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 [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

 

 

Memphis author Nicole Jackson defies odds, writes an unprecedented 17 books in two years

Rarely will you see Nicole Jackson walking around without wearing the very thing that matters the most.

Her bright, signature smile.

Nicole1Such was the case early Thursday morning when Jackson posted to her Facebook page a humorous, yet inspiring video of her alongside her son, LaDaveon, as the two extended well wishes to everyone in hopes they would have an enchanting and productive day.

“That’s why I do it,” Jackson, displaying her customary smile, told longtime journalist Andre Johnson. “People need happiness, and I’m always silly and happy, even when I don’t really want to be.”

To get a thorough understanding of why Jackson, a 34-year-old native Memphian, aspires daily to dress up wearing a smile, aspires daily to live on the larger side of her Creator, look no further than how she has spent a majority of young life just to earn the right to possess and savor what has emerged as a winning attitude.

YOU GO, GIRL: Today, Memphis-area author Nicole Jackson has become a fixture throughout the Mid-South as one of the area’s finest and brightest authors, one who hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down any time soon.  What’s so astounding is that over a span of a little more than two years dating back to November 2013, Jackson --- whose pen name Niki Jilvontae --- has written an unprecedented 17 books, a trend that has given way to her being dubbed a national best-selling author.

YOU GO, GIRL: Today, Memphis-area author Nicole Jackson has become a fixture throughout the Mid-South as one of the area’s finest and brightest authors, one who hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down any time soon.
What’s so astounding is that over a span of a little more than two years dating back to November 2013, Jackson — whose pen name Niki Jilvontae — has written an unprecedented 17 books, a trend that has given way to her being dubbed a national best-selling author.

For starters, Jackson grew up in arguably one of the most dangerous and crime-infested communities in inner city Memphis, the LeMoyne Gardens Housing projects, where a lack of education, brutal living conditions, and teenage pregnancies had become all too familiar.

Unfortunately for Jackson, like many her peers, she essentially had become a product of her environment, victimized by her surroundings, considering she ultimately had placed her education by the wayside.

HUGE BREAK: Jackson eventually “stumbled across” a publisher months after delving off into the word of authorship, and the rest, as they say, was history.  She hasn’t stopped writing since and, given the monumental strides she’s made within the past two-plus years, it’s safe to assume that perhaps, 17 books are only a sign of things to come.

HUGE BREAK: Jackson eventually “stumbled across” a publisher months after delving off into the word of authorship, and the rest, as they say, was history.
She hasn’t stopped writing since and, given the monumental strides she’s made within the past two-plus years, it’s safe to assume that perhaps, 17 books are only a sign of things to come.

Once a homeless teenager who had seemingly lost her identity and appeared headed for destruction on the brutally chaotic streets of South Memphis, Jackson was forced to drop out of high school at the tender age of 16, a development that, believe it or not, proved to her life’s defining moment.

Approximately two months removed from her disheartening, premature exit from grade school, Jackson thought it necessary to enroll at a nearby Job Corps facility. That was ultimately followed by her finding a place of her own, a rare occurrence for a black teenage girl in the inner city.

Nicole7It wasn’t long after Jackson had bolted high school that she earned her General Equivalency Diploma (or G.E.D.), amassing an over score of 52, the highest tally ever assembled at that Job Corps facility.

From that point on, things began to hold up favorably for Jackson, although she had given birth to first child, Briuna, a few months after relocating from Memphis to Charlotte, North Carolina.

“My life changed again,” Jackson said of the birth of her firstborn. “She was the best thing that happened to me and her love helped me to dig deep into my emotions and write more.”

She hasn’t stopped writing since.

Today, Jackson has become a fixture throughout the Mid-South as one of the area’s finest and brightest authors, one who hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down any time soon.

What’s so astounding is that over a span of a little more than two years dating back to November 2013, Jackson — whose pen name Niki Jilvontae — has written an unprecedented 17 books, a trend that has given way to her being dubbed a national best-selling author.

Moreover, such a remarkable feat practically explains why even after enduring what at one point in time seemed a like a road headed for destruction, Jackson routinely walks around daily wearing the very thing that matters the most.

WE ARE FAMILY: To her credit, she began to enhance not just her writing arsenal, but also her educational resume.  In 2010, for instance, Jackson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Administration from University of Phoenix because, as she tells it, she was “out to make life better for myself and my kids.”

WE ARE FAMILY: To her credit, she began to enhance not just her writing arsenal, but also her educational resume.
In 2010, for instance, Jackson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Administration from University of Phoenix because, as she tells it, she was “out to make life better for myself and my kids.”

Her bright, signature smile.

“Through prayer and writing, I found that clarity and got back on track once again,” Jackson explained.

To her credit, she began to enhance not just her writing arsenal, but also her educational resume.

In 2010, for instance, Jackson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Administration from University of Phoenix because, as she tells it, she was “out to make life better for myself and my kids.”

In addition, she eventually “stumbled across” a publisher months after delving off into the word of authorship, and the rest, as they say, was history.

She hasn’t stopped writing since and, given the monumental strides she’s made within the past two-plus years, it’s safe to assume that perhaps, 17 books are only a sign of things to come.

Never mind that her father was murdered when she was four years old amid a gang-related activity in Saginaw, Michigan.

Never mind that her son was diagnosed with autism two years after she obtained her college degree.

Never mind that she subsequently was diagnosed with Lupus and Type 2 diabetes.

Never mind that according to her, “things got hard again” and that “I struggled for two years trying to find a way to help my child and restore my physical and spiritual health.”

Today, more than ever before, one would be hard-pressed to recognize the shortcomings that often surface in the life of Jackson and her family, all because, well, she’s guilty of walking around daily wearing the very thing that matters the most.

HAPPY FEELINGS: Today, more than ever before, one would be hard-pressed to recognize the shortcomings that often surface in the life of Jackson and her family, all because, well, she’s guilty of walking around daily wearing the very thing that matters the most.  Her bright, signature smile.

HAPPY FEELINGS: Today, more than ever before, one would be hard-pressed to recognize the shortcomings that often surface in the life of Jackson and her family, all because, well, she’s guilty of walking around daily wearing the very thing that matters the most.
Her bright, signature smile.

Her bright, signature smile.

Currently, she is the founder and chief executive officer of Pen Hustlas Publications, an internet radio show and, according to her, more business ventures are presently in the works.

A Broken Girl’s Journey” series, “A Long Way From Home,” “M.E.M.P.H.I.S.,” “Twisted Faith Of A Side B**** Memphis,” “The Mitches” series, “The My B****” series, “Sins of Thy Mother” series, and “On the Run: The Legend of Mercy and Mayhem,” among others, are just a few of her published works.

The list goes on and on.

A list that, to everyone’s surprise, is a little more than two years old.

“Every book that I write is laced with at least 50 percent truth and 50 percent imagination,” Jackson said. “So I’m able to share my life, my dreams, my fears, my weaknesses, my hopes, and my dreams with others without them judging and in a way that relates to their lives.

“I love to help and give back to others, because I’ve needed help often and I knew how good it feels to know that someone else in the world loves and believes in you,” Jackson continued. “That’s why I treat my authors exactly the way I wanted to be treated as an author signed to a company. Being able to connect with, inspire, and love on other people is what I love about the book business and I wouldn’t trade my job for anything in the world.”

A world that once appeared on a downward spiral, a world that once seemed headed for destruction.

Look at her now, walking around here wearing the very thing that matters the most.

Her bright, signature smile.

 



 

 

AndreEDITOR’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 [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Throwback Thursday: Memphis Wrestling returns to Channel 13

Dustin Starr & Maria Garay join Ernie Freeman on Good Morning Memphis.

Memphis Wildfire Wrestling returns to Minglewood Hall tonight for their annual event Force of July.  Memphis Wrestling stars have made appearances on local television stations & radio programs over the course of the last few weeks, but none more exciting than yesterday’s appearance on Fox 13’s Good Morning Memphis.

With Memphis Wrestling returning to Channel 13 for the first time since 1977, this week’s Throwback Thursday features MSL’s friend & host of Good Morning Memphis Ernie Freeman.  Ernie plays the role of Lance Russell or Dave Brown, as Maria & I are interrupted by a fired-up “Superstar” Bill Dundee.

Dundee gives a short Channel 13 Memphis Wrestling history lesson, as he mentions wrestling there in 1975 with guys like Don & Al Greene, Jackie Fargo and Jerry Lawler.  Among all the commotion, Dundee even threatens to knock Ernie out!

Let’s take a look:

FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Memphis Wildfire Wrestling’s Force of July takes place tonight at Minglewood Hall in Memphis, TN.  Belltime is 7:00PM.  I will wrestle Bill Dundee with Maria in my corner for what is being billed as the “Star Spangled Challenge”.  In the main event, Jerry Lawler is set to square off against “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner in their first meeting ever.  WWE will have a film crew in Memphis for the event.

Can’t get enough of Memphis Wildfire Wrestling?  Here are a few interviews leading up to the big event.

VIDEO:  Jerry Lawler sends a special message to Scott Steiner.

VIDEO:  Scott Steiner replies to Lawler’s message.

VIDEO:  Bill Dundee has a few words for Dustin Starr & Maria.

VIDEO:  Dustin Starr & Maria discuss their match with Bill Dundee.

VIDEO:  Lawler vs. Steiner Highlights

For ticket information, visit Memphis Wildfire on Facebook or Minglewood Hall.

Fun Facts:  The feud between Bill Dundee and I really started when I joined him on his radio program, several weeks back.  Things got a little heated, just as they did on Good Morning Memphis.  Here’s the exclusive footage taken by the producer behind the glass – Starr joins Dundee’s show.

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and MSL. Follow him @DustinStarr.

SEE ALSO:

Former Vols basketball star Tony Harris earns degree, gives back to community

 

GOD'S FACILITATOR --- For years, Tony Harris graced Memphis with his basketball prowess, a trend ultimately led to him earning a full fledge scholarship to the University of Tennessee. Today, the former East High star is giving back to the community as founder of the Tony Harris Basketball Academy. (Photo submitted by Tony Harris)

GOD’S FACILITATOR — For years, Tony Harris graced Memphis with his basketball prowess, a trend ultimately led to him earning a full fledge scholarship to the University of Tennessee. Today, the former East High star is giving back to the community as founder of the Tony Harris Basketball Academy. (Photo submitted by Tony Harris)

Tony Harris decided to call it a career after playing professional basketball overseas for approximately seven years.

It didn’t take long for the former University of Tennessee standout to return to Knoxville to complete the final 36 hours of his undergraduate studies.

Harris, a native Memphian, earned his degree in Psychology with a minor in Childcare within six months after his professional career ended.

He has former Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl to thank.

Pearl, who recently replaced Tony Barbee as Auburn’s head coach, coached the Vols from 2005-2011 before he was fired in March 2011 for lying to school officials regarding NCAA allegations.

As Harris tells it, Pearl’s contributions to the university far outweighs the NCAA sanctions that ultimately led to his firing. Among the reasons is that during Pearl’s tenure at Tennessee, he established a program in which ex-Vol players could return to campus and finish their degree requirements.

Harris, who starred for the Vols from 1997-2001, deemed it a forgone conclusion to finish school. “Man, it was very relishing,” Harris, in a recent interview, said of finishing his undergraduate requirements.

“I look back at it as a pivotal point in my life. I knew that I couldn’t play basketball the rest of my life. I knew eventually the crowd would stop cheering. I knew getting my degree would open doors for me.”

Harris is grateful to Pearl for helping him exhibit to renewed sense of assertiveness in the classroom.

“Believe it or not, Bruce Pearl played a big part in that,” Harris said. “He created a program where he actually wanted to bring former players back. He reached out to me and I said, ‘I have to do that.’ I definitely sensed a reconnection with him. I really wished I had played for that guy right there because he cared. My hat goes off to him.”

A little more than five years removed having a earned his degree, Harris, a former McDonald’s All-American and Tennessee Class AAA Mr. Basketball who starred at point guard for East High from 1994-97 is now dishing out assists to youngsters who aspire to journey through the basketball ranks much like he did more than a decade ago in this hoops-crazed town.

Harris, 35, is the founder of the Tony Harris Basketball Academy (or THBA), which is currently housed at STAR Academy Charter School in Northeast Memphis where he teaches physical education. According to Harris, THBA was organized to teach youths various fundamentals and mechanics as they prepare for competitive play.

ROCKY TOP TONY --- Harris, a former Mr. Tennessee Class AAA Mr. Basketball starred at point guard for the Vols from 1997-2001 before playing professionally for seven years overseas. (File photo courtesy of UT Athletics)

ROCKY TOP TONY — Harris, a former Mr. Tennessee Class AAA Mr. Basketball starred at point guard for the Vols from 1997-2001 before playing professionally for seven years overseas. (File photo courtesy of UT Athletics)

Also, THBA has its own strength and conditioning coach to teach athletes about speed and agility as well as the importance of staying in shape on the court. In addition, the academy offers after-school tutoring and frequent sessions in which athletes are taught how to become media savvy.

“A lot of kids get in front of the news media and don’t know how to talk,” Harris said.

An organization that is comprised of about 120 individuals, Harris also conducts a midweek Bible study in which he shares with athletes stories that are parrarelled to his life. In return, athletes are encouraged to offer feedback from the messages given.

Earlier this year, Harris was installed as an ordained ministered by his pastor, Stephen Brown, and preached his first sermon just weeks later at Brown’s LOGIC Church in the heart of downtown Memphis.

“About a month before my sermon, I didn’t know what I was going to talk about,” Harris said. “And God told me to talk about where He brought me from. And so when I preached that sermon, I tied those experiences to my own life.”

Besides Pearl, Harris attributes his success on and off the court to fellow Memphian Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, a former Memphis Treadwell and MemphisState star.

Drafted with the third overall pick by GoldenState in 1993, Hardaway played 14 seasons in the NBA and made four All-Star appearances before retiring in 2007 following a brief stint with the Miami Heat.

“Man, I just looked at his life and his career and how he came back and impacted the whole (city),” Harris said of Hardaway. “He really inspired me. He’s really had the biggest impact on me. And it helps to have a personal relationship with him. I’ve watch him. And what better guy to have as an example than Penny Hardaway?”

Looking ahead, Harris said his primary focus is to upgrade his staff at THBA, considering he has taken on additional athletes in recent months. Also, plans to build a new facility are in the works while he continues to train athletes at STAR Academy, a project he anticipates will be complete within the next year.

“It was four years ago,” said Harris, explaining his motivation for starting a basketball academy. “I was trying to figure out what direction I wanted to go and God gave me a vision. He said, ‘I want you to start a basketball academy.’ And then I talked to my pastor about it and then he told me to make the vision plain and clear. One thing I wanted to do was reach out to kids and not be restricted to a school.”

Much like Pearl reached out to him.

 Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at [email protected]. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.