Men's Basketball 2017-18 Season News

Motlow Bucks open season with challenging nationally-ranked road opponents

Nov. 5, 2018

The Motlow State Community College Bucks had five players score in double figures Sunday when they traveled to Lebanon and beat the Cumberland University JV 105-61 to earn their first victory of the season.

Motlow (1-1) opened the 2018-19 campaign Thursday with a trip to nationally-ranked John A. Logan College in Illinois, where they dropped a 106-81 decision. The Bucks continue their grueling early season road tests when they travel to Rome, Georgia this weekend. Motlow will face No. 22 Georgia Highlands Friday, then battle USC-Salkhatchie on Saturday.

The Bucks fell behind 20-5 early against the John A. Logan Vols, ranked No. 19 in the NJCAA preseason poll, and were forced to try and play catch-up the rest of the game. Motlow never caught up, trailing 58-35 at halftime.

Sophomore Josh Greer led the Bucks with 21 points while also pulling down six rebounds. Leo Castillo scored 18 points and had seven rebounds, and Josh Endicott also scored in double figures with 12 points and almost had a double-double with nine rebounds.

Bryce McBride scored eight points with two assists, Jarius Key had six points with five rebounds, and Jayvon Humphrey, Jaellan White and Moses Fofana each scored three points. The Bucks only shot 36.5 percent from the field, including 7-27 from behind the three-point line. The Vols were red-hot on their home floor, shooting 59 percent from the field and hitting 13-20 three pointers.

Sunday was a completely different story, with Motlow easily toppling the Cumberland JV after surging to a 56-27 halftime advantage.

Humphrey led the scoring with 19 points, while McBride added 15 by connecting on 5-6 three pointers. Endicott also scored 15 points and added eight rebounds. Nic Barstad hit 3-5 three pointers and scored 13 points with three assists and three rebounds, while Fofana scored 11 and has six assists and five steals. Key added nine points and seven rebounds and Lacey scored eight with seven boards.

Following their weekend trip to Georgia, the Bucks will finally play at home when they open TCCAA conference play by hosting Jackson State at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 16, then welcoming Columbia State the following day at 2 p.m.

Arthur Latham
Motlow Bucks Head Coach Arthur Latham leads his team this weekend when they travel to Rome, Georgia, to face No. 22 Georgia Highlands Friday night. The Bucks' first home game is Nov. 16, when Jackson State visits Copperweld Arena for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff. Jeff Reed Photography.

Motlow Bucks begin quest for third straight NJCAA Tournament appearance

Oct. 16, 2018

Motlow State Community College men's basketball team made history last year when it became the first program in Motlow's 50 years of intercollegiate athletic competition to win back-to-back conference championships and advance to the national tournament two consecutive years.

So what have you done lately?

With the beginning of a new season comes new expectations. The championship trophies and All-American awards are stored safely in their cases. All starting players from the past two seasons, who won 53 games and multiple individual awards, are gone, most now playing at four-year schools. Yet Head Coach Arthur Latham has a couple of tricks up his sleeve.

Red-shirt sophomores Leo Castillo, Jr. and Kin Webster return, both bringing two years of championship experience to the Bucks' revamped roster. Castillo and Webster were red-shirts two years ago, practicing hard and bringing positive energy to the bench during games. Last year both played critical minutes on their way to winning title number two. This year they will be counted on to lead the way if the Bucks are going to contend for a third consecutive TCCAA title and NJCAA tournament trip.

"We are thrilled that both Leo and Kin chose to come back to Motlow and complete their community college experience both on the court and in the classroom," said Latham. "They are both high-character young men and they are winners, and we are counting on them to be leaders in everything they do this year."

Castillo is from the Virgin Islands and can play either guard or forward at 6'4. He started three games last year but played in all 31 contests, averaging 6.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He shot 50 percent from the field, including 35 percent from behind the three-point line, and connected on 71 percent of his free throws.

Webster is an undersized 6'5 power forward from Nashville who played in 26 games last year and is a tenacious rebounder and has a knack for quick put-backs under the basket. He averaged 3.3 points and three rebounds per game and shot 61.3 percent from the floor, by far the best shooting percentage on last year's team.

Two more returnees bring championship experience back to Latham's roster. Derrick Rayford, a 5'11 guard from Canton, Ohio, played in 21 games last year and averaged 4.7 points, 1.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and one steal per game. Justin Hill, a 6'6 forward from Bartlett, saw action in 25 games and averaged 1.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per contest.

"Derrick and Justin are experienced sophomores who will need to step up this year and play more significant roles in our rotation," added Latham. "They know what kind of effort it takes every day to win a championship, and like Leo and Kin, they are going to have to lead in exhibiting that effort to the rest of the squad. They must lead by example."

The Bucks have added some impressive student-athletes to the roster. Among the incoming sophomore transfers are Ronald Blount from Ellsworth Community College, Josh Greer from Itawamba Community College, and Kashawn Bradley from Tennessee Wesleyan. Three incoming red-shirt freshman also add roster strength. Josh Endicott spent a year at the University of Cincinnati, Marcus Lacey was a red-shirt last season in Auburn"s football program, and Jaellan White played his prep ball at Blackman High School in Murfreesboro.

Also added into the mix are incoming first-year freshmen Nic Barstad of Tullahoma, Bryce McBride from South Side High School in Jackson, Jayven Humphrey from Tupelo, Miss.; Jarius Key from Bowling Green, Ky.; Moses Fofana from St. Benedict High School in Memphis, Darius Harding from Elizabethtown, Ky.; Kiyon Sowell from East Hickman in Lyles, Tenn.; Gabriel Martin from Murfreesboro Blackman, and Anterrious Ryhan from Rossville, Tenn., who played at Rossville Christian Academy.

"We like our mixture of returning veterans, incoming sophomores and red-shirts, and first-time freshmen," said Latham. "All of these guys can play and they each have an opportunity to earn time on the playing floor this year. This may be the deepest roster we have had in my four years here at Motlow."

The men's basketball program has developed into a national power over the last dozen years, beginning in 2006 when Bobby Steinburg arrived as head coach. Even though his first team only went 12-15, he recruited a dynamite class that won 28 games the following year. From 2007-18, the program has won 245 games while losing only 85, winning 74 percent of its games while winning three TCCAA/Region VII titles and making three NJCAA tournament appearances. Motlow has had nine All-Americans and two conference players of the year.

2018-19 Men's Basketball Team
The Motlow State Community College men's basketball team will open the 2018-19 season when it travels to Carterville, Illinois, to face John A. Logan College on Thursday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. Seated, from left, are Bryce McBride, Nic Barstad, Jaellan White, Justin Hill, Leo Castillo, Jr., Kin Webster, Derrick Rayford, Darius Harding and Moses Fofana. Standing, from left, are Arthur Latham, head coach; Anterrious Ryhan, Ronald Blount, Jayven Humphrey, Marcus Lacey, Kiyon Sowell, Josh Endicott, Jarius Key, Josh Greer, Gabriel Martin, Kashawn Bradley, and Nick Porter, assistant coach. Motlow staff photo.

Motlow Bucks release basketball schedule as 50th year of competition begins Nov. 1

Sept. 13, 2018

The Motlow State Community College men's basketball team did something last year that no Motlow athletic team had ever done before - win back-to-back Tennessee Community College Athletic Association championships and make back-to-back appearances in the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament.

2018-19 Schedule

The quest for three straight conference titles, and another national tournament trip, begins Nov. 1 for the Bucks when they travel to Carterville, Illinois, for a 7 p.m. matchup against John A. Logan College. The Vols finished the 2017-18 season with a 22-5 record and ranked No. 22 in the nation.

The Bucks were ranked as high as No. 6 in the nation after starting last season with a 15-2 overall record, which included a 9-0 conference mark. Motlow finished the regular season with a 19-7 overall record and 13-5 in the conference. The Bucks earned their trip to the national tournament by winning the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament; beating Southwest Tennessee 79-61. Motlow beat Otero Junior College 77-76 in the opening round of the NJCAA tournament before falling to Vincennes 86-82 to finish the season with a 23-8 record.

Motlow has won 23 games or more in five of the past six seasons, under four different head coaches, and has captured three conference titles and made three trips to the national tournament. The Bucks have finished with a winning record in 10 of the previous 11 seasons and have featured nine All-Americans and two conference players-of-the-year during the previous decade.

Having built itself into a national program, expectations have gone up for the Bucks, and second-year Head Coach Arthur Latham has assembled a challenging schedule that features four games against teams that finished in the NJCAA Top 25 last season.

"I believe this year's schedule might be the toughest we have played since I've been here," said Latham. "We play a bunch of really good teams on the front end in the month of November with a pair of important conference games sandwiched in between."

After their season-opening matchup against John A. Logan, the Bucks will head to Rome, Ga., to face Georgia Highlands on Nov. 9 and USC-Salkhatchie Nov. 10. The home schedule begins Nov. 14 against the Cumberland University JV.

TCCAA conference play opens Nov. 16, when Jackson State visits Copperweld Arena for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff. Jackson State, which had been known as the Generals since opening in the late 1960s, has changed its school nickname to the Green Jays. The following day, Nov. 17, rival Columbia State comes to Moore County for a 4 p.m. tipoff.

"The quality of play and competition continues to go up in our conference every year," added Latham. "This year it is loaded with good teams. We know that Columbia State, Walters State, Chattanooga State and Southwest Tennessee always have talented players. We accept the pressure that comes with defending a conference championship. It's a challenge but I believe our players are excited about the challenge."

The Bucks will spend the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in Moberly, Missouri, where they will face State Fair College on Friday, Nov. 23, and the host team, Moberly Area, the following day. Moberly finished the regular season ranked No. 11 in the nation.

Motlow will play a total of 13 home games and 17 games on the road. Included in the schedule, along with home-and-home series against the other nine TCCAA member schools, are home-and-home matchups against Alabama schools Gadsden State, Wallace State and Lawson State.

Homecoming is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, with Chattanooga State as the opposition. Sophomore recognition day will be the final home game, which is Saturday, Feb. 16, with Southwest Tennessee as the visitor. The regular season will end Feb. 23 with a trip to Columbia State. The TCCAA/Region VII Tournament is scheduled for March 1-6 at Cleveland State.

The 2018-19 season will mark the 50th season of competition for Motlow men's basketball, which along with baseball, began the year the College opened in 1969. Women's basketball began in 1974, fast-pitch softball began in 1994 and women's soccer started in 2017. Slow-pitch softball, tennis and golf each enjoyed short terms as collegiate sports at Motlow in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Men's basketball coach Arthur Latham
The Motlow State men's basketball program will begin its 50th season of competition when it travels to John A. Logan College in Illinois on Nov. 1 to open the 2018-19 season. The home opener will be Nov. 14, when the Cumberland University JV visit Copperweld Arena. The Bucks are coached by Arthur Latham. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.

Tullahoma's Nic Barstad signs Letter of Intent to play basketball at Motlow State

March 27, 2018

Men's Basketball
Tullahoma High School multi-sport standout Nic Barstad recently signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his career as a student-athlete playing basketball at Motlow State. Barstad finished his career at Tullahoma as the second leading scorer in school history and holds the all-time record for three-point baskets made. Picture, seated from left, are Sherry Barstad, mother; Nic and Joe Barstad, father. Standing from left, are John Olive, Tullahoma athletic director; Austin Creasman, Nic's brother; Zach Holt, Motlow assistant coach, Zach Bailey, Tullahoma head coach; and Arthur Latham, Motlow head coach. Photo provided.

Bucks' season ends with loss to Vincennes in NJCAA Tournament

March 23, 2018

The Motlow Bucks couldn't overcome the red-hot shooting start of Vincennes, despite 36 points from Rashawn Fredericks, and saw their basketball season come to a close with an 86-82 loss to the Trailblazers in the second round of the NJCAA National Tournament Wednesday night in Hutchinson, Kansas.

The Bucks finish the year 23-8, tied for the ninth most wins in school history. Motlow has advanced to the second round of the national tournament each year it has been; 2013, 2017 and this year, and its all-time record at the tournament is now 4-3. The Bucks reached the second round by beating No. 19 seed Otero Junior College 77-76 Tuesday afternoon.

The contest between the No. 14 Bucks and No. 3 Trailblazers was extremely close the entire way. Vincennes led 16-12 after the first six minutes, but Motlow, driven by three-pointers from Fredericks and Isaiah Hart, surged to a 27-27 tie with 9:30 left in the first half. Vincennes charged back though and took a 44-40 lead into intermission. There were six ties and 10 lead changes in the first 20 minutes of play.

The Trailblazers had expanded their lead to five, 49-44 with 15:36 left to play, when Fredericks hit a long three pointer to close the gap to two. The final tie was 55-55 with 11:21 left to go. Vincennes increased its lead to six before Hart hit a three pointer to close the gap to 71-68 with 5:04 remaining. Motlow stayed within three or four points until two minutes were left, when they had to put the Trailblazers on the free-throw line to try and extend the game. Vincennes hit their free throws in the final 120 seconds to secure the win.

In his final game at Motlow, Fredericks was spectacular, hitting 14-26 shots from the field and 5-6 free throws. He barely missed a double-double, hauling in nine rebounds. Hart added 17 points and had four assists, four steals and four rebounds. Fredericks and Hart go into the history books as two of the best players to ever wear the green and gold.

Leo Castillo, who has filled the role of sixth man for Motlow most of the season, continued his excellent play with 11 points along with three rebounds and two steals. Kevonte Corley had six points and four rebounds, Dillon Smith scored five points but led the team with 10 rebounds.

Vincennes cooled off after its blazing hot shooting start but still shot 51 percent for the game, with Motlow shooting 40 percent. The Bucks hit 9-28 three pointers while the Trailblazers hit 9-20. Motlow connected on 77 percent of its free throws as compared to 65.5 percent for Vincennes. The Bucks won the rebounding battle 38-37 and forced 12 turnovers while only committing seven. The biggest edge was assists, as Vincennes had an amazing 24 on 29 made baskets while Motlow had 14 on 28 made.

Hart is the all-time single season and career leader in steals, with 125 and 231 respectively, and his 3.4 steals per game is the best in Motlow history. He is the all-time leader in three-point baskets made with 189. His 1,089 career points are eighth all time, as is his 16.3 points per game career average. Hart is sixth all time with 303 career assists and seventh with an average of 4.5 assists per game. He hit 83.9 percent of his free throws, fourth on the all-time list.

Fredericks is right behind Hart with 1,001 points and averaged 15.2 per game in his career. He stands second on the all-time rebounding list with 769, just four behind leader Bob Martin and over 100 ahead of the next best mark. His 11.6 rebounds per game average is third all time. Fredericks is seventh in total steals with 124 and five in all-time three pointers made with 113. Amazingly enough, he is fourth on the all-time blocked shots list with 84, putting him on more career top ten lists than any player in Motlow history. Fredericks was named the TCCAA/Region VII Freshman of the Year last year and the Player of the Year this season, the first Buck in history to be so honored.

They are joined on the all-time leaderboard by classmate Corley, whose 546 rebounds puts him at No. 5 and his 8.4 rebounds per game is sixth. Dillon Smith checks in tied for tenth in total steals with 99 and is sixth all time in three-point shots made with 109.

The four, along with Chad Emmons, have more career wins than any class in history. Together, they won 53 games over two seasons, one TCCAA regular season title and two TCCAA/Region VII Tournament titles. They made two national tournament appearances and compiled a 3-2 record, advancing to the final eight last year and round of 16 this season.

Motlow Bucks
Motlow State sophomore Rashawn Fredericks dunks over an opposing player during a game earlier this season. Fredericks finished his Motlow career as one of the greatest players in school history, ranking in the top ten in career points, points per game, rebounds, rebounds per game, steals, steals per game, three-point shots made and blocked shots. Jeff Reed Photography.

Hart hits game winner as Bucks advance in NJCAA Tournament

March 20, 2018

Sophomore Isaiah Hart hit an eight-foot floater in the lane with six seconds remaining and the Motlow Bucks beat Otero Junior College 77-76 Tuesday afternoon in the opening round of the NJCAA National Championship Tournament.

The No. 14 Bucks (23-7) advance to the round of 16, where they will face No. 3 Vincennes (Ind.) at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening. All tournament games are being played in Hutchinson, Kansas.

The contest between the Bucks and Rattlers was extremely close during a foul-marred first half. The Bucks led at the break 42-33 behind Rashawn Fredericks' 19 first-half points.

Four minutes into the second half, the Rattlers had closed the gap to two, 49-47. Dillon Smith hit a three pointer for Motlow with 11:25 remaining to give the Bucks a 59-53 lead, but by the 2:20 mark Otero had taken a 72-70 lead.

The Rattlers led 76-72 with one minute to play when Motlow's David Fraser scored a bucket and was fouled. Fraser connected on the free throw to pull Motlow within one. The Bucks got a stop on defense, setting the stage for Hart's game winner. Otero had one final long shot at the bucket, but the ball bounced off the backboard and Motlow advanced in the tournament.

Fredericks scored 19 points before fouling out with seven minutes remaining. Hart and Smith each scored 16, with Hart dishing out seven assists. Fraser scored 11 points and led Motlow with three steals. Kevonte Corley had seven rebounds, while Anthony Yarbrough added five.

There were a total of 54 foul shots during the game, with Motlow making 18-28 and Otero 18-26. Each team had 37 rebounds, but Motlow forced the Rattlers into 21 turnovers while just committing 13. The Bucks only shot 32 percent from the field, while Otero was at 42 percent. Motlow shot 34 three pointers, only making 9, while the Rattlers were 6-18 from behind the arc.

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