December 3, 2012
Vols have room to improve, but it's early
The laser-like focus of the Tennessee fan base is totally directed at a football coaching search that's now entering it's third week, which has led to an uneven start to hoops season flying somewhat under the radar. The Vols haven't exactly stumbled out of the gates on the hardwood, but they have encountered a couple of early season speed-bumps that suggest problems could be ahead if the next month doesn't include some significant steps forward in the team's overall development.
Given the marathon nature of college basketball, two losses in the month of November--to quality opponents--isn't anything to get bent out of shape about. That's even more true when you take into account the impact of not having preseason All-SEC selection Jeronne Maymon on the floor.
Maymon's lingering knee issue--which doesn't appear on the verge of clearing up--has left the Vols in an early-season bind. Everyone expected the senior forward's absence would have a negative impact on the team, but few appeared to be predict just how badly the Vols would miss him.
To be clear, no one on the Tennessee team--certainly not Cuonzo Martin--was pointing to Maymon's absence as an excuse in the wake of either early-season loss, to Oklahoma State in Puerto Rico or Georgetown this past Friday. However, the effect of not having him on the floor against the two high-caliber opponents they've faced to this point seems crystal clear, especially on the offensive end.
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial