Contact: Arthur Latham
Interim Head Coach
April 5, 2017
On March 27, 2015, the University of Tennessee informed head men's basketball coach Donnie Tyndall and his staff that their services would no longer be needed. Included in those who instantly joined the ranks of the unemployed was Motlow Bucks men's basketball head coach J.T. Burton.
Those days were dark for Burton, who recently vaulted into the national spotlight by leading the Bucks to 30 wins and a quarterfinal appearance in the NJCCAA Men's National Basketball Championship Tournament, along with being named the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA)/Region VII Coach of the Year.
The 2016-17 Bucks won 30 games, more than any team in Motlow's 47-year men's basketball history, and became the first team to reach the quarterfinals of the national tournament. The Bucks also featured the TCCAA freshman of the year and three all-conference selections. Without question, this year's Bucks had the greatest season in school history. For Burton, the journey has not been easy, but he insists he is in a better place now.
THE DARK DAYS
"I was devastated when we got the news at Tennessee that the staff had been fired," said Burton. "One day I was an assistant coach at an SEC school with an outstanding basketball history and tradition, and the next day I was out of work and certain that no school would have an opportunity for me because of the way things ended at Tennessee. It was a really dark time for me and my family. I honestly thought I would never get another chance to do the one thing I love to do; coach basketball. Add to that what Coach Tyndall, who I had played for and coached under, had to go through. It all crashed down pretty fast and I almost crashed along with it."
Living in Springfield, Kentucky, with his wife Carla and two daughters Alexis and Jada, Burton did what he had to do to help support his family; he went to work. Through the assistance of a friend and former player, Chad Newby, Burton got a job working at Recovery Care in Louisville, a facility that treats patients with traumatic brain injuries. He says the experience humbled him in a way that few things could have and helped lead to the opportunity at Motlow.
"I had to drive an hour to work and home each day," he continued, "so I got a lot of time to think. It was really eye opening to see these people, some of them younger than me, whose lives had been devastated by brain injuries. It gave me a whole new appreciation for how blessed I was to be healthy and to have a family that was healthy. It strengthened my resolve to help people that I knew to get opportunities to do what they love to do. I might not get another chance to coach, but I could sure help others get their chance."
It was that mindset that led Burton to Motlow State. The Bucks were searching for a new coach after Matt Sligh had resigned to become an assistant coach at Missouri State University. Sligh had helped Motlow continue its winning tradition in men's basketball, and as is usually the case in most professions, success led to an opportunity that he accepted, leaving Motlow searching for its third head coach in four years.
"I was familiar with Motlow State, having played and coached at St. Catharine in Kentucky when they were part of the TCCAA," Burton added. "I always felt like Motlow was a unique situation and they had enjoyed a nice run of success under former coaches Steinburg, Nichols and Sligh. I had a friend who had applied for the job so I called then-athletic director Tori Gentry to recommend my friend.
"Tori asked me why was I not applying for the job myself, and to be honest I never even thought I would have a chance to get it, or any coaching job for that matter. I mean, nobody was calling me offering me a chance to get back into coaching. I thought my coaching career was over."
A BRIDGE TO MOTLOW
Gentry convinced Burton to apply for the job, and after an extensive search process the College called Burton and made an official offer. Burton says it was one of the most surprising and happy days of his life.
"I'll never forget it was June 2 because that is my wedding anniversary," Burton recalls. "The athletic director barely got the words out of her mouth in offering me the job before I blurted out 'I'll take it!'. When I hung up that phone I danced around my house like I had just won the lottery. My wife and kids looked at me like I was crazy, but when I told them I had gotten a job coaching they were thrilled. They had seen the pain I had been in and they knew that daddy was getting another chance. It was a tremendous moment in our lives."
Burton stepped into an enviable situation at Motlow, inheriting a team that had posted a 23-6 record in 2014-15 and returned the No. 1 junior college player in the nation in Jaylen Barford, who now suits up for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Although coming to Motlow extremely late in the recruiting season, Burton scrambled and assembled a group that compiled a 25-7 record and played in the championship game of the TCCAA tournament.
"I feel very fortunate to have been able to bring a former player of mine and assistant coach, Arthur Latham, in to be my top assistant," continued Burton. "Then to be able to add a quality volunteer assistant in Zach Holt was a tremendous bonus. Having Jaylen here for that first year was a blessing, and the guys who filled roles around him, like Reid Pierce and Darius Joell, were a big part of the reason we had such success last year."
But most of the role players were sophomore transfers and a couple more returning players, leaving Burton with the decision of whether to bring back the few freshmen he had recruited for their sophomore years. He chose not to, meaning this year's team consisted of a full roster of young men who had not previously worn the green and gold of the Bucks.
"It wasn't that the freshmen on last year's team were bad players or bad people or anything like that," added Burton. "It was just a feeling that we as a staff had. We wanted to build this second year's team from the ground up. We knew we needed a couple of sophomore transfers to provide some junior college experience, but we also knew that there were great freshmen players that we could attract to Motlow State. Coach Latham and Coach Holt did a wonderful job of finding those players and convincing them that Motlow was the place for them."
The majority of the 2016-17 Bucks were in-state players, including all-conference selections Javion Hamlet from Memphis and Isaiah Hart from Murfreesboro, along with Ross Plunkett from White Bluff, Dillon Smith from Lexington and Kevonte Corley from Antioch. Rashawn Fredericks came from Tampa and developed into the TCCAA Freshman of the Year, and Aleksandar Zecevic found his way to Moore County all the way from Serbia.
"This has been the most fun, hardest working, committed group of players I have ever had the privilege of working with," added Burton. "I don't say that because we won the conference tournament and did well in the national tournament. I've been saying that all year and anybody who has heard me talk about this team knows that.
"These young men are the reason I love what I do and am so thankful for the opportunity that Motlow State has provided to me and my staff," he concluded. "We want to give guys the opportunity to compete at a high level on the basketball court, to graduate, and to become productive in the community. This group of players have done and are doing those things, and that is very satisfying for me as their head coach."
Burton and his staff have already began the process of assembling next year's team. But only two years removed from one of the darkest times of his life, and now with a bright coaching future in front of him, Burton has learned some things during his climb back to the spotlight.
"I'll never take my opportunities for granted again because every day I get to do this is a blessing." Burton adds. "Ultimately, what we do as a coaching staff, as a team and as a college, is not about me. I used to think it was about me, but it's not. It is about those around me, especially my assistant coaches and our players. I am just so proud of those guys and happy for them and what they achieved this season."
Motlow State men's basketball head coach J.T. Burton celebrates with his wife Carla and daughters Alexis and Jada after the Bucks won the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament championship in mid-March in Morristown. Burton has compiled a remarkable 55-13 record in two seasons at Motlow, the best winning percentage of any coach in school history. Photo by Luther Simmons.
March 27, 2017
The No. 14 Motlow State Bucks jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead over No. 6 Eastern Florida State in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Men's National Basketball Tournament, but after that it was all Titans as the Bucks fell 65-45 in Hutchinson, Kansas, Thursday night.
Motlow State guard Javion Hamlet reacts to the action during a game earlier this season at Copperweld Arena. Hamlet, a freshman from Memphis, led the Bucks in points (554) and assists (298) this season. His assist total is second all-time at Motlow for a single season, and his average of 8.5 assists per game led the nation. Hamlet was named the MVP of the TCCAA Tournament and was a first team all-conference selection. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
March 22, 2017
Motlow State freshman Kevonte Corley hit a free throw with 24.5 seconds remaining and Georgia Highlands' final shot attempt from half court clanked off the back of the rim, sealing the Bucks' 70-69 win over the Chargers in the second round of the NJCAA Men's National Basketball Tournament Wednesday night in Hutchinson, Kan.
The Bucks (30-5) now advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in school history. Motlow, the No. 14 seed and the lowest seed remaining in the tournament, will face No. 6 Eastern Florida State at 8 p.m. central Thursday night, with the winner advancing to the final four. The game can be seen live at www.njcaatv.com.
Motlow was forced to overcome a 14-point deficit in the final eight minutes after leading the Chargers by 16 in the first half. Both teams spent every ounce of energy making their respective runs, but in the end it was the Bucks who summoned the extra effort to make the plays to win the game.
The Bucks jumped out to a 7-0 lead early when Isaiah Hart hit a three-pointer with 17:51 left in the first half. Motlow built its biggest lead of 16 points with 2:50 to play in the first half after hitting seven consecutive free throws, five by Dillon Smith and two by Corley.
The Chargers then applied a stifling pressure defense, forcing multiple Motlow turnovers and climbing back to within six points, 40-34, at intermission. The two teams combined for 55 total turnovers in the game.
After the Bucks scored two quick baskets to open the second half, one by Aleksandar Zecevic and one by Javion Hamlet, the Chargers went on a 19-0 run, holding the Bucks scoreless for almost five minutes, and led 64-50 with 7:54 left in the game. It appeared the Bucks' tournament run was over.
However, Motlow put seven quick points on the board as Hart hit a three-pointer and Rashawn Fredericks hit a three and sank a free throw, cutting the Chargers' lead to 64-57 with 6:05 to play. Zecevic hit two free throws and Hamlet hit a three-pointer and a two-point bucket, and the Bucks cut the lead to one, 65-64, with 3:11 remaining.
Hamlet, who led Motlow with 20 points, then hit Zecevic with a rifle pass into the paint and the big man slammed it in to give the Bucks a 66-65 lead with 2:25 left to play. Although Motlow missed eight free throws in the final two minutes, Hamlet hit two with 1:03 to play and Corley made his one count at the end.
Hamlet was high scorer for Motlow with 20 points, while Fredericks scored 14 before fouling out with 4:54 remaining. Each had four assists with Fredericks adding three steals. Zecevic scored 11 and pulled down nine rebounds, along with three blocked shots and two steals.
Hart had 10 points, including two big three-pointers, and added a pair of steals. Corley scored six and pulled down 10 rebounds and Smith had six, all at the free-throw line, along with two steals. Damarcus Williams added three points and pulled down four rebounds.
March 21, 2017
The Motlow State Bucks used a dominating rebounding performance and 39 combined points from its starting guards Tuesday morning to beat Coffeyville (Kan.) 78-59 in the opening round of the NJCAA Men's National Championship Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan.
The Bucks (29-5), the No. 14 seed in the 24-team field, advance to the second round where they will face No. 3 Georgia Highlands at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The game will be broadcast live at www.njcaatv.com.
With the victory over Coffeyville, the Bucks set a new all-time record for wins in a single season, eclipsing the old mark of 28 set during the 2007-08 season.
Motlow got 24 points, six assists and five rebounds from Isaiah Hart and 15 points and eight assists from Javion Hamlet Tuesday. The two freshmen have been consistent for the Bucks all season, and combined with a 49-23 rebounding advantage inside, keyed the second win in a national tournament in Motlow men's basketball history.
After Coffeyville scored the first bucket of the game, Motlow took its first lead with 17:55 remaining in the first half and never trailed again. Hart, who connected on 6-11 three-pointers, hit two over the next four minutes to increase Motlow's lead to 15-10. Hamlet then scored six straight points over the next two minutes and the Bucks led 21-12 with 11:25 left in the half.
Motlow increased its lead to 32-17 with 4:40 left in the half, but Coffeyville chipped away and closed the gap to 38-28 at intermission. After the lead shrunk to seven points, 40-33 with 17:40 left in the game, Hart hit a three pointer and Hamlet scored a bucket and sank two free throws and the lead was stretched to 49-35 with 15 minutes to play. Coffeyville never got closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Aleksandar Zecevic scored nine points and pulled down six rebounds, Rashawn Fredericks scored eight with six rebounds, and Kevonte Corley had five points with 11 rebounds and two assists. Dillon Smith had six points and two steals, Damarcus Williams and Chad Emmons each scored four, and Ross Plunkett hit a three pointer.
March 13, 2017
The Motlow State Bucks played one of their best games of the season at the perfect time, beating Walters State 91-67 to win the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament Friday afternoon on Walters' home court in Morristown, TN.
NJCAA Men's National Basketball Tournament website
NJCAA Men's National Basketball Championship bracket
The Bucks (28-5) won both the conference regular season and tournament titles, and received a No. 14 seed in the upcoming NJCAA national tournament which begins March 20 in Hutchinson, Kansas. The Bucks will face No. 17 Coffeyville, Kansas, at 10 a.m. CDT on Tuesday. Motlow entered the week ranked No. 22 in the nation.
Motlow has made only one previous trip to the national tournament, coming in 2013 after the Bucks also won the regular season and tournament championship. Motlow's previous tournament title teams; 1972-73, 1981-82 and 1983-84, did not advance to the national tournament. The Bucks won one game before being eliminated in 2013.
The championship game win came one day after the Bucks made one of the greatest comebacks in school history, overcoming a 24-point deficit in the final 16 minutes of the game to beat Roane State 75-66 in the semifinals. Motlow opened the tournament with a hard-fought 77-70 win over Jackson State.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Javion Hamlet was superb for the Bucks throughout the week, and the season for that matter, as he led the nation with an average of 8.7 assists per game. Motlow's Rashawn Fredericks and Isaiah Hart we also named to the all-tournament team. Hamlet and Fredericks were named to the All-TCCAA first team for the regular season, while Hart received second team honors.
Motlow Head Coach J.T. Burton, who won this same tournament 20 years ago as a player at St. Catharine, Kentucky; was named Coach of the Year. Burton has compiled an outstanding 53-12 record in his two seasons at Motlow. The 28 wins thus far this season ties the school record for the most wins in a season, set by the 2007-08 team under then head coach Bobby Steinburg.
The Bucks were simply dominant in the title game from start to finish, leading 40-26 at halftime. Walters State closed the gap to 10 points a couple of times in the second half, but each time they did the Bucks quickly built the lead back to 14 or 16 points.
Motlow shot 62 percent from the field and hit 7-17 three pointers. The Bucks outrebounded the Senators 44-22 and Motlow dished out 21 assists on 31 made baskets. At the free throw line the Bucks had their best game of the year, connecting on 22 of 26 attempts.
Hamlet was brilliant, scoring 30 points on 9-14 field goal attempts and connecting on all 10 free throws. He added six assists, five rebounds and two steals. Fredericks, who averaged a double-double on the season, scored 14 points with 11 rebounds and had two assists.
Jalen Bell scored 12 points with seven rebounds, Dillon Smith had 10 points, Hart scored nine with eight assists and four steals, Aleks Zecevic had eight points and five boards, and Damarcus Williams scored seven with 11 rebounds.
March 9, 2017
The Motlow Bucks came from 24 points down with 16 minutes to play and beat Roane State 75-66 Thursday to earn a berth in Friday's championship game at the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament in Morristown.
The No. 1 seed Bucks (27-5) will face Walters State Friday at 3pm CDT for the league title. Motlow has already clinched a berth in the NJCAA national tournament by virtue of winning the TCCAA regular season title, but could help their seed considerable with the tournament title as well.
Roane State led 37-20 at the half and increased its lead to 49-25 at the 16 minute mark before the Bucks began one of the greatest comebacks in school history.
Isaiah Hart, Javion Hamlet, Damarcus Williams and Rashawn Fredericks were all keys to the comeback, hitting big shots and connecting on critical free throws down the stretch.
However, it was stellar defense that enabled the Bucks to climb within one win of tying the school's all-time record for wins in a season. Motlow consistenly got stops on defense in the final minutes, while Roane went ice cold from the field.
Motlow hit 7-12 three pointers in the final 20 minutes, including back-to-back threes by Fredericks inside the 10 minute mark. Hamlet was 9-12 from the free throw line, with many coming in the final minutes as he consistenly drove to the basket and drew fouls.
Hart finished with 19 points and six rebounds, while Hamlet scored 17 and added five steals and four assists. Williams had 15 points and nine rebounds and controlled the boards during the comeback. Fredericks scored 12 with five rebounds and Aleks Zecevic had seven points and three boards.
March 8, 2017
The Motlow Bucks withstood a strong challenge in the quarterfinals of the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament Wednesday afternoon before securing a 77-70 win over Jackson State to advance to Thursday's semifinal round.
The No. 1 seed Bucks (26-5) will face No. 5 Roane State on Thursday at 5 p.m. CDT. The Raiders advanced by upsetting No. 4 Cleveland State.
The Bucks, playing their first game since Feb. 25, looked rusty against the Generals, leading only 31-29 at halftime. Motlow came out of the intermission strong, building their lead to 13 points, but Jackson fought back before Motlow secured the win.
Motlow won despite getting outrebounded 39-33 and shooting only 45 percent from the field, including 7-26 from three-point range.
Javion Hamlet and Isaiah Hart led a balanced scoring attack with 17 points each. Rashawn Fredericks, who was named the conference Freshman of the Year, added 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Aleks Zecevic and Damarcus Williams each scored 10 points, with Zecevic adding seven rebounds and two assists and Williams pulling down eight rebounds.
Hart was named 2nd Team All-TCCAA, while Hamlet and Fredericks were selected 1st Team All-TCCAA. Motlow Head Coach J.T. Burton, now 51-12 in two years in Lynchburg, was named the conference's Coach of the Year.
Feb. 27, 2017
The Motlow State Bucks kept momentum on their side heading into next week's TCCAA/Region VII Tournament with a 77-49 thrashing of Jackson State in the regular season finale Saturday afternoon in Jackson.
Motlow State guard Isaiah Hart drives past a defender during Motlow's recent win over Dyersburg State at Copperweld Arena. Hart, a freshman from Murfreesboro, broke Motlow's single season record for steals when he recorded five during the Bucks' 77-49 win over Jackson State on Saturday. Hart now has 107 steals on the season, breaking the record of 103 set by DeShawn Bowman in 2001-02. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
Feb. 20, 2017
The No. 22 ranked Motlow State Bucks finished off the home portion of their basketball season Saturday afternoon with a dominating 98-62 win over Dyersburg State at Copperweld Arena.
The Bucks (24-4, 13-3) have two regular season games remaining against TCCAA conference opponents on the road. Motlow travels to Columbia State Wednesday, then closes the regular season in Jackson against Jackson State on Saturday.
Columbia State gave the Bucks fits on Motlow's home floor back on Nov. 11, before the Bucks secured a 98-90 win over the Chargers. Jackson State handed Motlow its only home loss of the season, 77-75, on Nov. 12.
The Bucks have already qualified for the NJCAA national tournament by virtue of their clinching the TCCAA regular season championship. However, the more games the Bucks win between now and the start of the national tournament on March 20 in Hutchinson, Kansas, the higher seed Motlow will likely receive.
Dyersburg State came into Copperweld Arena on Saturday intent on giving the Bucks everything they had and they succeeded, staying within a point or two of the lead through the first 10 minutes. Motlow Head Coach J.T. Burton went to his bench early and often, and his team began to wear down the visitors late in the first half and carried a 38-28 lead into intermission.
After the break it was all Bucks though as they outscored the Eagles 60-34 in the final 20 minutes. Motlow had its best day of the year at the free throw line, connecting on 28 of 33 attempts. The Bucks dished out 23 assists and captured 22 steals, including eight by Dillon Smith, which ties him for third on the all-time school record list for steals in a single game. The record of 10 was set by freshman Isaiah Hart back on Jan. 25.
Motlow featured six players in double-digit points, led by Javion Hamlet and Smith with 14 each. Hamlet, who leads the nation in assists, dished out seven dimes, while Smith added seven assists and three rebounds to perhaps his best game of the season.
Jalen Bell scored 13 points with nine rebounds, Chad Emmons had 12 points and six boards, Javel Gillespie scored 11 with five rebounds and three steals, and Damarcus Williams scored 10 points with seven rebounds and three blocked shots.
Hart had eight points with two assists and three steals, Aleksandar Zecevic scored six, and Ross Plunkett and Rashawn Fredericks scored five points each, with Plunkett adding two steals and Fredericks, the top rebounder in the state with an average of 10.6 per game, pulling down 12 boards.
Feb. 16, 2017
Motlow State freshman Dillon Smith scored five points in the final 19 seconds to force overtime, and the Bucks outscored Southwest Tennessee 13-2 in the extra period to beat the Saluqis 81-70 Wednesday night at Copperweld Arena.
Motlow State men's basketball coaching staff, from left J.T. Burton, head coach, and assistants Zach Holt and Arthur Latham, are shown from a game earlier this season along with post player Aleksandar Zecevic. The staff, in its second season at Motlow and with no players returning from last year, has led the Bucks to the regular season TCCAA/Region VII championship and a berth in the NJCAA national tournament. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
Feb. 14, 2017
The Motlow State Bucks can clinch at least a tie for the regular season Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) championship Wednesday night when Southwest Tennessee visits Copperweld Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The Bucks (22-4, 11-3) saw their 15-game winning streak come to an end Friday when they traveled to Walters State and dropped a 75-57 decision. Motlow bounced back on Saturday, beating Roane State 71-60 in Harriman.
The Bucks are two games ahead of Southwest Tennessee (16-7, 9-5), last year's regular season and tournament champion, with four games remaining. A win by Motlow Wednesday night would leave the Bucks with a three-game lead with three games to play, and with a sweep of the Saluqis the Bucks would own the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The TCCAA regular season champion clinches an automatic berth to the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament (NJCAA), beginning March 20 in Hutchinson, Kansas. The TCCAA Tournament champion also clinches a berth in the national tournament. If the same team wins both the regular season and the tournament, then the conference tournament runner-up will advance to the national tournament. The Motlow men's basketball program has made one previous national tournament appearance, winning one game and losing one in March, 2013.
The Bucks were off target shooting the ball Friday night in Morristown against Walters State. The Senators led 32-20 at the half and kept a comfortable lead throughout the second stanza. Motlow shot only 37.3 percent from the field, including 6-27 three-pointers.
Isaiah Hart led the Bucks with 15 points and added five steals. Damarcus Williams scored 13 and added eight rebounds. Rashawn Fredericks scored 10 points with 10 rebounds, Javion Hamlet had eight points and eight assists, and Kevonte Corley scored three with 10 rebounds.
Motlow looked and played much more like it has all season on Saturday, leading the Raiders 40-28 at the half and shooting 52.8 percent from the field.
Fredericks, who is making a serious case for conference Player of the Year, was spectacular with 23 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots. Hart scored 17, including three 3-pointers, and Hamlet scored 16 points with eight assists. Aleks Zecevic added eight points and six rebounds, and Corley scored five while pulling down 10 rebounds. Jalen Bell added nine rebounds and scored a bucket.
Feb. 5, 2017
Javion Hamlet and Rashawn Fredericks had double-doubles both Friday night and Saturday afternoon to lead the Motlow State Bucks to a sweep of visiting Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) opponents over the weekend at Copperweld Arena.
Motlow State forward Kevonte Corley, a freshman from Antioch, hauled down 22 rebounds against Cleveland State Saturday to help the Bucks beat the Cougars 75-56. Corley's 22 boards was the sixth most in school history in a single game. The record of 28 was set by Demarco Stepter in 2008. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
Jan. 30, 2017
The Motlow State Bucks hit 17 three-point shots and held Volunteer State to under 30 percent shooting from the field as the nation's No. 25 ranked team traveled to Gallatin and beat the Pioneers 102-63 Saturday afternoon.
Motlow State freshman guard Jalen Bell looks to pass the ball inside against Walters State earlier this season. Bell, from Indianapolis, recorded a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bucks to a 102-63 win over Volunteer State on Saturday. Motlow will host Chattanooga State this Friday and Cleveland State Saturday at Copperweld Arena. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
Jan. 25, 2017
The Motlow State Bucks cracked the National Junior College Athletic Association Top 25 poll this week and celebrated with an 85-66 win over non-conference opponent Gadsden State Tuesday night, thanks in part to the first triple-double recorded by a Motlow player this season and the setting of a school record that has stood for 43 years.
Motlow State guard Isaiah Hart, shown here shooting against Walters State earlier this season, recording the first triple-double of the season for the Motlow Bucks and set a new school record with 10 steals in one game during Motlow's 85-66 win over Gadsden State Tuesday night in Gadsden, Ala. Hart scored 12 points with 11 assists and 10 steals to lead the Bucks, now ranked No. 25 in the nation, to their twelfth consecutive victory. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
Jan. 17, 2017
The Motlow State Bucks rode a red-hot shooting night and a shutdown defensive effort to an 85-49 win over previously undefeated and nationally ranked Walters State at Copperweld Arena Friday night in front of a large, loud crowd estimated at over 750.
Motlow State freshman Rashawn Fredericks led the Bucks to a pair of wins over the weekend, including a 36-point victory over previously undefeated Walters State. During the two wins, Fredericks combined for 49 points, 31 rebounds and three blocked shots. The 6-6 freshman from Tampa is averaging a double-double on the season with 13.2 points per game and 10.4 rebounds per contest. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
Dec. 13, 2016
The Motlow State Bucks ended the first half of their basketball season on a high note over the weekend, travelling to Fulton, Miss., and beating the Itawamba Community College Indians 80-56 Saturday afternoon.
The Bucks (10-3, 3-2) have now won four consecutive games heading into a three-week holiday break. Motlow beat Gadsden State 100-51 on Dec. 7, then easily handled the Cumberland University JV 85-60 on Dec. 9. The Bucks will head to West Plains, Missouri, on Jan. 6, where they will play North Arkansas at 5 p.m. The following day, Motlow will face the host team, Missouri West Plains, also at 5 p.m. The next home game is Tuesday, Jan. 10, when Itawamba pays a return visit to Copperweld Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
BUCKS 100 GADSDEN STATE 51
The visitors from Gadsden, Ala., put up very little resistance as Motlow had its way from start to finish. The Bucks led 41-28 at the half, then exploded for a season-high 59 points after intermission. The Bucks shot 52.4 percent from the field, including 11-29 from three-point range, and made 23-28 free throws.
Eleven different players got into the scorebook for the Bucks, led by Javion Hamlet with 21 points and nine assists. Isaiah Hart added 18 points, four assists and five steals, Dillon Smith had 11 points and three assists, Aleks Zecevic scored nine points with nine rebounds, Javel Gillispie had eight points and seven rebounds, and Jalen Bell added eight points.
BUCKS 85 CUMBERLAND UNIVERSITY JV 60
The Bucks jumped fast out of the gate Friday morning, taking a 45-19 halftime lead in front of a large, loud crowd of over 500 elementary school children from throughout Motlow's 11-county service area. The Bucks shot 49.3 percent from the field and dominated the boards with 52 rebounds.
Jahod Lang led all scorers with 18 points and completed a double-double with 10 rebounds. Hamlet dished out 14 assists, tying him for sixth place on Motlow's all-time single game record book. Chad Emmons scored 15 points with three rebounds, and Bell had 10 points and five rebounds.
BUCKS 80 ITAWAMBA 56
Motlow finished off its highly successful week with a blowout on Itawamba's home floor. The Bucks jumped out to a 40-29 halftime lead behind Hamlet and Hart, who combined for 42 points, five assists and five steals during the contest.
The Bucks, who are one of the best shooting teams in the nation, hit 50.8 percent of their shots including 5-16 three pointers.
Hamlet scored 26 and Hart 16. Rashawn Fredericks barely missed out on a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds, while Kevonte Corley and Zecevic had 10 rebounds and five points each.
Motlow State Community College hosted over 500 children from elementary schools throughout the College's 11-county service area to a basketball doubleheader on Friday, Dec. 9, at Copperweld Arena on the Moore County campus. The event, which may have been the first morning games in Motlow basketball history, featured the Bucks and Lady Bucks getting impressive wins over the Cumberland University JV teams. Motlow State photo.
Dec. 5, 2016
Memphis freshman Javion Hamlet scored 27 points and added seven assists to lead the Motlow State Bucks to an 80-70 win over TCCAA rival Cleveland State Saturday afternoon in Cleveland. Classmate Isaiah Hart, from Murfreesboro, was right behind Hamlet with 20 points.
The Bucks (7-3, 3-2) needed the win badly after Friday night's disappointing 82-74 overtime conference loss to Chattanooga State. Motlow will host non-conference Gadsden State (Ala.) Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Copperweld Arena. The game was originally scheduled for Nov. 29, but was postponed due to inclement weather. The Bucks follow that with a rare morning game on Friday, Dec. 9, when the Cumberland University JV visit for a 10 a.m. tip.
CHATTANOOGA STATE 82 BUCKS 74
Friday night's loss in Chattanooga could play a significant role in helping a young Motlow squad mature as the season rolls into the new year and the conference tournament in early March. Motlow led 40-36 at the half and built the lead to 72-60 with just over six minutes remaining. However, quick shots and a lack of rebounding by Motlow allowed the Tigers to finish regulation on a 12-0 run.
Rashawn Fredericks got Motlow going early, scoring eight of his team's first 10 points, and had 11 at the half. With 10 minutes remaining, the Bucks went on a 14-5 run, building the lead to 12 points before the Tigers made their comeback and forced the extra five minutes. In the overtime period the Bucks' struggles continued and the Tigers won going away.
Motlow shot 47.4 percent from the field for the game, including 9-24 from three-point range, and connected on 11-13 free throws.
Hamlet, who leads the Bucks on the season with a 14.7 points per-game average, led the way with 19 points and nine assists. He leads the TCCAA, averaging 7.3 assists per game. Rashawn Fredericks secured his fifth double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds. He leads Motlow on the season averaging 10.6 rebounds per game.
Jalen Bell and Javel Gillespie each scored nine points, Hart and Kevonte Corley added six points each with Corley also pulling down 10 rebounds, and Aleks Zecevic and Dillon Smith added five points each.
BUCKS 80 CLEVELAND STATE 70
Hamlet and Hart led the charge for Motlow from their backcourt positions, combining for 47 points, while the Bucks dominated the backboards by outrebounding the Cougars 44-24. Despite connecting on only 4-19 three pointers, the Bucks concluded their best weekend of the season at the free-throw line by burying 16-19 attempts.
Motlow stumbled a bit out of the gate, trailing the home team by six points midway through the first half. However, with Cleveland leading 33-27 and five minutes to play before intermission, Motlow ended the half on a 14-4 run and led after 20 minutes 41-37.
The Bucks continued their hot hand to open the second half, using a 30-15 run to build a 71-52 advantage with 5:29 remaining. Cleveland State continued to battle though, as the Cougars fought back to within six points with a minute to play before the Bucks closed the game out at the free-throw line.
Fredericks finished with eight points and 10 rebounds, Corley had six points and 11 boards, and Bell scored seven with six rebounds. Damarcus Williams added seven points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots, while Gillespie scored three and Smith added two points.
Motlow State freshman guard Javion Hamlet, shown here from a game earlier this season, combined for 46 points and 16 assists to lead the Bucks to a split of TCCAA road games this past weekend, falling to Chattanooga State Friday night in overtime and beating Cleveland State Saturday afternoon. Hamlet, from Memphis, leads the Bucks in scoring with a 14.7 points per-game average and leads the TCCAA conference in assists at 7.3 per game. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
Nov. 28, 2016
The Motlow State Bucks connected on 15-22 shots from behind the three-point line and scored a season high in points as they beat TNG Prep Academy 118-97 Wednesday night at Lawrence County High School in Lawrenceburg, Tenn.
The Bucks (6-2, 2-1) will remain outside the TCCAA conference Tuesday night when they host Gadsden State (Ala.) at 5:30 p.m. at Copperweld Arena. Motlow returns to conference play this weekend with trips to Chattanooga State on Friday and Cleveland State on Saturday.
In front of a rowdy crowd in Lawrenceburg the Bucks struggled a bit to get untracked in the early going and only led 51-44 heading into the halftime intermission. However, Motlow connected on shots at a blistering pace in the second half and pulled away, shooting 67.2 percent from the field for the game.
Freshman Rashawn Fredericks continued his emergence with 30 points and 17 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season. Fredericks hit 10-11 shots from the field, including 5-5 three-pointers, and added four steals and two blocked shots.
Javion Hamlet also added a double-double for the Bucks with 14 points and 11 assists. Kirk Kemp scored 12 points with six assists, Kevonte Corley had 11 points and eight rebounds, Aleks Zecevic scored 10 with four rebounds and Javel Gillespie added 10 points.
The 118 points was the highest scoring total for the Bucks this season and the most Motlow men's basketball has scored since Jan. 19, 2016, when they put 119 points on the scoreboard in a 119-50 win over Bryan College.
Motlow State freshman Rashawn Fredericks, shown at a game earlier this season, scored 30 points and pulled down 17 rebounds to lead the Bucks to a 118-97 win over the TNG Prep Academy Wednesday night. Motlow will host Gadsden State on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Copperweld Arena. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
Nov. 21, 2016
The Motlow Bucks jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first two minutes and were never threatened on their way to an 89-70 win over Tennessee Community College Athletic Association rival Volunteer State at Copperweld Arena on Saturday.
The Bucks (5-2, 2-1) will play a rare home game on the road when they host the TNG Academy on Wednesday, Nov. 23, at Lawrence County High School in Lawrenceburg. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Motlow freshman Kirk Kemp played his high school basketball at Lawrence County.
The win over Volunteer State ended a two-game losing streak for the Bucks. On Thursday, Motlow traveled to Booneville, Miss., and dropped a 76-68 decision to nationally-ranked Northeast Mississippi. Last Saturday, the Bucks fell 77-75 to conference rival Jackson State.
The Bucks broke out of a long-range shooting slump against the visiting Pioneers, connecting on 11-27 shots from three-point range and shooting 56.7 percent from the field. Motlow forced Volunteer State into 17 turnovers and outrebounded the Pioneers 43-28. The Bucks led 33-23 at the half and kept the margin between 10-20 points the rest of the way.
Aleks Zecevic came off the bench and recorded the first double-double of his career, leading the team with 15 points and 10 rebounds while also blocking a pair of shots. Rashawn Fredericks scored 13 points with seven rebounds, three blocks, two assists and two steals. Kevonte Corley scored 10 with six rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
Demarcus Williams almost recorded a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds, while Ross Plunkett added nine points along with a pair of assists. Isaiah Hart scored eight and had four steals, Dillon Smith scored six with two assists, and Javion Hamlet scored five but dished out a season-high 12 assists, tying him for the 12th-most assists in a single game in Motlow history.
All 13 players that suited up for the Bucks broke into the scoring column. Eight different Motlow players hit at least one three-point shot.
Aleksandar Zecevic (24), a 6-10 freshman from Serbia, fights for rebounding position against Volunteer State on Saturday. Zecevic scored 15 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Motlow Bucks to an 89-70 win over Volunteer State at Copperweld Arena. The Bucks will play Wednesday night at Lawrence County High School, hosting the TNG Academy at 6 p.m., then return to Copperweld to host Gadsden State on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 5:30 p.m. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
Nov. 14, 2016
The Motlow Bucks hit 16 three-point shots and dished out an amazing 29 assists on their way to a 98-90 win over visiting Columbia State in the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association opener for both teams Friday night at Copperweld Arena.
The Bucks (4-1, 1-1) couldn't sustain the momentum on Saturday though, as Jackson State came to Lynchburg and escaped with a controversial 77-75 win. Motlow will travel to Booneville, Miss., to face Northeast Mississippi on Thursday, then return home to host TCCAA rival Volunteer State at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19.
BUCKS 98 COLUMBIA STATE 90
The Bucks jumped out in front early against the visiting Chargers and never relinquished the lead in front of one of the largest, loudest crowds Copperweld Arena has seen in a decade. Motlow led 47-35 at intermission behind the hot three-point shooting of Isaiah Hart, Dillon Smith and Rashawn Fredericks, who each hit four during the contest.
Fredericks had a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds and Hart scored 16 with eight assists. Javion Hamlet let the Bucks with 19 points and also dished out a team-high nine assists. Smith had 16 points with six boards and three assists, and Aleks Zecevic pulled down 10 rebounds along with four points and two assists. Damarcus Williams added seven points, five rebounds and four steals.
The Bucks shot 43.8 percent from the field, including 16-43 three-pointers. Motlow hit only 12-21 free throws and had 18 turnovers to go along with 12 steals.
JACKSON STATE 77 BUCKS 75
Saturday's contest was close throughout and went right down to the wire. The Bucks led 37-36 at the half put could never extend the lead into double digits. With two seconds left on the clock, Motlow trailed 75-72 when Hart was fouled while attempting a three-point shot.
The Murfreesboro freshman calmly stepped to the free-throw line and sank all three to tie the score at 75. However, after the third made free throw a foul was called on Motlow's Williams, and Jackson State's Marcus Lytle made the two free throws to give the Generals the lead and the win.
The Bucks shot 48 percent from the field, including 9-26 from beyond the three point line. Missed free throws cost Motlow as they connected on 18-29 from the charity stripe.
Fredericks had another double-double, his third of the year, with 12 points and 10 rebounds along with three steals. Javel Gillespie kept the Bucks close in the second half, hitting three 3-pointers and scoring 12 points. Jalen Bell added 10 points and four rebounds.
Hamlet didn't have a field goal but hit 9-12 free throws and scored nine points along with a team-high seven assists. Hart had seven points and three assists, Zecevic scored seven points with six rebounds, and Williams added five points, five rebounds and two steals.
Motlow State freshman Rashawn Fredericks (32) makes a strong post move to score during the Bucks 98-90 win over Columbia State at Copperweld Arena Friday night. Fredericks had a splendid weekend as the Bucks split a pair of conference games, combining for 28 points, 25 rebounds and four steals. Motlow travels to Northeast Mississippi Thursday night, then returns home Saturday to host Volunteer State. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
Nov. 7, 2016
The Motlow Bucks remained undefeated heading into conference play when they swept a pair of contests over the weekend at the Quality Inn Classic at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Fla.
Friday evening the Bucks shot 55 percent from the field and outscored their opponent by 14 points in the second half on their way to an 85-63 win over Lincoln Trail College. Saturday afternoon, Motlow exploded out of the gate to a 48-19 halftime advantage and beat Coahoma Community College 74-42.
The Bucks (3-0, 0-0) have won their three games by an average score of 82-50. However, the going gets much tougher this week as Motlow prepares to host Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) rival Columbia State Friday, Nov. 11, with tipoff scheduled for 5:30 p.m. The Bucks will turn around Saturday and welcome conference foe Jackson State to Copperweld Arena for a 2 p.m. tip.
BUCKS 85 LINCOLN TRAIL COLLEGE 63
Motlow featured four double-figure scorers in Friday's win over Lincoln Trail. Isaiah Hart led the way with 23 points and added five steals, four rebounds and two assists. Rashawn Fredrick had the first double-double of the season for Motlow with 21 points and 10 rebounds, plus a pair of steals.
Javel Gillespie came off the bench to score 13 points and add three rebounds, while starter Javion Hamlet scored 12 points with a team-high seven assists along with three rebounds and two steals. Aleksandar Zecevic scored eight points and had 10 rebounds; Dillon Smith added four points, two boards, two assists and two steals; and Kevonte Corley had seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocked shots along with two points. Jalen Bell added two points as well for Motlow.
BUCKS 74 COAHOMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE 42
Saturday's win over Coahoma saw the Bucks start strong with their 29-point lead at the intermission. Motlow connected on 11-26 three point shots, with nine different players hitting at least one. The Bucks had 22 assists on their 30 made field goals and pulled down 50 rebounds.
Hamlet led the scoring with 16 points, hitting 7-11 shots from the field, and added five rebounds, five assists and two steals. Zecevic scored 15 points with seven boards, two assists and three steals. Corley led all rebounders with 11 and added three blocked shots and two steals along with three points.
Hart hit a pair of threes and finished with 10 points and a team-high six assists along with five rebounds and four steals. Gillespie scored six and had five rebounds and Chad Emmons had six points and three boards, while Smith, Fredrick and Ross Plunkett each added five points, with Plunkett dishing out four assists and Fredrick pulling down seven rebounds. Bell hit a three pointer.
Through the first three games, four Bucks are averaging double figures in scoring with Hart at 14.3, Hamlet and Fredrick at 12.3, and Zecevic at 10.3. Fredrick and Zecevic average 8.7 rebounds each while Corley averages eight. Hamlet has dished our five assists per game and Hart averages 3.7 assists and leads the team with 4.7 steals per contest.
The Bucks and Chargers from Columbia State have been bitter rivals since they began playing basketball against each other in 1969. In recent years the intensity has increased, with the two meeting in the semifinals of the conference tournament four consecutive years. Each school has won two of those meetings, with the Bucks eliminating the Chargers last season 96-85.
Nov. 2, 2016
The Motlow Bucks opened the 2016-17 basketball season with an 85-44 win over the Cumberland University JV team on Tuesday, Nov. 1 in Lebanon. The Bucks led 47-21 at the half and were never threatened.
Motlow will next travel to Niceville, Fla., for a pair of games in the Quality Inn Classic at Northwest Florida State College. The Bucks will play Lincoln Trail College from Illinois on Friday, Nov. 4, then face Coahoma Community College from Mississippi on Saturday. Motlow plays its first home game on Friday, Nov. 11, hosting conference rival Columbia State at 5:30 p.m.
"Winning the season opener is always a good thing for a young team to gain confidence," said Bucks Head Coach J.T. Burton. "Heading into this weekend it gives us some game experience and helps these young players learn the speed of the game. These two contests in Florida will help show us how we compare to other teams around the country. I expect our team to give great effort."
After scoring only two points and trailing in the first three minutes, the Bucks caught fire and led 18-5 midway through the first half. Every player on the roster played at least 10 minutes for Motlow. The Bucks shot 57 percent from the field, including 9-19 three pointers, and 83 percent from the free throw line.
Dillon Smith led a balanced scoring attack with 14 points on 6-7 shooting, including 2-3 three pointers. Smith also pulled down four rebounds and added three assists and three steals. Rashawn Fredrick scored 11 points and tied for the team lead in rebounds with nine, plus had two assists and two steals.
Point guard Isaiah Hart also scored in double figures with 10 points and had a team high five steals along with three assists. Aleksandar Zecevic scored eight points with nine rebounds and two blocked shots, while the fifth starter Javion Hamlet scored nine points with four rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Damarcus Williams scored seven points and hauled down eight rebounds. Jahod Lang and Ross Plunkett added six points each, with Lang pulling down four rebounds and Plunkett dishing out four assists. Kevonte Corley and Javel Gillespie each scored five points, with Corley getting six rebounds. Jalen Bell had four points, two rebounds and two steals, and Chad Emmons added two points with three rebounds.
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.
Oct. 3, 2016
The Motlow Bucks will begin their 48th year of men's basketball competition, and their second season under Head Coach J.T. Burton, when they travel to Lebanon to face the Cumberland University junior varsity squad to open the regular season on Tuesday, Nov. 1. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Printable PDF schedule
The regular season opener will come after a series of difficult preseason scrimmage games, including facing a number of powerful teams from Florida and participating in the CB Hoops JUCO Jam on Saturday, Oct. 22, in Atlanta. Practice officially began for the Bucks Oct. 1.
"This season's schedule is very challenging," said Burton. "We start off with a tough preseason schedule, which should prepare us for a regular season that is going to be an uphill climb."
Following their opener in Lebanon, the Bucks will travel to Niceville, Fla., for a pair of contests before returning home to play five of their next seven games. The first home contest is a prime matchup, as rival Columbia State rolls into Copperweld Arena. Tipoff for the men's game on Friday, Nov. 11, is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Jackson State visits the following day for a 2 p.m. contest.
"Our trip to Northwest Florida State College will be a good test for our young squad," continued Burton. "The opening conference weekend will feature Columbia State on Friday, who will once again be one of the top teams in our league. The next day Jackson State will be in town and they are going to be considerably better than they were last season."
This year's schedule features a pair of creative opportunities for fans. On Wednesday, Nov. 23, the Bucks will travel to Lawrenceburg and Lawrence County High School to host St. Gabriel Prep School at 6 p.m. Former Lawrence County player Kirk Kemp is a member of this year's Bucks squad.
On Friday, Dec. 9, the Bucks will host the Cumberland University JV team for a 10 a.m. start at Copperweld Arena. Elementary school children from throughout Motlow's 11-county service area are invited to attend as a field trip opportunity. The general public and Motlow student body are invited as well.
The Bucks will play a total of 13 home games and 17 on the road. In addition to the early season trip to Niceville, Fla., the Bucks will travel to West Plains, Mo., in early January for a pair of contests, one against North Arkansas and the second against the host team, Missouri West Plains. Their final game before the holiday break is Dec. 10, when they head to Fulton, Miss., to face Itawamba Community College.
Motlow will play 18 Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) games, with the first being the home opener against Columbia State and the final one coming on Feb. 18, with a visit from Dyersburg State. Homecoming will be celebrated Saturday, Feb. 4, when Cleveland State comes to Motlow, and sophomore recognition day is Feb. 18.
"We are a very young team that will be tested early," added Burton. "We play 17 road games, and that in itself will be a big challenge for all of us. As coaches, it is our job to get the guys ready to meet that challenge."
The regular season ends on Saturday, Feb. 25, with a road trip to Jackson State. The TCCAA/Region VII Tournament is scheduled for Mar. 6-10 at Walters State in Morristown. The National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament will be Mar. 20-25 in Hutchinson, Kan.
The Bucks finished the 2015-16 regular season with a 25-7 record and advanced to the conference tournament finals before falling to Southwest Tennessee 73-68. Motlow travels to Memphis to face the Saluqis on Jan. 20, and Southwest comes to Copperweld Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 15, for a 7:30 p.m. contest.
Sept. 19, 2016
Members of the Motlow State Community College men's basketball team recently traveled to Cowan Elementary School and shared books and basketball as part of their community outreach program, 'Reading with the Bucks'. All Motlow State athletic teams serve communities through various outreach programs throughout the academic year. Motlow opens its basketball season Nov. 1 in Lebanon against the Cumberland University JV. Motlow State photo.
July 27, 2016
Heading into his second season as the head coach of the Motlow State Community College men's basketball program, J.T. Burton is putting together his first full recruiting class after being hired in May 2015. With just over three weeks remaining until the start of the fall semester, that class is beginning to take shape.
"I am really excited about our team," said Burton. "My assistants (Arthur Latham, Zach Holt) have done a great job of recruiting players that fit our system. We have a completely new roster after graduating eight sophomores last year, all of which signed to continue at four-year schools. The Bucks will be very young but I'm eager to get started."
Among the headliners that Burton has signed to a national letter of intent is 6-10 post Aleksandar Zecevic from Serbia, who played his final prep season at Broadfording Christian Academy in Hagarstown, Md. Zecevic is multi-dimensional as he can play with his back to the basket and can spot up from outside and hit the three pointer.
For the second year in a row, Burton has reached into the Virgin Islands to snare the area's top player. Last year it was Stephaun Adams, who is now a member of the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles. This year, Burton has signed Leonardo Castillo, Jr. from St. Croix Central High School. Castillo fills up the stat book as he can score, rebound, and distribute, in addition to having the quickness to play great defense.
Burton hit the recruiting road hard to find 6-1 point guard Jalen Bell, who played his high school basketball at Franklin Central in Indianapolis, Ind. Bell led his team in both scoring and rebounding before suffering an injury near the end of his senior season.
The Bucks of 2016-17 will be bigger and stronger overall than last year's first Burton team. Both Chad Emmons from Green County High School in Greensburg, Ky., and Rashawn Fredericks from Chamberlain High School in Tampa, Fla., are over 6-6 and can play multiple positions.
Tennessee has also provided Burton with a trio of prize products. Former LaVergne High School player Javel Gillespie transfers to Motlow after averaging seven points and a pair of rebounds per game at Cleveland State Community College last season. Also from Rutherford County is former Blackman standout Isaiah Hart.
Reaching into the fertile recruiting ground that is Memphis, Burton has signed guard Javion Hamlet from Whitehaven High School. Hamlet was ranked as one of the top point guards in Memphis for the 2016 graduating class.
Burton's first Bucks team, which featured first-team All-American and Tennessee Community College Athletic Association player of the year Jaylen Barford, finished the 2015-16 season with a 25-7 record and a runner-up finish in the Region VII tournament.
May 5, 2016
Motlow State Community College has scheduled four separate summer basketball camps, all open to both boys and girls ages 6-15, according to Bucks' head coach JT Burton.
Printable Camp Registration Brochure (pdf)
Registration flyers are available on the Motlow athletics web site at MotlowSports.com. All camps will be held at Motlow's Copperweld Arena inside Nisbett Center on the Moore County campus.
The first camp is a Fundamental Skills Camp scheduled for June 13-16. Each days' session will run from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. The cost per camper is $175. Fundamental Skills Camp will focus on teaching the basic fundamental skills of basketball. Campers will be grouped by age, grade and ability.
Next comes a Shooting Camp June 20-21. Each day is from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. and the cost is $75. This camp will focus on all aspects of shooting technique from lay-ups to three-point shooting to free-throw shooting.
The third camp is also in June. The Post Skills Camp is June 23-24 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. and the cost is $75. This camp will focus on every aspect of post play both offensively and defensively. Instruction will include the little things that can give a post player the competitive advantage.
The final camp is a second Fundamental Skills Camp and runs July 25 - 28. Each days' session will last from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. and the cost is $175.
For further information regarding Motlow's summer basketball camps contact Bucks' Head Coach JT Burton at 931-393-1620 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apr. 22, 2016
With his Motlow State Community College playing career over and his time as a student-athlete drawing to a close with graduation May 7, Jaylen Barford has cemented his place as one of the greatest players in any sport in the history of Motlow athletics.
Barford will continue as a student-athlete next year at the University of Arkansas, becoming the first player in recent memory from Motlow to earn an opportunity to play in the Southeastern Conference.
His accomplishments, accolades and school records are many. Before the 2015-16 basketball season even started, Barford was announced by multiple scouting and recruiting services as the top junior college basketball player in the nation.
He more than lived up to the preseason hype, leading the nation in scoring with a 26.2 points-per-game average and being named a First Team All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Although records from the early years at Motlow are not fully complete, Barford is believed to be only the fourth player in school history to be honored on the first team; joining baseball players Mark Shuler (1978) and Tyler Murphy (2012), and softball star Cassandra Jo Sharp (2000).
Barford was named the men's basketball Player of the Year by the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) and earned first team all-tournament honors. He led his Bucks' team to a sparkling 25-7 overall record during the recently completed season and an overall record of 48-13 during his two seasons wearing the green and gold. The Bucks advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament in 2014-15 and played for the tournament championship last season, falling 73-68 to Southwest Tennessee.
Motlow State men's basketball individual school records are dominated primarily by those who played during the early years of the program. Names such as Bob Martin, Jack Battle and Larry Mackin remain near the top of most career and single season statistical categories. More than any player since all-time leading scorer Tim Fant graduated in 1990, Barford has earned his place among those superstars from the 1970s.
Barford is second in career points with 1,393, trailing only Fant who scored 1,551 during his brilliant career. Barford passed legendary figures such as Martin, Battle, Billy Holt and John Gales during the late stages of the 2015-16 season, which included his brilliant 45-point effort during the semifinal round of the conference tournament.
His 23.6 points-per-game career scoring average is fourth all-time, with Fant leading the way at 26.7. Barford is fifth in total rebounds with 423, with Martin holding down the top spot with 773 during his career from 1974-76. Martin also leads in the rebounds per game category, averaging an amazing 14.4. Barford is sixth on that list at 7.2.
Perhaps what set Barford apart from many of those great players from the past, with the exception of Battle, was his versatility. Prior to Barford, Battle was the only player in Motlow history to rank in the top ten on the career list in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals.
Barford not only joined Battle in those categories, but passed him in most. Barford's 287 career assists is sixth all-time, with Mackin holding the top spot at 584 total assists and a 9.7 assists-per-game average. Barford's 4.9 average is also sixth on the all-time list.
Mackin had held the all-time steals total record of 153 for 40 years until Barford tied him with a steal late in the conference championship game. Barford averaged 2.6 steals-per-game, tied with Mackin for second all-time.
Barford's place in the single season record book is equally impressive. He scored 837 points this past season, second all-time behind Martin's 860 during the 1974-75 campaign. Barford averaged 26.2 points each game, third behind Martin and Fant.
His 45-point performance against Columbia State in the TCCAA tournament tied him with Martin for the fourth-best all time. Fant set the record of 50 in 1989 and repeated it in 1990. During that thrilling win over the Chargers, Barford connected on 19-22 free throws, the second-best charity stripe shooting day in Bucks history. Andy Baits hit 21-23 free throws in 1985.
Finally, Barford is only the second player in Motlow men's basketball history to be named an All-American following both of his seasons. Freddie Goldstein was named Honorable Mention in both 2010 and 2011.
Visit the official website of Motlow Athletics at www.motlowsports.com for rosters, schedules, stats and more. Interact with Motlow Athletics on Facebook and Twitter.
Jaylen Barford throws down a slam dunk during his freshman season. Barford, who came to Motlow State after a stellar prep career at Jackson South Side High School in Jackson, Tenn., cemented his position as one of the greatest student-athletes to ever play, in any sport, at Motlow. Barford will continue his career next season at the University of Arkansas. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
Mar. 7, 2016
One of the best seasons in the 47-year history of Motlow State Community College men's basketball came to a disappointing end Friday afternoon when the Bucks fell to Southwest Tennessee 73-68 in the championship game of the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament in Gallatin.
Under first-year head coach J.T. Burton, the Bucks (25-7) led 43-41 at halftime and 61-57 with nine minutes to play. However, late foul trouble and a difficult day shooting three pointers (2-15) allowed the Saluqis to escape with the victory and advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Tournament, which begins Mar. 14 in Hutchinson, Kan. Motlow hoped for one of four at-large invitations, but did not receive one.
Motlow advanced to Friday's championship game with a 96-85 win over Columbia State on Thursday. That game saw Jaylen Barford score 45 points, tied for the fourth most in a single game in Motlow history. The Bucks opened the tournament with a narrow 77-75 win over Jackson State, with Barford connecting on a pair of free throws with 1.6 seconds left in the game.
Southwest Tennessee came out of the gates shooting lights out on Friday, hitting five of their first six three pointers and grabbing an early 10-point lead. The Bucks battled back, taking the lead at halftime, but with six minutes remaining the Saluqis took the lead back 63-62 and never trailed again.
Barford and JaQualis Matlock led Motlow with 17 points each, while Stephaun Adams scored 15. Matlock, a freshman who will be the centerpiece for the Bucks next year, added eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Adams, who will play at Tennessee Tech next year, had five rebounds and four assists.
Barford will take his talents to the University of Arkansas after completing his career as one of the top players in Motlow history. His 837 points are the second most in a single season, and his 1,393 career points are also second on the all-time list. He is only the second player in school history to finish in the top 10 in career scoring, rebounding, assists and steals.
He was named the TCCAA Player of the Year and chosen for the all-tournament team. He was an honorable mention All-American last year and likely a first-team honoree this year, in addition to being one of the top contenders for national player of the year. Barford has been rated the No. 1 junior college player in the nation by multiple recruiting and scouting services.
The Motlow men's basketball program continues to establish itself among the best junior college programs in the nation. The Bucks have won over 20 games in six of the past nine seasons. The 48 combined wins during the past two season's ties the 2001-02 teams for the second best back-to-back seasons in school history. Motlow won 50 games total during the 2008-09 seasons.
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Motlow State Community College players and coaches display their runner up trophy and plaque following the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association tournament last week in Gallatin. The Bucks advanced to the championship game with a 96-85 win over defending champion Columbia State, but lost the title game 73-68 to Southwest Tennessee. Motlow State photo.