Motlow Bucks Basketball Schedule Opens with National Tournament Rematch

The Motlow Bucks will look to sophomore Javion Hamlet for leadership when they open the 2017-18 basketball season Nov. 1 at Georgia Highlands near Atlanta. Hamlet was a second team All-American last season, averaging 15.6 points and leading the nation averaging 8.4 assists per game. Hamlet, who played his prep basketball at Whitehaven in Memphis, was also named the Most Valuable Player of the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament.[Photo by Jeff Reed Photography]

The Motlow Bucks will begin defense of their Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) regular season championship when they travel to Jackson to face Jackson State on Friday, Nov. 10. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., or 20 minutes following the women’s contest.

The TCCAA conference opener is just one highlight of Motlow’s 2017-18 men’s basketball schedule. JUCO basketball teams can begin official practice on Oct. 1, and the first game of the season can be played Nov. 1.

The Bucks, who also won the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament title and advanced to the national tournament final eight, are expected to be ranked among the top teams in the nation when polls are released in late October.

Unlike previous seasons, when the Bucks tended to open the season against an area JV squad, Motlow has scheduled an NJCAA tournament rematch against Georgia Highlands, who the Bucks beat 70-69 last March to advance to the final eight, to open the year. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Rome, Georgia. The two teams will play again at Motlow’s Copperweld Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 29, with a 6 p.m. scheduled start.

Motlow’s men will only play four home games before the holiday break, then turn around and play eight after the break, with all but one of them being a TCCAA conference game. The first home contest comes Nov. 15, when the Bucks host the Cumberland University JV, coached by former Motlow head coach Lonnie Thompson, for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.

The first TCCAA conference home game doesn’t come until Dec. 1, when Cleveland State visits Copperweld Arena at 7:30 p.m. The following day, Chattanooga State will play the Bucks at 4 p.m. on Motlow’s home floor in Moore County.

The Bucks, under first-year Head Coach Arthur Latham, have an ambitious scrimmage schedule in place, although scrimmage dates can sometimes change with little notice. The Bucks, who feature returning All-American Javion Hamlet and TCCAA Freshman of the Year Rashawn Fredericks, will play scrimmage games in Orlando and Atlanta in October against some of the nation’s top programs.
Motlow will also make a return trip to Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, where they went early last season and jumpstarted themselves to an outstanding 30-6 record. The trip is scheduled for Nov. 3 & 4, sandwiched in between the opener at Georgia Highlands and the conference opener at Jackson State.

The TCCAA alternates playing men’s and women’s games first on conference doubleheader dates. This coming season the women will play first through December, with the men playing first after the new year begins.

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