Motivated Maze

The spring signing of junior college point guard Melvin Goins convinced some observers that Tennessee's coaches lack confidence in their senior point guard.

Fortunately for the Vols, their senior point guard does not share this view.

"I'm glad. I'm excited that we signed another point guard," Bobby Maze said during a break in Monday night's Rocky Top summer league action. "We needed another guard. Daniel West (looking to transfer) is not here anymore and Josh Tabb is a 2 or 3 man. He did a good job at the point last year but it's not his natural position."

Rather than view the addition of Goins as an insult, Maze sees it as insurance.

"Maybe it's to push me and make me play harder, but I'm happy we signed another guard," he said. "I love competition, and I feel like I'm at the top of my game right now."

Maze always seems to be at the top of his game in June. He led the Rocky Top League in 3-point shooting at 44.0 percent last summer, hit 58.2 percent overall and averaged 29.4 points per game en route to being tabbed the league's "Most Outstanding Player."

Based on his 20-point outing in First Tennessee Bank's 121-110 defeat of Choice Spine on Monday night, Maze appears ready to pick up this June where he left off last June.

"I think I played well," he said. "I just want to work hard on getting my team open shots and winning. I think I did a good job of getting everybody involved, getting us more shots and scoring when I needed to.

"Any time I come out with a win, I feel like I played good. This summer I'm working on some things – shooting the 3, hitting the mid-range jumper and driving the ball."

Based on Maze's sizzling showing in the Rocky Top League last summer, some Vol fans expected him to be just as dynamic once the college season started. He wasn't. He averaged 8.2 points per game, shooting 42.6 percent from the field and 31.9 percent from 3. Additionally, he dished out just 3.2 assists per game.

"I hear rumors that I underachieved, that I didn't do what was expected of me," he said. "What a lot of people don't understand is that before I came to Tennessee I was a scoring guard. I averaged 20 (points per game) almost everywhere I've ever been."

After joining UT from junior college last summer, Maze had to make the transition from a shoot-first off guard to a pass-first point guard. He's still making that transition.

"Anybody who comes out here (Rocky Top League) to see me play can see that I can score with the best of 'em," he said. "This year it's about helping my team win and showing everybody what I can do. I've learned where my shots come from and where my guys will be.

"This year, playing on a team with Tyler (Smith) and Cameron (Tatum) and a lot of good guards, I've got to get a lot of people involved."

Ultimately, the more involved Maze gets the forwards and wings, the less involved Melvin Goins will be.


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