UTC's Hampton Returns to the Court

Former CSAS Star is Back From Rehab

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - by B.B. Branton

For Chattanooga men’s basketball, the emotional leader and team captain is back.

Chattanooga senior point guard Dontay Hampton, hampered by ACL surgery, followed by rehab since July, has returned to practice and not a day too soon.

“Dontay is our best defender, team leader, captain and we are glad to have him back and ready to play for the Mocs,” said UTC head coach John Shulman.

“We have two more games on this three-game Southern Conference road trip  (Thursday at The Citadel and Saturday at the College of Charleston) and Dontay brings stability and experience to the lineup and we need all that he offers with such a young team.

It was this time last year – Jan.7, 2012 to be exact – as UTC and Appalachian State were tied 65-65 in the final seconds at McKenzie Arena.

And Hampton grabbed a rebound and raced 90 feet past the Appalachian State players – in Eddie Lacy-like style (i.e. Alabama vs. Notre last night) – to make the game winning basket with 0.8 seconds remaining and a 65-63 Mocs victory at home.

Fast forward a year and UTC players, coaches and fans hope that the knee brace-wearing Hampton can do much the same (i.e. make big plays) when the Mocs (6-9 overall, 1-1 in SoCon play), who have won four of their last five games, face The Citadel  (3-9, 0-2) and College of Charleston (10-4, 2-0).

“My knee is fine and I am ready to go,” said the 6-1 Hampton Monday afternoon before practice at the Chattem basketball practice facility on campus.

It’s been tough not being able to play the first couple of months of the season, but I have been able to see a lot of things from the sidelines that I would not have seen if I was on the court.”

But far from one to just sit on the sidelines and wait for the knee to heal, Hampton has worked hard at rehab the past five months.

“Dontay has been focused on getting back on the court as soon as possible and he has been diligent in doing his rehab three times a day,” said Chattanooga Arts and Sciences assistant basketball coach Zach Dragoo.

“He has been a self-motivator since he started three years for us here at CSAS (2006-2008) and is one of the best point guards we have had in the past 25 years.”

That self- motivation and drive to succeed helped Hampton lead the Patriots under head coach Mark Dragoo to 99 wins in four years and a Class A state runner-up finish in 2007 and also be a father-figure in the home.

“Starting when I was 11, I took care of my younger brother, Malik (now a sophomore at CSAS), made sure he was up, dressed and fed and off to day care before I went to school,” said Hampton who played middle school hoops at CSLA before earning District Player of the Year and all-state honors twice at CSAS.

“Tay” then turned down offers to play college basketball out of town to stay home to take care of his brother and also to play for the Mocs as a walk-on player.

“I didn’t play a lot of summer AAU ball in high school and combined with playing in the smallest classification (Class A) seemed to cause college coaches to not show much interest in me,” stated Hampton who made the Athletic Director's Honor Roll last year. “But that’s okay and I am glad to be at UTC.”

His diligence and hard work earned him a scholarship prior to his junior season when he averaged 7.1 points, one assist and one steal a game.

 “To show you how focused he has been with his rehab, he and Malik were at our house opening Christmas presents on Dec. 23 and after dinner he went to the gym to work out,” said Dragoo.

“Some people might have rested during the holidays, but not Dontay. That’s how determined he has been to get back on the court.”

And later this week, Hampton will be determined and focused to lead the Mocs to a pair of key road conference wins.

All the lonely nights in the gym by himself the past few months working on his game or in rehab will have been worth it.

 

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net


UTC Volleyball Tops Tennessee And Ole Miss

Hosting its own Spring Tournament, the Chattanooga volleyball team showed growth on the court as the Mocs defeated Tennessee and Ole Miss  on Saturday  in Maclellan Gym. The Mocs, who welcomed  Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Dalton State, Ole Miss,  Kennesaw State, Georgia State  and Belmont, opened the tournament with a two-set win over the ... (click for more)

Florida, California Schools Win Boys DecoTurf Tennis Titles

A pair of schools from big time tennis states came to Chattanooga and won the DecoTurf Boys High School Tennis Championships this weekend.   Wiregrass Ranch (north or Tampa, Fla.) remained undefeated (18-0) and defeated Memphis University School, 5-3 in the A Division finals, while Santa Margarita (Calif.) whitewashed Jenks (Okla.), 9-0 in the finals of the B Division. ... (click for more)

Hard Freeze Predicted In The Area For Saturday Night

Temperatures are expected to drop Saturday night to 28 degrees or less. Here is the latest report from the National Weather Service:  HARD FREEZE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT EDT /11 PM CDT/ TONIGHT TO 11 AM EDT /10 AM CDT/ SUNDAY... * EVENT... A HARD FREEZE EXPECTED WITH LOWS FROM THE TEENS NORTH TO THE UPPER 20S SOUTH LATE TONIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING. ... (click for more)

Man Charged In Shooting On Sixth Avenue Had Been Shot Himself Last Week; Police Say Incident "Part Of Gang War"

A man charged with attempted first-degree murder on Sixth Avenue Court on Thursday afternoon was shot himself earlier this month. O'Shae Kadaris Smith, 20, of 2114 E. 12th St., is also charged with reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime. He was one of two people shot on Rawlings Street on March 16. Kendre Allen, ... (click for more)

Finley Stadium Needs To Grow Up - And Response

RE:  Finley Stadium Financial Picture Rosy; Beer And Alcohol Sales Approved; AstroTurf Almost Ready and City, County Pitching In $250,000 Each For New Finley Stadium AstroTurf I read a story here five days ago about a rosy future for Finley stadium. It lead me to believe that the stadium was making money and even improvements with donations.  Then we get a short ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Sunday Funnies

They say March roars in like a lion and leaves like a lamb. So as you reach for your lambs-wool sweater on this last Sunday of the month, allow me to lighten up a bit with a new edition of my Sunday Funnies. I have a delightful crowd that keeps me supplied in jokes and these are some of the best that have come my way: A WOMAN'S PERFECT BREAKFAST -- She's sitting at the table ... (click for more)