Colorado Springs-area multi-sport athlete Caleb Blake is as good as advertised

Caleb Blake FootballFootball.

Track and field.

Wrestling.

And maybe boxing.

Those are the sports about which Carson Middle School multisport standout Caleb Blake has enjoyed array of success in recent years in the Colorado Springs, Colorado area.

Given the continuous strides this 14-year-old, speedy, triple threat of an athlete has made of late, it’s safe to assume that Blake has shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

If nothing else, he appears destined to add another sport to what undoubtedly is starting to become a pretty intriguing athletic repertoire.

Among the reasons of that Blake’s background is such that this slim, 150-pounder is amongst a family of stellar athletes.

STAR WATCH --- Showing virtually no signs of a letdown, Caleb Blake held his own on in track and field when he recently broke the 200 meter record for eighth graders in the league competition.   In addition, he manufactured a new record in the 4x100 meters and came close to following suit in the 100 meters. (Photos submitted by J. Williams)

STAR WATCH — Showing virtually no signs of a letdown, Caleb Blake held his own on in track and field when he recently broke the 200 meter record for eighth graders in the league competition.
In addition, he manufactured a new record in the 4×100 meters and came close to following suit in the 100 meters. (Photos submitted by J. Williams)

“I come from a line of talent,” Blake said during a recent interview. “Being surrounded by so much talent has been inspirational.”

Now we know why.

Blake not has a couple of uncles who are former NFL players, but his other brother, Demario Leonard, is headed to Colorado State University this fall on a football scholarship.

Add to the fact that Blake’s immense athletic prowess has been nothing short of impressive in recent years, and it’s no wonder many who have witnessed with amazement his rise in competitive sports believe the possibility exists that he could be just as efficient as those family members whom footsteps he’s following.

FUTURE RAM --- Blake not has a couple of uncles who are former NFL players, but his other brother, Demario Leonard, is headed to Colorado State University this fall on a football scholarship.

FUTURE RAM — Blake not has a couple of uncles who are former NFL players, but his other brother, Demario Leonard, is headed to Colorado State University this fall on a football scholarship.

Never mind how big the footprints are, as Carson Middle football coach Justin Arnell has suggests.

“In my 13 years of coaching, I’ve coached numerous players that have gone on to find success in high school and college,” Arnell said. “I have no doubt Caleb is on that path. He’s an absolute pleasure to be around on a daily basis. He works hard, motivates others, and leads by example. He does all of this under the context of being a kid. He’s perfect by no means, but he’s aware of his weaknesses, he’s coachable, and works to improve himself daily. If Caleb Blake walks into your school consider yourself one lucky coach. He makes your job easy.”

To grasp a thorough understanding of why Blake’s coaches have given nothing short of rave reviews surrounding this rising standout, look no further the numbers he registered this past season, most notably on the gridiron.

To his credit, Blake was the catalyst of Carson Middle’s football team, having produced a team-best 11 touchdowns, which ultimately gave way to him being christened as the team’s Most Valuable Player.

He did not slow down there.

COLORADO CHAMP --- On the competitive wrestling circuit for Carson Middle, Blake had proven to be just as good as advertised when he won the league championship in his weight class.

COLORADO CHAMP — On the competitive wrestling circuit for Carson Middle, Blake had proven to be just as good as advertised when he won the league championship in his weight class.

That’s because on the competitive wrestling circuit for Carson Middle, Blake had proven to be just as good as advertised when he won the league championship in his weight class.

Showing virtually no signs of a letdown, Blake held his own on in track and field when he recently broke the 200 meter record for eighth graders in the league competition.

In addition, he manufactured a new record in the 4×100 meters and came close to following suit in the 100 meters.

Not bad for a speedy, triple threat athlete whom many say his best days are well ahead of him.

Blake is headed near year to Fountain Fort Carson High School in nearby Fountain, Colorado.

“When it first dawned on me that he would be successful, I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude,” said Jessie Williams, Blake’s mother. “As I watch my son dominate just about every sport in which he is involved, that grants me a strong sense of hope that he will go extremely far in sports. He has innate abilities to perform successfully, which few are blessed to have. Therefore, we are humbled that God chose him.”

Said Cleon Blake, Caleb Blake’s father and a former Florida State track and field star: “When I watch him play, I see that he has a gift. Although a gift that is not open is merely a box, I just hope he continues to focus and work ethically to open his box to pull out the great potential that lies within.”

That, after all, is among the reasons many believe that, without question, the sky’s the limit for this rising standout of an athlete.

Most importantly, Caleb Blake senses that as well.

Wrestling 2“My parents are all involved and it increases my motivation when I have talks with my father, seeing my mother screaming from the stands or running from store to store to make sure I have what is needed,” Caleb Blake explained. “My step parents go above and beyond to make sure that I am successful as well. I am grateful to be surrounded by so much love and support.”

Regardless of whether it’s in football.

Track and field.

Wrestling.

Maybe even boxing.

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.”

DreAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Memphian Marcellous Boyd Jr. showing athleticism, assertiveness on AAU circuit

Marcell1In case you don’t know who Marcellous Boyd Jr. is, allow his cousin, Tiffany Lowe, to introduce him.

“My little cousin is the truth,” Lowe wrote in a Facebook post Thursday afternoon.

To get a thorough understanding of why Boyd has garnered so much praise in recent years as a rising amateur athlete, look no further than his resume, most notably as a fixture for the Memphis Tigers 4.0 Boys/Gentlemen of Memphis Tigers 11-and-under AAU squad that captured the Southeastern AAU State Championship last week.

To his credit, Boyd, an 11-year-old swingman for the Tigers who began playing competitive basketball approximately three years ago, has done a masterful job in complementing the display of Tiger floor general, Harold Draper III.

Add to the fact that he has proven to play multiple positions, thus provide the Tigers will some much-needed offensive presence, and it’s no wonder his cousin and those who have followed his progress on the hardwood believe he very well could flourish into a household name in this, the hoops-crazed Bluff City.

ONE-TWO PUNCH --- Marcellous Boyd, an 11-year-old swingman for the Tiger who began playing competitive basketball approximately three years ago, has done a masterful job in complementing the display of Tiger floor general, Harold Draper III. (Photos by Christopher Schmidt)

ONE-TWO PUNCH — Marcellous Boyd, an 11-year-old swingman for the Tiger who began playing competitive basketball approximately three years ago, has done a masterful job in complementing the display of Tiger floor general, Harold Draper III. (Photos by Christopher Schmidt)

“Words can’t explain how happy I am now and how happy I will always be to see Marcellous strive for success on and off the court,” Vanessa Holmes, Marcellous’ mother, told MemphiSport on Thursday. “He is exactly what a mom would want her son to be.”

A self-proclaimed “cheerleader from the stands” whenever her son suits up to play, Holmes, a full-time working mom acknowledges that never does she grows tired of preparing for game day to watch her son in action, although his AAU schedule often gives way to array of traveling.

Surely, like hundreds of other basketball moms, Holmes figures to be on hand this extended weekend when the 4.0 Boys/Gentlemen of Memphis Tigers travel to New Orleans to take part in the always popular PrimeTime Super 60 Basketball Tournament.

This three-day event will showcase over 600 premier teams from around the nation, something about which isn’t new to Marcellous, who is accustomed to performing on the big stage.

“It is never tiring,” Holmes said of the seemingly congested checklist that is essential with regards to putting her son in the best possible position to generate exposure as a young athlete. “In fact, if I could add more hours to the day to watch my son I would. I love every second. I am Marcellous’ biggest fan. I live to watch him excel while living and achieving his dreams I am excited because I knew this was a great opportunity to show America what Marcellous has to offer on and off the court.”

A student at Memphis’ Christ the King Lutheran School, Marcellous not only has evolved as a young local hoops standout, but rather he has enjoyed success as a youth football player as a member of the Whitehaven Rams.

 

TWO-WAY ATHLETE --- A student at Memphis’ Christ the King Lutheran School, Marcellous not has evolved as a young local hoops standout, but rather he has enjoyed success as a youth football player as a member a Memphis-area youth league.

TWO-WAY ATHLETE — A student at Memphis’ Christ the King Lutheran School, Marcellous not has evolved as a young local hoops standout, but rather he has enjoyed success as a youth football player as a member a Memphis-area youth league.

Still, as Marcellous, a tall, slim, speedy multisport athlete says with boldness and pure confidence, basketball apparently is what he savors the most, as evidenced by his continuous progress on the local hoops amateur circuit.

“(Basketball) is my life,” Marcellous said. I dream, sleep, and eat basketball. I plan on taking basketball to another level.”

By and large, Marcellous credits his mother and father, Marcellous Boyd, Sr. for his assortment of life lessons they’ve instilled in him.

On and off the court, of course.

“They are the reason why I am who I am,” Marcellous said. “My mom and dad give me more positive advice than anyone can ask for. They always remind me that the sky is the limit and anything is possible if I believe in myself, because no one can take self-confidence. My coaches always tell me it’s not about the beginning it’s about the end results.”

PARENTAL SALUTE --- By and large, Marcellous credits his mother and father, Marcellous Boyd, Sr. for his the assortment of life lessons they’ve instilled in him. On and off the court, of course. “They are the reason why I am who I am,” Marcellous said.

PARENTAL SALUTE — By and large, Marcellous credits his mother and father, Marcellous Boyd, Sr. for his the assortment of life lessons they’ve instilled in him. On and off the court, of course. “They are the reason why I am who I am,” Marcellous said.

In the meantime, while basketball has afforded this young kid an array of opportunities to travel the country and put his skills on display, Marcellous realizes wholeheartedly that if his athletic dreams are to become a reality, he must continue to prioritize.

On and off the court, of course.

“I will stay focused, determined, make good grades, stay humble, be respectful and strive for the best at all times,” Marcellous said.

Sounding as if he knows he’s the truth…as his cousin suggested.

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.”

DreAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Sports media types blaming Stephen Curry’s daughter is deplorable on all levels

COMMENTARY

DALLAS — While covering the 2012 NBA best-of-7 opening-round playoff series between the Los Angeles Clippers versus the Memphis Grizzlies, I noticed that Clippers point Chris Paul on several occasions had brought his son, Chris Paul, Jr., to postgame news conferences.

THE REAL MVP --- Although Golden State Warriors star point guard Stephen Curry was named league MVP recently, his two-year-old daughter Riley essentially stole the show during Tuesday night's postgame news conference after the Warriors' 110-106 come-from-behind win against the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of their Western Conference Finals best-of-7 series. (Photos by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

THE REAL MVP — Although Golden State Warriors star point guard Stephen Curry was named league MVP recently, his two-year-old daughter Riley essentially stole the show during Tuesday night’s postgame news conference after the Warriors’ 110-106 come-from-behind win against the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of their Western Conference Finals best-of-7 series. (Photos by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

In addition, while in Houston to cover the 2013 NBA All-Star Game, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant brought one of his daughters to the Media Day festivities as he addressed a massive gallery of reporters.

Which is to say that in the wake of the Golden State Warriors’ 110-106 come-from-behind win in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets Tuesday night, I deem it downright ridiculous and insulting that several media pundits sounded off negatively about Warriors All-Star point guard Stephen Curry for bringing his beautiful daughter to the postgame news conference.

That several sportswriters had gone as far as to say the presence of the adorable two-year-old Riley, Curry’s daughter — who was allowed to sit on her father’s lap and made disruptive, cute comments terrible twos customarily utter — made it increasingly difficult for them to make their writing deadline is deplorable on all levels.

As a veteran sportswriter who made his professional debut in the print journalism industry some 15 years ago straight out of Journalism School, I am fully aware that one can’t possibly be trusted by his editor to hold such a responsible beat in covering a major college athletic program or professional sports franchise if he or she will often find it difficult meeting brutal reporting deadlines.

SHOW STOPPER --- Several sportswriters had gone as far as to say the presence of the adorable two-year-old Riley, Curry's daughter --- who was allowed to sit on her father's lap and made disruptive, cute comments terrible twos normally utter --- made it increasingly difficult for them to make their writing deadline.

SHOW STOPPER — Several sportswriters had gone as far as to say the presence of the adorable two-year-old Riley, Curry’s daughter — who was allowed to sit on her father’s lap and made disruptive, cute comments terrible twos normally utter — made it increasingly difficult for them to make their writing deadline.

That is, by all accounts, an essential requirement of the job. Reporters, particularly those who are employed by major daily metropolitan newspapers, must be able to gather news under intense pressure, let alone file and submit stories under the tightest and strictest of deadlines.

That several sportswriters had gone as far as to criticize Curry for allowing his precious angel of a daughter to join her league Most Valuable Player father on the postgame platform while he took questions from the media following his 34-point outburst is valid proof that some sports journalists not only are habitual whiners but, most of all, it shows just how soft they are with regards to fulfilling their job responsibilities.

Because, if, by chance, these reporters are routinely faced with stiff deadlines as they harshly suggested after Tuesday’s Rockets-Warriors game, surely they shouldn’t pin blame on Curry, much less blame the presence of his daughter who, to her credit, brought humor and life to what essentially was a boring, dead postgame news conference.

If, by chance, these reporters are routinely faced with stiff deadlines as they harshly suggested after Tuesday game, surely they shouldn't pin blame on Curry, much less blame the presence of his daughter who, to her credit, brought humor and life to what essentially was a boring, dead postgame news conference.

If, by chance, these reporters are routinely faced with stiff deadlines as they harshly suggested after Tuesday game, surely they shouldn’t pin blame on Curry, much less blame the presence of his daughter who, to her credit, brought humor and life to what essentially was a boring, dead postgame news conference.

If nothing else, these journalists ought to blame themselves for their inability to deliver, ought to point fingers at themselves simply because it seems they often have issues in meeting their editor’s lofty expectations while reporting on basketball’s grandest stage.

As for a silver lining to all of this constant postseason murmuring by media members, well, at least they will be afforded the golden opportunity to atone for their lethargic reporting display after Game 1.

Game 2 is Thursday night in Oakland.

Same place.

Same time.

Same tight deadline.

DreAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

As Memphis AAU hoops phenom Harold Draper III goes, so goes his teammates

Draper1Arguably the scariest thing about Harold Draper III, particularly for those who must face him on the basketball court in the coming years, is that this kid’s best days are well ahead of him.

At just 10 years of age, Draper — nicknamed “HD3” — a vibrant, speed point guard on the Memphis-area AAU circuit, has become a fixture amongst those who have monitored closely his immense skills in recent years.

Armed with what many AAU coaches say is a basketball IQ similar to that of a varsity athlete, it would hard pressed to tell that Draper III — because of his draw-dropping skills on the hardwood — is a year away from entering the middle school ranks.

“He has become very much more aware of how defense creates offense,” said Andrea Dandridge, arguably Draper III’s most devoted fan. “Defensively, he has improved tremendously.”

DOUBLE THREAT --- Not only is Harold Draper III --- the cousin and mentee of former University of Memphis senior guard Trey Draper who boasts lofty aspirations of someday playing for the perennial power Tigers --- efficient on the court, but he has proven to be just as effective in the classroom at Memphis’ Double Tree Montessori and Technology School.  Just recently, Draper III was recently honored with the Presidential Award For Academic Excellence, a prestigious accolade that is given to the student that produces the highest grade average. (Photos by Christopher Schmidt)

DOUBLE THREAT — Not only is Harold Draper III — the cousin and mentee of former University of Memphis senior guard Trey Draper who boasts lofty aspirations of someday playing for the perennial power Tigers — efficient on the court, but he has proven to be just as effective in the classroom at Memphis’ Double Tree Montessori and Technology School.
Just recently, Draper III was recently honored with the Presidential Award For Academic Excellence, a prestigious accolade that is given to the student that produces the highest grade average. (Photos by Christopher Schmidt)

Not only has his defensive mechanics become nearly equally efficient as his offensive skillset, but whenever Draper III suits us for the Memphis Tigers 4.0 Boys/Gentlemen of Memphis Tigers 11-and-under AAU squad, those with whom he plays alongside routinely benefits mightily from his on-court presence.

In a nutshell, as Draper goes, so goes his teammates, a rather favorable trend that customarily brings 4.0Boys/Gentlemen of Memphis Tigers coach Brandon Johnson to smiles from the sidelines.

“Harold is a kid that relies on fundamentals,” Johnson told MemphiSport on Tuesday. “He is a leader on and off the court and is an honor student athlete.”

Indeed he is.

Not only is Draper III — the cousin and mentee of former University of Memphis senior guard Trey Draper who boasts lofty aspirations of someday playing for the perennial power Tigers — efficient on the court, but he has proven to be just as effective in the classroom at Memphis’ Double Tree Montessori and Technology School.

Check out HD3 on YouTube: http://youtu.be/TzjSyTun6js

Just recently, Draper III was recently honored with the Presidential Award For Academic Excellence, a prestigious accolade that is given to the student that produces the highest grade average.

To his credit, Draper III’s reputation is such that he not only dishes out eye-catching A’s (assists) on the court, but he’s doing the same even when he isn’t in the gymnasium.

In other words, Draper III is a straight-A student.

“Harold holds his priorities dear to him…Christ, class, court,” Dandridge said. “He knows that his abilities are a blessing, so he honors God in everything that he does. He is aware that he is a student athlete and that there is nothing more important than an education. He surrounds himself with people that he can foster positive relationships with, who will encourage and inspire him. He knows that the opportunity that he has to play is a privilege. So he never takes it for granted when his feet hits the hardwood.”

Come this weekend, the kid who has made a name for himself in gyms throughout this basketball-crazed Bluff City will once again be afforded the golden opportunity to put his skills on display.

Only this time it will be on a much-larger stage.

OFF TO NAWLINS --- Come Saturday, the kid who has made a name for himself in gyms throughout this basketball-crazed Bluff City will once again be afforded the golden opportunity to put his skills on display.  Only this time it will be on a much-larger stage.  That’s when the Gentlemen of Memphis Tigers will travel to New Orleans to partake in the always popular PrimeTime Super 60 Basketball Tournament this weekend.  This three-day event will showcase over 600 premier teams from around the nation, something about which isn’t new to Draper III, who is accustomed to performing on the big stage.

OFF TO NAWLINS — Come Saturday, the kid who has made a name for himself in gyms throughout this basketball-crazed Bluff City will once again be afforded the golden opportunity to put his skills on display.
Only this time it will be on a much-larger stage.
That’s when the 4.0 Boys/Gentlemen of Memphis Tigers will travel to New Orleans to partake in the always popular PrimeTime Super 60 Basketball Tournament this weekend.
This three-day event will showcase over 600 premier teams from around the nation, something about which isn’t new to Draper III, who is accustomed to performing on the big stage.

That’s when the 4.0 Boys/Gentlemen of Memphis Tigers will travel to New Orleans to partake in the always popular PrimeTime Super 60 Basketball Tournament this weekend.  This three-day event will showcase over 600 premier teams from around the nation, something about which isn’t new to Draper III, who is accustomed to performing on the big stage.

Even if it’s in the Big Easy.

Last week, Draper III engineered the Tigers to the Southeastern AAU State Championship.

“I think that I am a little faster and my shots have gotten better,” said Draper III, assessing his progress within the past year. “On the court, my team is special. Everybody is talented. It is special (group of athletes) because we are more than teammates; we are brothers and friends. I’m better because they make me better.”

For someone who many say boasts the immense skills, maturity, and talent to emerge as a local big name point guard much like Memphians Andre Turner, Elliot Perry, and Joe Jackson, among others, Draper doesn’t shy away from the notion that his priorities must remain intact as he continues to make his presence felt.

On and off the court.

“I’ll make my parents proud by keeping my priorities in order…Christ, class, court,” Draper III said. “I’ll make my coach proud by staying humble, being a gentlemen, and earning my keeps.”

Which, after all, is the scariest thing about the young HD3.

That’s because his best playing days are well ahead of him.

Without question.

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.”

DreAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

Bolton senior Karlon King survives near-death experience, will earn diploma Saturday

As always, Karlon William King fields the question as if he expects it.

“People often ask me, ‘How are you still here?’ Karlon explained. “And I reply, ‘It’s nothing but the grace and mercy of God. The Lord has a calling upon my life and I don’t think it’s time for me to leave this earth until my assignment is finally finished.”

Karlon1To get a thorough understanding of why Karlon has deemed himself a self-proclaimed “walking miracle,” look no further than the potentially fatal events that surrounding him days after his birth 19 years ago.

Having endured an assortment of physical challenges upon his birth, Karlon had to have a shunt inserted down the left side of his head and was extended down inside of his stomach.

MIRACLE CHILD --- Four years removed from an apparent frightening medical procedure many feared would ultimately send him to his grave before his Sweet 16th birthday, Karlon King’s family and friends will almost certainly be left crying tears of joy when the Bolton High senior walks across the stage to receive his diploma on Saturday.

MIRACLE CHILD — Four years removed from an apparent frightening medical procedure many feared would ultimately send him to his grave before his Sweet 16th birthday, Karlon King’s family and friends will almost certainly be left crying tears of joy when the Bolton High senior walks across the stage to receive his diploma on Saturday.

According to Medtronics.com, a shunt is hole or a small passage that moves or allows movement of fluid from one part of the body to another. The term may describe either congenital or acquired shunts and acquired shunts — sometimes referred to as iatrogenic shunts — may be either biological or mechanical.

In Karlon’s case, the shunt was installed to drain excess fluids off of his brain that wasn’t needed.

However, four years ago, the Lynwood, Calif. native was rushed to the hospital after doctors discovered what had been an improperly installed shunt, a potentially fatal occurrence that hospitalized him for a lengthy period of time.

“Only God knew exactly what He was doing,” Karlon recalled. “He was giving me a testimony for millions to hear all around the world.”

Four years removed from an apparent frightening medical procedure many feared would ultimately send him to his grave before his Sweet 16th birthday, Karlon’s family and friends will almost certainly be left crying tears of joy when the

Bolton High senior walks across the stage to receive his diploma on Saturday.

PRAYING MAMA --- One minute, this soft-spoken, devout Christian teenager is lying stretched out on an operation table, his young life hanging the balance in the process. Four years later, he’s surprisingly filling out college applications, looking ahead to a bright future that once seemed very much in doubt.  “I am very proud of Karlon,” said Ernestine King, Karlon’s mother in MemphiSport’s inaugural Salute To Graduates 2015. “When I look at him I see how marvelous God is. Karlon is a walking, talking miracle. Doctors had given him up to die. They said he would not survive a week. Karlon was born four months prematurely. He had hemorrhaging and fluid on his brain which required emergency surgery and a shunt placement to drain the fluid. He was on the respirator for the first four months of his life. For the first five years of his life Karlon had a swallowing disorder due to the tube in his throat. He could eat solid foods.”

PRAYING MAMA — One minute, this soft-spoken, devout Christian teenager is lying stretched out on an operation table, his young life hanging the balance in the process. Four years later, he’s surprisingly filling out college applications, looking ahead to a bright future that once seemed very much in doubt.
“I am very proud of Karlon,” said Ernestine King, Karlon’s mother in MemphiSport’s inaugural Salute To Graduates 2015. “When I look at him I see how marvelous God is. Karlon is a walking, talking miracle. Doctors had given him up to die. They said he would not survive a week. Karlon was born four months prematurely. He had hemorrhaging and fluid on his brain which required emergency surgery and a shunt placement to drain the fluid. He was on the respirator for the first four months of his life. For the first five years of his life Karlon had a swallowing disorder due to the tube in his throat. He could eat solid foods.”

One minute, this soft-spoken, devout Christian teenager is lying stretched out on an operation table, his young life hanging the balance in the process. Four years later, he’s surprisingly filling out college applications, looking ahead to a bright future that once seemed very much in doubt.

“I am very proud of Karlon,” said Ernestine King, Karlon’s mother in MemphiSport’s inaugural Salute To Graduates 2015. “When I look at him I see how marvelous God is. Karlon is a walking, talking miracle. Doctors had given him up to die. They said he would not survive a week. Karlon was born four months prematurely. He had hemorrhaging and fluid on his brain which required emergency surgery and a shunt placement to drain the fluid. He was on the respirator for the first four months of his life. For the first five years of his life Karlon had a swallowing disorder due to the tube in his throat. He could eat solid foods.”

Looking at him today, people would be hard-pressed to tell that Karlon had once faced arguably the darkest hours of his young life. As his mother has said time and again when sharing testimonies, though, God had other plans for her son who, today, is a fixture in the historic Church of God In Christ.

A couple years ago, Karlon was installed as a national Adjutant under the leadership Of Bishop Matthew Williams in which he works mostly with the Board of Bishops, most notably COGIC’s Presiding Bishop, Charles E. Blake, Sr.

In addition, he routinely assists and serves Tennessee Fourth Ecclesiastical Jurisdictional Prelate, Bishop Jerry L. Maynard, Sr. under the leadership of Pastor Antonio M. Buckley. Also, he serves his local church (Faith Temple Ministries COGIC), where assists Pastor Andrew Jackson, Sr.

“I must say that the Church Of God In Christ has allowed me to use my gift to the glory of God,” Karlon said. “And I will be forever grateful for a wonderful leader that we have for the COGIC Inc.”

As for his future ambitions, Karlon, who acquired a cumulative grade point average of 3.0, will attend Southwest Tennessee Community College this fall, where he plans to major in Computer Engineering and minor in Music.

STRONG SURVIVOR --- As for his future ambitions, Karlon, who acquired a cumulative grade point average of 3.0, will attend Southwest Tennessee Community College this fall, where he plans to major in Computer Engineering and minor in Music.  Eventually, he plans to become an entrepreneur.

STRONG SURVIVOR — As for his future ambitions, Karlon, who acquired a cumulative grade point average of 3.0, will attend Southwest Tennessee Community College this fall, where he plans to major in Computer Engineering and minor in Music.
Eventually, he plans to become an entrepreneur.

Eventually, he plans to become an entrepreneur.

All of which, of course, is dramatic comeback for the ages for a vibrant, enthusiastic kid who, just four years ago, witnessed his life hanging in the balance.

“I’m proud and thankful that God gave Karlon the will and determination to fight, struggle, and overcome every single obstacle that came his way,” Ernestine said. “Because of what Karlon’s been through, he now councils, comforts and encourages others, young and old. Karlon has the right stuff. His friends nicknamed him “Bishop”, “Deacon” and “Grandpa” as terms of respect. The sky is the limit for Karlon because God has His hands on his life. Truly, God left Karlon on this earth for a God-ordained purpose.”

That, after all, is why her son fields the question as if he expects it.

“People often ask me, ‘How are you still here?’” Karlon said once again.

This time while displaying his signature smile.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you would like to salute a Class of 2015 graduate with a unique celebratory tribute that will be designed like this one, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

DreAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

Memphian Robert Lee making academic noise in New York, headed to Vandy in fall

Robert T. Lee Jr. is the younger of Felicia Lee’s two children.

RobAmong the things about which Felicia admires mostly about Robert is his continuous drive and determination to excel, his competitive nature to go above and beyond to produce favorable results, his tireless commitment to manufacturing academic excellence — all of which, to his credit, has benefited him mightily in recent years.

Miles and miles away from his native hometown of Memphis.

At 18 years of age, Robert is a senior at Scarsdale High School, a tradition-rich public institution in Scarsdale, New York, located in the coterminous town and village in Westchester County, New York. Founded in 1917, the school is a part of the Scarsdale Union Free School District.

IN HIGH DEMAND --- Just like a well-sought-after five-star prep athlete, Robert Lee had drawn interest from an array of colleges before deciding to accept a full-ride academic scholarship offer from Vanderbilt University. (Photos submitted by F. Lee)

IN HIGH DEMAND — Just like a well-sought-after five-star prep athlete, Robert Lee had drawn interest from an array of colleges before deciding to accept a full-ride academic scholarship offer from Vanderbilt University. (Photos submitted by F. Lee)

According to a study implemented by U.S. News & World Report, Scarsdale High School was rated among the nation’s top 100 institutions for math and science.

Like many of his peers who have enjoyed academic success at Scarsdale, Robert Lee has held his own at a school that boasts arguably some of the highest academic standards.

For starters, he has compiled a cumulative grade of average of 3.7 and has become a fixture in an assortment of activities — most notably an officer for Habitat for Humanity, the treasurer for Cooking For A Cause, a member of the Invisible Children’s Club, Hawthorne Cedar Knolls Club, Global Camps for Africa, Midnight Run, not to mention a House Representative for the Student Government.

While a majority of his success has transpired hundreds of miles away from the Bluff City, Felecia Lee admittedly is all smiles, considering her son has been nothing short of impressive in since he set foot on the Scarsdale campus.

“I’m extremely proud of Robert on his many accomplishments,” Felicia Lee told MemphiSport Thursday afternoon during its inaugural “Salute To Graduates 2015.” “He has expressed all of the key factors. His father and I taught him during his journey in New York. He has taken every opportunity offered to him and enjoyed every step of the way. He’s the youngest of his siblings I couldn’t be more amazed of how he’s approaching his life with full speed and determination.”

Just like a well-sought-after five-star prep athlete, Robert Lee had drawn interest from an array of colleges before deciding to accept a full-ride academic scholarship offer from Vanderbilt University.

Initially, the former Memphis Craigmont High student had considered Rhodes College, Ursinus College, the University of Memphis, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and Hampton University.
After completing his higher educational studies, he plans to become a Neuro-Radiologist.

According to his mother, Robert Lee chose Vanderbilt, in large part because it was willing to offer him more scholarship funding. He was selected as an Ingram Scholar.

MOTHERLY LOVE --- Robert T. Lee Jr. is the younger of Felicia Lee’s two children. Among the things about which Felecia admires mostly about Robert is his continuous drive and determination to excel, his competitive nature to go above and beyond to produce favorable results, his tireless commitment to manufacturing academic excellence.

MOTHERLY LOVE — Robert T. Lee Jr. is the younger of Felicia Lee’s two children. Among the things about which Felecia admires mostly about Robert is his continuous drive and determination to excel, his competitive nature to go above and beyond to produce favorable results, his tireless commitment to manufacturing academic excellence.

Still, while her son continues to bring her to smiles, Felicia admittedly misses him “dearly” as she acknowledged time and again on Thursday.

“We communicate on a daily basis,” Felicia said. “He’s my youngest child, but yet left home at the tender age of 16. He was selected by the STEP Program to attend Scarsdale High School and living with host Parents. All the hard work he put in studying all night, all the essays he wrote to apply for different colleges, all the trials and tribulations he’s faced in high school…he overcame them all.”

All of which undoubtedly will give way to Felicia Lee unleashing tears of joy when her youngest child’s name is called on graduation night on June 26.

“When his name is called on graduation night,” said Felicia, “I will think about how his life changed overnight…all the praying and how fast those two years went by.”

Two memorable years in which her youngest child had been nothing short of impressive.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you would like to salute a Class of 2015 graduate with a unique celebratory tribute that will be designed like this one, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

DreAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Fairley High band standout Javorian Miller primed to perform at collegiate level

Despite growing up in a poverty-stricken city in which senseless crimes have been virtually a customary trend, Renatta Crawford-Miller would be the first to tell you that she had gone to great lengths to help steer her son in the right direction.  In other words, she had sensed all along that Miller has what it takes to steadfastly see from beyond where he resides, thus maximize his potential in the process.  “He has been raised right,” Crawford-Malone said. “I put the fear of God in him and there is nothing on earth that can stop him.” (Photos submitted by R. Malone)

MOM KNOWS BEST — Despite growing up in a poverty-stricken city in which senseless crimes have been virtually a customary trend, Renatta Crawford-Miller would be the first to tell you that she had gone to great lengths to help steer her son in the right direction.
In other words, she had sensed all along that Miller has what it takes to steadfastly see from beyond where he resides, thus maximize his potential in the process.
“He has been raised right,” Crawford-Malone said. “I put the fear of God in him and there is nothing on earth that can stop him.” (Photos submitted by R. Malone)

It doesn’t take much to get Renatta Crawford-Malone amped up, let alone to strike up a conversation about her son, Javorian Miller.

“I will always be there for him,” Crawford-Malone told MemphiSport on Tuesday during its annual Salute To The 2015 Graduates. “And I will always be in his corner. Against all odds, we have been blessed.”

As Miller, a marching band standout for Memphis Fairley High School, prepares to earn his much-anticipated diploma when the school holds its commencement exercises May 27, Crawford-Malone deemed it necessary to assess the close knit bond she has established with her son throughout the years, a trend that, to his credit, has benefited him mightily, particularly as a rising musician.

For starters, Miller — who showed flashes of emerging into an accomplished musician when he was seen time and again beating on pots and pans as a child — had become a fixture in a Fairley marching band that has become one of the Mid-South’s finest in recent years.

Add to the fact that the 18-year-old Miller has generated interests from an array of colleges as a thriving percussionist, and it’s no wonder why this vibrant, gifted kid is well on his way to fulfilling his dream of suiting up for a college march band this fall.

Next up for Miller: A spot in Talladega College’s historic marching band.

A rural campus that is comprised of roughly 50 acres, Talladega is located in an historic district of the city of Talladega, Alabama, a school that is on a plateau about 700 feet above sea level in the heart of a fertile valley in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. JaV1

Talladega, in fact, is a mostly quiet establishment, a mostly peaceful setting that is far away from the distractions and fast pace of urban living, something about Crawford-Malone knows full well her son needs, especially considering he has spent the past 18 years in the hustle and bustle that Memphis often creates.

Regardless, in spite of growing up in a poverty-stricken city in which senseless crimes have been virtually a customary trend, Crawford-Miller would be the first to tell you that she had gone to great lengths to help steer her son in the right direction.

In other words, she had sensed all along that Miller has what it takes to steadfastly see from beyond where he resides, thus maximize his potential in the process.

“He has been raised right,” Crawford-Malone said. “I put the fear of God in him and there is nothing on earth that can stop him.”

CHASING GREATNESS --- Miller --- who showed flashes of emerging into an accomplished musician when he was seen time and again beating on pots and pans as a child --- had become a fixture in a Fairley marching band that has become one of the Mid-South’s finest in recent years.  Add to the fact that the 18-year-old Miller has generated interests from an array of colleges as a thriving percussionist, and it’s no wonder why this vibrant, gifted kid is well on his way to fulfilling his dream of suiting up for a college march band this fall.  Next up for Miller: A spot in Talladega College’s historic marching band.

CHASING GREATNESS — Miller — who showed flashes of emerging into an accomplished musician when he was seen time and again beating on pots and pans as a child — had become a fixture in a Fairley marching band that has become one of the Mid-South’s finest in recent years.
Add to the fact that the 18-year-old Miller has generated interests from an array of colleges as a thriving percussionist, and it’s no wonder why this vibrant, gifted kid is well on his way to fulfilling his dream of suiting up for a college march band this fall.
Next up for Miller: A spot in Talladega College’s historic marching band.

Miller, who recently completed his four year as a member of Fairley’s marching band, relishes the fact his mother has been his go-to person from the very outset, or ever since his days of pounding on her pots and pans.

“My mom and I relationship is like a strong bond,” Miller said. “My mom has been very supportive to me. She always keeps my head right. As a child, I use to beat on my mom pots and pans. She didn’t like it because we use them to eat. But I use to think that the sound of the pots and pans sounded like real drums.”

Today, it because of his mother gave him a free pass of banging on her eating utensils that Miller has been afforded the golden opportunity to put his music-related skills on a much larger stage — as part of a college march band.

One minute, this kid, who boasts and array of talent as a musician, is sitting home watching the motion picture, “Drumline,” a 2002 fictional story about a historically black college and university marching band that was written by Tina Gordon Chism and Shawn Schepps.

The next minute, he’s being offered a scholarship to put his skills on display just like the cast in that popular drama flick — thanks, in large part to the continuous love and support of his mother.

“I thank my mom for getting me into college and staying by my side and never letting me down, because that’s what I always wanted,” Miller said. “I will always try to keep my mom happy and proud of me by making better decisions and choices in my life. And, I will always keep my head focused toward being a success.”

Which, after all, is why it doesn’t take much to get his mom amped up about her son.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you would like to salute a Class of 2015 graduate with a unique celebratory tribute that will be designed like this one, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

DreAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Ex-college football standout Timothy Wright making much noise as thriving entrepreneur

TimMainOLIVE BRANCH, Mississippi — No doubt, Timothy T. Wright has lived long enough to experience failure.

So much, in fact, that no one has to remind him of it.

A former multi-sport high school athlete and ex-college football standout, Wright is chief executive officer of the Timothy Wright Group in which he oversees his Farmers Insurance Agency, located at 2506 Mount Moriah Road, Suite B404.

For someone who admittedly dislikes sales, Wright, to his credit, has grasped a thorough understanding of what it means to serve people, particularly as an established entrepreneur.

Given how he has gone about becoming acclimated as a businessman, it’s safe to assume that Wright has shown no signs of slowing down any time soon.

SIMPLY RESILIENT --- For someone who admittedly dislikes sales, Wright, to his credit, has grasped a thorough understanding of what it means to serve people, particularly as an established entrepreneur. Given how he has gone about becoming acclimated as a businessman, it’s safe to assume that Wright has shown no signs of slowing down any time soon. Thanks, in large part to his keen ability to weather the toughest of life’s obstacles that came his way. “I have been very successful in business, but it has not been without a lot of failure,” Wright told MemphiSport during a recent interview. “I have failed, failed, and failed…which has made me successful. Failure is not an option in our household.”

SIMPLY RESILIENT — For someone who admittedly dislikes sales, Wright, to his credit, has grasped a thorough understanding of what it means to serve people, particularly as an established entrepreneur. Given how he has gone about becoming acclimated as a businessman, it’s safe to assume that Wright has shown no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Thanks, in large part to his keen ability to weather the toughest of life’s obstacles that came his way. “I have been very successful in business, but it has not been without a lot of failure,” Wright told MemphiSport during a recent interview. “I have failed, failed, and failed…which has made me successful. Failure is not an option in our household.”

Thanks, of course, in large part to his keen ability to weather the toughest of life’s obstacles that came his way.

“I have been very successful in business, but it has not been without a lot of failure,” Wright told MemphiSport during a recent interview. “I have failed, failed, and failed…which has made me successful. Failure is not an option in our household.”

FAITHFUL FAMILY --- Given the continuous success he has enjoyed since making the lofty transition from the gridiron to the world of entrepreneurial ship, it seems that even nowadays, Wright has adopted a newfound admiration for sales. Thanks, of course, in large part to solid and longstanding support of Lachanda, his wife of 12 years.

FAITHFUL FAMILY — Given the continuous success he has enjoyed since making the lofty transition from the gridiron to the world of entrepreneurial ship, it seems that even nowadays, Wright has adopted a newfound admiration for sales.
Thanks, of course, in large part to solid and longstanding support of Lachanda, his wife of 12 years.

To get a thorough indication of why Wright’s reputation in corporate America is such that his primary objective to achieve entrepreneurial excellence, look no further than his past success as an athlete.

A former Olive Branch High multi-sport star, Wright was a force for the Conquistadors as a football standout, having garnered all conference, all county, and all district honors. By and large, his success on the gridiron ultimately gave way to an assortment of accolades in track and field, where Wright was named among the Top 10 athletes in Mississippi (discus).

Consequently, his immense skills as an athlete did not go unnoticed by college scouts and recruiters, considering Wright was pursued heavily by an array of Mid-South schools before electing to play football for then-perennial national power Northwest Mississippi Community College where, as team captain for a game, he continued to be as good as advertised.

Having been re-recruited by a number of major and mid-major Division I colleges, Wright ultimately signed a national letter of intent to finish out his college eligibility at Tennessee-Martin, where he generated All-Ohio Valley Conference honors.

So efficient was Wright as a college football standout that he was faced with the option of extending his football at the professional level. But as Wright tells it, God had other plans, a life-enhancing strategy about which it seems he has fully embraced, especially given the success he’s enjoying as a longtime entrepreneur.

“I have played sports from the seventh grade to the completion of college with the option to play on a professional level,” Wright said. “But God did not have that in His plan for me physically at the time in life.”

Still, failure wasn’t option for Wright.

A former Olive Branch High multi-sport star, Wright was a force for the Conquistadors as a football standout, having garnered all conference, county, and district honors. His success on the gridiron ultimately gave way to an assortment of accolades in track and field, where Wright was named among the Top 10 athletes in Mississippi (discus). Consequently, his immense skills as an athlete did not go unnoticed by college scouts and recruiters, considering Wright was pursued by an array of Mid-South before electing to play football for then-perennial national power Northwest Mississippi Community College where, as team captain, he continued to be as good as advertised. Having been re-recruited by a number of major and mid-major Division I colleges, Wright ultimately signed a national letter of intent to finish out his college eligibility at Tennessee-Martin, where he generated All-Ohio Valley Conference honors.

A former Olive Branch High multi-sport star, Wright was a force for the Conquistadors as a football standout, having garnered all conference, county, and district honors. His success on the gridiron ultimately gave way to an assortment of accolades in track and field, where Wright was named among the Top 10 athletes in Mississippi (discus). Consequently, his immense skills as an athlete did not go unnoticed by college scouts and recruiters, considering Wright was pursued by an array of Mid-South before electing to play football for then-perennial national power Northwest Mississippi Community College where, as team captain for a game, he continued to be as good as advertised. Having been re-recruited by a number of major and mid-major Division I colleges, Wright ultimately signed a national letter of intent to finish out his college eligibility at Tennessee-Martin, where he generated All-Ohio Valley Conference honors.

Years removed from having graduated from UT-Martin with Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, Wright advanced his education, having enrolled at the American College for a number of years, a stint that ultimately allowed him to acquire the equivalent to a Master’s degree in my profession. Tim

Add to the fact that Wright is armed with more than 20 years of finance, mortgage, stocks, management, and entrepreneurship experience, let alone an equivalent of a doctoral degree in business, and it’s no wonder why this former football star has managed to savor just as much success in the corporate world.

“I am very competitive and always looking to improve,” said Wright, explaining how his competitive drive as an athlete fueled his desire to thrive as an entrepreneur. “My staff is set with teammates and not employees. I am always reading books to learn more about self-development. I listen to some of the greatest minds of my times each day like Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Les Brown, Robert Kiyosaki, Darren Hardy and etc. I am so competitive that when it’s the four quarter in a game, life, or business, I get stronger and work harder. When I am told that I cannot do something, I work harder.”

Currently, Wright manages what he describes as a “family and friendly” based” Farmers Insurance agency in Memphis, with a satellite office set to open in nearby Jackson, Tennessee. Also, plans are underway to erect a full service Farmers Insurance facility in Brentwood, Tennessee, a project that is scheduled to be complete by the end of this summer.

In addition, Wright and his staff have become fixtures, particularly as it relates to being a viable presence in the community.

“We are continually involved in the community and charity events,” Wright said. “We enjoy teaching programs like Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University to different groups.”

And, given the continuous success he has enjoyed since making the lofty transition from the gridiron to the world of entrepreneurial ship, it seems that even nowadays, Wright has adopted a newfound admiration for sales.

Thanks, of course, in large part to solid and longstanding support of Lachanda, his wife of 12 years.

“What I like most about business is that I can help people and tell him what most people or business people will not share with them because I follow God’s principles first,” Wright explained. “I get to build with my family and for my family. I do not have the pressure of meeting someone’s bottom line and pushing what I do not like of believe in chasing the almighty dollar. “I have shared 12 wonderful years with Lachanda without arguing thus far and take that same approach with my clients. What I like mostly about business is that I can help people and tell him what most people or business people will not share with them because I follow God’s principles first. I get to build with my family and for my family. I do not have the pressure of meeting someone’s bottom line and pushing what I do not like or believe in chasing the almighty dollar.”

Among the reasons is that Wright has lived long to experience failure.

So much, in fact, that no one has had to remind him of it.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information about Timothy Wright and the Timothy Wright Group, call 901-244-7788 office number. Also, check out his website at: www.farmersagent.com/twright2 twright2@farmersagent.com.

DreColumnAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Grand Prairie ISD educator Khiandra Marsland has reasons to savor Mother’s Day

DALLAS — For Khiandra Marsland, whether times are favorable or unfavorable, her mother will make it a point to be there.

Without question.

MarslandMain“Throughout my life, whenever I needed her she was there,” Marsland said. “The distance from Texas to Louisiana was not an issue. If I called her for anything, she would jump in her van and head on over.”

Fortunately for Marsland, a mother of two (Kendrick and Khiandra), such a life-altering trend had gone on for a little more than 13 years, particularly since this thriving, longtime educator relocated from her native hometown of Alexandria, Louisiana to Dallas last May.

Today, however, it seems the close knit bond between Marsland and her mother, Verandia Roland Marsland, has become tighter than it has ever been, in large part because this big-hearted woman who gave her life deemed it necessary to never become inseparable from each of her five grandchildren.

Without question.

“My mother is also affectionately known as Mimi by her grandchildren,” Khiandra explained. “She has often said that she could train others on how to be a grandmother. It’s a role that she does not take lightly. She showers all five of her grandkids with love and care packages filled with their favorite treats. I can truly say my mom gives love to not only her family and friends, but her community as well.”

MONUMENTAL IMPACT --- “Mimi,” a devoted godly woman who instilled in her children Biblical principles she advised them to apply to their respective lifestyle, is widely viewed as a compassionate individual whose reputation is such that she has a heart for people.  “My mother stands out from others because she has a heart of gold,” Khiandra said. “She is truly one of the most giving people I know. She never meets a stranger and has a godly affection for the elderly. She will see an elderly person in the store and will go up to them and strike up a conversation. Before long, she has them laughing and talking and treating them like they are family.”

MONUMENTAL IMPACT — “Mimi,” a devoted godly woman who instilled in her children Biblical principles she advised them to apply to their respective lifestyle, is widely viewed as a compassionate individual whose reputation is such that she has a heart for people.
“My mother stands out from others because she has a heart of gold,” Khiandra said. “She is truly one of the most giving people I know. She never meets a stranger and has a godly affection for the elderly. She will see an elderly person in the store and will go up to them and strike up a conversation. Before long, she has them laughing and talking and treating them like they are family.”

In commemorating MemphiSport’s Salute To Mother’s Day 2015, Khiandra said among the attributes she labels most intriguing about her mother is how she routinely goes to great lengths to inspire and impact the lives of people from various walks of life.

In a nutshell, “Mimi,” a devoted godly woman who instilled in her children Biblical principles she advised them to apply to their respective lifestyles, is widely viewed as a compassionate individual whose reputation is such that she boasts a heart for people.

Without question.

MOTHERLY LOVE --- It is, after all, because of her Verandia Roland Marsland's unyielding love and guidance, that life in Texas has given way to a renewed sense of solace and comfort and direction, something about which has benefited Khiandra Marsland mightily in recent months.  So much for the past hardships and seemingly insurmountable hurdles she had to clear.  Mama made it a point to be there from the outset. “She is a godly example of how we are to walk and be children of integrity,” Khiandra said. “Now that I am a mother, it is my goal to help my children achieve their greatest dreams and to be their biggest cheerleader along the way.” (Photos submitted by. K. Marsland)

MOTHERLY LOVE — It is, after all, because of her Verandia Roland Marsland’s unyielding love and guidance, that life in Texas has given way to a renewed sense of solace and comfort and direction, something about which has benefited Khiandra Marsland mightily in recent months.
So much for the past hardships and seemingly insurmountable hurdles she had to clear.
Mama made it a point to be there from the outset.
“She is a godly example of how we are to walk and be children of integrity,” Khiandra said. “Now that I am a mother, it is my goal to help my children achieve their greatest dreams and to be their biggest cheerleader along the way.” (Photos submitted by. K. Marsland)

“My mother stands out from others because she has a heart of gold,” Khiandra said. “She is truly one of the most giving people I know. She never meets a stranger and has a godly affection for the elderly. She will see an elderly person in the store and will go up to them and strike up a conversation. Before long, she has them laughing and talking and treating them like they are family.”

That Verandia steadfastly demonstrates love for her family and others has served as a monumental example, of sorts, for Khiandra, who teaches for the Grand Prairie Independent School District. That’s because not only does Khiandra displays compassion and love for her students but, most importantly, she instills those very similar qualities in the lives of her children.

Fortunately for her, her mother routinely travels to and from Dallas to help spread such love to Kendrick and Khiandra, an unlikely development she welcomed wholeheartedly in the aftermath of her move from Louisiana.

“I am humble and in awe of her love and support of me and my kids,” said Khiandra, assessing her mother’s overall impact on her and her children. “I was feeling overwhelmed and a loss for direction and it was her support and through God’s guidance that I landed on my feet.”

Which, to the delight of Khiandra, sums up why this latest Mother’s Day will hold an even greater meaning.

It is, after all, because of her mother’s unyielding love and guidance, that life in Texas nowadays has given way to a renewed sense of solace and comfort and direction, something about which has benefited Khiandra and her children mightily in recent months.

So much for the past hardships and seemingly insurmountable hurdles she had to clear.

That’s because “Mimi” has made it a point to be there from the outset.

No doubt.

“She is a godly example of how we are to walk and be children of integrity,” Khiandra said. “Now that I am a mother, it is my goal to help my children achieve their greatest dreams and to be their biggest cheerleader along the way.”

Whether times for them are favorable or unfavorable.

Without question.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Whether your mother is living or deceased, if you would like to pay homage to your mom, grandmother, wife, girlfriend, etc., with a unique Mother’s Day tribute that will feature an in-depth story like this one, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

DrePicAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist. 

Mid-South amateur boxer Mike Davis’ skills drawing comparisons to Floyd Mayweather

DALLAS — Amateur boxer Mike Davis is often referred to as “Iron Mike,” a nickname that was given to him a couple of years ago by his coach, Devonshea Smith.

GREATEST EVER? Dubbed the Battle for Greatness or The Fight of the Century, Floyd "Money" Mayweather, who boasts a 47-0 record with 26 knockouts, will put his unified WBA, WBC, WBO welterweight titles on the line against an upset-minded Pacquiao, whom many media pundits sense is arguably the champion’s toughest foe to date. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

GREATEST EVER? Dubbed the Battle for Greatness or The Fight of the Century, Floyd “Money” Mayweather, who boasts a 47-0 record with 26 knockouts, will put his unified WBA, WBC, WBO welterweight titles on the line against an upset-minded Pacquiao, whom many media pundits sense is arguably the champion’s toughest foe to date. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Although former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson is widely known as “Iron Mike” in the professional boxing world, Davis essentially has added a unique distinction to such a familiar label.

Among the reasons is those who have followed Davis closely since he made his debut on the amateur circuit three years ago don’t merely liken his mechanics to Tyson.

Instead, many believe Davis’ immense skills have drawn comparisons to that of Floyd “Money” Mayweather, the undefeated, five-division world champion and world’s No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound boxer who will square off Saturday night against Manny Pacquiao in a much-anticipated bout in Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena.

He reminds me of Floyd Mayweather with his confidence and drive,” Alicia Davis, Mike Davis’ mother, told MemphiSport during a telephone interview from St. Louis Thursday afternoon.

'IRON MIKE' --- To his credit, Mike Davis, a Pine Bluff, Arkansas native, has held his own in such a brief time on the amateur boxing circuit. For starters, this slim, speedy 12-year-old six-grader took part in his first competitive fight October 2012 and won by unanimous decision. He’s since had 31 competitive bouts, having won a majority of them. (Photo submitted by A. Davis)

‘IRON MIKE’ — To his credit, Mike Davis, a Pine Bluff, Arkansas native, has held his own in such a brief time on the amateur boxing circuit. For starters, this slim, speedy 12-year-old six-grader took part in his first competitive fight October 2012 and won by unanimous decision.
He’s since had 31 competitive bouts, having won a majority of them. (Photo submitted by A. Davis)

Dubbed the Battle for Greatness or The Fight of the Century, Mayweather, who boasts a 47-0 record with 26 knockouts, will put his unified WBA, WBC, WBO welterweight titles on the line against an upset-minded Pacquiao, whom many media pundits sense is arguably the champion’s toughest foe to date.

A native of Kibawe, Bukidnon, Philippines and nicknamed, “Pac-Man,” the 36-year-old Pacquiao brings a 57–5–2 record into Saturday’s main event, having won three consecutive bouts.
Thirty-eight of Pacquiao’s wins have come as a result of knockouts.

“Yes sir, I am big on Mayweather because I think he has some skills I want to follow someday,” Mike Davis said.

To his credit, Mike Davis, a Pine Bluff, Arkansas native, has held his own in such a brief time on the amateur boxing circuit. For starters, this slim, speedy 12-year-old six-grader took part in his first competitive fight in October 2012, winning by unanimous decision. He has since had 31 competitive bouts, having won a majority of them.

“He has a good right hand and slip punches well,” Alicia Davis said. “The sky is the limit because he started at a young age and continues to advance.”

Fortunately for Mike Davis, his skills haven’t gone unnoticed, in large part because the organization for which he fights is sanctioned by USA Boxing.

Mike Davis owns a No. 3 national ranking in the Silver Gloves, 75-pound division in rankings that were released recently by USA Boxing.

BOLD PREDICTION --- As for whom he thinks will emerge victorious Saturday between Mayweather versus Pacquiao in what many boxing experts believe will the highest grossing fight in history, it is no secret that Mike Davis believes Mayweather will walk out of the ring still armed with an unblemished mark.  “Mayweather I think got more heart than Pacquiao,” Mike Davis said. “He got mad speed. He has the right amount of speed over Pacquiao to win. I think he’ll win by unanimous decision, because sometimes you’ve got to have much power to fight Pacquiao. But I think Mayweather will fight his fight.”

BOLD PREDICTION — As for whom he thinks will emerge victorious Saturday between Mayweather versus Pacquiao in what many boxing experts believe will the highest grossing fight in history, it is no secret that Mike Davis believes Mayweather will walk out of the ring still armed with an unblemished mark.
“Mayweather I think got more heart than Pacquiao,” Mike Davis said. “He got mad speed. He has the right amount of speed over Pacquiao to win. I think he’ll win by unanimous decision, because sometimes you’ve got to have much power to fight Pacquiao. But I think Mayweather will fight his fight.”

Having weighed in at just over 78 pounds, he was upgraded last week to the 80-pound division.

Although a recent weeklong illness prompted his mother to pull him from the upcoming regional bouts in Oklahoma in mid-May so he could concentrate on academics — her son is a member of the Junior National Honor Society — Mike Davis said his primary focus over the next few weeks is to condition regularly, keep his weight down, and gear up for preparing to add to his already congested trophy case.

“For all of my (upcoming) fights, I’m going for the win,” Mike Davis said. “And for Jr. Olympics and Silver Gloves (competition), I’m going for the belt.”

As for whom he thinks will emerge victorious Saturday between Mayweather versus Pacquiao in what many boxing experts believe will the highest grossing fight in history, it is no secret that Mike Davis believes Mayweather will walk out of the ring still armed with an unblemished mark.

“Mayweather I think got more heart than Pacquiao,” Mike Davis said. “He got mad speed. He has the right amount of speed over Pacquiao to win. I think he’ll win by unanimous decision, because sometimes you’ve got to have much power to fight Pacquiao. But I think Mayweather will fight his fight.”

Much like “Iron Mike” has done on the amateur circuit in recent years.

DrePicAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.