PREP BASKETBALL: ‘Play to the speed of the game’: West Point’s Jay Lamar recaps sophomore season

West Point’s Jay Lamar (23). (Bill Piper/The Cullman Tribune)

WEST POINT, Ala. – In this interview, West Point junior Jay Lamar recapped his sophomore season on the hardwood, sharing what he learned and what it was like to play with a great group of teammates.

“Last year didn’t go as we would have hoped. I learned a lot as far as how to become a better player and how to trust my teammates,” Lamar said. “I really enjoyed playing with last year’s group. The most important thing I learned from them was how to be a part of a team.”

Jay has soaked up as much as he can from head coach Mason Voce and from last year’s seniors as well.

“Coach Voce is a really nice guy and coach. He always puts his players first and gives us the very best opportunity to succeed. He pushes each one of us to be the very best we can. He puts a ton of time into us by studying the game and providing us with the new information that he learns. I have learned a lot from him,” Lamar said. “He has taught me a lot of little stuff about the game, such as closing out with my left hand and he has helped me tremendously since I was a freshman. He has also taught me how to be a man and how to carry myself around others.”

He added,

“They were amazing teammates. I loved what each one of them brought to the team. Kanaan was a really great defensive player and always brought the energy to the team. Ashton was our starting point guard and he really controlled the offense well, passed the ball well, and could get a bucket when he needed to. Aiden was always the life of the party and always kept our energy up. When we had a matchup with another big guy, he was always up for the challenge and he will be really hard to replace next year. Caleb was a really hard-working guy for us and was always ready when his number was called. He always showed up to practice every day and pushed us to be the best and truly loved the game of basketball.”

“I learned from them to take advantage of my high school years as a basketball player. The guys always said I wished I would’ve done this or that, so everything that I want to accomplish, I make sure to do them, because those guys told me to not regret anything and put the work in to get better. They also taught me to keep my head up when I was in a slump and shake it off, just have fun, and play ball. They were always very uplifting, which will really help me help the younger guys with that this year.”

Jay has learned so much during his time on varsity so far and he has seen tremendous improvement in his game so far, but he will still continue to put in the work in the offseason as he gets ready for next season.

“I have learned how hard you have to work. To be better than other guys, you have to put the work in. There are no off days. There are so many phases of the game that has to be worked on. A normal day for me is about four hours of basketball training and weights. I have also learned how to play to the speed of the game, when to attack and be aggressive, and when not to,” Lamar said. “My game has grown a tremendous amount from when I was a freshman. When I was a freshman, I was a catch-and-shoot three-point kind of guy. Now, I have developed my ball handling, worked on scoring at all three levels, and taking my opponent off the dribble. Defensively, I’m just working on getting quicker feet and becoming more explosive. I’m still not where I want to be, but I just have to keep working every day and adding to my game. I will continue to work on my ball-handling and being a dominant scorer at all three levels of the game.”

Jay talked about the goals for this upcoming season and what will make this team special to watch.

“As a team, we have a lot of young guys this year and a really good group. As a competitor, my goal is to never lose a game. We want to bring home a county championship and area championship to West Point, something that hasn’t been done in a while. The ultimate goal is to win a state championship. I feel like we have the depth and guys to go really far this year. My individual goals are to just do anything it takes to help the team win and most importantly, have fun and make memories by helping my team achieve all of our goals.”

He added,

“This team will be special for a few reasons. We have great chemistry and all of us truly love the game. We all have put in the work to get better. We also have a lot of length and size, which will help on defense and rebounding. A lot of the younger guys can really space the floor too, such as Jackson Shelton, Maddox Chapman, Brier Taylor, and Cade Welborn.”

Jay has a couple of role models that he looks up to and talked about the best advice that someone ever gave him.

“My two role models for basketball is my dad, because he was a great basketball player and athlete. He truly knows what it takes to be great and he pushes me to my absolute max and gets the best out of me, and Lebron James. I grew up watching him and I just love how he takes care of his body and is always ready to go play ball,” he said. “The best advice that someone ever gave me is to always know that someone is always working as hard as you are, so always make yourself work harder. I don’t know how hard people are working, so I always have to work even harder than I think I can.”

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