Official 2014 Oscar Picks: Akers and Cerrito reveal their ballots

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Here are who Memphis’ two best Oscarologists predict will win at Sunday’s 86th Annual Academy Awards.

Do you think you can oupick them? Enter MSL’s “Beat Us at the Oscars” contest and you could win over $200 worth of prizes.

CERRITO’S PICKS:

Best Picture

12 Years a Slave

Best Director

Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity

Best Actor

Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Best Supporting Actor

Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Original Screenplay

Her

Best Adapted Screenplay

12 Years a Slave

Best Cinematography

Gravity

Best Editing

Gravity

Best Foreign Language Film

The Great Beauty

Best Animated Feature

Frozen

Best Documentary Feature

The Act of Killing

Best Original Score

Steve Price, Gravity

Best Original Song

“Let It Go” from Frozen

Best Production Design

The Great Gatsby

Best Costume Design

The Great Gatsby

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Dallas Buyers Club

Best Sound Mixing

Gravity

Best Sound Editing

Gravity

Best Visual Effects

Gravity

Best Documentary Short

The Lady in Number 6

Best Animated Short

Get a Horse!

Best Live Action Short

The Voorman Problem


AKERS’ PICKS:

Click here for Akers’ ballot (also found on page 38 of this week’s Memphis Flyer).

ENTER TO WIN: MSL’s “Beat Us at the Oscars” contest featuring over $200 worth of prizes.

LISTEN
MSL’s 2014 Oscar Handicapping Special with guests Academy Award Winner Frayser BoyIndie Memphis executive director Erik Jambor, and host of Hollywood for the House/ABC 24 news anchor Joy Lambert.

 

The 86th Annual Academy Awards are Sunday, March 2, at 7 p.m. on ABC.

Winners of “Beat Us at the Oscars” will be announced on the Saturday, March 8, edition of MSL on Sports 56 WHBQ/87.7 FM.

 

Ex-Arena Football star Johnny Loper enjoying greener pastures as Jaylo Fitness owner

GREENER PASTURES --- Johnny Loper enjoyed a brief professional football stint with the Memphis Xplorers of the arenafootball2 league from 2000-2003, earning about $300 a week. Today, the owner of Jaylo Fitness has witnessed his annual income increase considerably now that he has partnered his AdvoCare. (Photo submitted by Jonny Loper).

GREENER PASTURES — Johnny Loper enjoyed a brief professional football stint with the Memphis Xplorers of the arenafootball2 league from 2000-2003, earning about $300 a week. Today, the owner of Jaylo Fitness has witnessed his annual income increase considerably now that he has partnered his AdvoCare. (Photo submitted by Johnny Loper).

When Olive Branch, Miss.-area entrepreneur Johnny Loper started his business seven years ago, a regular work day for him lasted nearly 16 hours.

He didn’t see a problem with that.

“I was actually enjoying life because I didn’t have kids,” Loper told MemphiSport. “It was just me and my wife. But when my little boy came along, it wasn’t about me anymore. I kind of had a sour taste in my mouth because my dad had to work all the time. He couldn’t make all of my sporting events.”

Now a father of two, Loper sensed immediate changes needed to take place once his wife, Weslynne, gave birth to their first child. Among those changes was to make certain he didn’t spend lengthy hours at Jaylo Fitness at 8325 Highway 178 in Olive Branch, the business he founded roughly four years after his minor league football career had ended.

For Loper, a Waynesboro, Miss. native who starred at wide receiver for South Carolina State from 1995-2000, he had lofty aspirations of making an NFL roster, in large part because he wanted to retire his mother from the factory job she had for years in his native hometown.

However, after being invited to try out for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers following a three-year stint with the now-defunct Memphis Xplorers of the arenafootball2 league, Loper’s dreams of embarking upon NFL riches ended abruptly when he failed to earn a spot on the teams’ 53-men rosters.

“That wasn’t my purpose,” the 37-year-old Loper said during a recent interview from his residence in Olive Branch. “It was good for a season to learn different things. But that wasn’t my ending point.”

To his credit, among the things Loper learned during his brief tenure as a professional athlete was the importance of staying in good health. More than 10 years removed from having earned an Arena Football League check that paid him about $300 a week, Loper has cashed in mightily because of his stern commitment to helping individuals establish a healthy lifestyle.

Since 2011, Jaylo Fitness has partnered with AdvoCare, a premier health and wellness company that offers world-class energy, weight-loss, nutrition, and sports performance products along with rewarding business opportunities. For the Lopers, they have reaped the benefits of having joined one of the world’s premiere wellness companies, whose endorsers include an array of professional athletes, most notable Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten and New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl 44 MVP Drew Brees.

Loper, a former South Carolina State star wide receiver, had lofty dreams of playing in the NFL when he was invited to try out for the Pittsburg Steelers and Carolina Panthers following his brief Arena Football stint. (Photo courtesy of South Carolina State University)

Loper, a former South Carolina State star wide receiver, had lofty dreams of playing in the NFL when he was invited to try out for the Pittsburg Steelers and Carolina Panthers following his brief Arena Football stint. (Photo courtesy of South Carolina State University)

Last month, Loper helped produce a 24-minute DVD for AdvoCare with appearances by Whitten and Brees, as well as a host of NFL players.

As Loper recalls, if it weren’t for the long hours he invested to a fitness business that had already earned a favorable reputation among Mid-Southerners, it likely would have taken longer for him to realize why a career in the NFL wasn’t meant to happen.

While at his facility in 2005, Loper noticed a client leaving the building. In her bag, he saw some AdvoCare products. Once he inquired about the items, that’s when his life began to change.

“It took me at least five years until I started doing AdvoCare with our business,” Loper said. “I knew the products worked because we used it when I was in college. Everybody was coming to me to get me to do direct sales because everybody’s got juices and things of that nature. But what I loved about AdvoCare  was that your money was 100 percent back guaranteed. When we began researching, we saw the credibility the company had being that Drew Brees was endorsing AdvoCare for free. It wasn’t a company that just started up.”

That Jaylo Fitness elected to partner with AdvoCare three years ago — he earned approximately $18,000 within his first month after joining — Loper has gained more freedom away from his gym and now savors a carefree lifestyle that has enabled him to spend more time with his family. A usual work week at his fitness facility is comprised of between five-to-eight hours in which he mostly spends that time teaching what he calls “Fitness Bootcamps” or conducting hour-long total body workouts before a class of about 50 participants.

In other words, a majority of Loper’s work is done from the comfortable confines of his home.

“Within a matter of a month, we had earned $18,000,” Loper said. “Tears just came to my eyes. “When (his client) explained to me what had happened, I had a golden opportunity that I really couldn’t let slip away. That changed my life completely.”

Not to mention the livelihood of his mother, Fannie Loper.

Loper not only was able to retire his mother from the factory job she held since he was a child, but she has lost about 50 pounds because of her commitment to using AdvoCare products.

“That was my whole reason of trying to get to the NFL,” Loper said. “I was trying to get my mom out of that trailer and to retire her from her job.”

He managed to do both within just three months.

Never mind his dreams of playing in the NFL are now a distant memory.

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist. 

Throwback Thursday: KoKo B. Ware delivers on Piledriver

KoKo B Ware Piledriver VideoMany great superstars have passed through Memphis on their way to the top.  Some of the flashiest, most charismatic figures in all of sports entertainment used Memphis Wrestling as a platform to catapult themselves to the grandest stage of them all – World Wrestling Entertainment.

This week’s Throwback Thursday will feature one of the most talented individuals we have ever seen.  Whether it was performing inside or outside of the ring, this man had it all.  The glitz, the glamour, the fanfare and he even carried his best friend Frankie to the ring with him!

Of course, I’m talking about Class of 2009 WWE Hall of Fame inductee KoKo B. Ware.

KoKo’s history in Memphis has been chronicled throughout the years by winning numerous Championships in the Memphis-based USWA.  KoKo is a two-time USWA World Heavyweight Champion by way of defeating “The Ugandan Giant” Kamala and later defeating the icon Jerry “The King” Lawler.

While KoKo was extremely successful in USWA, he became a major star in the WWF.  KoKo B. Ware has performed at WrestleMania, wrestled alongside Hulk Hogan & “Macho Man” Randy Savage on Team Mega Powers at Survivor Series 1988 and even starred in the WWF’s “Piledriver!”

Many superstars have become household names outside of wrestling because of their talent.  The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Brock Lesnar & Hulk Hogan have extended their popularity by being successful inside and outside of the ring.  KoKo B. Ware certainly came before his time.

KoKo B. Ware made a special appearance at Memphis Wildfire Wrestling’s 4th Annual Southern Heavyweight Classic earlier this month.  If you would like to meet KoKo, be sure to see him live at Resorts Casino Tunica on March 15th for Revenge at Resorts II Cool.

Fun Facts:   KoKo B. Ware is rarely ever seen without his trusty sidekick Frankie.  Frankie is a blue-and-yellow macaw parrot that joins KoKo B. Ware at ringside.  Remember the time Reggie B. Fine allegedly ate Frankie?

 

“Throwback Thursday” is a weekly Memphis Wrestling post at MemphiSport.com.

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and MSL. Follow him @DustinStarr.

SEE ALSO:

Memphis talk show host Tamara Thompson remembers Lorenzen Wright with video

Tamara Thompson describes Lorenzen Wright as a “hometown hero.”

'HOMETOWN HERO' --- Former NBA player Lorenzen Wright, appearing in a January 2009 game against Charlottle last played for the Cleveland Cavaliers before his gruesome death in July 2010. Memphian Tamara Thompson recently assembled a video in his honor, a two-part interview with Wright's mother, Deboran Marion, that is available on YouTube. (Photo by Liam Kyle/Getty Images)

‘HOMETOWN HERO’ — Former NBA player Lorenzen Wright, appearing in a January 2009 game against Charlotte, last played for the Cleveland Cavaliers before his gruesome death in July 2010. Memphian Tamara Thompson recently assembled a video in his honor, a two-part interview with Wright’s mother, Deboran Marion, that is available on YouTube. (Photo by Liam Kyle/Getty Images)

“He did so much for the community such as holding free basketball camps and feeding all of the kids free every day,” Thompson told MemphiSport. “He was there physically encouraging the kids daily.”

That Wright, a former University of Memphis basketball All-American who played 13 NBA seasons for six different teams, gave earnestly to the community is among the reasons Thompson deemed it essential to assemble a video in his honor in which she highlighted  Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, during a two-part interview on her weekly show, Real Talk With Tamara.

The show airs every Sunday at 6:30 a.m. CST on Comcast channel 31.

Wright’s body was found on July 28, 2010 in a wooded area on Callis Cutoff Road just west of Hacks Cross Road, ten days after he left his ex-wife’s home in Collierville. Consequently, his family filed a missing persons report on July 22 and it was reported that a 9-1-1 call was made from his mobile phone on the morning of July 19 to a Germantown police dispatcher during which gun shots were fired. Nearly four years removed from Wright’s gruesome murder, the case is still being investigated as a homicide, although there have been no arrests.

According to Thompson, a longtime employee of a local law enforcement agency, she believes her recently-assembled video that features Wright’s mother discussing the events surrounding her son’s death and his contributions to his native hometown will convince authorities not to place the case by the wayside.

“I’ve always followed the case,” Thompson said. “It saddens me that a case with so many clues could go cold. To see his mother fighting for justice alone saddens me. So I wanted to use my show as a vehicle to help his mother keep his cold case out there until it’s solved.”

Also, Thompson hopes footage of the two-part interview with Wright’s mother would persuade authorities to raise more money for his reward fund, something she believes could force those who might perhaps have leads surrounding Wright’s death to come forth.

Since Wright’s shocking murder — which was highlighted on TV One’s Celebrity Crime files in September 2013 — Thompson has established a close-knit relationship with Wright’s family.

“She has been very welcoming,” Thompson said of Wright’s mother. “We have a common goal and that is we want to see this case solved. I’ve grown to really love her and even after justice is served — and I feel that it will be because I have faith — I still want to remain contact with her. She is definitely the epitome of a parent that’s a soldier for justice for their child.”

Wright's 13-year NBA career includes five seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies from 2001-2006. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Wright’s 13-year NBA career includes five seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies from 2001-2006. (Getty Images)

Besides the Wright family, Thompson said the video, which also is available on YouTube, will convince Memphians to keep an eye and ear out on a case she feels should have been solved years ago.

“I feel it would be positive, it will reignite the flame to want to see justice served, because this could happen to anybody’s loved one,” Thompson said. “We are able to put ourselves in Lorenzen’s mother’s shoes. She a grieving mother that just wants justice served for her son. This is somebody’s son. This is somebody’s father and brother. They all loved him and they want peace.

“I think Memphians will see this (video) and say it’s time that this case comes out of the cold case files,” Thompson continued. We want justice for our hometown hero. Because is someone as popular as Lorenzen Wright can be murdered and the case goes as cold as many clues as they have, what hope for justice does someone with less popularity have is this happened?”

An Oxford, Miss. native, Wright emerged as a McDonald’s All-American at Memphis Booker T. Washington before playing two seasons at the U of M. After declaring early entry into the NBA draft, the 6-foot-11 Wright was taken with the seventh overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1996.

His professional stint includes five seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies from 2001-2006. Wright last played for the Cleveland during the 2008-2009 campaign and held a career average of 8.0 points and 6.4 rebounds while appearing in 778 games.

Andre Johnson covers the NBA for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Memphis Power Wrestling Official Card Released

Lawler v Sid TunicaOn March 15th, 2014 at Resorts Casino in Tunica, MS – Memphis Power Wrestling returns!  We heard former WWE World Tag Team Champion Brian Christopher talk about it on MSL – now it’s time to release the official line-up!

Revenge at Resorts II Cool Official Card*

Dustin Starr with Maria vs. X-Pac

Dr. Tom Prichard vs. “Dangerous” Doug Gilbert

Special Divas Match

“New Nature Boy” Kevin White & Derrick King vs. “Superstar” Bill Dundee & KoKo B. Ware

Too Cool vs. Chase Stevens & Crimson

Jerry “The King” Lawler vs. Psycho Sid

Also scheduled to appear: The Rock’s father Rocky “Soulman” Johnson, Wolfie D. as Cerebus, Gangrel and many more!  VIP autograph meet & greet session will be available prior to bell time.

*Card subject to change.

Memphis Power Wrestling’s September line-up featured Jerry Lawler vs Jeff Jarrett.  The show was a complete sellout!  Grab your tickets before it is too late.  For ticket information, please call 866.706.7070.  You can also visit Memphis Power Wrestling’s Official Facebook Page for more details.

 

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and MSL. Follow him @DustinStarr.

SEE ALSO:

FACS star Douwante Thomas progresses, raises his stock on recruiting circuit

Douwante Thomas’ constant progress on the basketball court in recent years, to his credit, has given way to his coming under the radar by a number of college scouts.

ELECTRIFYING --- First Assembly Christian School swingman Douwante Thomas spent a majority of his senior season converting high-percentage shots. Thomas led the Crusaders in scoring, averaging better than 15 points a game while make 20 starts. (Photos submitted by Lothera Thomas)

ELECTRIFYING — First Assembly Christian School swingman Douwante Thomas spent a majority of his senior season converting high-percentage shots. Thomas led the Crusaders in scoring, averaging better than 15 points a game while make 20 starts. (Photos submitted by Lothera Thomas)

Among the key attributes recruiters have noticed is that the First Assembly Christian School’s swingman’s relentless leaping ability, quickness, and his ability to penetrate to the basket have provided fits for opposing teams, both on the AAU circuit and high school games.

Thomas’ continuous improvement was among the key factors that prompted FACS coach D’Marius Wilkes to switch him to a two-way athlete for the Crusaders during what was an efficient season for his star player.

For starters, the 6-foot-5 Thomas — just as he’s done since he was installed as a starter his freshman year — proved to be the centerpiece of an FACS team that finished 12-8 this year and witnessed it season end in a loss to St. George’s Feb. 13. Thomas was the Crusaders’ leading scorer, averaging better than 15 points a game. In addition, he managed 8.3 rebounds, 3.4 blocks, three assists, and 1.4 steals.

And, because he spent a better part of this campaign playing above the rim, Thomas witnessed his field goal percentage soar to a remarkable 61.3 percent, while shooting 72.9 from the free throw line, all of which earned him All-District honors in TSSAA Division 2-A for a third consecutive year.

Still, following a year in which FACS didn’t make a lengthy postseason run, Thomas admittedly became his own worst critics, of sorts, saying among other things that he could have done more to help propel the Crusaders to a better overall showing.

“I would say I could have done a lot better than I did,” the 17-year-old Thomas told MemphiSport. “I played a little bit timid at times. I played as if I didn’t want to mess up. But I just kept playing through (mistakes) and my coach challenged me to play through them.”

Wilkes among those who relishes the fact that Thomas, his featured player, didn’t shy away from taking ownership of his weaknesses and occasional mishaps this season. However, he sensed that Thomas still made continuous strides and, most importantly, upgraded his mechanics in this, his final season as a high school basketball player.

“He has been the heart and soul for us offensively and defensively,” Wilkes said. “He is probably the best athlete in the city as far as running and jumping. His progress this year has been tremendous.”

LASTING IMPRESSION --- Thomas' performance on the AAU circuit in recent has generated interest from several Division 1 colleges.

LASTING IMPRESSION — Thomas’ performance on the AAU circuit in recent years has generated interest from several Division 1 colleges.

Never mind that his progress unfolded in the private school sector.

Although Thomas didn’t garner as much exposure in recent years as his peers in the public school system, his presence as a member of Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway’s Team Penny 17-and-under AAU squad boosted his stock with college scouts.

Currently, Thomas has generated interests from Tennessee State, the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, Union University, and Southeast Missouri State. While neither school has made an official offer, Thomas — who is scheduled to make official visits to these schools in the coming weeks — is confident he’ll ultimately fulfill his dream of playing college basketball.

“I’m willing to do anything necessary to receive a scholarship,” Thomas said.

Even if it means doing the little things that will leave a favorable impressions on recruiters as he prepares to set foot on several college campuses soon.

“I know I’ve got to lift weights more, condition, and work on my ball-handling,” said the 178-pound Thomas, adding that he plans to improve his mid-range jumper and 3-point field goal efficiency. The scouts say I’m one of the most athletic people they’ve ever seen. I guess I get that a lot.”

Given his constant progress on the basketball court in recent years, chances are he will hear it a lot more this fall.

Only this time, he’ll hear it wearing a college basketball uniform.

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist. 

East High band president Maurio Betts aiming to make JSU’s Sonic Boom of South

MEMPHIS SOUNDS --- Maurio Betts first took part in band five years ago while at Wooddale Middle School. He has since flourished into one of the best young musicians in the city as the president of East High School's marching band. Betts is taking is his talents to Jackson State University this Fall. (Photos by Kaye Davis)

MEMPHIS SOUNDS — Maurio Betts first took part in band five years ago while at Wooddale Middle School. He has since flourished into one of the best young musicians in the city as the president of East High School’s marching band. Betts is taking is his talents to Jackson State University this Fall. (Photos by Kaye Davis)

During a recent interview, Maurio Betts is going on and on about his passion for band. As Betts tells it, becoming engaged in band five years ago is the best thing to happen for the 17 year-old East High School senior.

“It was something new for me,” Betts told MemphiSport of his desire to take up band. “When I first started band, I was just trying something new. I didn’t know I would grow to love it.”

Betts, in fact, has become so fond of music that not only does he spends countless hours at home watching video footage of college bands, but he often pretends as if he’s playing his trumpet even when his instrument isn’t in his possession.

“I go above and beyond,” Betts said of his aspirations of evolving into a fluent musician. “I’m very ambitions about it. I don’t know…I guess every day, I’m always practice because I know I have weaknesses.  So every day, I’m learning to perfect my weaknesses.”

To get a clear understanding why Betts has developed a deep admiration for music, look no further than his days at Wooddale Middle School. When Betts’ mother, Kaye Davis, enrolled him at the school, it didn’t have a marching band, but had a concert choir for those who were interested in joining.

Consequently, Betts took a chance and joined the concert choir, considering it would help prepare him for the marching band that was currently in the works at the time. Within a matter of weeks, Betts came to enjoy what the choir had to offer and figured he’s take music more seriously. The very next year, Wooddale Middle’s marching band officially had been assembled and was comprised of about 40 members, one of which included Betts.

That’s when he first began to play the trumpet, an instrument in which he seemingly can’t live without today. In a nutshell, Betts without band, as his mother said, is like a pencil without an eraser.

To his credit, that Betts has steadfastly matured and flourished as an accomplished musician for East High’s band has gone virtually unnoticed by his peers, who unanimously voted him the band president this year. But according to Betts, the featured member of the Mustang marching band, his accolades and rise as a musician wouldn’t have come to fruition if not for Ollie Liddell, the former director of East’s band who is not overseeing the band at nearby Central High.

Liddell taught and mentored Betts his first two years as he became acclimated in the varsity band, teaching him everything from being dedicated to his craft as a musician to learning to simultaneously lending his ear to recognize other instruments besides his own.

“It wasn’t about him, wasn’t about one band,” Betts’ mother said of her son’s commitment to improving his musical mechanics. “If you’ve got one (musician) that’s good at what they do and everybody else is not on the same page, then the entire band is not on one accord. He’d come in there like, ‘It’s all about me.’ And he couldn’t do that. It’s one band and one sound. (Liddell) helped him a lot in that area because that was a struggle for us.”

Betts was among the East band members who voiced his displeasure when they learned Liddell would be leaving for Central after his sophomore year. Still, he said the life-changing lessons his longtime mentor taught him were priceless and will prove beneficial as he look ahead to college this fall.

LOVE OF MUSIC --- Betts admittedly has developed such a deep love for music that he often pretends to play his trumpet even when he isn't holding his instrument.

LOVE OF MUSIC — Betts admittedly has developed such a deep love for music that he often pretends to play his trumpet even when he isn’t holding his instrument.

Like Liddell, a former member of Jackson State University’s renowned Sonic Boom of the South, Betts has lofty aspirations of joining the school’s tradition-rich band that performs annually in the Southern Heritage Classic at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Judging by how much he’s blossomed as a musician in recent years, Betts admittedly feels good about his chances of securing a spot in one of the most prominent college bands in the America.

“I know I have all the criteria to get accepted to the (JSU) band, probably an 85 percent chance,” said Betts, who plans to audition for the band in the coming weeks. “But that’s not what I’m focused on. I’m focused on scholarships from the band.”

That, too shouldn’t be a difficult task for Betts, considering the face of East High’s marching band boasts a cumulative grade point average of 3.5.

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist. 

 

MSL’s Annual Oscars Handicapping Special 2014

MSL Oscars 2014

The Memphis Flyer’s Film/TV Editor Greg Akers and MSL host Kevin Cerrito with Marcus Hunter preview and predict the 86th Annual Academy Awards during MSL’s Annual Oscars Handicapping Special presented by the Indie Memphis Film Festival.

Guests joining the Oscarologists include Academy Award Winner Frayser Boy, Indie Memphis executive director Erik Jambor, and host of Hollywood for the House/ABC 24 news anchor Joy Lambert.

Click here to enter MSL’s ‘Beat Us at the Oscars’ Contest.

Click here for information about the 17th Annual Indie Memphis Film Festival

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host MemphiSport Live (MSL) on Sports 56 & 87.7 FM every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Radio Show in the 2010, 2011 & 2012 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll.

Follow the Oscarologists on Twitter @cerrito  & @GregAkers.

MSL: 2.22.14 ‘Weekend after All-Star Weekend’

CJ Grizz Girl MSL

HOUR 1:

(Segment 1) Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter recap the week’s biggest stories in the Starting 5.
(Segment 2) The Memphis Grizzlies only representative from NBA All-Star weekend Grizz Girl Ciera joins the guys in studio.
(Segment 3)  Woohoos and Boos.

 

MemphiSport Live

HOUR 2:

The Memphis Flyer’s Film/TV Editor Greg Akers and MSL host Kevin Cerrito with Marcus Hunter preview and predict the 86th Annual Academy Awards during MSL’s Annual Oscars Handicapping Special presented by the Indie Memphis Film Festival.

Guests joining the Oscarologists include Academy Award Winner Frayser BoyIndie Memphisexecutive director Erik Jambor, and host of Hollywood for the House/ABC 24 news anchor Joy Lambert.

 

MemphiSport Live

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host MemphiSport Live (MSL) on Sports 56 & 87.7 FM every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Radio Show in the 2010, 2011 & 2012 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll.

Follow the MSL hosts on Twitter @cerrito @MHunter_GAMME

Memphian Harold Draper III making his presence felt on AAU basketball circuit

Make no mistake, Harold Draper III is only nine years old.

However, the general consensus among those who have followed his dazzling display on the AAU circuit is that he has the basketball IQ of someone twice his age.
HIGH RISER --- Memphian Harold Draper III first began playing competitive basketball at the age of five. Today, the nine-year-old hoops phenom is making his presence on the AAU circuit as a member of the Memphis Tigers 10-and-under team (Photos submitted by Andrea Alrdridge)

HIGH RISER — Memphian Harold Draper III first began playing competitive basketball at the age of five. Today, the nine-year-old hoops phenom is making his presence felt on the AAU circuit as a member of the Memphis Tigers 10u team (Photos by Jeff Rashad Thomas)

“He’s one of, if not, the hardest working child I know,” said University of Memphis senior guard Trey Draper,” the cousin and mentor of Harold Draper III. “If he’s not in the gym, he’s outside trying to get better. What impresses me about him is his ability to retain information at nine years old. He’s a student of the game. If you tell him something one time, he’s trying to apply it in the next game.”

Among the reasons Harold Draper III has become empowered to acquire so much knowledge about basketball is that it seems he doesn’t grow tired of studying the game. In fact, if basketball was a pop quiz, this kid would master in flying colors.
Take, for instance, how Harold Draper III commemorates the game, particularly when he isn’t clamping down in defensive stances or pulling cross-over moves on opposing players in gymnasiums across the city. Nicknamed “HD3” because of his prowess and assertiveness on the court, Harold Draper III spends an ample amount of time watching NBA Hardwood Classics with his father, Harold Draper II.
So what exactly has prompted an amateur basketball player to adopt such a unique trend for his age?
“He has basketball intelligence like his dad,” said HD3’s No. 1 fan, Andrea Dandridge. “He would rather study the game, learn the game, and watch what the legends did. When he goes to games, he watches the older kids.”

YOUNG VET --- Nicknamed HD3, Draper III has become accustomed to competing with older and bigger players in his time as an amateur basketball standout.

YOUNG VET — Nicknamed HD3, Draper III has become accustomed to competing with older and bigger players in his time as an amateur basketball standout.

His keen desire to observe older players, to his credit, has enabled him to build a solid rapport with a host of U of M players, most notably Joe Jackson and Shaq Goodwin, among others. Add to the fact that HD3 first took part in competitive hoops when he was five years old, and it’s no wonder this young hoops prodigy has blossomed as a catalyst for the Memphis Tigers 10-and-under team, who competes mostly against 12-and-under squads.
“I love to watch older players because I’m able to learn different moves for my game,” the soft-spoken HD3 told MemphiSport.
And because he’s quickly evolved into what Dandridge describes as a “fast learner of the game”, it didn’t take long for HD3’s coaches to discover his skills on the AAU circuit. For starters, his development coach, Eric “Cowboy” Robinson, immediately became sold on his display during his first workout in which the Double Tree Elementary fourth grader drew rave reviews during a brief shoot around session.
“He went to practice, shot around, and the coach Vincent Grady said, ‘I’m going to let him play for me,’” Dandridge recalls.
SHUT 'EM DOWN --- Draper III has lofty aspirations of playing basketball at the University of Memphis just like his mentor, Tigers point guard Joe Jackson.

SHUT ‘EM DOWN — Draper III has lofty aspirations of playing basketball at the University of Memphis just like his favorite player, Tigers point guard Joe Jackson.

One moment, HD3 is making his AAU nationals debut in tournament in Little Rock, Ark. The next moment, he’s upgrading his stock as a speedy point guard who doesn’t shy away from penetrating to the basket and knocking down shots over bigger guys much like his favorite player, Joe Jackson, the former White Station star who is considered one of the elite point guards in all of college basketball.

Given his eye-catching display on the AAU circuit coupled with his deep affection and knowledge of the game, it’s safe to assume that HD3 is destined to duplicate the accolades orchestrated by his basketball role model, Jackson.
“He’s a point guard like me,” HD3 said of his admiration for Jackson. “And my dream is to play for the (U of M) Tigers.”
Given how the U of M players have monitored and embraced his basketball craftiness of late, it appears HD3 is already being recruited to play for the hometown team.
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.