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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