Sharline Patterson and Marlon McShane, Sr. are the proud parents of Marlon Terrell McShane, Jr., a student Memphis’ Ross Elementary School.
Since the age of five, McShane, Jr. has managed to evolve into a student athlete, of sorts, considering he plays basketball virtually year round for both the Memphis Blueprint 5th Grade Division and the Team Payne War Eagles AAU team.
To his credit, the 10-year-old McShane essentially has found his niche, thus routinely makes his presence felt on this tradition-rich Bluff City basketball landscape.
Of course, as Patterson tells, she didn’t see this coming, in large because…well, perhaps she can explain it better.
“My overall reaction was I was in disbelief when I saw that he was pretty good, mainly because his dad and I never played basketball,” Patterson told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “Although I was an athlete in school, I actually took notice of his ability around the age of (one). That’s when I bought his first basketball. Week after week, I noticed his ball-handling skills getting stronger and stronger.”
Approximately a decade removed from having possessed his first basketball, McShane, Jr. has fine-tuned his mechanics and fundamentals to a point at which his immense skills have gone virtually unnoticed by his peers and coaches.
How else to explain why he customarily put his athletic contributions on display for not one, but two local youth basketball organizations?
“(Since the start of the summer began), I’ve attended at least three Shelby-Metro camps at different schools in the city, all while still playing in tournament games in and out of town,” said McShane, Jr. sounding not boasting, but more like the confident, resilient athlete for which he is widely known on the youth hoops circuit. “I love basketball so much, because it’s fun and
I’m good at it.”
Credit his mom and other family members and friends for their tireless support, a trend that has only fueled McShane, Jr.’s competitive drive to excel and maximize his potential — both on and off the court.
“My mom brings me to practice all the time and my dad and stepdad also comes to a lot of my games even the ones out of town,” McShane, Jr. explains. My grandma, sister, auntie and uncles also come see me play.”
More than anything, McShane acknowledged, his primary emphasis as a young student athlete is to achieve excellence, to go and above on and off the court, to exemplify good sportsmanship and, most importantly, to embroider in his mind what those closest to him routinely instill in him.
“My parents and coaches always tell me to never give up and to try my best,” said McShane who, along with his AAU teammates, are preparing for a national tournament in Clarksville, Tennessee in the coming weeks. “I’m going make good grades go to college and help my family someday.”
Talk about heeding the notable advice and wisdom from a family and host of well wishes who frequently hasten to his games and form what appears to be his own cheering section, of sorts.
In essence, because of the considerable progress this young, stellar student athlete has manufactured in recent years, it’s safe to assume that as his loving, supportive family goes, so goes McShane, Jr.
Never mind that his parents have never played competitive basketball.
“He eats, breaths and sleeps basketball…just ask anybody that knows him,” Patterson said of her son. “He has been blessed to come across coaches that have believed in him from the beginning. One of his coaches in particular has been like a father figure to him for several years.
“He has grown a bond with his teammates that will last a lifetime,” Patterson continued. “One life lesson that I always
preach to him is, ‘The only person that can hold you back is yourself,’ and my favorite is (motto) is, ‘Never
forget where your talents come from, because without God, it wouldn’t be possible.’ The sky is the limit for him, because I believe if he stays humble, keeps a positive attitude on and off the court, continues to work hard in school, and strive to keep learning his craft, nothing or nobody can limit him.”
No one knows that better than mom, the woman who’s responsible for handing out his first assist when she handed him his first basketball some 10 years ago.
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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.