Getting his priorities straight

If someone were to type in the name, “Lamonte Lans” into a Google search, a very diverse list of results would show up on the first page.

Links to YouTube videos of spoof commercials and standup comedy performances come first. Modeling web sites come next, followed by popular social networking sites. Lastly on the first page of results, the name appears on the Queens College Athletics web site.

The order that appears on the page is the opposite of what came first in a list of priorities for the senior guard throughout his four years as a student-athlete, playing for the men’s basketball team.

“Basketball was my main priority,” said Lans. “I wouldn’t be at Queens College if it weren’t for basketball. I was always academically stable, but I was given a full athletic scholarship and I figured that I should take advantage of the opportunity. Basketball opened the door for me in terms of getting a free education. I never let any of my other activities conflict with basketball and school. Everything else worked around it.”

Last August, Lans signed with a model agency which was around the same time that preseason gets underway. His loyalty to his team was tested by a career ambition.

“There were a couple of times where I had to miss a workout because I had live auditions,” he said. “I had to decipher when the right time was to miss a workout and when it wasn’t the time.”

Kyrk Peponakis, the head coach of the men’s basketball team, was patient with the idea of Lans missing time, but it got to a point where he “buckled down,” according to Lans.

“I’m a leader, I believe in the definition of a leader, being responsible, being a role model, being a positive person and making people around me better,” said Lans. “The last thing I wanted to do is disappoint anyone who sees me as a leader.”

In order to keep his spot on the Queens College team, Peponakis had to be assured by Lans that once the regular season got underway, he would be ready to join the team.

“I told my coach, once the season starts, I’m all basketball,” said Lans. “He held me to my word and I kept it.”

Peponakis and the Knights were grateful that the guard did keep his word. This past season turned out to be a memorable one for Lans, full of milestones and achievements. On February 9, he recorded his 1,000 career point, joining only 23 other Knights in the history of Queens College basketball.

“When he needed to be there, he was there,” Peponakis said.

After the season, Lans was awarded the first-ever East Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year award for his stinginess against opposing teams’ best players.

Of most importance, his team had a record 20-8 overall record. As a freshman, his team won only four games. His head coach believes the turnaround was a true testament to Lans’ character.

“To come in your first year and have great expectations and then not do so well is kind of depressing,” his coach said. “I know he wasn’t happy. It made him mentally tougher.”

During the season, Lans missed numerous casting calls and auditions for television shows like CSI and independent short films.

“I don’t regret it because I know that once school and basketball is over, my agency and supporting cast are going to help me get a lot of work,” he said.

College basketball came to an end for the aspiring model/actor, after a loss to C.W. Post in the conferences semifinals on March 5.

“He is going to be hard to replace. The reason we were successful was because we defended and rebounded – two things Lamonte does very well for his position,” said Peponakis.

All of his basketball accolades this past season and even signing with an agency pales in comparison to what Lans expects to achieve later this semester.

“The number one accomplishment will be once this year is over and I have a diploma in my hand, to hand to my mom and dad so that way they know that I have succeeded and they can finally relax because I accomplished what they always dreamed of me accomplishing,” Lans said.


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