Mavs rookie center A. J. Hammons welcomes the monumental challenges that await him

NBA SOUTHWEST DIVISION REPORT 

DALLAS — Upon meeting A. J. Hammons for the very first time, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wasted little time cracking jokes about the NBA rookie’s college alma mater.

FRESH START --- Selected with the 46th pick by Dallas in last month’s draft out of Purdue, A. J. Hammons witnessed his stock plummet considerably, in large part because of the constant concerns about his motor, maturity and age, all of which essentially pushed him farther down draft boards. Nearly three weeks removed from a somewhat tedious night in which Hammons said, "I was a little scared, like, dang, nobody might call my name," the 23-year-old Gary, Indiana native hinted on Thursday that his pre-draft stock reduction is right where it belongs --- behind him.

FRESH STARTSelected with the 46th pick by Dallas in last month’s draft out of Purdue, A. J. Hammons witnessed his stock plummet considerably, in large part because of the constant concerns about his motor, maturity and age, all of which essentially pushed him farther down draft boards. Nearly three weeks removed from a somewhat tedious night in which Hammons said, “I was a little scared, like, dang, nobody might call my name,” the 23-year-old Gary, Indiana native hinted on Thursday that his pre-draft stock reduction is right where it belongs — behind him.

“He said, ‘You’re lucky to be here, being a Boilermaker,’ Hammons, a former Purdue University star, said in recalling his initial conversation with Cuban, who’s an Indiana University graduate. “But he said he’s glad I’m here and that I should be ready to get to work.”

For Hammons, finding his way onto the NBA landscape certainly wasn’t an easy transition.

If nothing else, Hammons appearing on professional basketball’s grandest stage came with much discussion and foresight, all of which was accompanied by a slew of rave reviews from Brian Cardinal, a former Purdue forward who retired from the NBA after the 2011-12 season with the Mavericks.

Talk about getting a much-needed job hookup, one that ultimately resulted in Hammons having signed a guaranteed, three-year contract earlier this week with the Mavs.

“Oh yeah, A. J. can play,” Cuban told reporters following the Mavs’ Summer League team’s practice session on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, he played at my (college) rival, Purdue. But we’re fortunate we had a connection with Brian Cardinal, who had nothing but good things to say about him.”

Now that Hammon’s NBA feat has been decided for at least the next three seasons, the biggest mystery now is whether the 7-foot-2, 250-pound center can prove he’s as good as advertised or, in his case, silence the array of critics who weren’t all that sold on him following his stellar collegiate career.

Selected with the 46th pick by Dallas in last month’s draft, Hammons witnessed his stock plummet considerably, in large part because of the constant concerns about his motor, maturity, and age, all of which essentially pushed him farther down draft boards.

A little more than two weeks removed from a somewhat tedious draft night in which Hammons said, “I was a little scared, like, dang, nobody might call my name,” the 23-year-old Gary, Indiana native hinted on Thursday that his pre-draft stock reduction is right where it belongs — behind him.

As for the existing concerns about whether Hammons will adjust comfortably and have an immediate impact, the former Oak Hill Academy star said he undoubtedly welcomes the monumental challenges that await him. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

As for the existing concerns about whether Hammons will adjust comfortably and have an immediate impact, the former Oak Hill Academy star said he undoubtedly welcomes the monumental challenges that await him. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Asked if he sensed he was overlooked weeks leading to the draft, Hammons said, “Not really. Everything happens for a reason. So you’ve just got to go out there and play with a chip on your shoulder.”

As for the existing concerns about whether Hammons will adjust comfortably and have an immediate impact, the former Oak Hill Academy star said he undoubtedly welcomes the monumental challenges that await him.

The Mavs’ Summer League team held its final practice Friday morning before boarding a plane for Las Vegas.

The team’s opener is Saturday at Cox Pavilion versus Miami at 9 p.m. EST.

“Yeah, I’m tired of (the ongoing criticism),” Hammons said. “But it’s just something you’ve got to work through and just show you’re getting better. I wouldn’t say I was overlooked. I had a couple of questions to come. But like I said, everything happens for a reason.”

Especially a connection with his new boss, who happens to be graduate of Purdue’s intrastate rival.

“He’s got a rep for being a little lackadaisical,” Cuban said of Hammons. “But as Brian said, he’s so competitive when guys start beating on him and then all of that goes away. His skill is undeniable. He can score. He can rebound. He can block shots. I mean, he’s going to have a long NBA career.”

So much for all the Boilermaker jokes.

 

DALLAS MAVERICKS SUMMER LEAGUE ROSTER 

 

  • Justin Anderson (G/F, Virginia)
  • Chane Behanan (F, Louisville)
  • Vander Blue (G, Marquette)
  • Kyle Collinsworth (G, BYU)
  • Perry Ellis (F, Kansas)
  • Dorian Finney-Smith (F, Florida)
  • Jonathan Gibson (G, New Mexico State)
  • A.J. Hammons (C, Purdue)
  • Isaiah Miles (F, St. Joseph’s)
  • McKenzie Moore (G, UTEP)
  • Giovan Oniangue (F, Paris-Levallois Basket/Republic of Congo)
  • Satnam Singh (C, IMG Academy FL/India)
  • Jameel Warney (F, Stony Brook)

 



12308302_1264615573553243_4556209296677596210_nAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com.

Shaw (Miss.) High basketball star Anthony Davis, Jr. following in footsteps of his father

DALLAS — Anthony Davis, Jr. is a bad man.

Bad as in good, mind you.

bbbbbNot only is Davis a rising senior and the catalyst for a Shaw (Mississippi) High School basketball team that’s coached by his father, Anthony Davis, Sr., but given his well-publicized track record on the amateur hoops circuit in recent years, it’s safe to assume this athletically-gifted prodigy figures to be suiting up in a major college basketball uniform in a little less than two years.

For starters, Anthony Davis — widely known as “Little Tony” amongst family and friends — has become a fixture at Cleveland Cavaliers veteran swingman Mo Williams Academy that’s based in Dallas-Fort Worth area, where he is taught everything from aim to balance athletics and personal development, development as it pertains to the ability to set realistic but challenging individual goals, development as it relates to self-discipline and a commitment to personal success, not to mention a development with regards to respect and appreciation for others and the game as well as his ability to exhibit good sportsmanship.

JUST SHOWING OFF --- In leading Shaw to a 20-9 record this past season, Shaw High basketball star Anthony Davis, Jr. was as good as advertised, having averaged a team-best 14.1 points while appearing in 28 of the Hawks’ 29 games (according to Maxpreps.com). Add to the fact that this 5-foot-9 swingman helped propel his father’s team on an impressive postseason run, coupled with the efficient work he’s put in this offseason, and it’s no wonder that in all likelihood, scouts will surely come calling sooner than he thinks.

JUST SHOWING OFFIn leading Shaw to a 20-9 record this past season, Shaw High basketball star Anthony Davis, Jr. was as good as advertised, having averaged a team-best 12.7 points while appearing in 28 of the Hawks’ 29 games (according to Maxpreps.com).
Add to the fact that this 5-foot-9 swingman helped propel his father’s team on an impressive postseason run, coupled with the efficient work he’s put in this offseason, and it’s no wonder that in all likelihood, scouts will surely come calling sooner than he thinks.

“I’m an outstanding person, always willing to put in overtime work in my craft,” Anthony Davis, Jr. told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson on Tuesday. “I’m a hard worker and a great leader on the team.”

Fortunately for the 17-year-old guard, his overall body of work on the hardwood in the Magnolia State hasn’t gone unnoticed, not by a long shot.

That’s because Little Tony is currently amongst 150 prep players who are showcasing their skills and mechanics in the Second Annual ScoutsFocus All-American Camp in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A three-day that ran from June 13-15, Little Tony was amongst 5-10 players invited from each showcase location.

Among ScoutsFocus’ notable alums is former University of Kansas and current Minnesota Timberwolves star Andrew Wiggins.

Generally, because Little Tony has enjoyed a wealth of success with a full season left of major high school ball, many recruiting analysts believe he will only add to his already favorable stock.

In leading Shaw to a 20-9 record this past season, Little Tony was as good as advertised, having averaged a team-best 12.7 points while appearing in 28 of the Hawks’ 29 games (according to Maxpreps.com).

ddddAdd to the fact that this 5-foot-9 swingman helped propel his father’s team on an impressive postseason run, coupled with the efficient work he’s put in this offseason, and it’s no wonder that in all likelihood, scouts will surely come calling sooner than he thinks.

That, after all, will surface as a good problem, of sorts, for a kid who’s clinging to massive dreams of playing on college basketball’s grandest stage.

“I’ve been training every day at MWA (in Dallas) and conditioning every morning,” Little Tony said. “Whatever college gets me will be inheriting a great listener, team leader and hard worker. It’s a dream that I need to accomplish to get to the next level of play that I will push forward to play on, which is the NBA.”

As his old man tells it, anything’s possible for his giftedly-talented son, who has been nothing short impressive during his tenure at Shaw as well as the AAU circuit.

FAMILY FOCUS --- “I think the sky is the limit for him because of his work ethic,” Anthony Davis, Sr. said. “He wants to be better than his dad. I think that's what drives him. I always push him to better than me.”

FAMILY FOCUS“I think the sky is the limit for him because of his work ethic,” Anthony Davis, Sr. said. “He wants to be better than his dad. I think that’s what drives him. I always push him to better than me.”

“We’ll, I don’t watch him from the bleachers,” Anthony Davis, Sr., a McDonald’s All-American nominee in 1994 and an All SWAC player at the Mississippi Valley State University, said in critiquing his son’s overall progress. “I watch him from the sideline because I’m his coach. He has grown to be a really good basketball and baseball player.”

All of which practically sums up why this hoops prodigy will undoubtedly be heard loud and clear amongst scouts and recruiters in the foreseeable future.

So stay tuned.

In case you haven’t heard, Little Tony is about to do some big things.

“I think the sky is the limit for him because of his work ethic,” Anthony Davis, Sr. said. “He wants to be better than his dad. I think that’s what drives him. I always push him to better than me.”

Again…

Stay tuned.

In case you haven’t heard, Little Tony is about to do some big things.

How many times we’ve got to say it?



MrJohnsonEDITOR’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 memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Memphian Brenda Swift is swiftly becoming a rising success as ‘The Water Lady’ for Xooma Worldwide

MAKING SWIFT MOVES --- Having been dubbed an “A Type personality,” Memphian Brenda Swift acknowledges that she never shied away from placing her total trust in God, a life-enhancing trend, a pivotal, gut-checking lifestyle, of sorts, that greatly fueled her desire to start a business venture. To her credit, it is a business concept whereby many from all walks of life can benefit. Swift, 51, is a national manager for Xooma Worldwide, a global company that has mightily afforded her with the keen ability to create her own company.

MAKING SWIFT MOVESHaving been dubbed an “A Type personality,” Memphian Brenda Swift acknowledges that she never shied away from placing her total trust in God, a life-enhancing trend, a pivotal, gut-checking lifestyle, of sorts, that greatly fueled her desire to start a business venture. To her credit, it is a business concept whereby many from all walks of life can benefit.
Swift, 51, is a national manager for Xooma Worldwide, a global company that has mightily afforded her with the keen ability to create her own company.

Brenda Swift is a proud alumna of Fairley High School in Memphis’ historic Whitehaven district.

After graduating from high school, where amongst her grandest achievements were being named a beauty queen as well as a thriving dancer while simultaneously starring on the tennis squad, being a member of the choir and various other clubs — mostly notably the Debutante — Swift took her immense talents to nearby Tennessee State University in Nashville.

While in college, she was nothing short of impressive, nothing short of successful it seemed, considering she ultimately became a lifetime member of the flagship Greek organization, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

During her illustrious journey to possessing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications/Speech And Theatre, amongst Swift’s notable accolades were having won an array of public speaking awards, all while making her presence felt in a number of stage plays.

Yes, life, as she knew it, was memorable and enjoyable to say the least.

But just as she once found herself living and basking in the glow on the larger side of God, Swift had to endure and see and consult her Creator amid life’s most challenging of obstacles.

SWIFT SUCCESS STORY --- A devout Christian and dedicated mother, Swift admittedly has been victimized by Multiple Sclerosis, a diagnosis that spans for more than a decade. A little more than 13 years to be technical. “The disease tried to rob me of my life,” Swift told News Reporter Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I was bedridden, couldn't stand without shaking nor walk.”

A SWIFT SUCCESS STORYA devout Christian and dedicated mother, Swift admittedly has been victimized by Multiple Sclerosis, a diagnosis that spans for more than a decade.
A little more than 13 years to be technical.
“The disease tried to rob me of my life,” Swift told News Reporter Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I was bedridden, couldn’t stand without shaking nor walk.”

A devout Christian and dedicated mother, Swift admittedly has been victimized by Multiple Sclerosis, a diagnosis that spans for more than a decade.

A little more than 13 years to be technical.

“The disease tried to rob me of my life,” Swift told News Reporter Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I was bedridden, couldn’t stand without shaking nor walk.”

Still, in spite of the slew of physical challenges that essentially surfaced to test and try her faith, Swift, to her credit, clung to unwavering faith.

So much, in fact, that with God, her Helper leading the way, she managed to persevere and eventually defied the odds of a disease she sensed would alter her life for all the wrong reasons.

But God…

Having been dubbed an “A Type personality,” Swift acknowledges that she never shied away from placing her total trust in God, a life-enhancing trend, a pivotal, gut-checking lifestyle, of sorts, that greatly fueled her desire to start a business venture.

ALAOJSSTo her credit, it is a business concept whereby many from all walks of life can benefit.

Swift, 51, is a national manager for Xooma Worldwide, a global company that has mightily afforded her with the keen ability to create her own company.

In addition, she is owner of Swift Health And Wellness Distribution.

FOLLOW BRENDA SWIFT’S BUSINESS ONLINE: http://swiftshealthandwellnessdistribution.com/.

LALLALKSLSAs Swift, widely known as “The Water Lady,” is swift to say, her newfound business has undoubtedly changed the overall landscape of her life.

“The Xooma products have changed my life,” Swift said. “I have been given a second chance as a disabled individual to continue to be a viable asset to my community.”

While she says that “no one” inspired her to start my company, Swift was quick to point out that she’s mostly appreciative of her husband, Kevin Clay, and her mother who, even after having gift birth to her a teenager in the 1960s, she had has a monumental impact on her life.

MORE ON BRENDA SWIFT: https://youtu.be/Ki8AgV0w4YM.

How else to explain why’s she managed to tackle and conquer her battle with Multiple Sclerosis?

ALLOSKS“I guess the disease did (challenge me) and it’s all the positive influences I’ve had in my life along the way,” said Swift, who’s also a longtime ordained minister. “Starting with my mother, who was a teenage mother in the 60s who decided to keep and raise her baby, I thank God for her and for my stepfather. It is their wisdom and examples of hard work and the belief and wisdom of a strong praying grandmother that were my examples. I was also blessed with guidance counselors and teachers that were a positive influence in my life.”

As a result to her life-changing and life-impacting influences, Swift — even a flourishing business owner — deems it necessary to pass along her wealth of knowledge to others.

Especially through her fledging business venture.

“I would encourage everyone from any early age to invest in their health,” Swift said. “It’s your life and you are responsible for it. “God gave us a mind. We have to use it.”

Spoken like the true, big-hearted fighter for which she is widely known.



MrJohnsonEDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, athlete, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

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 memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Memphian Damian Griffin goes from high school dropout to a rising gospel rap artist

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 KJV)

 

daJust after midday on Wednesday, Damian Griffin found himself meditating briefly on what undoubtedly is his favorable Biblical passage.

For Griffin, while such a scripture is amongst the most recited and familiar in the Body Christ, for him, it is one that has greatly shaped the overall landscape of his young life.

“It always reminds me that in all things, it is working out for my good,” Griffin told News Reporter Andre Johnson.

Fortunately for Griffin, a 24-year-old native of Memphis, his young life surely has been filled with its share of highs and lows — with the lows, to his recollection, steering him mightily ever so closely to Almighty God.

Looking back, it’s safe to assume that all things have worked out for his good, largely because of his immense talents through music.

TRULY INNOVATIVE --- Looking back, it’s safe to assume that all things have worked out for Damian Griffin's good, largely because of his immense talents through music. After spending years entertaining crowds as an up-and-coming rapper in the secular realm, Griffin miraculously witnessed his musically-inclined endeavors take on a whole new meaning when he ultimately had an unforeseen worship experience with Christ. Boy, did he ever.

TRULY INNOVATIVELooking back, it’s safe to assume that all things have worked out for Damian Griffin’s good, largely because of his immense talents through music.
After spending years entertaining crowds as an up-and-coming rapper in the secular realm, Griffin miraculously witnessed his musically-inclined endeavors take on a whole new meaning when he ultimately had an unforeseen worship experience with Christ.
Boy, did he ever.

After spending years entertaining crowds as an up-and-coming rapper in the secular realm, Griffin miraculously witnessed his musically-inclined endeavors take on a whole new meaning when he ultimately had an unforeseen worship experience with Christ.

Boy, did he ever.

“When I got saved, my way of living changed,” Griffin explained. “I was a secular rap artist before accepting Christ. After I accepted Him, I begin spreading the Gospel through rap music.”

 

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…”

 

For Griffin, who was raised in the heart of poverty-stricken South Memphis, life as he knew it wasn’t always such that he was living carefree, let alone on cruise control. Having dropped out of school months before he was scheduled to graduate from Memphis Carver High, Griffin subsequently witnessed his life seemingly take a dreaded detour.

An unchartered one at that.

All because he bolted school prematurely.

But God…

“I told my mother I would go and get (my diploma),” Griffin said. “I stayed persistent and I did.”

He eventually made good on his pledge.

Having re-enrolled in school, this time at Memphis’ Messick Adult High, Griffin last weekend earned his much-anticipated diploma, effectively ending the notion that this young black man was destined to become yet another statistic on the dangerous streets of Memphis.

 

“…to them who are the called according to his purpose….”

 

qqqqqAside from having earned his high school diploma days ago, life for Griffin appears headed a favorable direction.

For starters, he doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s become ever so close in his relationship with God.

“I didn’t grow up in church,” Griffin said. “I didn’t have anyone to drag me and my siblings into church. A lot of things I’m not familiar with because of this, but I have grown spiritually since being in church after I got saved.”

So much, in fact, that Griffin’s music talents soared to immense heights when he assembled his album entitled, “Jesus And Grind,” which was officially released on October 11, 2015.

A project that is comprised of seven tracks, amongst Griffin’s notable hits is a remix with Erica Campbell entitled “I Luh God.”

Not “Love,” mind you. But “Luh.”

DEFYING THE ODDS --- Having re-enrolled in school, this time at Memphis’ Messick Adult High, Griffin last weekend earned his much-anticipated diploma, effectively ending the notion that this young black man was destined to become yet another statistic on the dangerous streets of Memphis.

DEFYING THE ODDSHaving re-enrolled in school, this time at Memphis’ Messick Adult High, Griffin last weekend earned his much-anticipated diploma, effectively ending the notion that this young black man was destined to become yet another statistic on the dangerous streets of Memphis.

“It caught the attention of RJ Groove,” said Griffin, alluding to the renowned disk jockey for Memphis’ Hallelujah FM 95.7. “Two months later, I heard it on the radio.”

Griffin said the purpose for his album — which is starting to become known amongst Memphians — is to “uplift and inspire” people from various walks of life, regardless of their age, regardless of their race, creed or color.

JJJ“(I want) to let people know about God’s love by spreading the good news through song and recording,” Griffin said. “This album was inspired by my pastor, Marron Thomas, who often tells us to, ‘Have, Jesus and grind.’”

Much to the delight of Griffin, Thomas, the Senior Pastor of Innovation Church at 3925 Overton Crossing Street in the Frayser area of Memphis, has helped steer him in the right direction spiritually, particularly during a time he needed it the most.

“Pastor Marron is one of my greatest inspirations and a spiritual father to me,” Griffin said.

Not to mention a man who greatly helped him realize that even through his musical gifts, he’s empowered and equipped to reach the masses.

FATHER FIGURE --- Much to the delight of Griffin, Marron Thomas, the Senior Pastor of Innovation Church at 3925 Overton Crossing Street in the Frayser area of Memphis, has helped steer him in the right direction spiritually, particularly during a time he needed it the most.

FATHER FIGUREMuch to the delight of Griffin, Marron Thomas, the Senior Pastor of Innovation Church at 3925 Overton Crossing Street in the Frayser area of Memphis, has helped steer him in the right direction spiritually, particularly during a time he needed it the most.

“My ministry as a recording artist is anointed,” Griffin explained. “The thing I love to do is include a scripture in my songs. I honestly like to prefer them as sermons. Because I don’t see myself as an artist, but as a minister. The booth is my pulpit, and when I’m recording, I’m spreading the word of God. God has blessed me with the ability to actually memorize my rhymes instead of writing them. So when you see me recording, it’s neither pencil nor paper near me…just me, the microphone, and God.”

By and large, as Griffin tells it, there is no certain catch to putting his gospel rapping talents on display.

“I usually pray before recording a song,” he said.

Something by which we all ought to follow suit.



MrJohnsonEDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, athlete, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

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 memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Can Lionel Hollins and the Memphis Grizzlies possibly kiss and make up?

AndreDALLAS — So the Memphis Grizzlies are seeking a new head coach after the toxic relationship between former head man Dave Joerger and the front office had become a public embarrassment, a ridiculously public shame in that it has become increasingly evident that Grizzlies majority owner Robert Pera and his crew can’t seem to get along with guys whom they employ to coach the team.

As if Joerger’s unceremonious departure last weekend wasn’t enough to send shock waves throughout the basketball-crazed Bluff City, Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace reportedly was seen meeting on Monday with Joerger’s former boss, ex-Grizz coach Lionel Hollins at Humdingers in East Memphis.

Well, what ta ya know?

WALKING IN MEMPHIS AGAIN? As if former Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger's unceremonious departure last weekend wasn't enough to send shock waves throughout the basketball-crazed Bluff City, Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace reportedly was seen meeting on Monday with Joerger's former boss, ex-Grizz coach Lionel Hollins at Humdingers in East Memphis.

WALKING IN MEMPHIS AGAIN? As if former Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger’s unceremonious departure last weekend wasn’t enough to send shock waves throughout the basketball-crazed Bluff City, Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace reportedly was seen meeting on Monday with Joerger’s former boss, ex-Grizz coach Lionel Hollins at Humdingers in East Memphis. (Getty Images Photo)

Either Wallace and Hollins were taking advantage of Humdingers’ happy hour or the restaurant’s every Monday after 4 p.m. $4.99 shrimp appetizers, or they were devising ways to appropriately rekindle a once unhealthy relationship that, like the one he had with Joerger, was an ongoing disgrace.

Hollins, to his credit, had a done a masterful job with a once downtrodden Grizz team that was in dire need of a strict, resourceful coach who could get the best out of his players, having led Memphis to a francise-record  56 wins in his final season with the team.

Joerger, to his credit, had done a rather favorable job with an upstart Grizz team that, unfortunately, has underachieved over the past two seasons.

HOLLINS AND GRIZZ GM MEET:  John Martin on Twitter: “Happening right now at Humdingers: Lionel Hollins and Chris Wallace. https://t.co/eLEv8qRUGV”

Still, truth be told, Hollins and Joerger were habitual, arrogant, smart aleck knuckleheads, both of whom also had become a source of frustration and constant turnoffs not just to the Grizzlies front office, but to many of us media members.

Which, in my estimation, makes what took place Monday night at Humdingers a huge head-scratcher, of sorts.

So could it really happen?

Could the Grizzlies and Hollins collectively place their massive egos by the wayside, refrain from the excessive verbal sparring and bad mouthing and finger pointing at each other and agree to Believe Memphis once again?

 

MIKE LOVES LIONEL --- Could the Grizzlies and Hollins collectively place their massive egos by the wayside, refrain from of the verbal sparring and bad mouthing at finger pointing at each other and agree to Believe Memphis once again? (Getty Images Photo)

MIKE LOVES LIONELCould the Grizzlies and Hollins collectively place their massive egos by the wayside, refrain from of the verbal sparring and bad mouthing at finger pointing at each other and agree to Believe Memphis once again? (Getty Images Photo)

Is the 62-year-old Hollins the right guy at this point to reassume the head coaching duties of a struggling Memphis franchise that looks virtually nothing like the one he guided to the Western Conference Finals three years ago?

Or should the Grizzlies simply go with the proven success that is former Indiana Pacers head man Frank Vogel and dismiss the compelling notion of bringing back Hollins and his customary wishy washy disposition?

Either way, countless Memphians sense the Grizzlies are about to inherit a slam dunk hire amid Joerger’s dismissal.

How ironic that I will soon return to Memphis because of my recent marriage.

Conversely, if the Grizzlies bring back Hollins, here’s hoping their marriage, too, becomes a loving, fruitful one this time around.

Better yet, here’s hoping they can kiss and make up.


Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Former Stevie Wonder background singer Panzie Johnson set to release her debut single, she tells Andre Johnson

starPanzie Johnson, to her credit, has had the luxury of meeting quite a few heavy hitters during her tenure as a recording artist.

From Fred Hammand, to Kirk Franklin, Trin-i-tee 5:7, Rick James, Kerry Gordy, Nancy Wilson, Randy Jackson, to Jeffrey Osbourne.

Oh, and Stevie Wonder.

Ahhhhhh…Stevie Wonder.

What was her relationship like with Mr. Wonder, a 25-time Grammy Award-winner and arguably one of the greatest and most renowned entertainers of all time?

“My relationship with Mr. Wonder is great,” Johnson told News Reporter Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “He and I are still friends today. I’ve met so many precious friends in 14 years.”

In assessing the overall landscape of her singing career, it is because of Johnson’s close-knit relationships with Mr. Wonder, coupled with her early training by her mother whereby she routinely sang “from her heart,” all of which ultimately gave way to her being catapulted her into a more favorable musical orbit.

panzieA former Star Search contestant and Bryan, Texas native, Johnson, although she is continuously making strides — a much-anticipated comeback, if you will — in this ever-so-evolving music industry, doesn’t refer to herself as an “entertainer,” she doesn’t shy away from the notion that she is, above anything else, a child of the Most High God.

“Well, I’m no longer an entertainer,” Johnson said with a straight face. “I’m a minister and I love what I do. I wouldn’t trade my job as a minister for no other. I love seeing people restored and blessed.”

PANZIE APPEARS ON STAR SEARCH: https://youtu.be/RHgrxfyf7Xg

And, in the coming days, those from afar and near, those who have witnessed her rise as a singer, coupled with her revamped mind to sell out solely to God, will be afforded the golden opportunity to see just how far her Creator has brought her.

Aside from routinely ministering to the hearts and telling of God’s goodness, Johnson will be releasing her debut single on May 9 entitled, “We Come To Glorify.”

PASTOR MARY MITCHELL --- “My mother and grandmother, they raised me to be a fearless woman of God,” Johnson said. “(They taught me) to be accountable and to walk worthy of the call placed on my life. They were both preachers and singers.”

PASTOR MARY MITCHELL“My mother and grandmother, they raised me to be a fearless woman of God,” Johnson said. “(They taught me) to be accountable and to walk worthy of the call placed on my life. They were both preachers and singers.”

The founder and CEO of her own independent record label, Johmax Music Group, Johnson’s debut album will be released sometime in the near future (or at time that has yet to be determined), although the debut single is currently available online at: http://cdbaby.com/cd/panziejohnson3.

According to Johnson, her album will be available on compact disc, at CDBaby.com, as well as other digital outlets.

“I toured with Stevie Wonder for 14 years, doing what I love…singing,” said Johnson, explaing her extensive singing background. “I’ve worked with many others, but it was Mr. Wonder that truly taught me so much about the industry.”

By and large, it was the spiritual nurturing and guidance of her mother and grandmother that greatly kept this preacher’s kid (or PK) afloat and grounded for fulfilling her divine purpose and destiny.

Look at her today, steadfastly savoring the best of both worlds, all while walking in her calling, walking under the unction of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, what a mighty God she serves.

“My mother and grandmother, they raised me to be a fearless woman of God,” Johnson said. “(They taught me) to be accountable and to walk worthy of the call placed on my life. They were both preachers and singers.”

Given her upbringing, one shouldn’t be all that surprised that Johnson, even after a notable stint in the secular industry, ultimately found her way back to singing for Jesus.

Johnson is the associate minister at The House Of Prayer And Life Worship Center in Bryan under the leadership of my mother.

“I grew up in a Christian environment,” Johnson explained. “My mom was of the Pentecostal faith and we went to church at least four times weekly. So my childhood was centered on church. I had my siblings (Audreece, Cory, Johnathan, and Tonya) and a few friends.”

And, as she waits with great expectancy the release of her debut single and the subsequent launching of her album, there is one more addition to the family who undoubtedly will have the chance to savor this compelling music project.

“I am the proud mother of 10-month-old Matthias Drew Johnson, known as ‘Baby Drew,’” Johnson said.

Yes, what a mighty God she serves.



AndreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

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 memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Forrest City High’s Timothy Pendleton adjusting nicely to major prep basketball

Pen3FORREST CITY, Arkansas — Timothy Pendleton was asked recently how often does he works out and spends time upgrading his mechanics and fundamentals.

“I work out every day after school and on weekdays,” the Forrest City (Ark.) High freshman athlete said.

Aside from his immense workout and conditioning sessions, it doesn’t take much to get Pendleton to talk about his love for basketball, alone his lofty ambitions for why he plays.

Said Pendleton when asked about to reveal his strengths: “I can get to the basket with ease and finish the shot.”

Said Pendleton when asked to assess his weaknesses: “My biggest weakness is thinking too much when I get the ball.”

Said Pendleton when asked how he will spend his offseason: “I will be in the gym as much as possible working on my skills and playing against tough competition.”

By and large, squaring off against stiff competition is nothing new to the 6-foot, 15-year-old Pendleton who, to his credit, wasted little time making his presence felt.

In quickly finding his niche for the Mustangs, Pendleton provided masterful contributions, particularly from an offensive standpoint.

QUICK LEARNER --- In quickly finding his niche for a Forrest City (Ark.) High squad that finished 136th nationally by Maxpreps.com and is expected to vie for a state crown next season, Timothy Pendleton provided masterful contributions, particularly from an offensive standpoint. He averaged somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds per game for Forrest City coach Dwight Lofton’s team, and spent a major of his freshman campaign having played multiple positions.

FAST LEARNERIn quickly finding his niche, Timothy Pendleton provided masterful contributions, particularly from an offensive standpoint.
He averaged somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds per game for Forrest City coach Chris Williams’ team, and spent a major of his freshman campaign having played multiple positions.

He averaged somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds per game for Forrest City coach Chris Williams’ ninth-grade team, and spent a major of his freshman campaign having played multiple positions.

Truth be told, for a newcomer who appeared destined to make a favorable impression on his coaches and teammates, Pendleton would be the first tell you that his primary focus was to get in where he fit it.

SIBLING LOVE --- Timothy is extremely close to is sister, Tamia Pendleton, who's a student at the University of Arkansas at Conway.

SIBLING LOVETimothy is extremely close to is sister, Tamia Pendleton, who’s a student at the University of Arkansas at Conway.

Fortunately for him, he managed to fit in superbly while preparing to play varsity ball nextseason.

“Timothy has been playing ball ever since he could walk,” said Teisha Lee, Pendleton’s mother. “His grandfather was a ball player and city league coach; his uncles and aunt were also ball players. He couldn’t get away from it. I am a proud mama. I look at basketball as a mean to help further his education so he can get his degree and be a productive, young, black man.”

Interesting enough, attending her son’s game is adventure, of sorts, for Lee.

MOM KNOWS BEST --- “Timothy has been playing ball ever since he could walk,” said Teisha Lee, Pendleton’s mother. “His grandfather was a ball player and city league coach; his uncles and aunt were also ball players. He couldn't get away from it. I am a proud mama. I look at basketball as a mean to help further his education so he can get his degree and be a productive, young, black man.”

MOM KNOWS BEST“Timothy has been playing ball ever since he could walk,” said Teisha Lee, Pendleton’s mother. “His grandfather was a ball player and city league coach; his uncles and aunt were also ball players. He couldn’t get away from it. I am a proud mama. I look at basketball as a mean to help further his education so he can get his degree and be a productive, young, black man.”

“When I watch Timothy play, that proud and loud mother comes out,” Lee explained. “Everyone knows who I am. I am the loudest in the bleachers.”

And in what figures to be a busy offseason on the AAU circuit for Jonesboro’s JB Fireballs, coupled with regular workouts, Pendleton is clinging to hopes that his progress on the court will ring loud and clear before college scouts and recruiters.

“It’s been my dream since I was little (to play college basketball) and I just have a great passion for the game,” said Pendleton, who is scheduled to attend the Future 150 Underclassmen Camp in Antioch, Tennessee in June. “I’d love to do what I love in college.”

If he keeps at this dazzling pace, chances are his long-awaited dream will become a reality.



 

AndreEDITOR’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 memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

 

 

The Tony Harris Basketball Academy becoming a West Coast fixture in Los Angeles

TH6Tony Harris earlier this week was asked if he could put a number on how many major Division I colleges extended to him scholarship offers during his playing days at Memphis East High.

“Man…how can I say this without trying to be cocky?” Harris told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson on Wednesday during a telephone interview from Los Angeles. “Just about every major Division I school in the country.”

So what figure did Harris come up with?

“First, I’d have to see how many schools are in each conference,” Harris jokingly said.

By and large, it is because of Harris’ remarkable resume as a product of the hoops-crazed city that is Memphis that essentially prompted a slew of big name college coaches to hasten to his Binghamton residence in hopes of landing the then-Tennessee Mr. Basketball and McDonald’s All-American — from then-Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson to then-Kansas coach Roy Williams.

THAnd so on and so forth.

“When I came out (of East), the top two point guards (in the country) were me and Baron Davis,” Harris said.

Davis ultimately took his talents to UCLA in Los Angeles, the exact same establishment to where Harris and his wife, Alena Kelley-Harris, moved recently.

That is also where Harris has taken his vision of ensuring that his business venture, the Tony Harris Basketball Academy, is a constant success.

An up-and-coming institution that is a little more than two years removed since its inception, the THBA offers a variety of entities to better help young athletes excel and compete at the highest level.

Who better to run such a business than Harris?

Given his outstanding track record as a basketball player, it’s a foregone conclusion that this widely-regarded #BALLIN4CHRIST personality exemplifies the smarts patience that will catapult youngsters to what he describes as the “next level.”

“The purpose is to develop the youth…not just the youth athletes, but for college and professional athletes to enhance their skills set,” Harris said in revealing the mission for THBA. “The game is also mental. There are so many athletes who play the game who are not mentally tough. You can go to camps and academies all day, but are you mentally strong?”

MEMPHIS HOOPS LEGEND --- By and large, it is because of Memphian Tony Harris’ remarkable resume as a product of the hoops-crazed city that is Memphis that essentially prompted a slew of big name college coaches to hasten to his Binghamton residence in hopes of landing the then-Tennessee Mr. Basketball and McDonald’s All-American --- names such as then-Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson to then-Kansas coach Roy Williams. And so on and so forth.

MEMPHIS HOOPS LEGENDBy and large, it is because of Tony Harris’ remarkable resume as a product of the hoops-crazed city that is Memphis that essentially prompted a slew of big name college coaches to hasten to his Binghamton residence in hopes of landing the then-Tennessee Mr. Basketball and McDonald’s All-American — names such as then-Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson to then-Kansas coach Roy Williams.
And so on and so forth.

ENROLL NOW IN THE TONY HARRIS BASKETBALL ACADEMY: https://www.coachup.com/coaches/tonyh-15

Generally, because a number of athletes often struggle with the mental aspects of sports, Harris believes that is where his notable attributes as a licensed minister will come into play.

In a nutshell, THBA isn’t designed solely to teach young athletes the mental aspects of the game but, more than anything, Harris’ objective is to often encourage them to become good spiritual stewards long after the sport has passed them by.

Just as he had done when he organized his academy in Memphis, Harris said plans are currently in the works to conduct classes for his athletes that would be geared largely toward learning the pros and cons on how to handle and interact with the media. In addition, he plans to erect a chapel, where they could become spiritually enhanced much like NBA players meeting with chaplains prior to their games.

A little more than seven years removed having a earned his degree, Harris starred at point guard for East High from 1994-97 before ultimately signing a National Letter of Intent to play at the University of Tennessee.

To his credit, the Vols re-emerged as a national standout, having appeared in the NCAA Tournament in each of Harris’ four seasons, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2000.

Following his collegiate stint, Harris played professionally overseas for seven years before returning to the states to coach high school ball and eventually starting his academy, which opened for operation a little more than two years ago and was held at STAR Academy Charter School in Northeast Memphis.

Now that he’s on the West Coast, Harris conducts his sessions at the Next Level Sports Complex in Garden Grove, Calif.

HUGE ASSIST --- In moving his academy to L.A., Harris acknowledges much of his success wouldn’t have been possible if not for the unyielding support of his wife who, like him, is a native Memphian. “She’s been very instrumental,” Harris said. “She’s been doing all of the work that you don’t physically see in terms of finding clients. She’s been really innovative in enhancing the process.”

HUGE ASSISTIn moving his academy to L.A., Harris acknowledges much of his success wouldn’t have been possible if not for the unyielding support of his wife who, like him, is a native Memphian.
“She’s been very instrumental,” Harris said. “She’s been doing all of the work that you don’t physically see in terms of finding clients. She’s been really innovative in enhancing the process.”

MORE ABOUT TONY HARRIS: https://www.coachup.com/curry

Hours of operations are typically from 3 p.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and Harris said that will change during the summer months.

As usual, THBA offers a variety of entities, most notably teaching youths various fundamentals and mechanics as they prepare for competitive play.

“How my drills are set up, they’re game-like situation drills,” Harris said. “You’ve got a lot of trainers who use cones for skill work. You know, that’s okay and all. But you’ve got to put the athlete in a game-like setting. That’s what separates me from other trainers. It enhances the player IQ. But if you’ve got them drilling through cones, that’s not going to help them.”

In moving his academy to L.A., Harris acknowledges much of his success wouldn’t have been possible if not for the unyielding support of his wife who, like him, is a native Memphian.

“She’s been very instrumental,” Harris said. “She’s been doing all of the work that you don’t physically see in terms of finding clients. She’s been really innovative in enhancing the process.”

Not to mention grasping a feel for how much the athletes progress days or, perhaps, weeks upon enrolling in THBA.

“He takes phone calls from kids’ parents and reach out to college coaches in an attempt to help the kids build a rapport with them,” Alena said. “He’s putting them in front of the recruiters.”

As a result, the results have undoubtedly been favorable, which is to be expected from a former local basketball star, who admittedly still has his boatloads of scholarship letters tucked away back in Memphis.

Nowadays, his primary ambition, his wife said, is to help others’ dream come true.

TH2Notable past clients include former Memphians Nick King, Cory Bradford, and Alex Anderson, all of whom went on play major college basketball.

“When (parents) bring them to the academy, we’re thinking long terms,” Alena said. “The goal in mind is to enhance their fundamentals and turn them into five-star players.”

Much like her husband was nearly two decades ago.



AndreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an athlete, entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

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 memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Stephen Curry isn’t focused on MVP, wants champs to eclipse Bulls’ 72-win mark

SIZZLIN' STEPH ---  In a year in which Curry, the league’s leading scorer at 30.3 points per game, has been nothing short of remarkable in having engineered Golden State to the best start in NBA history when the Warriors reeled off 24 consecutive wins to begin the season, it would be hard-pressed to find anyone capable of surpassing him as the conjectural favorite for MVP. (Brandon Wade/AP Photos)

SIZZLIN’ STEPHIn a year in which Curry, the league’s leading scorer at 30.3 points per game, has been nothing short of remarkable in having engineered Golden State to the best start in NBA history when the Warriors reeled off 24 consecutive wins to begin the season, it would be hard-pressed to find anyone capable of surpassing him as the conjectural favorite for MVP. (Brandon Wade/AP Photos)

DALLAS — Last year, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry seized the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award in rather impressive fashion, having garnered 100 of the 130 first-place votes while compiling 1,198 total points from a nationwide panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.

This year, with the three-time All-Star being dubbed the presumptive front-runner to capture the NBA’s most covenant individual award in consecutive seasons, Curry quickly acknowledged that isn’t his primary focus.

“I’m not worried about that,” Curry, a seven-year veteran, told MemphiSport following Friday’s shoot around session in Dallas’ American Airlines Center. “There’ll come a time where that decision will happen. I go out every night playing as if I want to help my team get wins and do my part of being consistent and efficient as I can be. And that’s my focus.”

In a year in which Curry, the league’s scoring leader at 30.3 points per game, has been nothing short of remarkable in having engineered Golden State to the best start in NBA history when the Warriors reeled off 24 consecutive wins to begin the season, it would be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s capable of surpassing him as the conjectural MVP favorite.

Besides being the league’s top scorer, Curry is second in free throw percentage and third in three-point field goal efficiency, having made 45.7 percent of his shots from long range.

Add to the fact that the high-powered Warriors, who improved to an NBA’s best 63-7 with Monday night’s win at Minnesota — the team that’s responsible for ending their 24-game undefeated streak to start the season — and are on pace to eclipse the Chicago Bulls’ 72-10 record they amassed during their 1995-96 championship season, and it’s no wonder Curry in all likelihood will continue to field questions as to whether he thinks he’s well on his way to walking away with more MVP hardware.

“Obviously, team success leads to accolades and that’s our mission right now,” said Curry who, last year, led Golden State to its first world championship in 30 years when the Warriors upended the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games of their NBA Finals best-of-7 series.

STAYING FOCUSED --- When asked if failing to surpass the Bulls’ historic 72-win plateau serve as motivation heading into the postseason, Curry, who turned 28 March 14, paused briefly then said, “I would hope we have that same motivation either way. Winning a championship is the ultimate goal, and a regular season regular record, whether we have 73 wins, 69 wins, or 68, it doesn’t bear any difference on how we’re going to do in the playoffs.”

STAYING FOCUSEDWhen asked if failing to surpass the Bulls’ historic 72-win plateau serve as motivation heading into the postseason, Curry, who turned 28 March 14, paused briefly then said, “I would hope we have that same motivation either way. Winning a championship is the ultimate goal, and a regular season regular record, whether we have 73 wins, 69 wins, or 68, it doesn’t bear any difference on how we’re going to do in the playoffs.”

As far as this year’s league MVP talks go, Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Friday was quick to say that there is Curry, and then there is everyone else, although he doesn’t believe the former Davidson College star will be the unanimous favorite to win the award.

“I’d be shocked if he doesn’t win it with the kind of season he’s had and we’ve had,” said Kerr, when asked if Curry is the front-runner. “But there are always several great candidates. But it’ll be tough imagining Steph not winning it.”

A little more than a week removed from having clinched the Pacific Division and their fourth consecutive postseason berth, Curry reiterated that individual awards are the least of the Warriors’ concerns, considering they undoubtedly are everyone’s biggest game and have yet to clinch home court advantage throughout the postseason for a second consecutive year.

Golden State leads second-place San Antonio (59-11) by four games in the West with 12 regular season games remaining.

When asked if failing to surpass the Bulls’ historic 72-win plateau serve as motivation heading into the postseason, Curry, who turned 28 March 14, paused briefly then said, “I would hope we have that same motivation either way. Winning a championship is the ultimate goal, and a regular season record, whether we have 73 wins, 69 wins, or 68, it doesn’t bear any difference on how we’re going to do in the playoffs.”

Then without hesitation, Curry offered this notable suggestion:

JUST BEING BLUNT --- As far as this year’s league MVP talks go, Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Friday was quick to say that there is Curry and then everyone else, although he doesn’t believe the former Davidson College star will be the unanimous favorite to win the award. “I’d be shocked if he doesn’t win it with the kind of season he’s had and we’ve had,” said Kerr, when asked if Curry is the frontrunner. “But there are always several great candidates. But it’ll be tough imagining Steph not winning it.”

JUST BEING BLUNTAs far as this year’s league MVP talks go, Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Friday was quick to say that there is Curry and then everyone else, although he doesn’t believe the former Davidson College star will be the unanimous favorite to win the award.
“I’d be shocked if he doesn’t win it with the kind of season he’s had and we’ve had,” said Kerr, when asked if Curry is the frontrunner. “But there are always several great candidates. But it’ll be tough imagining Steph not winning it.”

“But I know we don’t want to be the team that gets the record and doesn’t win (a championship),” Curry said. “That’s what the Bulls did. They finished the job, obviously. Whatever our record is, that’s great. But playoff success is a totally different animal. Your record is zero and zero once you get into that first round.”

When asked, “Deep down inside, do you want to get this record?” Curry paused again then said, “There’s a reason you’re still talking about the 95-96 Bulls team, so yes, that would be a huge accomplishment. I’ve always said we want to do it with the big picture in mind. I think we can accomplish both if we stay true to who we are and not get distracted by playing for the record as opposed to playing for the bigger goal.”

Spoken like a player in postseason form.



 

AndreAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

MID-SOUTH RECRUITING: Is prep hoops standout Jordan Reed Chicago-area’s best kept secret?

STAR WATCH ---- Jordan Reed, who is rated as a four-start prospect by various recruiting analysts, is a rising senior point guard for Plainfield (Ill.) East High School. (Photos submitted by R. Reed)

STAR WATCH —- Jordan Reed, who is rated as a four-start prospect by various recruiting analysts, is a rising senior point guard for Plainfield (Ill.) East High School. (Photos submitted by R. Reed)

Robert Reed, the father of Chicago-area high school basketball standout Jordan Reed, describes himself as a self-proclaimed “basketball enthusiast.”

Surely, he has valid reasons for doing so.

Amongst the grandest reasons Robert Reed is one who possesses a rather high basketball IQ is that he has worked diligently throughout the years to help steer his son in the right direction — on and off the court.

Nowadays, it seems, the tireless contributions and support of Robert Reed and his wife, Mona, have benefited their son mightily, considering he has flourished immensely on Chicago’s tradition-rich basketball circuit in recent years.

Jordan Reed, who is rated as a four-start prospect by various recruiting analysts, is a rising senior point guard for Plainfield (Ill.) East High School.

BORN TO PLAY --- Robert and Mona Reed first handed their son a basketball when he was in the second grade and, according to the couple, the rest is history.

BORN TO PLAY — Robert and Mona Reed first handed their son a basketball when he was in the second grade and, according to the couple, the rest is history.

A speedy, slim 165-pounder who has the ability to create his own shot, thus emerge as a game-changer, or sorts, Jordan has quickly come under the radar by a slew of mid-major Division 1 schools in recent years as the featured player for Plainfield coach Braden Adkins’ squad.

“I always tell him to keep working hard and don’t let anything get in the way of his success,” Adkins told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson. “We’ve seen a maturation process since he’s been around the program a few years now. He knows what the coaches expect of our team. I just expect him to lead those younger guys.”

To get a thorough understanding of how much Jordan Reed has jelled considerably in the recent years, look further than how his parents has steadfastly gone about helping put his dazzling skills on display over the years.

WATCH JORDAN VIA YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkmEfLFkhf8&feature=em-share_video_user

For starters, Robert and Mona Reed first handed their son a basketball when he was in the second grade and, according to the couple, the rest is history.

“Jordan hasn’t looked back since,” Robert Reed said.

Jordan3If nothing else, it seems this vibrant, enthusiastic athlete has made a strong case in recent years that he’s destined to fulfill his lofty dream of playing major college basketball.

And whatever lies beyond that.

Take, for instance, how Jordan, has gone about evolving as a fixture on the AAU circuit in recent years, having played in a number of national tournaments — most notably one run by LeBron James — in several major cities while earning well over 100 medals as a result.

MORE JORDAN IN ACTION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKxNyXt_a3U&feature=em-share_video_user

Jordan also played AAU ball for Evan Turner’s Buckeyes in which he averages 21 points, five assists, and five steals per game. In addition, he made 89 percent of his free throws and shot an impressive 47 percent from beyond the arc — numbers that ultimately gave way to him being named a member of the “5-Star All Star Game” in 2014.

Add to the fact that Jordan Reed has trained several times a week with former University of Wisconsin All-American and current Charlotte Hornets rookie Frank Kimisky and local trainer Lamont White, and it’s no wonder this kid has become one of the Chicago area high school’s most sought-after recruits for the Class of 2016.

In assessing Jordan’s overall display in recent years, Robert Reed acknowledges that about which he’s intrigued the most is his son’s increase in confidence.

To his credit, he has a tear-jerking story as more valid proof to complement that high basketball IQ.

FOLLOW JORDAN VIA TWITTER: @ItsJReed; @pehsathletics; @PEHSOrangeCrush.

“The memorable story I’d like to share is last year he played in the Pekin Holiday tournament, when our big gun — who is presently playing for the Illinois Fighting Illini, Aaron Jordan — was looking to take the last shot,” Robert Reed explained. “As he drove (to the basket), the entire team collapsed on him and the ball floated over the rim. Jordan caught it and put it up at the buzzer, sending us to the championship and beating top recruit Nojel Eastern of Evanston Township. That did wonders for his confidence.”

Indeed it did.

Jordan Reed with Jabari Parker

Jordan Reed with Jabari Parker

Nowadays, it seems that Jordan, armed with a slew confidence that only he can contain, figures to enjoy what is expected to be a memorable final prep season for a Bengals team that finished 18-12 last season.

“I work hard in all that I do and as the oldest son of five,” Jordan Reed said. “I have a “can-do” attitude and now learning how to persevere. I have been through a lot during my short time here on earth. I’ve lived through a good friend passing away suddenly while he played the game of basketball he loved so well, to watching my mom be deployed twice to Iraq…keeping the faith that she’d come back in one piece and of sound mind.”

Fortunately for Jordan, even in the wake of his off-the-court challenges in recent years, the basketball court has always been his sanctuary, of sorts.

“I’ve been the back bone for our basketball organization and I am always positive and up-beat even in the midst of trials in my life,” Jordan Reed explains. “My friends tease me sometimes about that military brat aspect, but it’s made me who I am and has helped shaped my existence.

Jordan Reed with Penny Hardaway

Jordan Reed with Penny Hardaway

“What I love most about basketball is dunking on someone,” Jordan Reed said with a grin. “But I do love dunking the ball. What I really love is the freedom I have out there when I’m playing.”

A favorable trend college scouts and recruiters will almost certainly come to embrace around this time next year.

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.”

AndreAndre 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 andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.