Dear Scots' Basketball Family,
If you have been on the mcscots.com website lately, I guess you have read about my pending retirement. This is my last year at the helm of our basketball program. It is a bittersweet time in my life. I am looking forward to my "new found freedom" and the ability to spend more time with Laney and my family. I am concerned with finding ways to fill the void, but I do plan on some golf with friends, travel to some of the places Laney and I want to see, and a day trip or two each month to the mountains and lakes of East Tennessee. I do plan on staying involved at the college. We have just started the initial phases of a major fundraising project to build and upgrade the athletic facilities on campus. I hope to see this project completed in the next couple of years. I also want to continue to be involved with the student-athletes. I plan on being more of a life coach to them and, hopefully, I can continue a mentoring relationship with many of them.
I am glad the college moved forward on naming my replacement. By bringing Raul Placeres on board as a full-time staff member and naming him as my predecessor, our program should continue to be successful. Coach Placeres is ready for the challenges of coaching at Maryville. He knows the game of basketball, possesses the passion for working with young people, and has the personality to effectively communicate with his players and their parents. He has proven over time that he can coach and recruit. Raul is like a son to me and I am thrilled that he will continue the positive direction of this program for years to come.
As far as this season, we are anxiously awaiting the start of practice on October 15th. Our pre-season conditioning and strength development, directed by Asst. Coach Sean Jones has met its goals by getting our guys in basketball shape and sculpting their bodies to prepare them for the demands of a collegiate season. We have had some players lose up to 30 pounds in the off-season (they needed to) and a few players have put on 10 to 20 pounds this fall (they needed to). I have never started a year off with 8 seniors and 13 returning varsity players. It is a good situation to be in because these guys have been leading vocally and by example to a very talented freshmen group. We were pretty good last year, but the enemy of great is good (Jim Collins quote from his book, Good to Great). It is important for our team to avoid complacency and not be satisfied with what they did last year. We are constantly reminding them of the daily pursuit of excellence. The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win (Bobby Knight). I am hoping they will begin practice with a hungry, eager to learn attitude that will allow me to enjoy my final season. I have made it very clear to the team. I have two goals for this season: 1) to improve on last year's accomplishments, and 2) to lay the foundation for a successful culture that will carry on for years to come.
I hope you will come and see the Fighting Scots perform this year. We have a great group of young men who are fun to watch when they are "hitting on all cylinders." Join us for another season of Fighting Scots Basketball.
Leadership with Coach Placeres
Another season is upon us!! Can't wait to fall in love with the process of our work and see where it leads us. I would like to share with you a great experience I had this summer.
This summer I was invited to attend a private coaching retreat at the beautiful campus of Belmont University with Rising Coaches. I was able to share, learn, and work with NBA coaches from the Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, Oklahoma Thunder, and some great staffs from collegiate programs like Dayton, Belmont, SEMO, Cincinnati, and Boston University. It was one of the best coaching clinics I have ever gone to.
TJ Saint who at the time was working with the Detroit Pistons is now working with the University of Georgia as their Director of Basketball Strategy shared this with us on professional development:
- Show up, and put a face with your name.
- It is not good enough to just have a resume.
- Sometimes you need to take your "off" day to go to a practice, workout, etc.
- You are going to have "nos" and failures along your path, but you never know who will help you along your way
- Opportunities are all around you
- You need to be able to take advantage of them and not be scared of change
Here are some other thoughts and phrases that really stood out:
- Always watch tape before you talk as a coach.
- Have a minimum of 5 quick hitters for your best players
- Practice special situations regularly
- Ask yourself: Can you beat the best team in your league with your system? Can you win postseason games with your system?
- Everyone should have a zone defense!
- Be consistent with your discipline
- Be on time, no excuses
- Make the bench feel special
- A true test of a relationship is going through a crisis together.
- Sometimes a player's greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team.
- You must get over: Mad-Sad-Hard
- You can control: Focus-Enthusiasm-Energy-Effort
- Go through life with big eyes, big ears, and a small mouth.
If you are in the coaching profession I highly recommend attending a coaching clinic with Rising coaches. You can follow them on Twitter: @RisingCoaches
There is exceptional material that you can follow or just simply visit the website at www.risingcoacheselite.com
If you ever need any notes on our program or general question always feel free to shoot me an email.
Preseason National Ranking
The Fighting Scots open the 2018-19 campaign as a preseason top-25 pick by D3hoops.com. The publication has Maryville as the 22nd best squad within the NCAA Division III.
Lambert's upcoming senior class has produced back-to-back 20-win seasons and Regular Season USA-South Conference championships over the last two season. The eight seniors on the roster have their sights set on a special senior season with high expectations of their own. The Scots return all five starters and 10 players who played over 200 minutes last season, as well as 97 percent of the scoring and 95 percent of the rebounding from last season's championship squad. Dante Hoppa (12.7), Calvin Songster (12.7), Emier Bowman (12.1), and Colt Nokes (10.8) were all double-figure scorers last season and will look to lead the Scots back to the NCAA Tournament in their final season on the Highlands. Hoppa (6-5, 190) earned USA South Tournament MVP honors, highlighted by a 19-point performance against Covenant in the USA South Championship. After averaging 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists, Hoppa is poised for a breakout senior year and should be considered a sleeper pick for next season's D-III All-American team. Bowman (6-3, 180) was a First-Team All-USA South Selection in 2017-18, scoring 12.1 points and grabbing 6.7 rebounds per game, and is one of the premier athletes in all of D-III basketball. The high-flying forward finished the year in the top five in both steals (2.5) and blocks (1.8) in the USA South and will look to place him in the conversation for USA-South Player of the Year Honors next season. Songster (6-2, 185) and Nokes (6-5, 225) have both been recognized as All-USA South players in their careers. The sharp-shooting Songster (48% from 3 as a junior) is a two-time selection, while Nokes was an honorable mention selection in 2016-17. Those four, along with Danterrius Bray, Kaleb Estes, Emanuelle Garcia, and Chris Watson, have hopes to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. They will add a familiar face and seasoned veteran in junior guard Josh Brooks (6-1, 190) who returns after sitting out the 2017-18 season due to injury. Brooks averaged nine points and 3.1 assists as a sophomore in 2016-17 and established himself as one of the top defenders in the league. With a veteran team, added depth, and NCAA Tournament experience, the Scots have the potential to be a power in the South Region and one of the top teams in the country.
Senior Spotlight: Emanuelle Garcia
As you enter your senior year what are some individual and team goals you would like to accomplish?
- One of my personal goals is to have a better year in regards to my percentages. As a team, I would like to collect another ring and win the National Championship.
What can you tell the fans out there about your experience at Maryville as a student-athlete?
- Definitely an interesting experience. Only having three years of English experience, the College has done a great job in helping me grow. I have learned time management skills and the ability to interact with anyone regardless of background or social economic status.
What is your favorite movie? Favorite candy? Favorite food?
- Favorite movie the Incredibles, Favorite candy starburst, and favorite food "Arroz con habichuelas y carne guisa". My Spanish people know what I am talking about.
What is your major? What do you plan on doing after you graduate?
- My major is International Business. My initial plan is to play overseas. I want to try and accomplish that dream.
As Coach Lambert enters his final season, what are some things you have learned from him?
-I have learned a lot. For example, his daily teachings, mentoring, communicating, helping the community, especially those in need no matter who they are. I have learned things at times the hard way but he has never changed who he is since day one. I am very thankful for having him as my coach and even more than that as family.
Word Association game: Describe in One word the following players
Dante Hoppa: Follower
Josh Brooks: Concussions
Calvin Songster: Luscious
Colt Nokes: Tough
Daquan Summers: Motivator
Malcolm Taylor: Facts
Ryan Lee: Quiet
Josh Strong: Skilled
Freshman Spotlight: David Clark
David, let the MC basketball fans know what high school you are from and what accolades you received as a student-athlete?
-I am from Roane County High School in Kingston, Tenn. I received All-District and All-Tournament honors my senior year.
As every story is different tell the fans, why you chose Maryville?
-I was initially interested in Maryville College because of the opportunity to further my basketball career to the college level. However, my choice was clear after I discovered its high academic reputation.
If you were stuck on an Island and needed to get out of there what two other teammates would you choose and why?
-If I were stuck on an island and had two teammates with me, first I would like to have Ryan because I feel him and I would work well to survive. My second choice would be Nick mainly because he's a funny guy and would give us comic relief from the tough situation.
Many of our fans don't know this about you but you earned your associate's degree in high school. Tell us a little about that and how you went about it?
-I earned my Associate's Degree in high school through the Middle College program at Roane State Community College. This is where I would attend Roane State for the first half of school day and where I would take my college courses. During the second half of the day, I would finish up my high school classes. It was academically rigorous which required me to develop good time management skills. I started this my junior year and after two years I was able to walk the stage and receive my degree.
What is your favorite movie? Candy? Food?
-My favorite movie is the original Point Break with Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. My favorite candy is a tie between Skittles and Snickers. Favorite food is baby back ribs from Famous Dave's.
Word association game: ( One word to describe the following coaches and players)
Coach Jones: Enthusiastic
Coach Lambert: Legend
Dancing with the Stars
Associate Head Coach Raul Placeres and his wife JoAnna volunteered for Kingdom Design Ministries to dance for their Dancing with the Stars fundraiser in October. They helped raise over $60,000 for their ministry projects. They were cheered on by several Fighting Scots players.
Service to the Community: Doing good on the largest possible scale
The Maryville College men's basketball program seeks to give back to the community that supports their program. Numerous Fighting Scots went to John Sevier Elementary School to read to students and share the message that reading is the foundation for knowledge. The program will host a free clinic in October with Harbours Gate and during the spring they support the Alzheimer's Walk annually. Maryville College basketball is truly your "Hometown Team".