CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Tuesday afternoon at Cleveland High School, Jeronne Maymon put his University of Tennessee basketball teammate Jordan McRae on notice.
"I haven't played Jordan in so long. If we played right now he'd probably demolish me," Maymon said. "But by late July, early August, it's going to be a different story. I'm telling him now to get prepared."
Maymon and McRae were two of the eight Volunteers players at the S.H.O.T clinic, where 75 campers were put through a myriad of drills to enhance their abilities.
Maymon's skills might be a little rusty, as the 2011-12 All-SEC second-team player missed all of last season with a knee injury. His return, along with McRae's emergence and a solid recruiting class, has raised the expectations to those outside the program.
For coach Cuonzo Martin, the goal is still the same.
"As a coach, it's business as usual," Martin said. "Regardless of who is on the team, you have to have a system in place and coach toward that. You can tweak certain things as the season goes on depending who you have on the floor, but our guys really haven't talked about it.
"For us, though, it's business as usual. You have to compete, play hard, rebound the basketball, defend, score -- the same stuff we talk about all the time. I don't think those things should change, because if you change depending on who you have on the team, your program will crumble at some point. So for us, the blueprint stays the same."
Maymon said his progress is going well. He's been able to increase the amount of activity on the knee, which in turn is making him stronger and faster. He said last season was hard to watch, when the team went 20-13 and fell to new Southern Conference member Mercer in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
But it also helped give him a new perspective.
"You see things differently," he said. "Things you don't see while you're out there playing, you see. You see things that you can help teammates with to try and help further the season."
Maymon and McRae, who was first-team All-SEC last season, have bought into the philosophy. But it's no secret that Maymon's return can only better the Vols' chances not only of making the NCAA tournament but making a significant run in March.
"Jeronne adds a lot to this team," McRae said. "The year before, he did everything for us. He rebounds and plays hard, and having him out there as our vocal leader will help us a lot.
"We're going to have a really good team this year. The thing I like is that we don't have to rely on anybody to score 20 or 30. We have a lot of guys who can give you 12, and five guys who can give you 12 is way better than one giving you 20."
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.
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