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Prince Mongo joins Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter in studio to talk about his spiritual chicken, Justin Timberlake’s cars, yard art, the future, and more. Plus, Mongo sticks around for Woohoo’s and Boo’s.
St. Agnes Academy Soccer, Captain
Awards: 2006 TSSAA State Champion in 2006 and 2009, Katie Hunter All Tournament Team, TSSAA All Region Division II-AA All Tournament Team, THSSCA All Star team.
Hutchison School Tennis, Co-Captain
Awards: Defending 2009 TSSAA D-2 AA State Champions, Doubles 2009 State Runner-Up, 2009 TSSAA D-2 AA West Doubles Champion, Best of the Preps Tennis Player of the Year Finalist
Kevin: The Grizzlies need to try moving O.J. Mayo to the point guard position. Mayo is the best player on the team and right now he isn’t getting enough touches. If he is bringing the ball up the court, he is guaranteed a touch every possession.
Marcus: Bad idea. O.J. doesn’t have point guard skills. He is a turnover waiting to happen. And making him a point will only add to that. The Grizzlies need a guy who can fill it up. O.J. is the only one who can. Take that away and they lose that deep shooter.
Kevin: The Juice hasn’t been given the opportunity to prove whether or not he has point guard skills. Lionel Hollins has been too busy playing a guy at point who we all know has very little NBA point guard skills.
Marcus: Mayo led the team with 2.15 turnovers a game last year. Yeah, he was second on the team with assists, but that’s because when he got the ball out on the wing he was able to dish it down low to one of the big guys. He is a good two guard. Why not work on making him a great two guard?
Kevin: It is easier to find a shooter for your team than it is to find someone with lifelong NBA skills like Mayo. Plus, typical NBA shooting guards are around 6’7”. O.J. is a short 6’4”. His size makes it harder for him to dominant his current position.
Marcus: I will admit O.J. is an undersized shooting guard. If he had point guard abilities, he could be a Deron Williams type. I just don’t have confidence that O.J. can be that good at the point guard position. The way this team is set up, they don’t need a point guard who is going to score a lot of points. They need a game manager. And that’s what Mike Conley was doing later in the year. I think Conley can be a good serviceable point in this league. He just needs teammates and fans that believe in him. So far in Memphis, he hasn’t gotten that.
Kevin: See that is where we disagree. I think Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay, and O.J. Mayo could all someday be starters on a championship team. Mike Conley, not so much. The Grizzlies need to upgrade the point guard position in order to move to the next level.
Marcus: The big question before last season was if there would be enough balls to go around. They were able to make it work with the guys they had because they had a point guard who didn’t demand the ball. If you move O.J. to point, the Grizzlies will need to bring in the perfect roll guy to keep it together. I don’t think they could get lucky like that again.
Kevin: Do you remember the last time a basketball team in this city moved its best player from shooting guard to the point?
Marcus: Yeah, he went on to become the 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year. If the Grizzlies would have drafted that player, he wouldn’t have been Rookie of the Year, but the Grizz would have made the playoffs.
Kevin: Not drafting ‘Reke or Rubio in last year’s draft has delayed the progress of this team. I am not sold on Mike Conley being able to lead the Grizz to a playoff win. Maybe drafting or trading for a point guard is the way to go. I just think the Grizzlies need a change at point, and right now with this roster, O.J. is the best option.
Marcus: With this roster, Mayo would be a good guy to have run point when you need to go with a bigger line up, but I don’t think he should be the main guy at the point. How nice would it be if this team still had Juan Carlos Navarro?
Kevin: One thing is for sure— Grizzlies fans should be glad that Kevin McHale was such a horrible G.M. I doubt we would be arguing about whether or not Kevin Love should be moved to the point.
Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter can be heard every Tuesday at 6pm on Sports 56 WHBQ. Photo by JD Meredith.
What’s your ideal summer day? Probably sitting by a pool with a People magazine in my hand and listening to my iPod.
What kind of music would you be listening to? Country, pop, songs from musicals. It’s a little bit of everything on there.
Why did the RedHots switch from being a dance team to being more of a promotional team? My understanding was that management or the squad director changed. The first girl was more a coach person and Jessica McDaniels, the person currently in charge of the Redhots, is more of a promotion-centered person.
What is your favorite promotion to do? We have a brand new one this year that is called Backyard Burger Build-a-Burger. I don’t participate but we have people who put on stuff like hotdog buns and Styrofoam condiments, and build a hotdog or hamburger with a bun on the ground to win.
What is your favorite food? Probably chicken quesadillas. It’s so good, it’s one of those foods that it looks so good and you know you shouldn’t eat it, but you still do. I’m really picky about my chicken quesadillas because I can’t have any onions or tomatoes on them. Just chicken and cheese.
Who is your favorite Redbird? Jon Jay. I like him, just because he’s a little guy. You don’t often see baseball players who are short and stocky, and I like the song he comes out to.
Red Hots, Big Red or red M&Ms? Red M&Ms because they’re not spicy. And it has to be peanut not regular or else I’d have to change my answer.
By Andy Skrzat, Photo by Chase Gustafson.
It did not take Zach Randolph long to feel at home in Memphis. In just one season, the Grizzlies’ forward has made the Grizzlies’ relevant again and become the town’s newest and biggest sports celeb. He did it without a lot of flash, but was consistent. He outlasted debacles with brighter stars like Allen Iverson with hard-nosed and consistent basketball that re-established him as one of the best 20-10 power forwards in the league and sent him to the all-star game.
Now he’s ready for more. Ready to keep the Grizzlies’ attendance figures improving with play that’s more punch than promise, and ready, hopefully, to take this team to that first playoff win and beyond.
When did you first know that you had a talent for basketball?
When I was young. Just playing at the park, playing at the boys and girls clubs, just having a knack for the ball and loving the way I felt about the game. I always wanted to play. Just like now, I want to play, play, play.
Do you feel like the Grizzlies are moving in the right direction?
I definitely think this is a team that’s coming up. We’ve got a great point guard, a great two-guard, great three, great four, great five, so definitely. This is a team that’s on the rise. Young guys that love to play and love the game. That’s all you can ask for.
What can you guys improve going into next year?
I think we can improve on the bench. Improve on some long distance shooters that can knock down shots, and just have a stronger bench.
Did anything change for you this year, from a personal perspective?
Nothing. Really, nothing. People just go off what they hear from three of four years ago but they really don’t know a person. What happened was so long ago. So, nothing. Just being in a great situation. Memphis is a great city and this is a great organization. I’m just surrounding myself with the organization and the team. Young guys that love to play. We got out to a slow start but we picked it up and started winning.
What kind of relationship do you have with a lot of the guys on the team?
I look at these guys like my little brothers. Not like somebody I can just talk to about basketball, but can talk to about anything. I can tell them about stuff I’ve been through and what to do, and how to grow in the league. It’s the NBA and you can hit a lot of bumps in the road.
Does a good relationship with the coach have any effect on your success?
I just become focused. This is just my job and I love to play basketball, so I just approach it serious and take it serious, and try to win.
Did you change anything about your preparation this year?
Just my conditioning. Putting time in, working out, shooting jump shots, running, treadmills, all that stuff. I love the game. So I’m like this 82 in and out, even before I came to Memphis. If you can’t get inspired by the job you do, you shouldn’t be doing it. I work hard and I love to play.
Why do you think Memphians identify with you so well?
They respect people that work hard. There’s nothing that comes easy in Memphis, and they respect a hard worker.
Does your family like it here?
Yeah, of course! Man the city is great. Real family oriented with southern hospitality. Great food. Beale Street is great. Just feels like a small town. Close knit.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
I’d say Behinana’s.
How did you enjoy the Stax museum at Staxtacular [Grizzlies’ Charity Event]?
I was glad I got to go there and see that, it was a great event. It was nice, real nice. Learned a lot of stuff I didn’t know. Got to see Issac Hayes’ nice car, it was great.
What about the team visit to the Civil Rights museum?
That was emotional. You get to go out there and stand on the balcony where Dr. Martin Luther King got shot, it was real touching. There was a lot that I learned there.
Do you not like to dunk?
Naw, (laughs) I just leave that up to the young guys. You know, I just like to get it done.
Where did the headband first show up?
I’ve been doing the headband since Portland, since my rookie year. I like wearing it. A lot of the guys on my team, older guys, were wearing it, so it was cool.
You paid several people’s MLGW bills during the winter, what inspired that?
That was just something I wanted to do. I’ve been in that situation where I’ve been without lights, or food or whatever. It’s just something I wanted to do to help. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a little bit or a lot. I was just trying to help out.
You also gave away 500 tickets to one game.
There’s a lot of people that want to see our games that aren’t able to. For me to do something like that, it was real important to me. To see the line that was out there, the scene, you know, the people that wanted to see us play, it meant a lot to me.
Attendance was up this year, but still could improve. What can you guys do to get more people coming to the games?
We just have to play well so the fans will support us. Fans are a big part of the organization. Players feed off energy from the fans. We just got to keep on winning games and make them understand how important it is for them to come to these games. It ain’t fun playing in front of an empty house, or when we score we just hear a little clap. We love having the fans in the stands.
After all this, how big of a priority is it for you to stay in Memphis after next season?
It’s real big to stay here and grow with this team because we’re right there. It’s real important to bring Rudy back, first of all. First priority is to bring Rudy back. It’s a good core and we need to keep it. We’re right there.
By Doug Gillon, Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE
Ask Jerry Lawler why he believes his professional wrestling career has been so successful over the years, and chances are he will strike up an engaging conversation about his feud with entertainer Andy Kaufman in the early 1980s.
“It put me in a unique position to be a professional wrestler who had nationwide publicity,” Lawler said in a recent interview from an East Memphis restaurant.
It all unfolded in July 1982. Lawler, a local professional wrestler and commercial artist who was beloved by Memphians, was invited to appear on the David Letterman Show with Kaufman, who starred in the ABC sitcom Taxi in the late 1970s and early 80s.
There, the two sat in a New York studio, where they were brought in to air out their differences surrounding their ongoing quarrel and Lawler’s disqualification after his pair of piledrivers during a match which hospitalized Kaufman three months earlier.
In one of the most shocking commercial lead-ins in the history of television, a seemingly perturbed Lawler stood up and smacked a neck-brace wearing Kaufman, whose chair tumbled off the platform and onto the canvas as the live audience applauded in wonderment.
While the altercation, which many believed had been staged, made national headlines, it heightened Lawler’s celebrity throughout a wrestling career that spans nearly four decades.
He was 16 years old when he was first introduced to wrestling and was trained by his hero and mentor, Jackie Fargo, who wrestled professionally from the early 1950s until his retirement in June 1980. Fargo said among the things that separated Lawler from his peers was his willingness to hearken his advice, particularly after he beat Curt Henning for his first world championship in 1988.
“I taught him to be a gentleman when he needed to be and to be a butthole when he needed to be,” says Fargo. “He’s just come a long way. He doesn’t give up. Jerry Lawler does not give up. I’m very proud to have taught him. He followed in my footsteps.”
After winning the American Wrestling Association World Heavyweight title from Henning during what was a historic night in the Mid-South Coliseum, Lawler saw his career soar to immense heights. He feuded with World Class Championship Wrestling champion Kerry Von Erich for months before ultimately upending Von Erich on December 15, 1988 at Superclash 3 to unify both titles. Three years later, during his brief tenure in the United States Wrestling Association, Lawler teamed with Jeff Jarrett to defeat the Moondogs for the USWA World Tag Team titles.
His thrust, consequently, caught the attention of World Wrestling Federation chairman Vince McMahon, who hired Lawler as an announcer on WWF Superstars of Wrestling in December 1992. His WWF stint was marred by an array of controversy, most notably his run-ins with Bret “The Hit Man” Hart that led to the infamous “Kiss My Foot” match won by Hart during the King of the Ring event in 1995.
Lawler assumed a number of roles for what is now WWE over the next few years before controversy surrounding his then-wife Stacy Carter’s abrupt firing prompted him to resign from the company in February 2001. His absence, however, lasted only nine months, as he rekindled his relationship with McMahon who, reintroduced Lawler on Raw as a commentator replacement for the previously-fired Paul Heyman.
He has been with WWE ever since and is a fixture on the weekly two-hour wrestling show. Three years ago, Lawler—whose 140-plus career championships is most among any active WWE wrestler—was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by longtime actor William Shatner, with whom he had an altercation during a January 1995 episode of Raw.
Still, Lawler, who is in no rush to retire from wrestling, believes it was his well-publicized dispute with Kaufman that helped elevate not only his career, but wrestling with regards to bridging the gap with celebrities and high-profile athletes.
In 1999, Lawler even starred as himself in the movie Man on the Moon with renowned actor Jim Carrey, who played the character Kaufman.
“If you notice every week, Raw has had a celebrity as a guest host,” Lawler said. “I think (the feud with Kaufman) provided wrestling with a tremendous rub in that wrestling is seen as a late night television show. Andy Kaufman was not just big for me, but it was big for wrestling. It was the most famous wrestling match in history.”
Photo by Sharon Bicks.
Nick Harmeier is a 29-year-old man with some big goals in mind and if his track record is any indication, he seems to be well on his way to making himself a household name around the Mid-South, if not further. Harmeier is the founder of V3 Fights, a mixed martial arts (MMA) brand that is based in Memphis and puts on events around the Mid-South.
While many people around the Mid-South may not know Harmeier by name, a few might know his writing, as he was the marketing director of Quentin “Rampage” Jackson before he became a member of the UFC brand of MMA. He wrote press releases for Rampage, as well as booking him to fight.
Harmeier and Rampage actually go way back. They met in their high school days when both were involved with their school wrestling teams: Harmeier, at Craigmont, and Rampage, at Raliegh-Egypt. Both also participated in an amateur wrestling squad for the Jr. Olympics. Their friendship continued on throughout Harmeier’s college years.
Harmeier has very strong roots with MMA in the Mid-South. From the beginning, he was involved with the process of legalizing MMA in Tennessee. This eventually led to the Forum hosting a nationally recognized pay-per-view UFC fight in December of last year.
Last year, Harmeier was working promotions and marketing for another local MMA brand. He eventually got fed up with the direction the company was going. It was then he decided to start V3.
V3’s first event was last fall at the Delta Fair in DeSoto County. Soon after, three other events were held at Newby’s on Highland. And this June, V3 will be holding its highest profile event yet in the FedExForum Grand Lobby. This event will be making history for V3, as it will boast three title matches. Later in the year, V3 will be putting on shows at the Delta Fair and the Mid-South Fair, as well as hoping to put on a few more fights in the Grand Lobby of the Forum before basketball season tips off.
Harmeier knows that there is potential to become big time and eventually hold an event inside the bowl of the Forum, as MMA is definitely an up and coming sport that is gaining more and more popularity.
There are many amateur MMA brands popping up around the country, but Harmeier feels he knows how to keep his brand above the rest. When asked what sets V3 apart from the other MMA brands, Harmeier responded, “Staying true to the brand, being true to MMA.” In his words, he is “just a fan” of MMA. He says that helps because he knows what the people want and he will do what it takes to deliver a product that creates buzz and gets people to come back time after time. This includes not cutting corners and spending a little extra money on production. He is always looking at the little things and what he can do to make his overall product better.
Obviously Harmeier hopes to eventually sell out the FedExForum main arena, but more important to him, would be to become a “Triple-A” to the UFC, becoming sort of a feeder brand to the big time.
But, for now Harmeier is focused on the immediate future and next month’s fight in the FedExForum Grand Lobby.
By Ben Hogan, Photo by Michael Cardwell.
Jon Mungle, a personal trainer at Germantown Athletic Club, has found a way to incorporate his background in baseball and his passion for fitness into his daily life. Playing a variety of sports growing up, Jon decided to focus on baseball during high school, and put everything he had into developing his skills. The hard work paid off, and he went on to play college baseball at Mississippi State University.
With an undeniable passion for sports and fitness, Jon decided to major in kinesiology. His studies in class went hand-in-hand with his life on the field. They even tied into his career-ending ACL injuries.
“I tore my ACL the fifth game of the season in my junior year. Ironically enough, the day I tore it, we were studying the ACL in class. After going through 11 months of rehabilitation, I tore it a second time. It was very difficult – two surgeries on such an intense injury are extremely hard to come back from,” Jon said. “If there was an upside, it was the fact that through the hours and hours of therapy, I actually learned a lot about sports-related injuries. And not only how to properly rehabilitate them, but also how to avoid them.”
Jon now specializes in sport-specific training for athletes, weight management, flexibility and nutrition. Drawing from his own personal experiences, he is able to bring a lot to the table as a personal trainer at Germantown Athletic Club.
“My main goal is to teach the importance of posture and proper technique in order to avoid injury and excel on the field or in the gym,” Jon said.
Jon utilizes a workout technique called rate-of-force development, which involves taking movements and motions athletes use on the field and applying resistance in order to build strength. This type of training is commonly used by baseball players to increase the speed and power of their swing and overall quickness on the field.
One professional player that uses this training technique is Ed Easley, a friend of Jon’s and catcher in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. Ed started playing baseball as a child and decided his freshman year in high school to make it his main sport. When his senior year rolled around, Ed was offered full scholarship from every school in the Southeastern Conference and a few from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“Mississippi State had a strong baseball tradition, was close to home and offered me the best opportunity to play as a freshman,” Ed said.
Before deciding to go to Mississippi State, however, Ed was approached by scouts from the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Yankees. Both teams flew him to their respective facilities for a workout, but after much consideration with his family, he decided to forgo the pros and play college baseball. After three years of catching at Mississippi State, Ed was selected as a first-round draft pick for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007.
With his all-time goal of playing in the majors within reach, Ed realized he needed to use the off-season to build and develop his strength and technique.
“Ed called me and wanted me to build him a custom workout program. His primary goal was to get stronger and build flexibility,” Jon said. “He told me, ‘I need somebody to make me do it, and make me do it right.’ So that’s exactly what I did.”
Ed trained at the Club four to five times a week during the past off-season. After each training session, the pair headed to the batting cages where Jon would throw to Ed and critique his swing. The partnership is dynamic, and both men use the relationship as an opportunity to grow.
“I have been fortunate enough to workout at high-end gyms with professional trainers, and the Club is no exception. It has everything I need to achieve my goals. I really appreciate Jon and the rest of the staff taking time to not only help me but also the community get healthier,” Ed said. “I would recommend Jon to anyone looking to improve their athleticism. He comes from a strong sports background, which makes him great at what he does. And he’s an all-around good guy.”
In addition to training during the off-season, Ed gives back to the community by giving catching and batting lessons and hosting an annual pre-season baseball camp at Olive Branch High School, featuring professional and college baseball players. Jon helps lead the baseball camp with Ed and also uses his sport-specific training and coaching skills as an assistant coach for the St. George’s Gryphon’s varsity baseball team.
I recently wrote about the great experience I had at Power Life Fitness while training with Kelvin “York” Brown. During my most recent trip, I learned how devoted each member of the staff is. Lauren Everhart, a former Tiger soccer and cross country athlete, took the time to run through exercises with me while pointing out the right techniques while demonstrating the things most people do wrong. Aside from her on the field accolades, Lauren is also a Power Life certified trainer and will be attending the University of Memphis this coming school year to earn her physical therapy degree. She informed me that often, when people perform a motion wrong while working out, they can end up injuring themselves. This is why I am appreciative to Lauren for taking the time to instruct me and pose for photographs. So without adieu, here are a few of the many things we went over at Power Life Fitness.
As has been said many times before, Power Life Fitness puts the “personal” back in “personal training.” Lauren Everhart emphasized two things above all else: maintain a fluid motion in your exercises and take your time. People who rush through their workouts will not only waste their time but also run the risk of injuring themselves. The staff at Power Life Fitness truly care about you and your body and will do everything they can to help you maximize your workout sessions. To schedule a session with Lauren, give Power Life a call at 901-454-0003, or email her at Lauren@PowerLifeFitness.net
Who hasn’t done a bench press? This is an easy enough exercise when one simply lowers the bar and pushes it back up, right? Wrong.
DO: Place your hands evenly apart on the bar. Most bars have a dash or line to indicate the center of it. Make sure this line is between your eyes. Lower the bar down to your chest just below the breast onto your ribcage.
DO NOT: Be sure to not lower the bar too high or too low onto your torso. Above the ribcage or too far below will put strain on your shoulders or arms. Likewise, if your elbows drop below a 180 degree plane created between them and your torso, there will be added pressure to your arms.
LAT PULL DOWN
This is a great exercise for your back. It will sculpt your shoulder blade region while working your shoulders too. You can do it with either a close or open grip on the bar.
DO: Slowly and steadily pull the bar straight down to your chest. Be sure that, as you get closer to the bottom, you pinch your shoulder blades to ensure you’re working your back.
DO NOT: Pull the bar down behind your head. This will cause unnecessary strain on your neck. Also be sure to not jerk the bar down, as you will not work your back, but your arms instead.
SIT AND STAND
This is an easy exercise for toning the legs. All you need is a box that is slightly shorter than a house chair.
DO: Stand four to five inches away from the box and, with a straight back and your feet shoulder width apart, bend your legs to a 90 degree angle.
DO NOT: Bend your back over your toes. If you do this you will only strain your lower back. Also, be sure to not plop down onto the box, as this will not work your legs in the proper fashion.
Also known as “bows and toes,” planks is a workout that is great for your car. It is simple and very easy to do and utilizes isometric contractions to tighten your abs.
DO: Lay your body on the floor then hold yourself up only on your elbows and toes. Make sure your feet are shoulder width apart and you pinch your core while in the position.
Don Not: Be sure to not raise your butt too high or too low. Too high and you will not emphasize your core muscles; too low and you will strain your back.
By Andy Skrzat, Photo by Mike Bullard.