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Motlow College adds state champion Jaylen Barford to Bucks' basketball roster

July 22, 2014

There has been a lot of excitement generated around the Motlow Bucks' basketball program since last season ended with a one-point, double-overtime loss in the semifinals of the Region VII Tournament.

Jaylen Barford
From the moment rising sophomore Dequon Miller, an All-American last season and the top-rated junior college point guard in the country, announced he would return to Moore County for a second year, the possibilities for a special season increased substantially.

Head Coach Matt Sligh has done his part in surrounding Miller, and the half-dozen other returning sophomores, with a talented group of incoming freshmen. The potential of the freshman class recently spiked again with the announcement that Jaylen Barford will join the Motlow roster for the coming season.

Barford is a 6'3" dynamic guard from South Side High School in Jackson, Tenn. All he did was lead his Hawks team to the Class AA state championship last season while averaging 22.5 points and seven rebounds per game. He is ranked by most recruiting services among the top ten high school players in the state.

"Jaylen is an outstanding signing for our program," said Sligh. "It's hard to find a player with his talent that also possesses such high character, but Jaylen has both. He is a dynamic player, both offensively and defensively. He makes championship plays in the biggest of moments and has handled pressure extremely well throughout his prep career.

"The accolades and offers he holds go a mile long," continued Sligh. "What I love best about Jaylen is that he is focused on reaching his potential through hard work. He doesn't want any favors and he wants to be pushed and coached hard. He comes from a great family who I look forward to coming alongside in developing Jaylen both on and off the floor."

Barford is the latest proven winner that Sligh has added to the Bucks' basketball family. In leading South Side to its championship last season, he scored the game-winning basket in the state semifinals to beat defending champion Christ Presbyterian Academy; a team that had won 94 consecutive games against in-state opponents and had beaten South Side for the state championship the previous season. South Side then beat East Nashville, and fellow Motlow signee Terry Holt, 91-83 in double overtime for the school's first basketball state championship. Barford scored 25 points for the Hawks in the title game while Holt had 26 for East Nashville.

"Jaylen has been coached extremely well by Damon Fuller at Jackson South Side, as well as in AAU by Dominique Redding and the Nashville Celtics," said Sligh. "He is a winner, a leader, and a great teammate. He fits our style of play perfectly and is a great addition to our roster of returners and signees."

Holt and Barford will now be teammates on Sligh's second Motlow team. After arriving in July 2013, Sligh had to quickly assemble his first Bucks squad, with his first signee being Miller. After a full recruiting season this year, the Bucks have assembled one of the most impressive classes in recent memory.

"As we have said throughout the spring and summer, it was our priority as a program to sign the state's top talent," added Sligh. "There is no better example of doing that than with Jaylen. He had several Division I schools and pretty much every junior college in the country recruiting him.

"We were able to start building a genuine relationship with Jaylen and his family early in the process and continue to do so the past several months. We outworked everyone, which in recruiting doesn't guarantee anything, but thankfully he chose Motlow," concluded Sligh.

The Bucks will soon assemble as a team in Lynchburg with the fall semester scheduled to begin Aug. 25. Official practice traditionally begins for National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) basketball teams on Oct. 1, with the regular season opening the final week of October.

Blackman's Reid Pierce is latest addition to Motlow Bucks' impressive roster

July 14, 2014

Matt Sligh, men's head basketball coach for the Motlow College Bucks, has added another outstanding in-state student-athlete to his 2014-15 roster with the announcement that Murfreesboro's Reid Pierce will bring his talents to Copperweld Arena.

Reid Pierce
Pierce will be a true freshman after a splendid prep career at Blackman High School. The Blaze, under head coach Barry Wortman, won the Class AAA state championship last season and Pierce was an integral part of the championship run. Blackman reached the state tournament all three seasons of Pierce's prep career.

He played his AAU basketball under Head Coach Carlton Battle and his Team Nashville squad, which also featured Motlow signees Jordan Darden and Jacob Saunders.

"Reid makes winning plays night in and night out," said Sligh. "He has developed under one of the best high school coaches, not just in the state of Tennessee but in the entire country, in Barry Wortman. Reid plays extremely hard and was vital in Blackman's state championship run.

"I believe he will flourish in our program because of his excellent work ethic and commitment to improve. He will also be a great teammate and will have total buy-in with what we do as a program from day one. We really emphasized adding talented in-state student-athletes who would fit our Motlow community well, and Reid fits that perfectly."

Coach Wortman was an assistant coach for Donnie Tyndall, currently the head coach at the University of Tennessee, when Tyndall was head coach at Morehead State University. In his fourth season at Blackman, the Blaze finished the 2013-14 season with a 28-6 record, beating Oak Ridge 60-58 in the championship game.

"Reid Pierce is a young man with his best basketball ahead of him," said Wortman. "Reid has great instincts and a knack for coming up with the ball. He is a talented rebounder who can get baskets running the floor as well as scoring facing the basket or with his back to the basket. He is a special kid, great teammate, and will thrive under the guidance of Coach Sligh."

Pierce joins an impressive list of student-athletes that Sligh has signed entering his second season as Motlow's head coach.

The Bucks finished with a 14-14 record in 2013-14, Sligh's first season, and advanced to the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament semifinals before being eliminated by eventual champion Columbia State 122-121 in double overtime.

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