May 1, 2019
MARYVILLE, Tenn. – Elmedin "Elmo" Gara, a senior at Maryville High School in Maryville, Tenn., has committed to continue his academic and basketball careers at Maryville College.
Gara, a 6-foot-8 post, anchored the paint for head coach Mark Eldridge's squad, helping the Rebels to a 20-3 record in his senior season. He averaged 6 points and 8 rebounds per game in 2018-19 while blocking a stellar 4 shots per game. His size will be a welcome addition to the Scots 2019 class.
"Elmo is a highly motivated player that wants to prove that he can play on the college level," Head Coach Raul Placeres said. "His basketball IQ, soft touch, and size are his strengths. Once he adjusts to the college game, he should be able to help us in the post position. He comes from a great high school program coached by Mark Eldridge. I am excited to add a quality young man like Elmo. What a great story he is!"
Gara is the son of Ilaz and Magblue Gara.
He joins a Maryville College program that captured their second consecutive USA South Athletic Conference league tournament championship during the 2018-19 campaign. The Scots earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the 20th time in school history and put together a winning season for the 28th time in the last 29 seasons. Coach Placeres will take the sideline as the head coach of the Scots for the first time in the 2019-20 season. He replaces Randy Lambert, who retired following the 2018-19 season after 39 years as head coach.
Placeres moves into the head coaching role after eight seasons as an assistant coach on Coach Lambert's staff. He was also a standout point guard for the Scots from 2003-05, starting 56 games in his two-year career. Placeres also led his squad to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, including taking the Scots to their last Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2003-04. He also holds the single-game record for assists, dishing out 17 in a win over Oglethorpe.
Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester was 1,154.