitor. The 6-foot Landry, who's more of a true point guard, had an early offer from Vanderbilt in addition to interest from Alabama and Texas A&M.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...