For one Big Orange player, it's a good place to check out an injured knee.
That would be Jeronne Maymon. The 6-7, 258-pound rising junior injured his knee about six weeks ago and is just beginning to fully test it.
"It was a pre-stress fracture of my right patella," Maymon said. "I got it in late April or early May, and I just started working out again about three weeks ago. It's OK now. I'm just trying to get my strength and my mobility back, then I'll be fine."
He'd better be fine because Tennessee desperately needs his heft on the inside. Minus Brian Williams, John Fields and Tobias Harris from last year's team, the Vols' only returning post players are Maymon and Kenny Hall, a 6-8, 215-pound stringbean. Clearly, Maymon needs to flex some muscle in the season ahead.
"Definitely," he said. "I've got to step up big-time and focus on my conditioning so I can play enough minutes to help our team."
Maymon transferred from Marquette to Tennessee in December of 2009. After sitting out the second half of the 2009-10 season and the first half of the 2010-11 season, he played sparingly last January, February and March, averaging 9.1 minutes and 2.6 points per game. He believes one key to an increase in his role will be a decrease in his weight.
"I'm still around 258 pounds," he said. "I'm trying to slim down and get quicker around the basket."
Even with a sore knee, Maymon showed some quickness in his Rocky Top League debut, scoring 20 points Wednesday night in helping Choice Spine post a 114-106 victory.
"I did good," he said. "I missed a lot of free throws but that was my first competitive game since my knee injury. I got my bounce back, got a lot of rebounds and worked on getting my wind up."
Maymon didn't play in the Rocky Top League last June, so Wednesday was his debut performance in the local summer league. He seemed to have a good time, although the 9 p.m. tipoff was a bit of a bummer.
"I enjoyed it," he said, "but I'd rather play in the 6 o'clock or 7:30 game, when there's more excitement in the gym. It kind of got thinned out in the second half and we lost some focus."
As fate would have it, Maymon's team played the 9 o'clock game again on Friday night. This time he scored just 8 points but grabbed another bunch of rebounds in helping Choice Spine move to 2-0 with a 94-90 defeat of DeRoyal Industries.
While the summer league is a pleasant diversion, its main function is to keep guys in shape for the upcoming college season. Even with Tennessee having to replace five of the top six scorers from last year's team, Maymon is optimistic about the Vols' 2011-12 season.
"I think it's real positive," he said. "I think everybody's going to come in with the right mindset and the right focus to accomplish one goal, and that's to be better each game."
As for new head coach Cuonzo Martin, Maymon couldn't be more impressed.
"I love him," Maymon said. "He's a great guy. I can't wait to see what he's got for us during the season."