UT talent excites Goins

Just as a carpenter is only as good as his tools, a point guard is only as good as his weapons. And Tennessee's new point guard is thrilled with the arsenal he finds at his disposal.

"I've got great teammates here," Melvin Goins said, shaking his head in awe. "I've always had good teammates but the talent I have now is amazing."

Goins, a powerfully built 5-11, 195-pounder from Mount San Jacinto (Calif.) Community College, can't wait to dish the basketball to guys like Tyler Smith, Wayne Chism and Scotty Hopson.

"I like to distribute the ball," Goins said. I like to get other people the ball before I get my own shot.

"I can score the ball well, too, but I think a playmaker is the way I'd describe myself."

Head coach Bruce Pearl described Goins as "a pass-first point guard ... a terrific playmaker who can get in the lane and score over bigger people and he can also make plays for others in the lane."

That should make Goins the perfect complement to incumbent point guard Bobby Maze, a converted shooting guard who has more of a scoring mindset.

"Melvin is probably a little more creative for others in the halfcourt than Bobby is," Pearl said. "Melvin, on the ball defensively, is a stopper. He can keep guys in front of him."

Not at this time, however. Goins is recovering from minor knee surgery that probably will keep him out another two weeks. He was playing pickup games against his new teammates a month ago when the knee problems flared up.

"It was swollen for three weeks straight but I kept playing through it," he recalled. "I finally got an MRI, and they said I had two tears. One of the tears was a pre-existing injury and the other was a newer injury."

Pronouncing his recovery "ahead of schedule," Goins hopes to join the Vols on the practice floor by Nov. 1.

Although he shot 32.7 percent from 3-point range en route to averaging 17.2 points per game at Mount San Jacinto last season, Goins prefers to do his scoring inside the arc.

"I like to get in the lane, personally," he said. "If you get in the lane - get in the middle of the defense - then there are so many options there. You can score the ball or dish it out to your teammates. If you're a penetrator as a point guard, that's always a good thing."

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