The Maryville College men’s basketball team finished its 2014-2015 season with a heartbreaking 70-64 loss to LaGrange in the playoffs. Though the playoff loss was tough for the team, the Scots have reloaded for a big 2015-2016 season.
“Last season didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but that helped us work even harder this offseason,” said senior forward Spencer Shoffner.
Shoffner, who is a key leader on and off the court, averaged over 13 points per game last year, and is expected to do big things again during his senior campaign.
Playing alongside Shoffner will be senior 6’6” senior post player Logan Brewer, who is another leader on the court.
Due to the team’s youth, these two seniors’ presence is key for the Scots.
“There has been an interesting learning curve; we have a lot of young guys,” Brewer said. “With that being said, the freshman have come in and done a good job of listening to what our coaches have to say and have picked up how we do things quicker than other freshman groups I have seen.”
As these two players have matured into their senior roles, their leadership styles have evolved along with their skills on the court.
“A key thing to have with a young group like ours is to have patience with the young guys,” Brewer said. “We forget sometimes that we didn’t know what we were doing when we first came in either. I think our coaches have done a good job of not getting overly frustrated with all the mistakes that come with youth.”
Though the Scots are young, there will be no shortage of talent on Randy Lambert court.
One player to watch for is freshman Colt Nokes who is a 6’4” forward. His hard-nosed demeanor on the court is expected to benefit the Scots this year.
The position of point guard will also be filled with excellent athletes. Sophomore starter Jaylen Bower will be backed up by two freshman, Emanuelle Garcia and Kaleb Estes, who are predicted to split game minutes.
Emier Bowman is another freshman who will be fun to watch. Along with production on the court, Bowman is expected to bring in a crowd with his athletic ability.
This young talent along with senior leadership will be crucial to the success of the team, as the Scots face yet another tough schedule.
The Scots begin their season by traveling to Center College who won last year’s matchup 73-62. Other crucial games include matchups against Emory and Henry College and Oglethorpe University during MC’s thanksgiving tournament. The Scot’s conference schedule will also be challenging, but exciting.
Despite the Scots not being predicted to win conference for the first time in several years, the team’s mindset has not changed.
“We still go into every season with the expectation that we will win the regular season, hopefully host the conference tournament and get an NCAA bid,” Brewer said. “Our expectations don’t change regardless of the fact that we have an inexperienced team this year.”
Part of the success the Scots men’s basketball team has had in past years can be attributed to head coach Randy Lambert.
“Coach Lambert doesn’t just treat us as another round of basketball players coming through the college,” Shoffner said. “He treats us like we are a big family.”
“One of the biggest reasons for his success is that he uses basketball as a life teaching tool rather than just a sport,” Brewer said. “He understands that basketball is a privilege and that it’s not always strictly about winning, that there are a lot of lessons that can be learned from it.”
The Maryville College men’s basketball team will play their first game at Center College on Nov. 15. Their first home game will be against Emory and Henry College on Nov. 21.