Attack mode

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Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin has two things he can count on these days: (1) his fingers and (2) Jeronne Maymon.

On a Vol squad filled with wildly inconsistent players, Maymon has been the closest thing the team has to a steady performer. He has posted double-digit point totals in each of Tennessee's 12 SEC games and has grabbed a half-dozen or more rebounds in nine of the 12. Maymon also has been the most consistent Vol in terms of bringing energy, game in and game out.

"He has a lot of confidence right now, and he's really in attack mode," teammate Trae Golden said. "As long as he's in attack mode, it's going to be nothing but positive for us."

After transferring in from Marquette and sitting out a year, Maymon spent the second half of the 2010-11 season in mop-up mode, averaging just nine relief minutes per game. He won a starting job at power forward this preseason, however, then broke loose in Game 4, recording 32 points and 20 rebounds in an overtime loss to Memphis on Nov. 22. He went off again Jan. 28 against Auburn, producing 15 points and 19 rebounds.

As brilliant as those performances were, Maymon's consistent level of play through six weeks of SEC action is even more impressive. In league competition he leads the Vols in points (14.1 per game), rebounds (7.9 per game), field-goal percentage (58.3) and steals (13).

"He's everything for us," Golden said. "When he's aggressive he rebounds and does so many things for us."

Maymon does everything, it seems, except make 3-pointers. The 6-foot-7, 265-pound junior is 0 for 5 this season from beyond the arc but that's a skill he's looking to acquire. He launched probably 100 shots from just inside the arc prior to Monday's practice — roughly 20 from each corner, 20 from each wing and 20 from the key.

"Man, it's tough," he said following the drill. "I had to make consecutive shots in order to move on to the next spot. If I made four and missed the fifth one, I had to start all over. It's tough."

With opponents constantly double-teaming Maymon on the block, the ability to step outside and hit 18-footers would be a real plus.

"Oh, yeah ... consistently," he said. "That would just add another dynamic to our team, so that's something I'm working on for next year."

Once he masters that 18-foot jumper, Maymon will move back one more step and work on his 3-point shot. Developing it could put him on par with Michigan State standout Draymond Green, whom Martin helped coach at the World University Games last summer.

"They are very similar," the Vol coach said. "The only key (difference) right now is Draymond has a better stroke from the 3-point line."

Martin isn't looking to make Maymon the next Draymond, however.

"Really I want Jeronne to be Jeronne Maymon," the coach said. "I think he can be great at being that. But I have talked to him about expanding his game from the 3-point line since Day 1, just really improving his 3-point shot because he is a good ball-handler who can take big guys and can take guards off the dribble."

Adding a long-range jump shot to the skill set Maymon already possesses could make him something special.

"I have said since Day 1 that the next phase for his game is really knocking that 3-point shot down," Martin said. "He doesn't have to shoot five or six a game, just one or two to loosen up the defense.... We will spend a lot of time this spring and summer getting his shot down from the 3-point line. If he can knock that top-of-the-key 3 down, with his ability to go off the dribble, he will be tough to defend.

"He's tough now."


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