Tag Archives: Lipscomb

Lipscomb gets commitment from Mr. Basketball finalist

Lipscomb’s full-court press netted a men’s basketball commitment this week, as Franklin Road Academy guard Kenny Cooper announced his plans to sign with the Bisons during the November recruiting period.

“The coaches have recruited me and wanted me on their team since my sophomore year,” said the 6-foot Cooper, who averaged 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 7.4 assists and four steals for the Panthers as a junior to help them to a 24-8 finish while earning Division II-A Mr. Basketball finalist honors last season.

“I’m really good friends with some guys on the team that really wanted me there, and I realized it would be the best fit for me.”

Cooper also considered Ohio Valley Conference rivals Austin Peay and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, as well as Furman, before settling on the Bisons. Once he arrives on campus, he’ll join former teammate Rob Marberry – who originally signed with Western Kentucky and spent last season there before transferring – and ex-Battle Ground Academy guard Nathan Moran.

He’ll also be following in the footsteps of his high school coach. John Pierce played at Lipscomb and became the all-time leading scorer in men’s college basketball history, surpassing ex-Bison post and current Lipscomb athletics director Philip Hutcheson.

“Coach Pierce … told me it was my decision and to make the right one,” Cooper said. “He wanted me to make my decision.

“I’m excited. I’ve been getting lots of calls and texts from people excited about watching me play right here at home, excited to see me move on to the next level.”

While Pierce didn’t exert a lot of influence on Cooper, he is pleased with the outcome.

“I don’t think I influenced him at all, but as a former Bison, I couldn’t be happier,” Pierce said. “I wasn’t trying to push him, one way or the other. But it’s a great decision for Kenny. I’m really excited for him and really excited for Lipscomb.

“It’s a great fit for him. Knowing (Lipscomb coach) Casey Alexander and the kind of man he is, the kind of program he’s trying to build, I think Kenny is a great fit for them and what they’re trying to do. And Kenny’s a great kid regardless of what kind of player he is, but he’s a great player, very competitive. Whatever level he wound up at, he was going to rise to that challenge. If he’d gone to a major Division I program, he’d have found a way to play. He has a real knack for the game.

“He’s going to go there and do well.”

Oakland takes top honors at Titans’ inaugural 7-on-7 event

The Tennessee Titans’ foray into the realm of high school football was a successful one, as 12 Midstate programs converged on St. Thomas Sports Park for a 7-on-7 tournament Wednesday.

Oakland, seeded fourth following the conclusion of pool play, departed with the championship trophy after defeating seventh-seeded Father Ryan 23-12 in the finals. Ryan receiver/defensive back Bryce Vickers was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

Oakland displays the championship trophy and bracket from Wednesday's 7-on-7 tournament.

Oakland displays the championship trophy and bracket from Wednesday’s 7-on-7 tournament.

“I think it’s great for the continued development and growth of high school football in Middle Tennessee,” said Josh Corey, the Titans’ youth football coordinator. “We’re very excited to be able to host it.”

Participants, in addition to the two finalists, were Lipscomb, Page, Centennial, Clarksville, Rossview, Northeast, Harpeth, Kenwood, Wilson Central and East Nashville.

“I would definitely like to grow it,” Corey said. “We’d like to give as many kids as we can manage an opportunity to come into our facility and compete. Hopefully next year we’ll grow it a little more. It’s something (that) we want to see what we did right and see what we need to work on for next year and try to make it bigger and better in the years to come.”

A key component of the Titans’ event was a character development presentation to each of the teams by ex-Titan fullback Casey Cramer.

“I was in their seats just a few short years ago,” said the 33-year-old Dartmouth graduate, who spent parts of six seasons with five different teams, including three stints with the Titans. “I was the player sitting and listening and wondering, ‘how can I play in the NFL?’ (It’s nice) To be on the other side and to be able to talk to them about what really is required – not just the Xs and Os, the 40-yard dash and the bench press, but to talk to them about character and how they develop themselves as men.

“To be a player has been great, but what was most important to me to communicate was how I failed and where I fell short. If I can use my failings and my bonehead moves so they don’t have to do that, it makes my idiotic moves worthwhile.”

The off-field element was something Corey, a former high school football coach in Florida, thought would be appealing.

“While the football part of it is important, this serves as the carrot to get them in here to talk about more important things like being a good man, having character, being a leader,” he said. “It’s something we think that as student-athletes and as people, are messages they need to learn. We’re pleased to not only be able to offer the tournament, but offer something that sets us apart from some of the other things that are going on all the time.”

Christmas in July: East Nashville bowed out of the tournament early, as the 12th-seeded Eagles lost their opening-round game in bracket play to Clarksville, but coach Brian Waite was excited nonetheless with the recent arrival of junior linebacker Jacob Phillips. Coming off a stellar sophomore season at Beech, Phillips has emerged as one of the state’s top recruits in the 2017 class.

“His parents moved to Nashville and they were looking for a school,” Waite said. “It’s been kinda like Christmas. He’s a great ballplayer and a great kid, and a great student, too.”

Tennessee, Oklahoma, Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State are among the schools that have shown interest in Phillips already.

Dueling quarterbacks: Centennial came out of pool play as the No. 1 seed behind signalcallers Tristan Pisacane and Blake Lovell – the latter a senior transfer from Spring Hill, where Louisville commit Tylin Oden is entrenched as the starter. Brian Rector, whose Cougars finished 10-3 last season and advanced to the Class 6A state quarterfinals, expects the position battle to continue through the bulk of the postseason.

Top gun: Rector was complimentary of rival QB Michael Magochy, the Page senior who led his team to a three-seed Wednesday and a quarterfinal win over Northeast before losing to Father Ryan.

“He may be the best quarterback in (Williamson) county,” Rector said. “(Independence’s Andrew) Bunch is heads and shoulders over everybody, but this guy is pretty danged good, too.”

Less than full strength: Oakland won the tournament without two of its top players – junior receiver/defensive back JaCoby Stevens and senior defensive lineman Ty Nix. Stevens sustained an ankle injury during last week’s 7-on-7 event at Riverdale and missed Saturday’s Ravenwood Invitational as well as the Titans’ tourney. Nix was also left in Murfreesboro because of an injury.