Derrick Miller, Sr. and his wife, Sherrell Bennett-Miller, are two hardworking individuals.
Both are gainfully employed.
Both partake in occasional date nights.
Both, to their credit, routinely make valiant efforts to ensure that family values remain a customary trend in their household.
Still, in spite of the hustle and bustle their respective day-to-day schedules often create, this couple has become fixtures, particularly as it pertains to supporting the athletic accomplishments of their son, Derrick Miller, Jr.
“Words can’t explain the joy we have watching our son do what he loves,” Mrs. Miller told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson Sunday night. “At times, he inspires us to go harder and stronger in things we do in our livelihood.”
A rising, nine-year-old standout for the Memphis War Eagles 10-and-under AAU basketball team, amongst the things about which Derrick, Jr. can attest is witnessing his parents cheering from the stands, regardless of where his team plays around the country.
Whether the War Eagles are slated for games on the East or West coast, the Northern or Southern regions, one can almost certainly consider it a foregone conclusion that Mr. and Mrs. Miller will make ceremonious appearances.
According to Mrs. Miller, in this calendar year alone, she and her husband have traveled more than 5,000 miles to watch Derrick, Jr. put his basketball skills on display on this ever-so-competitive AAU circuit.
Next week, the couple will be adding an additional 800-plus miles to their slew of cross-country trips to watch their son, this time when he and the War Eagles compete in the AAU Nationals in Orlando, Florida.
The War Eagles all but solidified a trip to the national tournament after coming away as co-champions in a recent state tourney in Clarksville, Tennessee.
More than anything, though, Mrs. Miller senses that this trip to nationals will greatly benefit her son, in large part because unlike a number of his peers, he’s being afforded the chance to pay witness to establishments outside of the Memphis metropolitan area.
In a nutshell, even at such a young age, amongst the things about which the Millers instill in their son is to always be open to broaden his horizon.
Since the beginning of the year, the Millers have traveled to Nashville, various places in Arkansas, Clarksville, New Orleans and to various sites throughout Memphis and surrounding areas to watch their son in action.
However, the forthcoming trip to Florida is unique for a variety of reasons, Derrick, Jr.’s mother acknowledged.
DONATE TO DERRICK’S TRIP TO FLORIDA: https://www.gofundme.com/22jzbbks
“The reason for the trip is to better his experience outside the Tennessee area,” Mrs. Miller explained. “This trip is vital to Derrick because this is a lifetime experience to challenge him for the upcoming year. He has a chance to claim the national championship, and it better for him with (these) out of town games, and also his loyalty and passion for the game.”
Because parents of AAU athletes routinely go above and beyond to support their children, most notably from a financial standpoint, the Millers thought it necessary to establish a GoFundMe account to help cover expenses for Derrick’s forthcoming trip to Orlando.
Monies registered to this account will help underwrite and cover the cost of hotels, food, and other vital essentials for a youth athlete who’s been nothing short of impressive on and off the court.
Over the weekend, Derrick, Jr.’s parents announced that he will be returning to Florida in the coming weeks for a football-related event.
A student at Memphis’ Promise Academy Charter School, Derrick, Jr. has raised nearly half the amount of donations toward the $2,500 his parents have sought to compile.
Given the outpour of support from family, friends, coaches, and close acquaintances, it’s safe to assume that people from various walks of life believe in Derrick, Jr., especially the notable impact he’s having on the local AAU hoops circuit.
“Derrick goes to work out every day with a trainer or one of his basketball team he plays with,” Mrs. Miller said. “Or if there is no training, he’s outside in the driveway, going head-to-head with his two older brothers. He has been eager to fundraise to attend the events. He will go the extra mile to fundraise from sun up to sun down in between games.”
All while ensuring that family values remain a customary trend in the household.
Just like his loving, supportive parents.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.