Dear Scots Fan,
Someday, maybe next year when I am retired I will be able to enjoy two of the best holidays Thanksgiving and Christmas. Because they fall during the start of the basketball season, my mind is on my team and it is hard to be joyful and gracious when you are trying to prepare for the next game. This season has been extra worrisome with our team struggling to perform to our expectations.
As we move through these first few weeks, there have been several ups and downs. Dealing with injuries during a season is part of basketball and this year has been extra challenging. My thoughts and prayers go out to Colt Nokes and his family as he deals with his injured knee (torn ACL). I am so proud of Colt and his progression as a basketball player and young man during his career. His valuable contribution to the program and its success over the last four years have been impressive.
In the real world, one man’s loss can be another man’s gain and playing basketball is no exception. Freshman J.P. McGhee and sophomore Trevor Gaines-Perry have been thrown “into the fire” as they fill-in for Colt at the 5 position. Both are giving it their best effort and are adjusting to the physicality of this position.
Regardless of the successes and failures, there always seems to be the same underlying themes for every team at the beginning of the season. First and foremost, is the promotion of a team first attitude. As the head coach, it is critical to mold the diverse group of individuals into a cohesive unit who has bought-in to the system. Some years are tougher than others and this year ranks as one of the most challenging. Egos, hard-headedness, complacency, coachability, and selfishness are all contributing factors. Sometimes your words are not enough. Losing and the bench (loss of playing time) gets one attention better than anything else. A team first attitude and a buy-in to system are always a coach’s challenge. The sooner it comes, the better you are and the more wins you will experience. It also helps if everyone understands the following concepts:
T- Toughness: winning the 50/50 balls, playing through fatigue or injuries, diving on the floor for a loose ball, taking a charge, play like a man.
E- Engagement: a championship approach, valuing practice, listening, applying the scouting report to the game plan, willingness to communicate, coaching yourself, attention to detail.
A- Attitude: We before me, responding to coaching, accepting criticism, being a good teammate, understanding your role, doing the little things, doing it the fundamental way, good shot vs bad shot…
M- Motor: Playing at the Div I speed. Going 100% instead of 70%, amping up, playing outside your comfort zone, competing rather than coasting… The difference between good and great might be 10-12 inches. ( the distance from one ear to the other).
I hope the letter has not come across too negative because I am grateful for a lot of things this season. I am thankful for the opportunity to coach one more time, for the young men who want to play hard and compete for a program rich in tradition, for my staff members who continue to work hard and enjoy our professional and casual relationships , for my past players and coaches who continue to demonstrate their loyalty and love for this old coach, and for my family who help me keep this game and life in proper perspective. I am really going to try to enjoy this Christmas. I hope you can.
Merry Christmas to you and yours,
COACH RANDY LAMBERT
LEADERSHIP WITH COACH PLACERES
People who achieve the most success in life are not those who somehow find a way to avoid making mistakes or encountering obstacles. Mistakes and obstacles are part of the journey. I truly believe that the people who experience great success continue to move forward after making mistakes. They are not avoiders. They go full steam ahead and overcome their obstacles.
I am entering my 13th year as a coach, my 8th as a collegiate coach. The more I do this the more I see that one important ingredient in being successful is having GRIT!! Grit is defined as courage and resolve; strength of character. As I face adversity and tough times in coaching and life, I go back to a quote that was shared with me as senior in college, it is by one of our greatest Presidents Mr. Teddy Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles… The credit belongs to the man who is in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly… who spends himself in a worthy cause.”
Grit is having a sustained passion, the perseverance to work through all obstacles and the understanding adversity moves you closer to achieving your goal.
Every athlete and coach experience the heartache of a loss, mistakes and missed opportunities but it is the very next step after adversity that determines whether you achieve athletic success.
Too often, athletes and coaches become dejected after a loss; they lose confidence and question their abilities. These athletes and coaches become discouraged after losing which produces lackluster effort in practices.
When you see losing as evidence of your lack of ability, progress towards your goals is halted.
It is grit that enables you to push forward and see results as feedback. Grit allows you to learn on the job without becoming discouraged.
As you navigate through the ups and downs of sports or life remember:
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.
Be disciplined in your thoughts and habits.
Blast from the past:
This high-flying post player had a great career at Maryville. His senior campaign goes down as one of the best ever. His team went on to win 22 games with only six defeats. Te squad earned a (12-1) home record, Conference Championship, and an NCAA Tournament Appearance.
Josh went on to shoot 61% from the field while shooting close to 200 free throws at 75% clip. He is the only Scots player since 2000 to finish the season averaging a double-double. He averaged 16.1 points per game and 10.1 rebounds per game. Josh led his team in scoring, rebounding, steals, and block shots his senior season.
Why did you choose Maryville?
I chose Maryville because I loved the way the team played and saw how each person had an important role in our success.
What is your major and what do you plan on doing after you graduate?
I am majoring in marketing and business. After school I am hoping to find a job in sports marketing.
What is the biggest difference or differences in the high school to college transition?
The biggest difference for me in the change from high school to college is the amount of individual responsibility and time management required to be a successful student and athlete.
What is your favorite movie? Favorite food? Favorite song?
My favorite movie is He Got Game. My favorite food is Buffalo Wings. My favorite song is Oh Okay by Gunna
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
Coach Placeres: Passionate
Coach Jones: IQ
Coach Creasy: Best Fortnite Partner
Javon: High Energy
Kaleb: Plays Hard
As you enter your senior year what are some individual and team goals you would like to accomplish?
I would like to have my best season as a collegiate basketball player. As a team, I would like to make a run in the NCAA tournament.
What can you tell the fans out there about your experience at Maryville as a student-athlete?
It has been a different but fun experience. I have learned a lot on and off the court.
Who wins the college football national championship and why?
Alabama will win the national championship. They have too much talent and the best coach.
What is your major? What do you plan on doing after you graduate?
My major is Finance/Accounting. I plan on gaining experience in this field before pursuing my plans of furthering my education.
As Coach Lambert enters his final season, what are some things you have learned from coach?
Coach Lambert taught me how to fight for what I want.
Word Association game: Describe in one word the following players or coaches:
Coach Jones- Passionate
Coach McCord- Committed
JP McGhee- Cool
Nick Clifton- Old
Trevor Perry- Funny
Chris Watson- Different
JR Sanders- Energetic
David Deacon- Chill
Ryan Lee- Quiet