In today’s athletic world, one hears the word culture brought up quite frequently by coaches, players, and fans. They all refer to the culture of their team or their program. In defining the word culture, I think of policies and or an environment that encourage success. In trying to define the MC Basketball culture, I would like to think that our program’s environment means more to the players and fans then just winning ball games.

Two weeks ago, I emceed the Blount County Athletic Hall of Fame. One of the inductees had a statement that really resonated with me. Paraphrasing his comment, he said, “In sports the goal of the game is to win, but the true purpose is to elevate the human spirit.” Winning is important, and I surely believe that a player will learn more in a winning program than he will in a losing program. But… I surely hope our players, those in the present and those of the past, take much more from being a participant in our program than how to play winning basketball.

Just today, I told a player who had violated a couple of team rules that your life may be defined by how you respond to the bad times, as well as, the good times. The great thing about coaching a team sport made up of young men is the opportunities to teach life lessons. These lessons can carry over to their present life or hopefully will give them reference points for their future. Important individual teaching opportunities during a season allow the coach to preach on humility, accountability, the values of hard work, honesty, self-discipline, and personal sacrifice. Valuable team qualities can be centered on role acceptance, social decisions, diversity issues, good assessment, and communication skills.

I am thankful for the opportunity I have been given to teach the young people who have been a part of our program beginning with the recruiting process, our staff talks to a perspective student athlete about the importance of buy-in to the Maryville Way. I really believe that if we do not get the message across to our young men during their four years on campus, they may never get it. We do believe in our culture the Maryville Way. We hope our young men are prepared for the real world.

The life lessons they learn while competing on the court as a Fighting Scot will ring in their ears forever… and maybe while wearing the Orange and Garnet they win their fair share of games.



Through the years I have followed several coaches in the profession. One of my favorite coaches to follow is Kevin Eastman. Kevin is one of the best speakers and teachers I have come across in the profession. His ability to combine passion with humility is inspiring. He tries his best to give you a guide to be the best version of yourself you can be.

His most recent book “Why The Best Are The Best” Coach Eastman knocks it out of the park. I will share with you some of the quotes and anecdotes in his book that I think any coach, player, or team can properly use to become more apt to find the Championship DNA.

As a coach there are three important things we need to get from our teams: their ears, their minds, and their hearts. We must teach them that we need you for what you can do… but only if you understand it cannot be about you.

Our success comes down to the words people live by, the concepts they execute, and the understanding of the context around both.

Coach Eastman's mantra is “Old school, New School- One School. The school of growth is development and improvement.

I highly recommend this book to anyone. It is just not about sports. The insight and knowledge one can gain from this reading can help you in your everyday life.

We kick off the season November 17th vs Eastern University. Looking forward to seeing you at Boydson Baird Gymnasium this season. We have an experienced ball club that is nationally ranked and hungry for a three-peat as Conference Champions!

Here are two quotes I came across this week that I shared with our basketball team.

When adversity strikes you don’t rise to the occasion you revert to your training. Meaning your core, your essence, who you are as a person when adversity and opposition strike you can’t turn into a beast you already have to be the beast.

Team is a certain level of loyalty and purpose to something that supersedes everyone one of us. Meaning what we are working for is greater than anyone of us. So, we have a level of accountability and responsibility to this thing because we have been blessed to do it.


During the 1969 basketball season Mike Barrows, a sophomore at the time, was second on the team in scoring with a 16.2 points per game average. He shot 49% from the field and averaged 5.8 rebounds per game. Mike was excellent shooter who also possessed the ability to get to the basket. His baseline drives were a sight to see. Barrows finished his career well over the 50% clip from the field. One of Mike’s biggest scoring games came against Clinch Valley College where he recorded 42 points. Mike graduated in 1971 with a degree in political science.

Freshman Profile:


Javon, let the MC basketball fans know what high school you are from and what accolades you received as a student-athlete?

I graduated from the Power Center Academy High School in Memphis, Tennessee. While being on the Principal's List, I was named the MVP of the basketball team after the 2017-18 season.

Every story is different. Tell the fans why you chose Maryville.

They had a good basketball program. I think they came off one of their best seasons last year. I know that the team did not lose any players last year so I knew I could learn a lot from the seniors. I was excited about the academic studies, especially for my major in finance.

If you were stuck on an island and needed to get out of there, what two other teammates would you choose and why?

Colt and Greg. Colt because he one of the strongest teammates I have ever had and Greg just because he is funny and smart in some situations.

As the college football season wraps up, what teams are you pulling for? What NBA team are you following? Who is your favorite athlete and why?

Georgia Bulldogs for college football. I was born there so I mostly like teams that are in Georgia. I follow mostly all NBA teams but I like the Boston Celtics the most. My favorite player would be Devin Booker. He is smooth with the rock, nice jump shot and he’s an up and coming super star.

What is your favorite movie? Candy? Food?

My favorite movie is Avengers. My favorite candy would probably be M&M’s. My favorite food would be meatloaf.

Word association game: List one word to describe the following coaches and players

Amari Blake: Tough
Preston Tomlinson: Shooter
Kaleb Estes: Cool
Calvin Songster: Shooter
Chris Watson: Tall
Dante Hoppa: Leader
Trevor Gaines: Smart
Coach Jones: Caring
Coach Placeres: Exciting
Coach Lambert: Funny



As you enter your senior year what are some individual and team goals you would like to accomplish?

The only goal I have for myself is to have the best season of my career. As a team we are looking to repeat as conference champions, and we want to put ourselves in a position to win a national championship.

What can you tell the fans out there about your experience at Maryville as a student-athlete?

It has been rigorous on both sides, but it is not impossible to succeed while doing both here. It is all about finding out how to balance them both.

What is your favorite movie? Favorite candy? Favorite food?

My favorite movie at the moment is Venom. Any type of chicken is my favorite food, and sour gummy worms are my favorite candy.

What is your major? What do you plan on doing after you graduate?

I majored in physical education, and I plan to coach on the high school or collegiate level.

As Coach Lambert enters his final season, what are some things you have learned from coach?

The biggest thing that I will take away from Coach Lambert’s many lessons is that what you put into something is what you are going to get out of it. This is something that I not only use in basketball, but in life as well.

Word Association game: Describe in one word the following players or coaches:

Coach Placeres- passionate
Dante Hoppa- leader
Josh Strong- competitive
JP McGhee- energetic
Nick Clifton- country
Emier Bowman- bouncy
Colt Nokes- weight-room
Chris Watson- goofy
JR Sanders- resilient

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