CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WRCB/UT) -- Cuonzo Martin brought a big smile to Cleveland High School Tuesday night, where the University of Tennessee had plenty to celebrate.
A healthy Jeronne Maymon was among the Vols on the floor with Martin as the third-year head coach tipped off his second annual Statewide Hoops Outreach Tour (S.H.O.T.) in Bradley County.
Dozens of youngsters dribbled around and under the big 6-foot-7 forward, who missed all of last season with knee problems. He returned to full team activities a few weeks ago, and plans to be 100-percent for his senior season.
"It feels good to be out here on the floor, but more so because we get to help these kids," Maymon said. "Anything that we can do, we try to come out and help the community as much as possible."
But Maymon's return wasn't the only reason Martin was smiling.
The NCAA released the latest Academic Progress Rate (APR) data earlier in the day, and the Tennessee men's basketball program's multi-year APR score of 973 was its best ever.
In fact, among UT's men's athletic teams, the basketball program's current multi-year APR score trails only tennis, which boasts a 991.
"Anytime you talk about APR numbers, its about retaining athletes and making sure they're on course to graduate," said Martin, who has been at the helm for the program's two best scores. "I thought our guys did a great job in the classroom and we've done a great job as a program of retaining guys and keeping them on track."
The basketball team's single-year score for 2011-12, which is the most recent academic year to be included in a program's multi-year total, was a 960.
In Martin's two years at Tennessee, every outgoing senior has received their degree: Kenny Hall, Skylar McBee, Dwight Miller, Rob Murphy, Tyler Summitt, Cameron Tatum and Renaldo Woolridge.
But there's plenty of talent left on Rocky Top with the return of both Jarnell Stokes and Jordan McRae.
Both players passed on a chance at the NBA Draft to play one more season at Tennessee, but first they're taking advantage of an opportunity to cut loose and play some stress-free basketball with a few of their biggest fans.
"This is always so much fun," McRae said of the camp. "The kids are always so excited for us to be here and they always know each of us by name. They do their research.
"When we come out here and see their faces as they look up to us, it just feels really good."
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