For those waiting to hear why Marquette freshman Jeronne Maymon quit the basketball team Monday, some of their questions were answered Wednesday when his father, Tim Maymon, was reached via telephone. He spoke of reasons that included his son “not being used the way he needs to be used” as well as Marquette failing to “run the offense for him”.
The words spoken by the Madison native’s father are, to put it lightly, ridiculous. Known to speak his mind whenever he is given the opportunity, it seems as though Maymon’s father is telling the truth and that most of the reason his son is not at Marquette is because of their own personal choice.
While the words are disappointing to hear for Marquette fans, that one of their players would feel so out of place just 10 games into their career, the news is in a way good because it appears as though head coach Buzz Williams was not at fault and that nothing ended on specifically bad terms.
The wonder of the Internet allowed for tons of rumors to circulate about why Maymon had decided to quit the team, ranging from a verbal altercation between Williams and Maymon’s father to Maymon freaking out during finals week (which Marquette students are currently in). If there can ever be a “good” reason for why a player leaves a team, it would be this.
While Maymon leaving on his own terms is good for Marquette basketball’s image, the ultimate decision and reasons behind it are head scratching and disheartening to say the least. From what I got out of the comments from Maymon’s father, Jeronne felt like he should have been a bigger part of the offense while playing a different position, at one point saying “they’ve got him playing center and that ain’t what he does.”
Apparently being a team player “ain’t what he does” either. Losing Dwight Burke, Pat Hazel, Chris Otule to graduation, transfer, and injury in the span of less than a year made Marquette’s front court a carousel this season. With Lazar Hayward holding down the same power forward position he excelled at last season and Jimmy Butler coming out of the gates firing, the two forward spots seemed all but locked down as the season began.
With Hayward and Butler expected to average close to 30 minutes per game, the only position left on the court was at center where Maymon was expected to use his big 6′6″, 250-pound frame to battle against the Big East’s best inside every night.
Forget the fact that next year a healthy Chris Otule and a more experienced Youssoupha Mbao would be back to take over center duties while Maymon moved back to his traditional power forward role. Remember, that “ain’t what he does”.
It’s true that Maymon was playing out of position by playing center and that his 16.3 minutes a game didn’t have him as a projected lottery pick, hurting his chances at being a one-and-done college player like his father expected him to be. But as mad as Maymon was, he would have done himself some good by looking around the locker room and finding Lazar Hayward to ask him about playing out of position at Marquette, and seeing where it got him.
Much like Maymon, Hayward was a four-star prospect out of high school and was ranked in the same 60-80 range by most college recruiting experts. At 6′5″ and weighing just over 200 pounds (think a shorter Joe Fulce), Hayward was considered a typical tweener between shooting guard and small forward. His inside skills outweighed his ball handling and outside shooting, so many expected him to stay at small forward during his time at Marquette.
In his freshman season, Hayward averaged 16.3 minutes per game (sound familiar?), while posting 6.6 points and 3.3 rebounds. Because some sophomore named Wes Matthews had supplanted himself as the starting small forward, Hayward saw most of his time at power forward despite being greatly undersized for the position.
The next season, junior Wes Matthews (who was also playing out of position as a 6′4″ small forward) improved even more and so did Hayward, again at the power forward spot. By Matthews’ senior season, Hayward was dubbed the “big man” inside for Marquette, who ran a four-guard offense for the majority of the game. The 6′5″, now-225 pound Hayward had played out of position for three years while standing in the shadows of the Three Amigos’ spotlight and never made a peep, instead choosing to accept his role and make the most out of it.
Make the most out of it he did as Hayward was awarded a First Team All-Big East selection before the start of his senior season. Not only has Hayward become a great player on the court, but he is an even better one off it. His passion for the game and unselfish attitude are main reasons he is loved by all his teammates, who admittedly are playing for him this season as the power forward in a small forward’s body goes for his fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
And to think that Hayward would not have accomplished any of this had he told Marquette “that ain’t what he does”. No Jeronne, what Hayward does is go out and fight for his team on the front of the jersey, not the back, regardless of where or how much he is playing.
It’s easy to say that Marquette and its fans wish Maymon the best, but if his attitude is the same wherever he winds up, our wishes will mean very little. Did the Maymon family really believe that their freshman son would come in and have the offense run through him? If Maymon was really the next coming of Michael Beasley like his father thinks he is, wouldn’t Buzz Williams, a great talent evaluator, have seen it by now?
What exactly is Maymon’s father teaching his 19-year-old son if every time things get hard and he isn’t satisfied with a certain situation, that he should “just kind of move on and regroup”? It’s a shame that his father has been (seemingly) the one calling the shots throughout this whole process and that Jeronne has suffered because of it.
It’s not even as if Maymon was sitting on the bench this season. Instead, injuries and a lack of size gave Maymon more playing time than he deserved based on his previous performances. The true story may never come out about what Buzz Williams promised Maymon or if Maymon’s father and Buzz got into an altercation, but one thing is clear: on the list of traits that defined Jeronne Maymon, “team player” was not one of them.
Clearly, “that ain’t what he does”.