Maymon likes Vol vibe

He chose Marquette because he wanted to be close to home. Then he chose Tennessee because he wanted to be close to his teammates.

Following a standout career at Memorial High School of Madison, Wisc., Jeronne Maymon signed with nearby Marquette. After just one semester in Milwaukee, however, he sensed that the Golden Eagles' team chemistry was somewhat lacking. After transferring and spending one semester in Knoxville, he is convinced the Vols' team chemistry is downright awesome.

"This is a different atmosphere. I feel a different vibe from the coaches and players," Maymon said recently. "I feel everybody embraced me here. At Marquette I just didn't feel I was valued like I should've been. Here, everybody's so caring and they want to see you do well and succeed."

Perhaps that closeness and camaraderie contributed to Tennessee's surprising run to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight last March.

"Definitely," Maymon said, nodding his head emphatically. "You've got to have a family atmosphere. Everybody has to be comfortable with everybody else and you have to be coachable. With everybody being so close, you're willing to take criticism without catching an attitude. It's just a different environment here."

Jeronne Maymon seems to enhance that environment, whether he's in the classroom or the gym. An easy-going and soft-spoken guy away from the basketball floor, the 6-7, 250-pounder turns into a real bruiser once he dons his practice attire and starts battling for rebounds and loose balls.

Head coach Bruce Pearl likens Maymon to a thicker Tyler Smith because he exhibits the perimeter skills to play the small forward position (3) and the toughness to play the power forward position (4).

"I do have a similar style," Maymon said. "Coach wants me to be a point forward, doing a lot of the same stuff Tyler Smith did. I'm good off the dribble, finding people, getting to the hole and finishing."

The difference: Tyler Smith played 3 and 4 at 6-7 and 220 pounds, whereas Maymon plays those positions at 6-7 and 250. Maymon also plays the game with a more offensive mindset.

"Tyler was good at getting to the hole and he was very unselfish," Maymon said. "I'm very unselfish but I shoot more. Tyler wasn't looking to shoot pull-up jump shots and 3s. I do a little bit of everything. I like to shoot a lot."

As a mid-term transfer, Maymon had to sit out the last semester of the 2009-10 school year. He'll also have to sit out the first semester of the 2010-11 school year, becoming eligible around Christmas. Although he has been limited to practicing with the Vols thus far, he believes he has benefited greatly.

"I've gained a lot of insight and familiarity with the players, the coaches and how they work," he said. "It's helped me as a player and person to get the feel of everybody and the chemistry. It makes me feel better, on the court and off."

Maymon said he has learned a lot in his first eight months on The Hill. The most important lesson, he says, is easy to pinpoint.

"Dedication," he said. "Getting in the gym every day and putting up shots. Whether it's free throws, spot shots, off-the-dribble shots ... just stay dedicated. Don't ever try to take a day off.

"Sometimes you might be tired but 30-45 minutes here in the gym won't hurt nobody."

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