Lantern, Lambuth University, 1996


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a young team shows onsistent growth --------------------------------------------------- BY REED SPRING Success starts with ambition, and Lambuth men's basketball coach Tommy Russell, in his eleventh year, has set high goals for his young team "We want to win a conference championship...; we want a national championship," he says. The 1995-'96 team was young and inexperiencec after losing seven seniors to graduation, including an All-American. Underclassmen, as a result, were pressed into action immediately, gaining experience that surely will be valuable in the future. In this year's season, Tommy Russell sees many things to be excited about in his group o underclassmen, and he feels they have worked hard and improved all season long. "We've got a real good foundation of talent, Russell observes, "ant out sights are set high." Russell's squad will continue to work hard during the off-season, both on and off the court. Scholarship students must abide by the program's "N Cut" policy, for Russell stresses academic success among his players. The Eagles have a tradition of academic success—all twenty-six scholarshij players who have remained at Lambuth for their four years of eligibility have graduated. Coach Russell says "we're proud of our players' performance in the classroom." Aside from their focus on academics, the team will undergo a rigorous off- season training program, mak- ing use of the weight room which Russell describes as 'state-of- the-art." One machine in par- ticular, named "The Bear," pro- vides an excellent workout of the lower half of the body. The off-season training also features one month dubbed "Survival Month." During this time, play- ers will being doing significant running and weightlifting. While the team is busy pol- ishing their skills, Russell and his assistants will be hitting the road almost every night, travel- ing to area high schools on re- cruiting trips. The Eagles' suc- cess in the 1996-'97 season will depend to some extent on whether or not the Eagles can bring in some quality recruits to join, among others, star forward Sean Davis. Other than physi- cal ability, the height and strength which a player must possess, Russell also seeks "good people . . . who love the game." 116 men's basketball Eagle Basketball Head Coach Tommy Russell and Assistant Coach Brad Jones gather their young team for some quick strategy and encouragement during a time out. Sev veteran Eagles graduated last year, leaving a number of voids that Russell's young group has been able to fill with obvious spunk and determined effort. Strong recruiting will be critical to next year's success, as it always is, but a large group of experienced young players should make the Eagles strong contenders for several years ahead.

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