Contact: C. Scott Shasteen
Oct. 25, 2016
After guiding the Motlow State Bucks to a sparkling 25-7 record in his first season as head coach, J.T. Burton hopes to have an equally successful campaign in 2016-17. His team opens the regular season on Tuesday, Nov. 1 when they travel to Lebanon to take on the Cumberland University JV. Motlow's first home game is Nov. 11, when conference rival Columbia State visits Copperweld Arena for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff.
Printable PDF schedule
Printable PDF roster
After graduating eight sophomores, including the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) Player of the Year Jaylen Barford, who was also named a first-team All-American, Burton has assembled a completely new roster that includes talented in-state products as well as outstanding players from across the country and one international student-athlete.
"This year's team is very unique from the standpoint that all of these guys are new to Motlow," said Burton, "Only two of them have ever played college basketball, but they are a fun bunch to coach because they are all willing to learn and they all work really hard."
Among those who come from within Tennessee are 6'3" Javion Hamlet from Whitehaven High School in Memphis, 6'2" Isaiah Hart from Blackman in Murfreesboro, 6'1" Ross Plunkett from Creek Wood in Thompson Station, 6'5" Javel Gillespie from LaVergne, 5'8" Kirk Kemp from Lawrenceburg, and 6' Dillon Smith from Lexington.
Also from within the Volunteer State are 6'3" Jahod Lang from Pearl Cohn in Nashville, 6'5" Kevonte Corley from Antioch, and 6'7" Damarcus Williams from Antioch.
Burton reached outside the state as well, signing the first international player to grace a Bucks roster in a long time. Aleksandar Zecevic stands 6'10" and comes to Motlow from NoviSad, Serbia; 6'3" Jalen Bell is from Indianapolis, 6'6" Rashawn Fredrick comes from Tampa, and 6'6" Chad Emmons is from Greensburg, Ky.
"We will be led by a pair of sophomores; Javel Gillespie and Damarcus Williams," added Burton. "Those two, along with Isaiah Hart, Dillon Smith, Javion Hamlet, Rashawn Fredrick, and Aleks Zecevic will be asked to do a lot this year.
"The biggest surprises during the preseason have been Chad Emmons and Jalen Bell. They continue to work hard and improve every day."
Following their regular season last year, the Bucks made a strong run in the TCCAA tournament before falling by five points in the championship game to Southwest Tennessee. Motlow, along with Southwest and Cleveland State, have dominated the conference in recent years, with each winning at least one title in the past five years.
"I look forward to this coming season," Burton concluded. "With our tough schedule and this young group of players it is going to be an uphill battle for all of us."
2016-17 Men's Basketball Team - Seated, from left, Anthony Ramsey, Ross Plunkett, Leonardo Castillo, Chas Jones, Kindravious Webster, Dillon Smith and Kirk Kemp. Standing, from left, Jalen Bell, Javion Hamlet, Chad Emmons, Damarcus Williams, Aleksandar Zecevic, Kevonte Corley, Javel Gillespie, RaShawn Fredrick, Jahod Lang and Isaiah Hart.