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Motlow College Athletic News

Motlow Bucks earn No. 14 seed in NJCAA Tournament, will play Otero (CO) Tuesday

March 14, 2018

After winning their second consecutive Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) championship last week, the Motlow Bucks learned this week they are the No. 14 seed heading into next week's National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) men's basketball tournament.

The Tournament, which will crown a national champion on Saturday, March 24, is held annually in Hutchinson, Kansas. Play begins on Monday, March 19, but the Bucks will not play their opening-round contest until Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. central time, when they face No. 19 seed Otero Junior College from La Junta, Colorado.

The Bucks beat Southwest Tennessee 79-61 to win the TCCAA tournament last week in Chattanooga, capping a 22-7 season that saw them finish second in the TCCAA regular season. Motlow was ranked as high as No. 6 in the NJCAA poll during the year, but fell out of the rankings towards the end of the season.

Otero finished ranked No. 15 in the nation. The Rattlers had a 29-4 record and received an at-large bid to the NJCAA tournament after losing their Region IX tournament championship game 86-78 to Western Nebraska.

The No. 14 seed is the same seed Motlow received last year, when the Bucks won two games and advanced to the final eight before falling to Eastern Florida State 65-45. Motlow won one game in its first trip to the NJCAA Tournament back in 2013, giving the program a 3-2 tournament record heading into its third appearance.

The Bucks are led in scoring by Murfreesboro's Isaiah Hart, who averaged 20.3 points per game while shooting 45.6 percent from behind the three-point line and making 87.4 percent of his free throw attempts. Hart also led the Bucks in assists, averaging 5.3 per game, and steals with 3.4 per contest. He was named to the first team All-TCCAA squad and was the Most Valuable Player at the TCCAA Tournament.

Rashawn Fredericks was named the Player of the Year in the TCCAA and joined Hart on the All-TCCAA first team. Fredericks, from Tampa, averaged a double-double on the season, scoring 17 points per game and pulling down 10.6 rebounds.

Kevonte Corley, from Antioch, was named second team All-TCCAA and came within a few points of averaging a double-double, scoring 9.8 points per game and pulling down 10 rebounds per contest. He was second on the team in steals with two per game.

Dillon Smith is Motlow's third double-digit scorer, averaging 10.6 points per game along with two steals. David Fraser joined Hart, Fredericks, Corley and Smith in the starting lineup for the majority of the season. The sophomore transfer who, like Smith is from Lexington, Tenn., averaged 5.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.

Leo Castillo, a redshirt freshman, evolved into Motlow's sixth man, averaging 6.9 points and three rebounds along with 1.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Kin Webster, Anthony Yarbrough, Derrick Rayford, Zaire Swaby, Hayden Edmondson, Chad Emmons and Justin Hill fill out the Motlow roster.

Otero is led by six double-digit scorers, with Josh McNair leading the way at 14.2 points per game. McNair is also the Rattlers leading rebounder with 6.9 per contest. Otero averages 86 points per game, shoots 51.5 percent from the field, 37.8 percent from three-point range, and makes 65.4 percent of their free throws while pulling down 44.3 rebounds per game.

The Bucks score 86.4 points per game, shoot 45 percent from the field and 36 percent from three-point range while making 73.6 percent of their free throws. Motlow grabs 45.6 rebounds per game and dishes out 14.4 assists.

The Bucks are led by first-year Head Coach Arthur Latham, who spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Motlow. Zach Holt is Latham's top assistant and is also in his third season with the Bucks. Nick Porter joined Latham's staff this season.

Brendan O'Connor is the head coach at Otero, in his second season leading the program after nine years as an assistant. Lucas Archuleta is in his second year as O'Connor's assistant coach.

Motlow Bucks
The Motlow Bucks, winners of their second consecutive TCCAA/Region VII Tournament championship, will travel to Hutchinson, Kansas, and compete in the NJCAA Tournament next week. Motlow, the No. 14 seed, will face No. 19 Otero Junior College on Tuesday at 10 a.m. CT. Seated, from left; Kevonte Corley, Leo Castillo, Rashawn Fredericks, Isaiah Hart, Dillon Smith, Derrick Rayford and Hayden Edmondson. Standing, from left: Josh Hernandez, Justin Hill, Kin Webster, David Fraser, Zaire Swaby, Chad Emmons, Anthony Yarbrough and Joelah Solomon.