Maze To Visit UT

After deciding juniors-to-be Ramar Smith and Duke Crews had run out of chances on The Hill, Bruce Pearl is hoping a second chance will be enough to land JUCO All-America point guard Bobby Maze to the Vols' roster.

A native of Suitland, Md., who has been compared to NBA star Allen Iverson, Maze originally signed with Oklahoma, but decided to depart after Jeff Capel became head coach in Norman. He enrolled into Hutchinson Community College

He announced on Dec. 20 of last year that he was committed to Maryland, eliminating Tennessee, Kentucky, South Florida and Pittsburgh at the same time. That appeared to be the end of a recruiting process that had gone in some form for three years through high school, prep school, college and junior college.

Hutchinson Community College (KS) point guard Maze thought his recruitment was over when he committed to Maryland a few months ago, but plans changed when the Terps took a recent commitment from Juco guard Tyree Evans. Now he is going through the recruiting process again and the chief contenders for his services are Cincinnati, Kentucky and Tennessee.

As a sophomore at Hutchinson the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Maze averaged 20.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game. He shot 50.5 points per game and a solid 72.9 percentage from the free-throw line.

. "I've been through everything in life," Maze told's Jeff Ermann when asked about the latest alteration in course. ‘There's a reason I didn't go to Maryland.—maybe there's a better situation out there for me."

That better situation might just be Tennessee which is losing three guards including their two most experienced point guards. The path would appear clear for Maze to be the floor general for one of the most potent offenses in the NCAA which would feature small forward Tyler Smith, power forward Wayne Chism, shooting guard Scotty Hopkins and talented sixth man J.P. Prince. The Vols signed Saginaw, Mich., point guard Daniel West last month, but would prefer to bring him along slowly while Maze would give Tennessee an experienced hand to direct a potent offense.

Additionally, Maze would give the Vols a point guard who is excellent in both the open court and in the half-court offense. His ability to create off the dribble or shoot from the perimeter would open a lot of scoring opportunities and make for a better balanced attack than the Vols have had the last two seasons.

The pursuit of Maze won't be protracted. He is visiting Cincinnati this weekend and will be in Lexington next weekend. Tennessee gets Maze's last visit which may be the favored spot, but he has been quick to say he doesn't have a favorite. However Tennessee did finish runner-up when Maze committed to Maryland, and has the most immediate need at the point which seems to fit his criteria.

"I want to come in and play right away, have the ball in my hands, maybe come off some screens and spread the floor," he said. "I definitely want to play for a team that has good players and wants to win. I want to win a national championship. I'm not gonna go some place just to score a lot of points and do this and that."

With Maze as the starting point, Tennessee could be strong to the finish.

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