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.

 

 

 

North Carolina prep hoops standout Dakari Johnson having Mid-South, regional impact

STAR WATCH --- Dakari Johnson is the starting point guard for Northwood Temple Academy in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  Having adopted No. 10 as his jersey number, this 15-year-old rising basketball standout has become a fixture on the amateur hoops circuit in years, most notably on an AAU platform in which he’s had the luxury to competing with a host of players of former NBA All-Stars. (Photos submitted by G. Johnson)

STAR WATCH — Dakari Johnson is the starting point guard for Northwood Temple Academy in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Having adopted No. 10 as his jersey number, this 15-year-old rising basketball standout has become a fixture on the amateur hoops circuit in years, most notably on an AAU platform in which he’s had the luxury to competing with a host of players of former NBA All-Stars. (Photos submitted by G. Johnson)

In case you don’t know him, allow Dakari Johnson to introduce himself.

For starters, Johnson is the starting point guard for Northwood Temple Academy in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Having adopted No. 10 as his jersey number, this 15-year-old rising basketball standout has become a fixture on the amateur hoops circuit in years, most notably on an AAU platform in which he’s had the luxury to competing with a host of players who are sons of former NBA players.

A speedy, versatile athlete who stands at 6-foot even and weighs 175-pound, Johnson, by many recruiting experts’ standards, would be considered a rather big point man who, in all likelihood, will present mostly a size advantage for the opposition, particularly at the high school ranks.

Most importantly, for an athlete who figures to emerge as one of the nation’s finest point guards for the Class of 2018 by the time his prep career ends, Johnson’s all-around display at the AAU ranks has given way to a wealth of experience for a kid his age, a pivotal attribute that figures to prove beneficial for a Northwood Academy team that will be aiming to rebound from last year’s unsatisfactory 13-16 finish.

In a nutshell, as Johnson goes, the possibility exist that so could the Eagles in 2015-16.

By all accounts, that Johnson is expected to witness his role increase mightily this upcoming season for Northwood Academy essentially brings Eagle coach Chris Lattimer to smiles whenever he is asked to assess the skills and progress of his prized floor general.

“Dakari is the type of point guard college coaches love,” Lattimer told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson on Tuesday. “He has a very quick first step, extremely high (basketball) IQ, and has a deadly jump shot.”

What’s equally impressive for Johnson who, for the past couple of years, has thoroughly embraced the golden opportunity of putting his immense skills on display in tradition-rich, basketball-crazed North Carolina, is that he has evolved into an efficient ball handler and scorer, something about which will almost certain draw rave reviews from college scouts and recruiters during the course of what is expected to be a memorable prep hoops stint for the talented floor general.

GOOD AS ADVERTISED --- What’s equally impressive for Johnson who, for the past couple of years, has thoroughly embraced the golden opportunity of putting his immense skills on display in tradition-rich, basketball-crazed North Carolina, is that he has evolved into an efficient ball handler and scorer, something about which will almost certain draw rave reviews from college scouts and recruiters during the course of what is expected to be a memorable prep hoops stint for the talented floor general.

GOOD AS ADVERTISED — What’s equally impressive for Johnson who, for the past couple of years, has thoroughly embraced the golden opportunity of putting his immense skills on display in tradition-rich, basketball-crazed North Carolina, is that he has evolved into an efficient ball handler and scorer, something about which will almost certain draw rave reviews from college scouts and recruiters during the course of what is expected to be a memorable prep hoops stint for the talented floor general.

Take, for instance, Johnson’s performance a couple of summers ago in the YBOA National Championship during which he had had gone on a tear offensively — early and often.

A then-eighth grader who assumed a role on a 10-grade squad assembled by his father and retired military vet, Gregory Johnson, Dakari — known widely as “Kari” — essentially enjoyed an amateur hoops coming-out-party, of sorts. That’s when he caught by registering a team-high 28 points in the title game, a dazzling feat that led to him being named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

Consequently, Kari was the catalyst for East Hoke Middle’s basketball team, having guided the squad to consecutive championships, thus being christened the team’s Most Valuable Player.

Add to the fact that this up-and-coming hoops prodigy, who boasts lofty aspirations of playing at the collegiate and professional levels, have competed against a slew of the nation’s finest amateur players, and it’s no wonder many who have followed the hoops prowess of Kari believe he will be as good as advertised this upcoming season.

And beyond.

Once again, in case you don’t know him, remember the name: Dakari Johnson.

“He started playing basketball at the age of five,” said Gregory Johnson, assessing his son’s rise as a young baller. “We felt basketball could be his thing because at that age, he was so much faster than all the other kids his age. The coaches depended on him to bring the ball up the court. I guess you could say he was destined to be a point guard. How I knew he could be special came at a parks and recreation basketball draft. That was my first year coaching parks, and recreation basketball and I was away with the military the previous year, so many of the coaches didn’t know me. So my son was the first name came up in the draft. I would watch these grown men rant and rave over Dakari.”

Fortunately for Kari, many who have followed him on the amateur circuit in recent years have been ranting and raving ever since.

Given his wealth of success in recent years, don’t expect that change anytime soon.

NATIONAL STANDOUT? Add to the fact that this up-and-coming hoops prodigy, who boasts lofty aspirations of playing at the collegiate and professional levels, have competed against a slew of the nation’s finest amateur players --- most notably against Kenny Smith, Jr., the son of former NBA player and current TNT NBA analyst Kenny Smith --- and it’s no wonder many who have followed the hoops prowess of Kari believe he will be as good as advertised this upcoming season.  And beyond.

NATIONAL STANDOUT? Add to the fact that this up-and-coming hoops prodigy, who boasts lofty aspirations of playing at the collegiate and professional levels, have competed against a slew of the nation’s finest amateur players, several of whom are sons of former NBA players, it’s no wonder many who have followed the hoops prowess of Kari believe he will be as good as advertised this upcoming season.
And beyond.

Among the reasons is Kari enjoyed a stellar freshman campaign in which he averaged 16 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals. In addition, he was named to the All-Conference team, while placing third overall in the voting for Conference Player of the Year as a freshman.

Still, his masterful display as a newcomer enabled him to garner All-Tournament honors as well as the County’s Rookie of the Year, team MVP and captain.

A pretty compelling introduction for a floor general who, well, in case you don’t know him.

“He is a leader and a winner, and his game will continue to progress,” Lattimer said of Kari. “Dakari is a motivated student and has outstanding character.”

Let alone a kid whom college scouts and recruiters will come to know pretty well this year.

And beyond.

Once again, in case you don’t know him, remember the name: Dakari Johnson.

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

Playing Hurt Podcast: Sweet 16 Preview

sweet 16Join Cerrito Live and HardBashin producer CJ Hurt and Sports 56 producer and WUMR Sports  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

 

Former Memphis Grizzlies guard Wayne Ellington rejoins Lakers after murder of his father

DALLAS — As his eyes began to flood with tears, Wayne Ellington sat in front of his locker in the visiting locker room Friday night in the American Airlines Center and told reporters something his father had inspired him to do ever since he first picked up a basketball as a child growing up in the outskirts of Philadelphia.

Former Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard Wayne Ellington rejoined the Lakers Thursday, less than two weeks after the death of his father November 9 in the Philadelphia. Wayne Ellington, Sr. was found in his car with a gunshot wound to the head by an unknown assailant. (Photo by  Juan O'Campo/NBAE via Getty Images)

Former Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard Wayne Ellington rejoined the Lakers Thursday, less than two weeks after the death of his father November 9 in the Philadelphia. Wayne Ellington, Sr. was found in his car with a gunshot wound to the head by an unknown assailant. (Photos by Juan O’Campo/NBAE via Getty Images)

“I will get through it,” Ellington said. “Obviously, it’s a situation where you’ve got to get through it.”

Ellington was alluding to the death of his 57-year-old father November 9 in the Philadelphia. Ellington’s father — also named Wayne — was found in his car with a gunshot wound to the head by an unknown assailant, news that sent shock waves to Ellington and the Lakers organization moments before the team was about to face the Charlotte Hornets.

Ellington, 27, who signed with the Lakers after training camp in September, was granted an indefinite leave of absence, but rejoined the team Thursday, one day after the Lakers’ win at Houston.

Although Ellington participated in a pregame shootaround, Lakers coach Byron Scott told reporters before Friday’s game against Dallas that Ellington likely would not see action.

“He’s okay,” Scott said of Ellington. “I think he’s trying to get back familiar with us and familiar with his surroundings. I think the more he’s with us, the better he’ll be.”

Ellington was informed of his father’s death following the Lakers’ November 9 win over the Hornets at the Staples Center.

So far, no arrests have been reported.

Ellington He said he plans to dedicate the rest of the season to his father by writing his name on his sneakers.

Ellington He said he plans to dedicate the rest of the season to his father by writing his name on his sneakers.

While addressing the media Friday, a mostly teary-eyed Ellington recalled how instrumental his father had been during his basketball career, most notably during his days at the University of North Carolina and when he entered the NBA ranks after leading the Tar Heels to the national championship in 2009.

“You know, this is what he wanted for me,” Ellington said, when asked what memorable lesson his father taught him. “While at Carolina, you know, he was the guy who was always talking about tradition. He said when you go to Carolina, you look up and see all the banners. He was so ecstatic when I signed here before training camp. He was telling me how proud of me he is. He was saying, ‘You’re back in that same Carolina-type situation.’ He was like, ‘I really feel like this is the spot for you.’”

While several Laker players expressed their disappointment after learning of the death of Ellington’s father, the six-year pro said he was especially pleased with the support shown by Scott, the Lakers first-year coach for whom Ellington played during his brief stint with Cleveland last season.

Drafted 28th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2009, Ellington also played briefly for Memphis and Dallas.

“Coach Scott has been a great for me,” Ellington said. “He was great for me in Cleveland as well. When I played in Memphis, we had a lot of guys in the rotation. We were deep every night and I wasn’t playing as much. And then when I came to Cleveland and was playing for him, that kind of gave me a boost of energy, that boost of confidence. And that helped me and it was the same thing when I got here. He’s a guy who has tremendous confidence in me and I thrive off that.”

Besides Scott, Ellington said Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant contacted him regularly to show support during his nearly two-week absence from the team. Also, Ellington fielded phone calls from former Grizzly teammates Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph.

“He reached out almost every day,” Ellington said of Bryant. “It was unbelievable as our leader. Obviously, the season didn’t start off the way we liked. But we’re family here and (the Lakers) made me feel like that.”

While Ellington is expected to see action Sunday night when the Lakers host Denver, the Wynnewood, Pennsylvania native said he sensed earlier this week it was time to reunite with his teammates. He said he plans to dedicate the rest of the season to his father by writing his name on his sneakers.

Ellington has appeared in six of the Lakers’ 13 games, averaging 7.8 points and 3.2 rebounds. He scored a season-best 13 points in 25 minutes in an October 9 loss to Phoenix.

“It was just a feeling,” said Ellington, explaining his decision to return to the team. “And in talking to my family, they kind of pushed me as well. They wanted me to get back to doing what I love to do and to take my mind off of it. Being here has been a lot easier for me. So yeah, man, I’m leaving it all out there every single day, every time I step out there on that floor. I’m going to do something special for him.”

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.