Aug 26, 2013
Opening Statements "First and foremost, I'm excited to have Jeronne Maymon sitting next to me. Having a healthy Jeronne is a great part about this meeting as we speak today. I think we've had our best summer (workouts) since I've been a head coach from top to bottom. The talent has been there and the personal has been there. The guys played well, guys competed, and guys got bigger, strong, and faster. That was our goal throughout the summer. They did a great job in the classroom. Our best job (in the classroom) since I've been here in the summertime. Guys met certain goals and expectations in the classroom and did a great job of achieving those goals. We saw guys gain 15 to 20 pounds, certain guys lost weight and gained muscle. So it has been a good summer from that standpoint.
We got Antonio Barton in the fold. We had our meetings with him this morning. His body looks great and Nicodemus (Christopher) can take care of that a little more. He was a guy this summer that wasn't here because of finishing up school (at Memphis).
We had Derek (Reese) playing basketball (in Puerto Rico), we had Jarnell Stokes playing with USA Basketball, and Jordan McRae was with Kevin Durant and LeBron James at camp so it was a great summer for our program."
(On Jeronne Maymon's current status) "He looks good as far as workouts. I've never been big on numbers and percentages because I don't think I ever really played at what someone would call 100%. I thought I played at a high level because once I entered college I was always banged up in some way, shape, or form. So that's just part of it. But he looks good. He looks like he did when he played at a high level. I think he is a little bit better in certain areas as far as making passes and decision making. I thought that was one area he could improve in and of course his decision making in certain situations. He's one of our better playmakers and I thought he has done a good job thus far of making better decisions with the basketball. He looks better now as far as I'm concerned. His shot has really improved, too."
(On any questions about Maymon's availability this season) "Not at all. He looks good and his body looks great. He is back to his old ways. The only thing is that he hasn't played in live games in a year. But other than that, he is back. He is banging. He is physical and aggressive. He played against Tobias (Harris) this summer and some NBA players like Mike Beasley. So he has played against and done a great job against those guys. Again, he looks like the same old Jeronne to me."
(On Tennessee's 2013-14 schedule) "Of course you want to play Kentucky. We look forward to it as a basketball program and our fans look forward to that game. It's the schedule the SEC presented so we have to play that schedule that's been given to us. But across the board, I think it's a great schedule. The preseason games... to go to Wichita State and to go to Xavier to open up for College Gameday. You know there aren't many teams will do that nowadays unless it is a neutral site. I just feel like we have the personal to go into a hostile environment and to compete to try and win a basketball game. It's just a great way to start. We open up the SEC schedule on the road at LSU, a very talented team. Again, when you have the personal to do these types of things, I think we are built for it and we are tough. We have a tough breed and we can do it."
(On his health) "I feel good. I'm working out and lifting weights constantly. I'm in the gym rehabbing early in the morning. I feel good and my body feels good. No pain or anything like that. I'm ready to go."
(On how tough it was missing last season) "It was really tough, sitting out and watching the game that you love, and seeing your teammates struggle at times. I just did the best that I could on the bench and keep the energy up. Whether we were winning or whether we were losing, I just tried to keep the moral up on the bench."
(On what ways Maymon has improved after sitting out a season) "I think I'm more mentally prepared. I think the game has slowed down for me. I'm not as explosive as I was, but I think I've down a good job of slowing the game down which has helped me with things like my passing and seeing different things that I didn't see before. Plus sitting out an entire year, it really helps me visual the game better."
(On if Maymon will get his explosion back) "I think I most definitely will. As the season goes along, I'll continue to gradually get stronger and faster. I think that is a good thing. While everyone else is maintaining, I'm getting stronger and improving."
(On Maymon confidence level on his knee) "I'm good. I don't think about it. I just go out there and play. When you play timid, that's how you get hurt. When you go out there and play all-out, you don't think about it. You don't feel anything."
(On Antonio Barton) "He's aggressive on both ends. So I think that is really going to help us. We have a floor general that's going to help set the tone early. I think that's really going to help us about how we go about things. I like Antonio's game and what he is bringing to the University of Tennessee."
(On what coach saw in Barton) "I think it's his toughness. We're a team that's built on toughness. Regardless of the talent or the personal you have, he is a guy that has a tremendous level of toughness. He competes at a high level and to get a guy like that is huge because he has been able to keep his composure."
(On Barton's ability to come in and lead) "I think he has done a great job, but these guys did a good job of communicating throughout the summer. They talked to each other and built great relationships and made the transition a lot easier. The first time I talked to (Barton) he talked about these guys production and what he could bring to the table by playing with them. The one thing I'll give our guys created is that we have a group of really good guys and basketball players. It's hard to find really good basketball players with a lot of character. These guys have done a great job of being really good basketball players and getting it done on and off the court. It's not an easy thing to do. Our guys embraced him because they want to be successful and they know what he brings to the table in order for our team to be successful."
(On freshmen) "I have seen a lot of energy in the guys. They come in ready to work. The good thing about our freshman that we have here now is that they are all willing to listen and learn. There are no egos. Everyone is open to criticism. Like Coach Martin said they all have good character. That is a bonus. I think we have a good group of guys here."
(On the football program and relationship with Coach Butch Jones) "I think Butch does a tremendous job. I think the one thing Dave Hart said in our staff meeting Butch has done a great job rallying the troops so to speak not just on campus but throughout the state of Tennessee and that is not an easy thing to do. Here in Tennessee we value football and I think he has done a great job pushing and selling the program. Also he has done a tremendous job in recruiting but if you look at his track record we knew he would do that anyways. He has done a great job across the board really selling the program and getting it back to the level it needs to be. He knows as well as I do that it takes time. He is going to maximize the talent he has and get everything out of the guys. It has been fun to be around him. He brings his heart out. When you work hard and have a good staff then you have a chance at being very successful. I think these guys will be very successful when it is all said and done."
(On talking with Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra) "The team, our guys, were gone for the summer but he came by and we talked quite a bit. He is a good guy. Butch brought him over. It was great to talk a little ball, nothing major. He just stopped by. Coach Spoelstra has played against Coach Webster in college. Coach Webster got the best of him."
(On Jarnell Stokes) "When he came back from playing with USA basketball you could see explosiveness when he was getting rebounds. He was getting rebounds over the rim. When he would get rebounds offensively last year he did a great job going to get them and carving out space. Now he is getting them up and over the rim. That is the next level for his game, going and getting rebounds then chasing those rebounds. I can probably count on one hand the times he went and got big rebounds in games last year. In the workouts this summer he was going and getting them and I think that is the biggest thing in this game. The way he and Jeronne get those rebounds, it should take two to four guys just to keep those two guys off the glass. We have always been a good rebounding team. Allan Houston came back this summer. He walked over to the gym and he didn't recognize Jarnell because he has lost so much weight which is actually a good thing for Jarnell. He is not a center. He plays a center position for us but he is a forward. We needed him to play center for certain situations. He creates match up problems for the opposing big guys when he is able to make moves off the dribble."
(On Antonio Barton helping out the three point shot) "He helps a great deal. Just having Jordan McRae, Antonio, Robert Hubbs, Darius Thompson - those guys can consistently make three point shots. That is what they do. You have four legitimate guys and you have to give other guys credit, Derek Reese has to get in games to do that. That is what he is built to do to make shots but he has to get in games to do that. Josh (Richardson) has really improved his shot but when you have multiple guys that can make shots that then allows these guys to be the players that they are really capable of being."
(On Darius Thompson) "He is 6'4 and he can passes. For example, this is something small but means a great deal, we were working out a guy on instinct just threw a lob pass and he dunked it. Well in my previous two year we would have to draw a play up for something like that to happen but just on instinct he read it. That is what he brings to the table. He has tremendous IQ for the game, a great feel and pace for his game. He keeps a high level of composure. I think he will be fun to watch. The kid knows how to play basketball."
(On Brandon Lopez) "He has every right to get minutes like everyone else. He knows he fights for those minutes. I went back and watch last season's games. Watching him play he came in during some big games and helped his us a boost. He came in and gave us major minutes. He is a guy that really helps guys like Thompson with his ball pressure. Darius needed that and Brandon gave it to him."
(On perspective and mind set coming back this year versus last year) "You have to go through things to be the person you want to be. I think this really helped me to understand how hard I have to work to get back where I need to be. Also how much I need to cherish this because it is not going to last forever. I just need to stay focused and ready to go."
(On helping the new point guards adjusting)
"We will make it known and they will just see how practice is going. Coach Martin always says get the ball in first. I am pretty sure it isn't that hard. Everything will just fall in place."