The second chance.
Second chances are hard to come by in life. Most of the time you get one shot to achieve your goals and dreams. Whether it’s a self-inflicted mistake, or an unfortunate accident that keeps you from achieving your goal, that one shot may be all you get.
For a lot of people that may be true, but there are still a few fortunate enough to have a second chance. One of those few is Tennessee’s own Jeronne Maymon.
Maymon is a redshirt senior out of Madison, Wis. He began his collegiate career close to home at Marquette University. As a highly touted recruit coming out of high school, he was expecting to be the big man on campus early in his career.
“My freshman year I was very naïve,” Maymon said. “ I came in wanting to be the star, but I wasn’t a star.”
Marquette didn’t turn out to be everything Maymon was hoping it would be, so he transferred midseason to the University of Tennessee. Still hoping to one day be a collegiate star, he bought into the system head coach Cuonzo Martin sold him, and over time became one of the go-to-guys for the Vols.
While he didn’t start a single game his sophomore season, Maymon began his junior season with a splash as he logged three straight double-doubles in the first four games of the season, including a career high performance in the Maui Invitational against Memphis when he posted 32 points and a tournament record 20 rebounds.
Maymon started 32 of the 33 games he played in his junior season, and finished the season with a team-high nine double-doubles while averaging over 12 points and eight rebounds per game. The future for the six-foot-eight junior was looking promising until he was sidelined with a knee injury he had to have surgery on over the offseason.
Although he had to have the surgery, it was still believed Maymon would still be able to return early his senior season. However, after a few setbacks in his rehab he was forced to redshirt for his senior season and continue his rehabilitation process in hopes of returning for a fifth season.
The Vols struggled without Maymon. For the second straight season they failed to make the NCAA tournament, and limped to a 20-13 record while getting ousted in the second round of the SEC tournament, and first round of the NIT.
While most would see it as an opportunity lost, Maymon saw the year off as an opportunity gained and was able to learn a lot even while off the court.
“While it was tough at times watching my team and knowing I couldn’t go out there and help them, being able to discuss with coach Martin and see the game from a different perspective and paying attention to some of the small details was a real benefit for me,” Maymon said of his time out.
Maymon remained positive throughout the rehabilitation process. Even though there was a strong possibility he would never grace the hardwood again, he blocked all of the negative out and just focused forward.
“I never thought I wouldn’t play again, but moreso thought where or when would I play again,” Maymon said. “Whether it would be at the University of Tennessee, or just graduate and take it from there. There were really a lot of different situations running through my head. I never really knew when I would be able to play again.”
Maymon’s patience and work ethic through the rehabilitation process will finally pay off as he’s set to make his return for the 2013-2014 season with 100 percent health. Although a year off could make any player a little rusty in the game, Maymon feels he won’t necessarily have to prove he can still play at the high level he was before the injury. Not to the fans or his team at least.
“I feel more like I have to prove to myself that I can still compete at a high level,” Maymon said. “I’m going to go out and play at a high level regardless. I’m not trying to prove to anybody that I can be the same player. I want to be a better player.”