2017-18 Maryville College Men's Basketball Newsletter-February

Dear MC Basketball Fans,

With only five games remaining, the pressures of another season are almost behind us.  This year has had its share of ups and downs, but for the most part, it has been an enjoyable four months.  As our games were approaching in late November, my staff and I were concerned about the play of our point guards and our ability to rebound on both ends of the floor.  With 2/3 of our season completed, I am pleasantly surprised by the play of our floor generals and the team's ability to rebound the ball.


At the point guard position, we have used three young men.  All three bring a different set of skills to the position.  Kaleb Estes, a 5'11" junior, has been our starter for all but one game this season.  His overall play has been exceptional.  His teammates consider him a leader and he does a good job in directing our up-tempo style of play.  His ball sureness and ability to score when needed has been his strengths.  His roommate, friend, and teammate who shares the responsibilities of directing our team on the floor is Danterrius Bray.  "D" is a quiet, mild-mannered individual, who has had some big minutes for us this year.  He takes care of the ball and he can knock down the three-pointer if left open.  Danterrius is a 6'1" junior who sees the floor extremely well and will rifle a no-look pass to a cutter for an easy score time after time. He leads the conference in assist to turnover ratio.  The final piece to the PG position is freshman J.R. Sanders.  J.R. is a catalyst for our offense with his speed and quickness.  He is a fan favorite because of his unselfish play and energy on the floor.  He has shot the ball with confidence during the year and has a bright future ahead of him.  All three of these young men are a pleasure to coach.


Rebounding was our second greatest question mark going into the season.  Right now, our rebounding margin is +3.5 a game and we are in the top three in this rebounding category in the conference.  With the emergence of Emier Bowman as a premier rebounder and shot blocker in the league and the enhanced mentality of our guards, like Dante Hoppa, our rebounding has improved from last year to this year.  Our post men have also delivered in the paint when it comes to going after the ball.  Colt Nokes, Malcolm Walker, Tanner Spalding and Chris Watson have improved their technique to retrieve missed shots.

 Bill Belichick, longtime coach of the New England Patriots, made a statement last week in his preparation for the Super Bowl: "Dependability is more important than ability."  I thought this is easy for a pro coach to make such a statement when he can basically "buy" the players he needs at each position.  The more I thought about this remark, the more I think it applies to all levels of play, whether it be professional or amateur.  There has to be a level of trust between any coach and player.  Dependability means that one has the ability to be counted on in good times and bad.  It is a real luxury when you know you can count on certain individuals on your team.  You know the dependable player have buy-in.  You know the guy you can count on "has your back" through thick and thin. The dependable player understands the importance of the process.  He can be counted on to deliver in any practice or game under any circumstances. These are the type of young men we are looking for in our program; a person who is dependable in all facets of life.  After all, Belichick has won five Super Bowls.  I believe the guy knows what he is talking about!

If you haven't seen this year's team play, come on out to Boydson Baird Gymnasium.  There are a few games left on the schedule.  Hopefully, we will play inspired and demonstrate how we depend on each other.


 Coach Randy Lambert 

Leadership with Coach Raul Placeres

As a coach, you are always trying to find different ways to inspire, motivate, and empower your team. The internet has become very valuable as you are able to find a variety of tools like videos, quotes, and articles to bring back to your team.

Someone I have followed all season is former UT football player Inky Johnson. His story is so impactful and uplifting. If you have time at some point during your busy day, take the moment to dive into his personal story. His ability to find purpose and meaning in life is beautiful. I am going to add the link to his webpage. I recommend a visit as you will find valuable tools to personally inspire you to become a more rounded person.



I would like to paraphrase his topic on commitment. Such a powerful word. By definition, commitment is the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity. I want to expand on the word commitment.

Commitment- staying true to what you said you were going to do long after the feeling is gone. Commitment does not truly start until pressure hits. We all have these goals, dreams, and aspirations but how do we respond when adversity or life hits?

You must stay committed to your purpose. Life can't break you. Remember trials and tribulations make you the person you are.


Taking the navy seal mentality is crucial. Before the mission starts, you know you are going to complete it.

There are RESULTS and there are REASONS.

  • Reasons are like excuses.
  • People respect results.

Results happen with commitment.

Commitment comes with discipline.

Discipline comes with execution.

Execution comes with results.

Be accountable.

Hold yourself to a higher standard.

I will end with this phrase I share with our guys and young men and women I meet daily through the school system or when I do speaking engagements:

Good enough is not good enough if you can be better. And better is not good enough if you can be the best.

Maryville College's Emier Bowman earns ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 mention

Maryville College Men's Basketball Alumni of the Month: Maverick Willett

What was the reason or reasons you chose to attend Maryville College?

I chose to attend Maryville College after seeing the Scots play Tennessee Wesleyan in my hometown of Athens, TN. At the time I was strongly considering attending and playing basketball at Wesleyan, but after seeing the energy and coaching the MC brought to that game along with their 20-point victory, my mind was made up. It didn't hurt that MC is such a strong academic school, as well. 

What was your major at MC? How did you utilize that major to do what you are doing today?

My major at MC was in international business. I learned a lot within that major that extended beyond the norm of a typical business major. Taking 6 semesters of Spanish and being required to study abroad in Costa Rica broadened my understanding of different cultures, namely Hispanic culture. I've utilized the financial knowledge in various areas of my life since graduating, whether it was personal finance or running/managing a business. I managed a rental car branch in Savannah, Ga. for a while and had to apply a lot of business and accounting knowledge to be profitable. Moving forward, I now am pursuing acting and modeling in New York City, but the knowledge I gained within that major allows me a solid fall back plan in business or sales if I choose to leave my current endeavors. 


Some of our fans are not aware of your military experience. Tell us what you did and what that experience taught you.

After graduating from MC, I enlisted in the US army with a Ranger contract, meaning I would be granted an opportunity to go through the arduous selection process required of those who want to serve in special operations as a Ranger. I was successful in earning my tan beret and served and deployed in 1st battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment in Savannah, Ga. for 4 years as a machine gunner. A couple trips to Afghanistan later, I returned to civilian life. I learned a great deal during that time. Many times throughout my military career, there would be an imaginary line in front of me that I told myself was my limit. And, many times, I crossed that line and thus raised the bar for how far the human body can go. I firmly believe playing basketball in Randy Lambert's program helped a lot in those times. The teamwork aspect translated many times, as I was a part of an infantry squad where teamwork was crucial. At MC I also learned how to "flip the switch", or be in a heightened sense of readiness before a basketball game or before an important shootaround. This carried over many times in stressful situations overseas and in training or selections in the military where a sense of urgency was crucial.

What was your best individual moment as a player? What was your best team moment?

My best individual moment as a player was being awarded conference MVP in the last GSAC tournament my senior year. My career was plagued with injuries, and I struggled a great deal throughout the years, feeling limited as an athlete. My love for the game and my teammates often were the only things keeping me going. Finally, being recognized felt great although I believe Milton Stanley definitely deserved the award as much as I did. 

As a team, there were many times I remember coming together and getting it done. We had a slow start my senior year, as we often did due to our most difficult opponents being scheduled early in the season in those years. We turned it around and earned a bid into the NCAA tournament, and that felt great knowing that we earned it as a unit. Coach Lambert's 600th win was also a great moment to share in that season. 

Why should a recruit want to come to Maryville College and play for this coaching staff?

The coaching staff flat-out cares about their players. Period. On the court and off the court, Coach Lambert and Coach Placeres develop men of character. Their passion is consistent every day, and they hold everyone to the same standard. There are no favorites. When you set foot on Randy Lambert's court, it's time to "clock in". That mindset prepares you for a great deal in life. It teaches you how to "show up", how to mentally prepare, and how to demand more of yourself. It makes you get outside your comfort zone. These are things that prepare you for life as an employee, boss, manager, leader, etc. 

Word association game. One word to describe a teammate or coach:

Greg Hernandez: fur

Donald Rucker: multifaceted

Wes Lambert: shooter

Milt Stanley: ice

JP Burris: emotion

Eryk Watson: offense

Dustin Brown: peanut 

Jared Laverdiere: smurf 

Coach Wallace: savage

Coach Lambert: dad

Coach Placeres: campeón

Player Spotlight: MC Junior Calvin Songster

We are 21 games into your junior year. How do you think you have played? What are areas that you need to continue to improve in?

I think I have played pretty well. I will always look to play better and look at areas to improve to help out my team. Areas I can improve on is rebounding and getting more steals. 

When you are not practicing or playing games, what do you do in your spare time?

I like to spend time with friends and I like to watch sports like the NBA, NFL, and NCAA basketball. 

What parts of your game will you be working on this offseason to continue to improve on such a great college career?

This summer I will work on my overall strength and become a better ball handler and passer. 

What is your favorite movie? Favorite candy? Favorite place to eat?

My favorite movie is I am Legend starring Will Smith. My favorite candy is Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (King Size). My favorite place to eat is Applebee's. 

If you were stuck on an island similar to the popular game "Fortnite" which most college students are playing these days: Which two players on our team would you form an alliance with? What special powers would they bring to the table?

 If I were stuck on an island and needed to form an alliance I would choose Hoppa and Kaleb, because they can always be relied on and trusted. 

Let's play the word or phrase association game with some of your teammates and coaches:

 - Lambert: Winner

- Coach P: Passionate 

- Coach Jones: Jerseys

- Coach D: My guy 

- Kaleb: Calm, Cool, and Collected 

- Malcolm Taylor: Bad Fortnite player 

- Colt: Schwarzenegger ��

- Dante: Consistent 

- Tanner: Funny 

- Jordan: Potential

- Malcolm Walker: Hard Worker 



Player Spotlight: MC Freshman Arrhen Fejokwu

How did your JV season go?

Good, I think I got better at my post game. Towards the end of the season, I began to understand my role as a rebounder, offensively and defensively.


What was your favorite class and professor in your semester of college? 

My favorite class had to be English 110 because she made the class fun. I also got better at public speaking in that class.


What areas will you focus on improving in the spring and summer? 

I want to improve my entire game this summer. I want to become a better shooter ball handler and I will also try to put on some more weight. But most of all I'm going to make sure I am in tip-top shape conditioning wise.


What is some advice you can give an incoming freshman on and off the floor?

Incoming freshmen need to know their roles and play those roles to the best of their ability. Know what you do best and do it to help the team.


What is your favorite movie? Candy? Food?

My favorite movie has to be "He got game ". I have probably watched it about eight or more times. Jesus Sutttlesworth was a Hooper! My favorite food has to be chicken Alfredo, with extra Alfredo.