3 UTC Amigos: Ryan, Vila, Jean-Baptiste Completed Rare Feat
Friday, March 27, 2020 - by Jim Horten
The Chattanooga Mocs men’s basketball 2020 edition did a few special things throughout the season. The squad made its mark in the history books while going 20-13, 10-8 in the Southern Conference, and finishing a whisker away from their 24th SoCon Tournament Championship game appearance. GoMocs.com takes a look at this crew’s historical touches.
Today’s installment focuses on the top-scoring trio of Matt Ryan, Ramon Vila and David Jean-Baptiste. All three topped the 400-point mark becoming just the fifth threesome to do so in the program’s proud history.
Just the fifth time in 99 seasons.
It sort of boggles the mind. Ryan led the way with 507, while Vila and Jean-Baptiste added 441 and 417, respectively. One thousand, three hundred and sixty-five points.
The last time it occurred was nearly 30 years ago. The three in 1991-92 were LeVert Threats, Keith Nelson & Tim Brooks. They joined the likes of Wayne Golden, William Gordon, Moose McGary, Kevin Gray, Daren Chandler, Benny Green and Chris Behrends. The list features just 13 names:
1974: Wayne Golden-507, Walter “Moose” McGary-421 & William Gordon-420
1976: Wayne Golden-585, William Gordon-478 & Kevin Gray-454
1989: Daren Chandler-541, Benny Green-412 & Chris Behrends-409
1992: Threats-472, Nelson-467 & Brooks-427
2020: Ryan-507, Vila-441 & Jean-Baptiste-417
“That's crazy...28 years, that's history,” Jean-Baptiste was awed at thought. “Just the way those guys worked all year long. During the season, we're just playing and going for wins. You don't even think of stuff like this. That shows how dangerous we could be on any given night. And it's not just the three of us, our team could attack from a lot of areas.”
That’s true. Six guys averaged 6.2 ppg or more during the campaign and nine tallied multiple double-digit scoring nights along the way. But there was a consistency among these three making it easier to spread the wealth.
“I'm not going to lie and say scoring doesn't matter to me,” Vila honestly inserted in the conversation. “EVERYBODY likes to score. It makes me feel very happy that Matt, Dave and I did something that hasn't happened since 1992. Individually, we had very good seasons and games.
“To have three players able to score like that gives our team lots of options.”
All three were quick to acknowledge their teammates contributions. It’s probably best summed up by Vila, “There were several guys able to score on any given night. Stef (Kenic), A.J. (Caldwell), Trey (Doomes)...Jon (Scott) played really well this season. It's a long list looking back.
“I'm going to miss this [2019-20] team.”
The 1,365 combined points were 126 shy of the DI record of 1,491 set in 1994 by Chad Copeland (604), Brandon Born (504) and Maurio Hanson (383). The all-time mark of 1,730 came during the 1977 NCAA DII Championship run by Gordon (700), Golden (657) and Gary Stitch (373).
How did it come together? Jean-Baptiste was in his third year competing for Coach Lamont Paris, while Vila transferred in the midst of that first season so that duo was well meshed within the fabric of expectations and production. Ryan came in late spring as a graduate transfer.
"I think it started in practice," Ryan mentioned. "Day-in, day-out, we played so much we understood our capabilities and roles. The trust that was built between us, I think everyone expected that of us.
"It didn't feel like we had a huge scoring burden," Ryan added. "It never had to be any one person, but guys saw that in us. It was an expectation borne through practice."
This team had several brushes with the impressive Chattanooga basketball history, but none as eye-popping as the work by this trio.