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Songster proves super in Maryville hoops career

Jamie Combs • Updated Apr 6, 2019 at 8:54 PM

With the name Songster, lots of string music was bound to follow.

After working the nets for a school-record 256 three-pointers and 1,365 total points during his four years in a Maryville Scots uniform, Calvin Songster has put the lid on a sterling college basketball career.

Maryville’s leader in points per game (15.1), assists per contest (3), 3-pointers (78) and free-throw percentage (88.3) as a senior, the 6-foot-2 guard from Science Hill’s past departs as the NCAA Division III program’s 13th-ranked all-time scorer.

“We counted on him to hit the big shots for us in any close game," retiring Maryville coach Randy Lambert said of Songster at season’s end. "He always seemed to deliver. He was the type of player that wanted that kind of pressure. I felt like he responded better when he knew the team needed him."

Wait, there’s more. In 2018-19, Songster crafted the second-best 3-point shooting percentage (53.4) in all of NCAA, pitched in a career-high 38 points at Emory, gained third-team membership on the D3hoops.com All-South Region squad and became an all-conference first-teamer in the USA South Athletic. Furthermore, he made the league’s all-tournament team for the second year in a row.

An All-USA South performer in each of the last three seasons (twice on second team), Songster was a big reason why the Scots enjoyed the same number of 20-win campaigns. They closed with two straight USA South tournament championships and back-to-back appearances in the NCAA D-III tournament.

Songster’s career numbers also included 332 rebounds, 265 assists, 101 steals and 27 blocked shots. His career 3-point shooting percentage closed at an astounding 48.1, nearly as good as his overall percentage from the floor (48.3).

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Converting 54.2 percent of his field-goal attempts and boasting per-game averages of 16.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots for a 22-10 Campbellsville University team, former Hilltopper Andrew Smith fetched an All-American honorable mention on the NAIA D-I level this season.

His shooting percentage was the team’s best. Ditto for the 6-10 senior post player’s rebounding and blocked-shot figures.

Even though he spent just two seasons at the Kentucky-based school, Smith produced career numbers of 1,006 points, 618 rebounds and a school-record 110 rejections. He gained two first-team All-Mid-South Conference nods, was part of two 20-win teams and twice reached the national tournament (second round in 2018).

Smith played for Columbus State Community College, then endured a medical redshirt season at Florida A&M before arriving in Campbellsville.

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Aided by a trio of local athletes — sophomore Coby Jones, freshman Gavin Grubb and senior Cody McClain — Knoxville’s Johnson University won its first National Christian College Athletic Association Mid-East Regional tournament crown (D-II) since 2006.

The Royals then competed in their second consecutive national tournament (third in four years), placing third.

Jones (Hampton High), who has already surpassed 1,000 career points, produced team highs in per-game scoring (20.3) and rebounds (7.9) for 2018-19. A formidable presence inside and out, the 6-3 guard/forward drained 50 3-pointers and shot 49.1 percent from the field en route to first-team All-American recognition. He was also named the Mid-East tournament’s most valuable player.

A member of JU’s backcourt, Grubb (Sullivan East) mustered 10.7 points a contest, hit 90 of his 112 foul shots (80.4%) and went 37.8% from beyond the arc. Topping the Royals with a 2.53 assist average, he closed his year with a spot on the national all-tournament team.

In the second of his two seasons with the Royals, McClain (Hampton) averaged 8.2 points and nailed 70 treys from his guard position. He drained 36.6 percent of his 3-point attempts and was a 79.2-percent shooter from the charity stripe.

Under the guidance of fourth-year coach Brandon Perry (Sullivan East, Milligan College), JU finished with an 18-16 record.

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