Jordan Lambert: EHS' Blue-collar man

By Allen LaMountain

   On a squad consisting of some outstanding individual athlete's, Elizabethton's senior wing Jordan Lambert is content to do the little things that help the team win.
   Not that Lambert himself doesn't possess some fine individual basketball skills - he just chooses to blend into the team concept - which he says not only makes him better, but the entire team.
   "Whatever we achieve as a team will be because of our hard work," Lambert said. "God blessed us with athletic ability, but nothing has been handed to us, individually or as a team. But through hard work we are becoming an awesome team."
   That work ethic is what drives Lambert and the Cyclones who employ a half, and sometimes a full-court press, to disrupt the offense of their opponent. It is a defense that requires not only athleticism and tenacity, but intelligence as well.
   "Jordan is the blue-collar type of player that every team needs," said Cyclones head coach Tony Hardin after EHS' win on Tuesday night over Happy Valley. "He gets the job done whether it's taking a tough shot, making a play on defense or getting the big rebound. He does all the little things you need to have done. And he plays smart."
   The team concept Lambert feels not only makes the team better, but also the individual players. "I think that we each have our jobs to do and when you do it well, the team benefits. Individually it benefits the player, because he doesn't have to feel like the pressure is all on him. One player doesn't have to do all the work."
   One place where Lambert has been able to shine in the scheme of the Cyclones defense has been in the turnover department. Lambert is second to Lester Bailey on the team in steals with 28.
   "We put a lot of emphasis on defense in practice," said Lambert. "Myself and B.J. (Miller) usually are the ones that get steals off traps that Walter and Lester run. Our job is to make sure the team were trapping can't reverse the ball across the court."
   EHS has been a tough draw for Watauga Conference opponents as Betsy has not suffered a loss in regular-season play in two years. Last season the Cyclones finished the regular season with a 14-0 mark, and in nine conference games this season the Cyclones have also not lost.
   That winning attitude is what Lambert admired in two professionals - namely Michael Jordan and Larry Bird - that had an influence on his early basketball days.
   "For the most part I looked up to guys like Larry Bird and Michael Jordan," said Lambert. "Those guys had a lot of great qualities, and were guys that played in a team concept."
   For Lambert another big influence in his life has been the part played by his family - mom Terry and dad Doug Shipley - who attend his games regularly. "My family always backs us 100 %. They come to all the games and family is always big in my life."
   Several local colleges and universities have expressed interest in having Lambert come to play for them including Milligan College and King College, as well as several schools from outside the Tennessee area.
   This season Lambert was voted team captain by the seniors on the Cyclone squad and coach Hardin says that it was a product of, "The respect the team has for him. He leads by example and is unbelievably unselfish, and the guys here look up to him. It really speaks well of Jordan when guys like Vince and Walter and B.J. voted him captain."
   Lambert has proven himself a team leader with his athletic and academic abilities and achievements and his motivation is to continue to grow and develop as a player and a person.
   "Whether it's academics or athletics I want to always push myself," Lambert said. "In school I want to get the best grades I can and just strive to achieve more. In athletics, sports has taught me a lot about work ethic. That nothing comes unless you are willing to work hard for it.
   "I feel that sports has helped me gain responsibility. It is something I will talk about and think about the rest of my life. I think it has helped me to grow and become a better person."