Who knows better than mom?
Asking Sherrell Bennett-Miller to assess the athletic skills of her sons is like a reporter interviewing a coach.
Take, for instance, Miller’s critiquing of the athletic prowess of her son, Colonial Middle School dual-sport athlete Ananias Bennett.
To her credit, if one didn’t know any better, they would sense that Bennett-Miller is a coach more so than a mother who has devoted an integral portion of her life to ensuring that her boys enjoy success through academics and sports.
“My son, Ananias, started playing football at the age of nine,” Bennett-Miller told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson. “My overall reaction was like, ‘This tiny little boy is tackling like he’s was around 12 years old.’”
Fortunately for Bennett-Miller, Ananias has evolved into a marquee player for Colonial Middle’s football and basketball teams. And, given the favorable strides he’s made as a rising amateur athlete, it’s safe to assume he appears destined to put his athletic skills on display throughout Shelby-Metro’s tradition-rich prep athletics landscape in the coming years.
The oldest of Bennett-Miller’s two sons who attend Colonial Middle, Ananias has flourished into an efficient basketball player as he occupies the point guard small forward positions, often switching to shooting guard when need be. When on the gridiron, he’s utilized mostly at wide receiver and quarterback.
Or wherever the Rosedale, Mississippi native is needed to ensure he’s demonstrating solid leadership skills and good sportsmanship — key attributes that, in some cases, could be easily displaced, particularly for youngsters in his age bracket.
“I love the sports,” Ananias said. “I (participate in athletics) because of the bonds that are made, the game itself, and the life lessons that come along with them.”
Given the success Ananias and his siblings have enjoyed in their brief time since their parents thrust them in the athletic limelight, they have managed to become fixtures in their own right on this always competitive Memphis-area youth sports landscape.
Ananias’ younger brother, Shyheim Brown, also plays basketball for Colonial Middle. His younger brother, Derrick Miller, Jr., is a multi-sport athlete at Memphis Promise Academy.
As far as Ananias is concerned, among the grandest reasons he and his brothers have managed to stay devoted to athletics while simultaneously sustaining high marks in the classroom is that their parents don’t just make regular financial investments to ensure they remain active in sports.
Rather they are visibly seen at virtually each of their sporting events, cheering them on.
Win, lose, or tie.
“My family members are very much supportive by showing up for my games and helping me raise money when needed,” Ananias explained. “My mother is my biggest fan and sideline coach. She’s always most definitely there to give me great advice when I need it the most.”
And given his well-documented success as a rising, multi-sport athlete, many whom have witnessed Ananias and his brothers on the Mid-South-area sports circuit don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
Especially their mom, arguably their No. 1 fan.
And coach it seems.
“I was happy for him when he came across a coach that took him out of his game, yet he didn’t give up or quit,” Bennett-Miller said. “Ananias is a student-athlete with high academics with no attitude and will take criticism with no problem.”
All of which is why she says the sky’s is the limit for son.
“Education and your attitude will take you a long way,” Bennett-Miller said.
No one, it seems, knows that better than mom.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a child or team that is seeking exposure and would like an in-depth sports news story, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him for details under “Andre T. Johnson.”
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to email@example.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.