A couple weeks back, news broke that Tennessee forward Jeronne Maymon would redshirt the 2012-13 season. Fighting injury, the call from head coach Cuonzo Martin came as no surprise, but did provide a loss and void that continues to hurt Tennessee.
On Tuesday, the Volunteers fell to Kentucky as the Wildcats picked up their 11th win of the season behind another stat-stuffing evening from freshman Nerlens Noel.
While Noel was having another solid performance, the Tennessee forwards were struggling, most notably Jarnell Stokes. The sophomore only scored four points on Tuesday night and more importantly, was limited to only five shot attempts. Fellow front court mate Kenny Hall had six points on seven shot attempts.
Long story short, Noel outscored both of them on his own. With the loss, Tennessee’s record has now dipped to 8-7 overall and 0-3 within the SEC. The time for the Vols to figure things out is now. This team had early season aspirations of making the NCAA Tournament in 2013, if you may recall.
The loss of Maymon though is the problem. Take a look at last year’s squad who nearly burst into the Big Dance following a late and impressive run after the mid-season addition of Stokes. The front court combination of Maymon and Stokes was a handful and each of them made the other one better when they were on the court together.
Tennessee just doesn’t have the chemistry or dual threat this year. Nobody said that Martin had to turn Tennessee around in two years time, so the disappoint of an 8-7 mark thus far, is only that.
The Vols must look to build some momentum and understand that not all is lost despite this rugged stretch, just look at last year’s late success as proof of an example.
Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS