Mid-South-area prep basketball standout Quintiyus Causey making noise in Mississippi and Texas

For a 16-year-old rising junior basketball player who boasts lofty aspirations of putting his immense skills on display at the collegiate level, Cleveland (Mississippi) High’s Quintiyus Causey seems to already know how to handle the sometimes tough and challenging media.

Take, for instance, how Causey eloquently responded Monday afternoon when asked what it is he’d like for college scouts and recruiters to know about him.

aaaaTo his credit, he didn’t hold back, nor did he waver or dodge around with his answers.

Rather, he was forthright and to the point.

“(I’m a player) who is laid back, willing to learn, very coachable, able to take constructive criticism, ready to work, and give my all on and off the basketball court,” Causey told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson.

STOCK RISING --- In helping the upstart Cleveland High to a 14-14 finish despite a 2-7 showing in Mississippi Region 3-4A play, Quintiyus Causey, a 5-foot-9 swingman, held his own, thus made a solid case that his favorable performance this past season essentially is a sign of things to come in what figures to be a crucial senior campaign.

STOCK RISING — In helping the upstart Cleveland High to a 14-14 finish despite a 2-7 showing in Mississippi Region 3-4A play, Quintiyus Causey, a 5-foot-9 swingman, held his own, thus made a solid case that his favorable performance this past season essentially is a sign of things to come in what figures to be a crucial senior campaign.

To get a thorough concept of why Causey appears to harbor a wealth of poise and resolve at such a pivotal stage in his young basketball career, look no further than his stellar effort this past season for Cleveland.

Much to the delight of Cleveland coach James Strong’s Wildcats, Causey was nothing short of remarkable for a team that managed to manufacture the .500 mark by season’s end.

In helping the upstart Wildcats to a 14-14 finish despite a 2-7 showing in Mississippi Region 3-4A play, Causey, a 5-foot-9 swingman, held his own, thus made a solid case that his favorable performance this past season essentially is a sign of things to come in what figures to be a crucial junior campaign.

In emerging as one of the team’s marquee players, Causey appeared in each of Cleveland’s 28 games and averaged 14.1 points, second only to Ellis Townsend II’s 15.1 points per contest.

According to Maxpreps.com, Causey was one of four Cleveland players to see action in all 28 games, a trend that, according to his mother, Colleen Watson, provided her son with an array of confidence in the process.

“When I’m in the stands watching my son play, it brings joy to my heart,” Watson said. “I’m yelling and screaming throughout the games for the team as well as my son. I just continue to thank God daily for continuing his interest for basketball.”

By and large, his apparent continuous rise as an efficient basketball player has gone virtually unnoticed, considering Causey has been afforded the luxury of playing at the always competitive AAU ranks in another state.

TEXAS SIZE IMPACT --- By and large, his apparent continuous rise as an efficient basketball player has gone virtually unnoticed, considering Causey has been afforded the luxury of playing at the always competitive AAU ranks in another state. Causey currently is a member of the Fort Worth, Texas-based Beastmode AAU team and, fortunately for him, it seems he’s only increasing his stock with regards to drawing the attention of college scouts and recruiters.

TEXAS SIZE IMPACTBy and large, his apparent continuous rise as an efficient basketball player has gone virtually unnoticed, considering Causey has been afforded the luxury of playing at the always competitive AAU ranks in another state.
Causey currently is a member of the Fort Worth, Texas-based Beastmode AAU team and, fortunately for him, it seems he’s only increasing his stock with regards to drawing the attention of college scouts and recruiters.

Causey currently is a member of the Fort Worth, Texas-based Beastmode AAU team coached by Adarrial Coleman and, fortunately for him, it seems he’s only increasing his stock with regards to drawing the attention of college scouts and recruiters, considering all this does is win.

So much so that his AAU squad has collected an assortment of championship hardware.

Oh…and let’s not forget Causey’s keen ability to handle the media.

Need more proof?

Just listen to him.

aaassssss“Preparing for my senior year, I know I have to go out with a bang, so I would say (in order to progress) spending countless hours in the gym and in the weight room,” Causey said. “College basketball is very intense. Everything you do is done with a purpose. The things you work on in practice are not just to go through the motion, but you do those things to get something out of it. I’ve always been the type of player that if the game is not taken seriously, I don’t want to play and in college basketball, nothing is for fun and I want to be in an environment where I can play against guys who are said to be some of that nation’s best and let my game introduce me.”

Displaying her signature smile and customary support of Causey, Watson relishes the fact that her son has greatly handled the major high school/AAU basketball maturation processes with ease.

MOM KNOWS BEST ---"The sky is the limit for my son because he's dedicated, hardworking, very athletic, a team player and always willing to help and learn new things as it relates to everything, especially basketball,” Colleen Watson said.

MOM KNOWS BEST“The sky is the limit for my son because he’s dedicated, hardworking, very athletic, a team player and always willing to help and learn new things as it relates to everything, especially basketball,” Colleen Watson said.

She doesn’t expect him to let up anytime soon.

Look out Mississippi and Texas.

Chances are hoops-crazed fans haven’t heard the last of this athletically-talent kid whose best and brightest days are well ahead of him.

“The sky is the limit for my son because he’s dedicated, hardworking, very athletic, a team player and always willing to help and learn new things as it relates to everything, especially basketball,” Watson said.

Credit this basketball mom for always dishing out the biggest assist to an athletically-gifted kid who’s making a strong case that he’s destined to play at the collegiate level.



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

Marion (Ark.) High senior Allen Latham, Jr. generating late interests from colleges

STOCK RISING --- To his credit, he certainly appears on track to possibly suiting up in a college uniform in the coming months, considering Allen Latham, Jr. was invited recently to put his mechanics on display before the coaching staff at Harding University, a Division 2 school in Searcy, Arkansas.

STOCK RISINGTo his credit, he certainly appears on track to possibly suiting up in a college uniform in the coming months, considering Allen Latham, Jr. was invited recently to put his mechanics on display before the coaching staff at Harding University, a Division 2 school in Searcy, Arkansas.

Allen Latham, Jr. was asked recently to assess his senior campaign for the Marion (Arkansas) High basketball team.

“I think it went really well,” Latham, Jr. told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson. Then after pausing momentarily, Latham Jr. recalled arguably his grandest memory of his final season of major prep basketball.

“I had a breakout game of 31 points and being the team captain, that led to me being a leader on and off the court,” Latham, Jr. said.

Now that his prep hoops tenure has ended, the 6-foot-2, 187-pound swingman is now clinging to lofty aspirations of extending his athletic talents at the collegiate level.

To his credit, he certainly appears on track to possibly suiting up in a college uniform in the coming months, considering Latham, Jr. was invited recently to put his mechanics on display before the coaching staff at Harding University, a Division 2 school in Searcy, Arkansas.

Although the 18-year-old Latham, Jr. has yet to garner any official offers, he has acquired some interest and qualified academically, according to his father, Allen Latham, Sr.

DAD KNOWS BEST --- Although the 18-year-old Latham, Jr. has yet to garner any official offers, he has qualified academically, according to his father, Allen Latham, Sr. For the past couple of weeks, Latham, Sr. has been quite complimentary of his son, saying, among other things, that he has exceeded expectations on and off the court and that he is worthy of having a shot of fulfilling his dream of playing college basketball.

DAD KNOWS BESTAlthough the 18-year-old Latham, Jr. has yet to garner any official offers, he has qualified academically, according to his father, Allen Latham, Sr. For the past couple of weeks, Latham, Sr. has been quite complimentary of his son, saying, among other things, that he has exceeded expectations on and off the court and that he is worthy of having a shot of fulfilling his dream of playing college basketball.

For the past couple of weeks, Latham, Sr. has been quite complimentary of his son, saying, among other things, that he has exceeded expectations on and off the court and that he is worthy of having a shot of fulfilling his dream of playing college basketball.

“He began playing (basketball) at the age of six,” Latham, Sr. said of his son, whom he said also generated interest from Arkansas Tech and Ecclesia College in Springdale, Arkansas.

Ever since his child first dribbled and launched a basketball toward a goal, the elder Latham knew his son would ultimately find his niche in the sport.

This past season, unlike any other, it seemed he had done just that, something by which he hopes college scouts and recruiters will subsequently take into account in the foreseeable future.

“He has a lot of talent and potential to do well in this sport,” Latham, Sr. said. “He had (a number of) good games (this past season), he didn’t get hurt, and he played team ball.”

Indeed he did.

pat3In leading coach Irving Clay’s Patriots in scoring at better than 13 points per game, Latham appeared in 25 of Marion’s 26 outings and, by season’s end, the Patriots’ late-season surge gave way to a 14-12 finish and a No. 43 overall ranking in the state in a final poll released by Maxpreps.com.

A pretty impressive resume for a talented swingman who doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s aiming to make a favorable impression upon scouts — much sooner than later.

“I’m a solid shooter who can handle the ball and who is willing to go 110 percent and continue to work hard,” Latham, Jr. said, when asked what he’d like to say to recruiters. “(Basketball) is the love of my life. My whole life has been created to school, serving God, and basketball. I won’t stop now.”

That was quite evident this past season at Marion.



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.

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.

 

 

 

MID-SOUTH RECRUITING: Cottonwood (Alabama) High Jonathan ‘Case’ Granger destined to land a scholarship as team’s most versatile player

COTTONWOOD, Alabama — In case you don’t know him, Jonathan ‘Case’ Chalked Granger would like to introduce himself.

MAKING A SOLID CASE --- Cottonwood (Alabama) High baseball standout Jonathan 'Case' Chalked Granger is, by all accounts, arguably the Bears’ most durable and efficient player, considering Granger has developed a keen reputation for playing multiple positions, sometimes as many as three or, perhaps, four. He hopes college scouts will take into account his ability to be versatile on the diamond. (Photos submitted by P. Pylant)

MAKING A SOLID CASE — Cottonwood (Alabama) High baseball standout Jonathan ‘Case’ Chalked Granger is, by all accounts, arguably the Bears’ most durable and efficient player, considering Granger has developed a keen reputation for playing multiple positions, sometimes as many as three or, perhaps, four. He hopes college scouts will take into account his ability to be versatile on the diamond. (Photos submitted by P. Pylant)

For starters, Granger stands at 6-foot-3 in height, good enough to occupy a swingman position on a basketball court.

Secondly, he’s a senior baseball standout for Cottonwood (Alabama) High, where he’s started varsity since he was a true freshman.

He is, by all accounts, arguably the Bears’ most durable and efficient player, considering Granger has developed a keen reputation for playing multiple positions, sometimes as many as three or, perhaps, four.

LOVE AND BASEBALL --- The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Granger doesn’t shy away from the notion that baseball has become a lifestyle, of sorts, for him ever since he first began playing competitively at the age of three. “I would like for the recruiters to know that baseball is more than important to me and I can't imagine my life without baseball being a part of it,” Granger said during a recent interview with Sports Journalist Andre Johnson.

LOVE AND BASEBALLThe 6-foot-3, 218-pound Granger doesn’t shy away from the notion that baseball has become a lifestyle, of sorts, for him ever since he first began playing competitively at the age of three.
“I would like for the recruiters to know that baseball is more than important to me and I can’t imagine my life without baseball being a part of it,” Granger said during a recent interview with Sports Journalist Andre Johnson.

As if that isn’t enough, Granger not only deems it necessary to introduce himself but, above all, he has a forthright message to college scouts and recruiters, so pay attention.

After all, he doesn’t shy away from the notion that baseball has become a lifestyle, of sorts, for him ever since he first began playing competitively at the age of three.

“I would like for the recruiters to know that baseball is more than important to me and I can’t imagine my life without baseball being a part of it,” Granger said during a recent interview with Sports Journalist Andre Johnson. “I have a great work ethic. I’m a team player. I’ll go wherever (my coaches) needs me to go. I will study plays and strategies and know them like the back of my hand, and I will train hard so that I can be the best possible.”

WHAT YOU SAID --- “I train everyday...it may be 30 minutes on some days, but I'm always thinking baseball,” Granger said. “I think my biggest strengths are my abilities as a pitcher. I also have a good batting average and my error percentage is very low. I spent my last two summers playing travel ball and working out.”

WHAT YOU SAID“I train everyday…it may be 30 minutes on some days, but I’m always thinking baseball,” Granger said. “I think my biggest strengths are my abilities as a pitcher. I also have a good batting average and my error percentage is very low. I spent my last two summers playing travel ball and working out.”

To his credit, the 18-year-old Granger has emerged as the catalyst of Cottonwood coach Danny Coachman’s team, in large part because he has proven time and again that he’s willing to adjust and playing multiple position — something that in all likelihood will draw rave reviews from college coaches, coupled with his attractive size.

Add to the fact that Granger’s baseball IQ is second to none and that he is considered to be in favorable shape for a kid who boasts lofty aspirations of playing at the collegiate level, and it’s no wonder he appears destined to wear a college baseball uniform around this time next year.

In a nutshell, many who have witnessed his progress on the baseball diamond in recent years would agree that this Granger undoubtedly possess the smarts to play at the next level.

“I train everyday…it may be 30 minutes on some days, but I’m always thinking baseball,” Granger said. “I think my biggest strengths are my abilities as a pitcher. I also have a good batting average and my error percentage is very low. I spent my last two summers playing travel ball and working out.”

This year, as usual, Granger hinted that he plans to stick with the same routine, maybe tweaking his mechanics here and there.

Regardless, he knows full well that until he inks a National Letter of Intent, he must continue to make a strong case that he’s auditioning for an athletic scholarship, something that would bring huge smiles to the faces of his grandest supporters.

Mom especially.

CHASING GREATNESS --- Regardless, he knows full well that until he inks a National Letter of Intent, he must continue to make a strong case that he’s auditioning for an athletic scholarship, something that would bring huge smiles to the faces of his grandest supporters.

CHASING GREATNESSRegardless, he knows full well that until he inks a National Letter of Intent, he must continue to make a strong case that he’s auditioning for an athletic scholarship, something that would bring huge smiles to the faces of his grandest supporters.

“When I watch Case perform, I am always nervous because I realize a lot depends on the pitcher to get the job done,” explained Pam Clayton Pylant, Granger’s mother. “But Case seems to take each game in stride…one pitch, one hit at a time. We have traveled all over Alabama and Florida going to showcases and travel ball games and enjoyed every minute of it. If Case is not playing, he is practicing.”

Something about which Granger’s family hope college scouts and recruiters will take into account in the coming weeks.

“I would love to play ball at the next level and see what God has in store for me after that,” Granger said. “I am from a small school that doesn’t get a lot of exposure. Some junior colleges have expressed interest, but nothing official yet.”

Stay tuned.

Chances are the recruiting process for this baseball prodigy is about to turn up.



Andre

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a child or team that is seeking exposure and would like an in-depth sports news story, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him for details under “Andre T. Johnson.”

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

MID-SOUTH RECRUITING: Cottonwood (Ala.) High baseball standout Cody McCardle aiming to impress college scouts

CodyCOTTONWOOD, Alabama — They are virtually inseparable, especially on that baseball diamond.

Ben.

Cody.

Cody.

Ben.

Cody is the big brother. Ben is the little brother.

Both were born two years apart. Still, the close-knit bond they’ve established throughout the years through the sport of baseball brings great joy to their mother, Kim McCardle.

In fact, according to Stacy and Kim McCardle, while she is impressed with how well Ben McCardle has adjusted to varsity baseball for Cottonwood (Ala.) High, she’s admittedly doing whatever is necessary to help Cody McCardle — who also stars for Cottonwood — acquire the essential exposure that will enable him to generate interest from college scouts and recruiters.

STOCK RISING --- Cottonwood baseball standout Cody McCardle doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s clinging to lofty aspirations of playing baseball at the collegiate level. “I am open to different colleges because my major is Physical Education,” Cody McCardle, who boasts of aspirations of coaching sports someday, told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I feel I can make a difference in the lives of kids who love sports as I did when I was growing up.”

STOCK RISINGCottonwood baseball standout Cody McCardle doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s clinging to lofty aspirations of playing baseball at the collegiate level.
“I am open to different colleges because my major is Physical Education,” Cody McCardle, who boasts of aspirations of coaching sports someday, told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I feel I can make a difference in the lives of kids who love sports as I did when I was growing up.”

After all, Cody McCardle doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s clinging to lofty aspirations of playing baseball at the collegiate level.

According to Cody McCardle, he has reached out to a host of schools to inquire about the possibility of playing baseball, most notably Lurleen B. Wallace in Andalusia, Alabama, Auburn University at Montgomery, Faulkner, Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College in Georgia, and West Alabama.

“I am open to different colleges because my major is Physical Education,” Cody McCardle, who boasts of aspirations of coaching sports someday, told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I feel I can make a difference in the lives of kids who love sports as I did when I was growing up.”

Among the reasons Cody McCardle, one of the key contributors for Cottonwood’s tradition-rich baseball team that is coached by Danny Coachman, has acquired an interest for coaching athletics in the future is due in large part to the work ethic he’s produced while playing alongside his brother.

Cody and Ben have become workout buddies throughout the years, a trend that has benefited them mightily, a pivotal attribute that could prove beneficial, considering the work ethic of athletes is something by which scouts take into account when evaluating and recruiting talent.

MAKING PROGRESS --- Amongst Cody’s key strengths as a prep baseball player who’s aiming to turn heads of scouts is that he has what he describes as “quick hands,” let alone emerging as a player who has become a quick and fast outfielder who is able to cover a lot of ground as competitive middle infielder.

MAKING PROGRESSAmongst Cody’s key strengths as a prep baseball player who’s aiming to turn heads of scouts is that he has what he describes as “quick hands,” let alone emerging as a player who has become a quick and fast outfielder who is able to cover a lot of ground as competitive middle infielder.

“My brother and I help coach Upward basketball at our church and we have always helped with coaching our little brother’s baseball team, football team, and the Upward basket program,” Cody McCardle said.

Most importantly, at least as it pertains to enhancing his skills set and mechanics, Cody McCardle acknowledges that working out and conditioning with his brother has inspired him immensely in recent years.

“I train about six days a week and with my brother,” Cody McCardle said. “We will just head out to the baseball field to practice our hitting year around. I can field in tough situations, trying to make a play when that play doesn’t seem possible.

As for conditioning away from the diamond, Cody McCardle said, “I spend my time weight and strength training and with the ball field being three minutes from our house. We are always taking batting practice.”

Fortunately for Cody, as oddly as it seems, that his family owns a farm has also helped him to evolve as a durable, efficient prep student athlete.

“We own a family farm and, during summer months, we pick and load thousands of watermelons and cantaloupes all day long in the South Alabama heat,” Cody McCardle said with a grin. “So I am used to these situations that have helped with my endurance on the field.”

Cody5Amongst Cody’s key strengths as a prep baseball player who’s aiming to turn heads of scouts is that he has what he describes as “quick hands,” let alone emerging as a player who has become a quick and fast outfielder who is able to cover a lot of ground as competitive middle infielder.

“I am very dedicated to the sport of baseball,” Cody said. “I have been playing since I was three years old. I am hard-working and dedicated (to the sport). I am flexible to where I can play mostly any position.”

All of which routinely bring smiles to the faces of those who make up the McCardle household.

Mom especially.

“We just love watching all of the kids play, but it’s exciting to see two brothers working together with the team,” Kim McCardle said. “Cody has this way of getting to balls infield and outfield that otherwise I thought have been impossible to stop. When we see him lay down a bunt and beat it to first (base), we are thrilled. “He loves baseball and sports enough to major in it after high school. Sometimes the smallest guy doesn’t get a shot but as he says, ‘They haven’t met me yet and small packages have the best competition.’”

Spoken like a prep baseball standout whose dreams include playing at the collegiate level.



 

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.

Dallas-area youth hoopster Kaelen Jackson excelling despite mom’s long work hours

KAELENDALLAS — Cosha Jackson customarily goes above and beyond to ensure her family is well taken care of.

So much, in fact, that in many instances, Jackson works as many as six days a week.

Still, although working consumes much of her time, Jackson makes certain she bolts her job in time to attend games for her son, Dallas-area amateur basketball player, Kaelen Damon Jackson.

“He started playing in his mama’s backyard at the age of three,” Cosha said during a recent interview. “Not until the age of five he began playing with his first team, (the Beckley Bears).”

Despite being mostly an undersized player ever since he began playing competitive basketball, Kaelen still has proven to hold his own on the court as a marquee player for Dallas’ NorthStars 10-and-under team.

Nicknamed “K-Man,” Kaelon’s key contributions helped steer the NorthStars to an impressive 13-3 mark that was culminated recently with an elusive championship.

“I knew he could do it despite his height. I was and still am a proud mother,” Cosha said her son’s display this past season for the NorthStars.

In assessing her son’s success as a rising athlete, Cosha credits the NorthStars coaching staff for aiding her in ensuring her son goes full throttle, particularly when her job often conflicts with getting him to and from practice.

“I work six days a week,” Cosha said. “Kaelen has great coaches that make sure he gets to practices and to games when I am unable to get him there. But I make sure that I leave work, because I never miss a game. I am my child’s No. 1 fan.”

And never mind that amid the long hours in the workplace, Cosha’s has to swiftly assume another hat — that of the proverbial basketball mom.KAELEN2

“But when I see the enjoyment that my son has when he is on the court, being tired goes out the window,” Cosha said. “I’d do anything for his happiness. That’s what makes me excited. I am overjoyed as a parent. You try to put your kids into activities to keep them busy, and it’s a plus when they excel in that activity.”

A 10-year-old fifth grader at Gateway Charter School, Kaelen assumes the point guard position for a NorthStars team who harbors the  motto: “Hard work beat talent if talent fails to work hard.”

For this vibrant, speedy amateur athlete, without question his immense talents on the court have gone virtually unnoticed, a trend he says hopes will afford him to someday repay his mother for the tireless efforts she has invested in him, on and away from the hardwood.

“Because I am good at it,” said Kaelen, when asked why does he love basketball so much. “And I like the feeling I get when I’m on the court. I get excited.”

More than anything, Kaelen acknowledges, looking out into the stands and seeing his mother’s presence is what ultimately fuels his desire to help his peers be successful.

“My mom says I can be anything I want to be,” said Kaelen, explaining the best advice his mother frequently gives him. “I want to play in the NBA when I get older, so she told me to work hard and it will come true.”

However, landing on basketball grandest stage won’t merely come easily, Cosha says often tells her son.

“I always tell Kaelen nothing in life is going to be giving to him,” Cosha said. “You have to work hard to get what you want. The sky’s the limit (for him) because he has dedication. His dream is to play professional basketball. As long as he never gives up on himself, his dream will become a reality. I tell Kaelen, ‘Never put limits on yourself.’ Whatever he set his mind to do, I know Kaelen will achieve it.”

Among the reasons is that his mom demonstrates that daily.

So much for being so exhausted after working long hours.

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

 

Univ. of Southwest basketball standout Anitria Flowers aiming to attract pro scouts

BLOSSOMING FLOWER --- Anitria Flowers, a junior college transfer and the University of Southwest's second-tallest player, was the catalyst of a team that made continuous stride this season. (Photos courtesy of USW Athletics)

BLOSSOMING FLOWER — Anitria Flowers, a junior college transfer and the University of Southwest’s second-tallest player, was the catalyst of a team that made continuous stride this season. (Photos courtesy of USW Athletics)

DALLAS — When logging on to the University of Southwest’s women’s basketball website, the first photo you’ll see is that of Anitria Flowers.

Flowers, a junior college transfer and the Lady Mustangs’ second-tallest player, is the catalyst of a team that made continuous strides this season.

Southwest’s season ended in Red River Athletic Conference loss to nationally-ranked Our Lady Of The Lake University April 28. While the Lady Mustangs’ 6-26 campaign suggests, among other things that they struggled considerably this year, in essence, it was a season in which Southwest first-year coach Jamene Caldwell’s team is building for the future.

That future, by all accounts, will surely involve Flowers, a 5-foot-11 combo guard who figures to help steer the team in the right direction for what she pledges will be a memorable senior campaign next.

A player whose favorite quote — at least according to Southwest’s website — is, “Talent is God given. Be humble, fame is manmade. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful,” Flowers doesn’t shy away from the notion that she’s destined to not only help propel the Lady Mustangs from years of futility, but she’s also vows to attract the attention of WNBA scouts and general managers by the time she finishes her collegiate hoops career.

Having transferred to Southwest in Hobbs, New Mexico after a stellar two-year stint at Howard Junior College, Flowers wasted little time making her presence for a Lady Mustang team that finished the season on a favorable note when it won two of its final three outings.

Having transferred to Southwest in Hobbs, New Mexico after a stellar two-year stint at Howard Junior College, Flowers wasted little time making her presence for a Lady Mustang team that finished the season on a favorable note when it won two of its final three outings.

Having transferred to USW in Hobbs, New Mexico after a stellar two-year stint at Howard Junior College in nearby Big Spring, Texas, Flowers wasted little time making her presence felt for a Lady Mustang team that finished the season on a favorable note when it won two of its final three outings.

A speedy two-way guard, Flowers was aggressive on both ends of the floor for USW, especially on the offensive end, where even as the team’s floor general and facilitator, she appeared assertive against elite talent, penetrating hard to the basket much like she did during her days of running the show as a prep standout for Sundown High in Texas.

“I love basketball because it’s a sport that you can control the outcome and it is structured but you have freedom to show what you can do,” Flowers said during a recent interview. “I have always loved basketball and always will. When I’m on the court whether in practice or a game or just shooting around nothing else matters and it’s just peaceful.”

Because she often presented match-up problems for the opposition, Flowers evolved as one of USW’s most efficient defenders, often hustling her way for block shots and steals — key attributes Caldwell’s believes undoubtedly will be signs of things to come next year.

“Anitria has progressed tremendously during the course of just this season alone,” Caldwell said. “I cannot attest to her work previously to my arriving at USW since this is my first year. However, in the short amount of time that I have been privilege to coach Anitria, she has developed into an aggressive offensive player that can really score at will. She is also one of the best shot blockers I have had the opportunity to coach. She is what I call a quiet assassin on the court. At the end of it, you don’t even realize how her stat line completely changed the game. I know she will (work hard) throughout the summer and into next season and she will be ready for an unforgettable senior year.”

A speedy two-way guard, Flowers was aggressive on both ends of the floor for Southwest, especially on the offensive end, where even as the team’s floor general and facilitator, she appeared assertive against elite talent, penetrating hard to the basket much like she did during her days of running the show as a prep standout for Sundown High in Texas.

A speedy two-way guard, Flowers was aggressive on both ends of the floor for Southwest, especially on the offensive end, where even as the team’s floor general and facilitator, she appeared assertive against elite talent, penetrating hard to the basket much like she did during her days of running the show as a prep standout for Sundown High in Texas.

Among Flowers’ grandest supporters has been her mother, Michelle Flowers. A current resident of Sundown, Texas who often travels hundreds of miles to witness her daughter in action.

“The first time she picked up the basketball, it’s like she had a built in naturalness for the sport and I knew then she would do great things in basketball,” Michelle Flowers said. “When it’s game day I wake up pumped and ready to go, I’m anxious all day because I’m ready to see her play. I love every minute watching her play as a child. Her senior year (of high school) I went to every game. When I found out she was going to play college ball, I smiled from ear to ear and told her she deserved it because she worked so hard to get there. She lives in the gym even when she comes home for weekend and holiday visits. I’m beyond happy for her. I want to see her excel in life.”

As she prepares for what figures to be a memorable senior season, Anitria Flowers’ primary objective, she said, will remain the same.

That is, she pledges to leave it all out on the floor, thus make her mother proud, just as she’s done since she first reached for a basketball at five years of age.

PRO HOOPS MATERIAL? A player whose favorite quote --- at least according to Southwest’s website --- is, "Talent is God given. Be humble, fame is manmade.  Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful," Flowers doesn’t shy away from the notion that she’s destined to not only help propel the Lady Mustangs from years of futility, but she’s also vows to attract the attention of WNBA scouts and general managers by the time she finishes her collegiate career.

PRO HOOPS MATERIAL? A player whose favorite quote — at least according to Southwest’s website — is, “Talent is God given. Be humble, fame is manmade. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful,” Flowers doesn’t shy away from the notion that she’s destined to not only help propel the Lady Mustangs from years of futility, but she’s also vows to attract the attention of WNBA scouts and general managers by the time she finishes her collegiate career.

“I will graduate college with my criminal Justice Degree and continue to work hard in the gym to better myself so I have a chance to play at the professional level,” Anitria Flowers said. “My mother has very proud of my grades all throughout school and I’ll continue to keep them up and make her happy. I always keep in touch with my family and that is something that is a must. Family is so important to me. Without them it’s difficult to accomplish all that I already have.”

Stay tuned. Chances are the college basketball world hasn’t seen the last of this kid.

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

 

 

Playing Hurt Podcast: Can Josh Pastner Salvage the Tigers Basketball Season Edition

memphis-tigers logoJoin Cerrito Live and HardBashin producer CJ Hurt and Sports 56 producer and WUMR Sports Desk host Drew Barrett as they take you on a sports odyssey full of twists, turns, and a good time during  Playing Hurt Podcast. MemphiSport Live

Memphian Kylan Chandler flies thousands of miles to support son on AAU hoops circuit

On Sunday afternoon, Kylan Chandler loaded his vehicle with a few belongings then took a long road trip with his son, Kennedy, a 616-mile drive from Memphis to Charlotte, North Carolina .

TIRELESS SUPPORT --- Since marrying former Hamilton High basketball player Kylan Chandler, Rosalyn Chandler has steadfastly aided her husband in supporting his son, Kennedy, who is a fixer on the AAU basketball circuit. (Photos submitted by Rosalyn Chandler)

TIRELESS SUPPORT — Since marrying former Hamilton High basketball player Kylan Chandler, Rosalind Chandler has steadfastly aided her husband in supporting his son, Kennedy, who is a fixer on the AAU basketball circuit. (Photos submitted by Rosalyn Chandler)

A commute that took approximately 11 hours, Chandler and his son arrived to the East coast at around 3 a.m. Monday.

For Chandler , a former Memphis entrepreneur, he’d be the first to tell you that traveling across the country with his son is something about which he’s come to embrace in recent years.

Kennedy Chandler is an 11-year-old standout for Nashville’s “We All Can Go All-Stars” 11-and-under AAU basketball team that competes nationally. He has been a force as the team’s floor general and facilitator, averaging 18 points, seven assists, four rebounds, and four steals. 

To get a thoroughly understanding of how Kennedy has managed to enjoy success in recent years, particularly on the amateur hoops circuit, look no further than the unyielding support his father has demonstrated since his son first reached for a basketball.

Kylan Chandler, a former Memphis Hamilton High basketball player who was prep teammates with former University of Arkansas star and ex-NBA player Todd Day in the late 1980s, was granted custody of Kennedy when he was five years old.

No doubt, the father-and-son union has since become virtually inseparable.

For starters, Kylan decided to permanently shut down his business as a popular South Memphis-area restaurant owner, in large part so he could devote a majority of his time to Kennedy. As he tells it, he’s been blessed “beyond measures” ever since.

Now a manager for an ever-evolving company in Southeast Memphis, Kylan’s schedule is now flexible in that he is allowed to travel to practically each of his son’s practices and games.

HIGH RISER --- Kylan Chandler, a former Memphis business owner, was granted custody of his son when he was five years old. This year, he has flown more than 10,000 miles to watch his son play AAU ball.

HIGH RISER — Kylan Chandler, a former Memphis business owner, was granted custody of his son when he was five years old. This year, he has flown more than 10,000 miles to watch his son play AAU ball.

Whether by plane, train, or automobile, Kylan has become a fixer in gymnasiums throughout the country, regardless of where “We All Can Go All-Stars” are scheduled to play.

So far, the native Memphian has used more than 10,000 frequent flyer miles this year, traveling to places such as Indianapolis, Louisville, Atlantic City, San Diego, Chicago, and Hampton, Virginia, among others, to watch his son in action.

This weekend, “We All Can Go All-Stars” will play in the AAU National Tournament in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Surely, Kylan will be on hand in sunny Florida to witness his son put his skills on display once again, let alone continue to build a camaraderie among his peers.

“It’s mainly for him,” Kylan told MemphiSport during a telephone interview Monday afternoon from Charlotte . “God has given him a gift to play basketball. I’ve always told him if that is what he wants to do, we’re going to go out all out. If it takes me to sacrifice things, that’s what I’m going to do.”

To his credit, Kylan certainly has made an assortment of sacrifices to ensure his son is provided with the necessary exposure to someday play at the collegiate level.

Aside from ceasing operations of his business, Kylan covers all of his son’s travel expenses, most notably hotels, food, and equipment. In return, though, Kennedy is expected to put forth his best effort on and off the court.

WE ARE FAMILY --- Besides strong support from his wife, Kylan's parents also have been a fixer at Kennedy's games.

WE ARE FAMILY — Besides strong support from his wife, Kylan’s parents, who recently celebrated 50 years of marriage, also have been a fixer at Kennedy’s games.

Especially off the court, where it counts the most, his father often tells him.

“He’s a student athlete first,” Kylan said of his son, who attends Briarcrest Christian School, a Christian-based private institution in East Memphis. “That’s why I enjoy (traveling with him). I mean, I played (basketball), but I didn’t have a lot of opportunities as him. You’ve got a lot of camps. But it’s also about life’s lessons. You’re learning to build relationships with other kids. My wife and I enjoy it. We do a lot of sacrificing. I’ve always been able to do it, to take off from my job. But even if I couldn’t, I’d use my vacation time. As long as he loves it and enjoys the game, that all that matters.”

While traveling nationwide with Kennedy is a huge financial sacrifice, the presence of seeing his father in the stands is priceless.

“One time, my wife (Rosalind) called me while I was work and said, ‘Kennedy is having a bad game,’” Kylan recalled. “It wasn’t really a bad game. But when I got there, it was a 180-degree turnaround. I think that’s very important in a kid’s life, because they need that motivation. When a kid sees a dad comes to a game, that motivates them.”

Long before Kennedy came along, Kylan was raised in the heart of South Memphis. What he deemed most intriguing about his upbringing is that unlike many of his peers, he had both parents in the home, something he acknowledged enabled him to become the devoted basketball dad is he.

Kylan’s parents celebrated 50 years of marriage in February.

“I came from a basketball family,” Kylan said. “When I came up in South Memphis, (my dad) always came to my games at the YMCA and took me to and from practice. He came to all of my games. But my dad played too. He played all sports. He was always there for me. Since I was brought up like that, that lets me know that’s the way I need to bring up mine.”

Although traveling across the country can become exhausting at times, Kylan said seeing his son — whose young skills have drawn comparisons to Kyrie Irving of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers — play and flourish on the court is what he relishes the most. As he tells it, he hopes his personal life lessons with his son will inspire others to exhibit a tireless effort in the lives of their children.

“It’s very important,” Kylan said. “What you do can have an affect on your son. Every son wants to be like their dad if he’s involved in his life.”

In a nutshell, as the father goes, so does the child, Kylan hinted.

“If I’m yelling and acting up, he’ll start acting that way,” Kylan said. “Like any other parent, I’ll lead him on. That’s what parents do. But it’s very important to stay humble, because if I don’t, he’ll follow in my footsteps and be that way. I can’t do things that are out of character. I think that’s very important to a kid’s life.”

When the AAU portion of the season ends, Kylan said his son’s primary focus will be basketball, unlike in years’ past when he played both basketball and football.

“He had played football since the second grade and was MVP of his (youth) league and the Super Bowl,” Kylan said. “This year, he just wants to stay focused on basketball. That tells me right there that he’s serious. He has some great opportunities ahead of him.”

Surely, dad will be right along for the ride.

Whether by plane, train, or automobile.

 

DreColumnAndre Johnson is a senior writer for Memphis port. To reach Johnson, email him at[email protected]. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA’s Southwest Division. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist. 

Lausanne basketball standout Camren Taylor eager for return to action

Camren Taylor has spent virtually his entire life as a multi-sport athlete, most notably on the football and basketball circuits. 

Nothing, he says, will ever top basketball.

COMEBACK CAM --- Lausanne Collegiate School basketball standout Camren Taylor missed all of last season because of injury. The rising sophomore has spent months rehabbing and is expected to resume play this upcoming season. (Photos submitted by Toby Taylor)

COMEBACK CAM — Lausanne Collegiate School basketball standout Camren Taylor missed all of last season because of injury. The rising sophomore has spent months rehabbing and is expected to resume play this upcoming season. (Photos submitted by Toby Taylor)

“I like basketball more than I do football,” Taylor told MemphiSport during a recent interview.
To get a thorough understanding out why Taylor has gained a fond admiration for hoops, look no further than his continuous rise on the court in recent years.

GREAT ADDITION --- Camren's contributions as a eighth grader helped propelled Lausanne to a state championship two years ago.

GREAT ADDITION — Camren’s contributions as a eighth grader helped propelled Lausanne to a state championship two years ago.

Despite missing his entire freshman season for Memphis’ Lausanne Collegiate School — the same institution that produced Memphis Grizzlies All-Star Marc Gasol — Taylor was as good as advertised.

To his credit, he reaped the benefits of his solid display.

During the Lynx’s TSSAA Division 2-A state title run two seasons ago, for instance, the 6-foot-4 swingman performed superbly as an eighth grade varsity player for a team that finished the year with a 25-5 mark.

With that came an array of accolades for a newcomer who has already been dubbed a three-star recruit by TNPrepHoops.com and Future150.com.

Among the honors:

Taylor was rated the No. 7-ranked newcomer in the state by Future150.com and the 68th overall prospect for the Class of 2017.

Camren Taylor with Lausanne head coach Kenneth White.

Camren Taylor with Lausanne head coach Kenneth White.

In addition, he was named to the Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Boys Basketball Impact List. Also, he was named Most Valuable Player of Memphis’ Competitive Basketball League (CBL) in 2010 and has made his presence felt on the AAU circuit in recent years, particularly with the Memphis Pharaohs, Memphis War Eagles, Team Penny, and Mike Miller’s M33M AAU programs.

Currently, Taylor is ranked as the No. 20 prospect for the Class of 2017 by TNPrepHoops.com.

While his basketball prowess has been well-documented in recent years, this past year had been somewhat tumultuous for a kid whom many believe boasts a bright basketball future.

Last year, Taylor developed Osteochondritis Dissecean (or OCD). OCD is a condition of the knee in which a piece of the bone (or cartilage) separates from its surrounding area and lacks blood supply. The bone then becomes loosen and eventually cracks.

According to Taylor’s father, Toby Taylor, his son developed this injury over about a “two-year period” without any symptoms until he was at a basketball workout last summer and witnessed his knee buckle. Consequently, he developed severe pain and swelling at that time. An MRI later confirmed the diagnosis.

For Toby Taylor, the news of his son’s injury was difficult to stomach, in large part because he had started to earn the reputation as one of finest up-and-coming high school players in the Shelby-Metro area.

“As parents, this was disappointing because he would be out of sports for an extended period of time,” Toby Taylor explained. “Sports have been a huge part if our life since he was three years old playing recreational sports. He started playing competitive basketball at 10 years of age. He had skills training five-to-six days a week since the age of 10 until his injury when he wasn’t playing. We were hurting because we knew he was hurting and disappointed as well.”

Luckily for Camren, his basketball future wasn’t put in jeopardy, although he was sidelined as a freshman for Lausanne. Nowadays, he is recouping comfortably from his injury and has even begun taking part in individual workouts.

 “I have just finished up physical therapy a few weeks ago,” Camren said. “Now I go to the gym everyday and get on the elliptical for 30 minutes. After I get done with that, I lift weights. First, I do arms then I do legs. When I do legs, I do more on my right leg then left so I can get it just as strong. Then after that, I go to the gym and put up 100 free throws each day. I will be doing this until I am able to run and jump again.”

Although doctors held Camren out of AAU action this summer, he is expected to resume full contact drills in the coming weeks.

Despite an injury that sidelined him last season, recruiters did not back off from showing interest. According to Toby Taylor, Camren has generated interest from Arkansas State, Xavier and nearby Union University. Camren is expected to make a full recovery and boasts aspirations of playing at the collegiate level.

“If I earn a college scholarship in basketball, I will feel like all the hard work has paid off,” Camren said. “The ultimate goal is to get my education. And I will be able to further my education without using my parents’ money.”
Spoken like a true freshman, one who’s destined to have a huge impact, even in his household.

DreColumnAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also is the NBA Southwest Division reporter. To reach Johnson, email him at [email protected]. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.