One thing about covering Marquette basketball for a recruiting website…every month it seems like something major happens. Some of the events are very good…Vander Blue…Reggie Smith….and some of them are not so good...Tom Crean leaving on April 1…and some of them are good and bad, Tom Crean leaving [bad] and Buzz Williams replacing him [good]…today it is Jeronne Maymon leaving….let's call this one, very bad in the short term…and not so bad in the longer term…
The situation reminds me of the Odartey Blankson transfer in 2002. To refresh your memory, ‘ODB' was a 6-7 225 lb F from Chicago…he was a fan favorite…a blue collar player who worked his butt off to do the physical ‘dirty work' that gave D Wade and Scott Merritt an opportunity to do more things esp. down low…ODB was a childhood friend of D Wade's…and I believe his roommate. After the 2001-02 season, Crean made Blankson the team captain of what would have been the Final Four team. One problem, ODB was getting advice from a family member and ‘friends' that he, ODB, should not be playing PF, he should be playing ‘shooting guard' or ‘SF'…and that he, ODB, should be the man featured in the offense and Crean should have been setting up plays for ODB at the end of games…not D Wade…so he decided to leave the program and he ended up at UNLV….where he played in a faster paced offense, averaged close to a double double…and two yr later, expressed regret for not staying at MU. It became clearer how ‘wrong' he and his advisors were when Wade became a superstar in the NBA.
Part of being a member of a team is sacrificing yourself for the benefit of the team. Four yrs ago, I would talk to Crean about his major target of the 2006 recruiting yr, Lazar Hayward. Crean said, ‘Lazar is the best long range outside shooter in this 2006 class. He would replace some of what we are losing with Novak and Chapman graduating. He will complement what Wes and Jerel give us because he can play a little bigger…block shots…better rebounder.' At no time did Crean say [or think] that the 6-5 Hayward would be playing PF for four yrs. Hayward has adjusted his game playing against bigger players every game of his career. This hard work and team sacrificed will be rewarded as LH will have a long professional career. Just ask Bo Ryan about Hayward's work ethic and attitude on Ryan's USA Select team last summer. Ryan still raves about it.
I like Maymon's game but I believe he is making a huge mistake. Maymon is playing out of position now down low but a little work on his post up game would make him a better rounded player. Ironically, Maymon seems to be playing the same position that he did at Madison Memorial. Maymon has terrific hands…can pass well…is a surprisingly good perimeter defender…and his a good rebounder. He has been frustrated playing the post because he is finding that the defenders are more athletic than he is and Maymon cannot effectively use his bulk against them like he could in HS…one subtle problem for him in the post was the injury to Junior Cadougan, the best ‘PG' on the roster. Cadougan is bigger and stronger. He understands how to feed a post and pass in transition very much like Travis Diener and Dominic James. David Cubillan and Maurice Acker have been playing very well and MU would be lost without them but they are smaller and a physical opponent guard can pressure the entry passes to the post and limit touches…very much like MU tries to do when they are on defense. I am sure this frustrated Maymon.
But Maymon's role on this team is not as a swing forward or 2G….he is not quick enough on offense….his shot is not good enough yet….He is not going to take minutes from Lazar Hayward, Jimmy Butler and DJO but he could complement them while he improves his post up game. I think his leaving is a big mistake for him….just like it was for ODB 7 yrs ago. I am really surprised by the criticism he has been receiving on message boards from opponent fans. I don't know what they are watching. Against Wisconsin, I thought Maymon had a solid game. He rebounded well and defended well vs. the taller Badgers. He will not jump out of the building but Maymon is a talent…was a great interview…and I sensed that he was a really good kid. I hope he made the right decision and I wish him well in the future.
Meanwhile, it is a great time to be operating a recruiting website because Buzz Williams will have some heavy lifting to do…and he is fishing in the right trough ….and we will be there to cover Buzz and his staff every step of the way. DoddsOnSports