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Vols' Maymon vows to be ready for opener

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee forward Jeronne Maymon thinks he should be at 100 percent by the start of the season as he recovers from a knee injury that prevented him from playing last year.

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``I feel good,'' Maymon said. ``My body feels good. No pain. Nothing. I'm ready to go.''

Tennessee opens the season Nov. 12 at Xavier as it tries to return to the NCAA tournament after back-to-back NIT appearances.

Maymon earned second-team all-Southeastern Conference honors two years ago before sitting out the entire 2012-13 season. Maymon said he isn't as explosive as he was before the injury, but the 6-foot-8 senior believes that will change as the season goes on.

``As of now, I'm not as explosive as I was, but I think I do a real good job of (mentally) slowing the game down and I think that helps me with my passes, getting to the hole and seeing different things that I didn't see before,'' Maymon said. ``Sitting out a whole year really helps me visualize the game better. As the season goes along, I'll continue to gradually get stronger, faster. I think that's a good thing. While everybody else is staying the same, I think I'm gradually going to improve.''

Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said he hasn't noticed any difference in Maymon.

``He looks like the same old Jeronne to me,'' Martin said.

Maymon averaged 12.7 points and ranked fifth in the SEC with 8.1 rebounds per game in 2011-12, but a setback in his recovery from offseason surgery to his left knee lingered to the point that he finally redshirted. Before the 2012-13 season, Martin announced Maymon would miss the Volunteers' opening game but said the injury wouldn't knock him out for the whole year. By January, both the team and player had decided a redshirt was the best option.

Both are confident Maymon will be ready for the start of the upcoming season.

``He looks good as far as workouts,'' Martin said. ``I've given percentages before, but I've never been big on numbers and percentages because I feel like I never played at what you would call 100 percent. I thought I played at a high level, (but) once I entered college I was always banged up in some way, shape or form. That's part of it. But he looks good. He looks like he did when he played at a high level. I think he's a little bit better in certain areas, as far as making passes, decision making.''

Tennessee returns three of its top four scorers from a team that went 20-13 last season. The Volunteers also add Memphis transfer Antonio Barton and five-star recruit Robert Hubbs III to the backcourt.

AP NEWS
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