Rosa Fort lineman Kylon McMullen’s stock rising as he aims to impress scouts

Kylon3TUNICA, Mississippi — Fortunately for Kylon McMullen, he’s still got time.

He’s still got time to tone up on his 6-foot-2, 280-pound frame.

He’s still got time to enhance his speed in the 40-yard sprint.

He’s still got time to upgrade his mechanics on both sides of the ball.

Most importantly, he’s still got time to improve his recruiting stock as he readies for what he hopes will be a memorable senior campaign next year.

As it stands, McMullen, a junior offensive guard for Rosa Fort High, has yet to generate any scholarship offers from four-year colleges, although many whom have followed his football prowess believe that will likely change in the coming months.

For starters, Rosa Fort coach Edwin Norwood and his staff are working intensely to help increase McMullen’s stock, mostly doing the necessary things to expose their standout lineman in various camps this spring and well into the summer.

STOCK RISING? Rosa Fort football coach Edwin Norwood and his staff are working intensely to help increase Kylon McMullen’s stock, mostly doing the necessary things to expose their standout lineman in various camps this spring and well into the summer. By then, McMullen and the Lions coaching staff are confident things will begin to work out in McMullen’s favor

STOCK RISING? Rosa Fort football coach Edwin Norwood and his staff are working intensely to help increase Kylon McMullen’s stock, mostly doing the necessary things to expose their standout lineman in various camps this spring and well into the summer.
By then, McMullen and the Lions coaching staff are confident things will begin to work out in McMullen’s favor.

By then, McMullen and the Lions coaching staff are confident things will begin to work out in McMullen’s favor, in large part because, well, he’s still got time.

“No college offers right now, but hopefully that will change by next season,” McMullen told sports journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “My coaches are working on the camps I will attend this spring.”

As he implements the essential strategies he believes will draw rave reviews from college scouts and recruiters, McCullen has a forthright message to those are contemplating sending his letters of interest to his mailing address in the foreseeable future.

“I would like for them to know that I am a great listener, a hard worker on and off the field, and a good team player,” McMullen said. “I have been working out every day…Monday through Friday to get ready for next season.”

In the process of working intensely on his mechanics, most notably his weaknesses, McMullen fortunately has taken on a solid supporting cast besides the Rosa Fort coaching staff.

His uncle, Darrelle Steele, has proven to be one of his grandest supporters ever since McMullen began playing competitive football.

As far as Steele is concerned, that his nephew has yet to acquire any official offers is indicative of how much his talents have been overlooked in recent years.

STAR WATCH --- McMullen (No. 54) is ranked as the 60th overall recruit in Mississippi by MaxPreps for the Class of 2017.

STAR WATCHMcMullen (No. 54) is ranked as the 60th overall recruit in Mississippi by MaxPreps for the Class of 2017.

Whichever college lands McMullen, Steele said, it will be inheriting a player whose reputation is such that he possesses a wealth of resiliency on the gridiron, let alone a player who harbors a winning attitude.

WATCH KYLON IN ACTION: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1034561083295311&id=100002242879696

“When he was in sixth grade he was bigger than the other kids,” Steele said of McMullen, who is ranked as the 60th overall recruit in Mississippi by MaxPreps for the Class of 2017. “I told him he should go out for football. So he started playing in seventh grade.”

As he tells it, Steele has been blow away by his nephew’s talents ever since.

“My immediate reaction was, ‘Man, if he keeps putting in work he could be the first in the family to go to college and play sports,’” Steele said. “What normally goes through my head (on game day) in the stands is, ‘Man, he’s going to be a beast.’”

All of which is why many who have followed his rise to a prep football standout believe McMullen’s best day are well ahead of him.

“They will be inheriting a great learner and a hard worker,” said McMullen, reiterating what kind of player colleges will ultimately acquire. “I want to be the first person in my family to play college football.”
More than anything, he’s still got time to improve his recruiting stock as he readies for what he hopes will be a memorable senior campaign next year.

 

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.

Perennial power Tennessee among colleges eyeing Washington, DC-area hoops standout Maya Calder

Maya Calder doesn’t have anything to hide.

As a rising basketball standout at National Christian Academy in Fort Washington, Maryland, among the lofty ambitions for the junior forward/center is plain and simple: earn an athletic scholarship.

STOCK RISING --- Given the success National Christian Academy basketball standout Maya Calder has enjoyed since coming to the United States from Kingston, Jamaica some seven years ago, the possibility exist that this hoops prodigy appears well on her way to putting her immense skills on display at the collegiate level. (Photo by Getty Images)

STOCK RISING — Given the success National Christian Academy basketball standout Maya Calder has enjoyed since coming to the United States from Kingston, Jamaica some seven years ago, the possibility exist that this hoops prodigy appears well on her way to putting her immense skills on display at the collegiate level. (Photo by Getty Images)

Given the success on the court Calder has enjoyed since coming to the United States from Kingston, Jamaica some seven years ago, the possibility exist that this hoops prodigy appears well on her way to putting her immense skills on display at the collegiate level.

Entering her third full season at NCA, Calder played an integral role for a Lady Eagle team that produced an impressive postseason run last year en route to a 25-9 finish. In addition, NCA finished the year ranked No. 6 overall in Maryland, according to Maxpreps.com.

For Calder, she enjoyed a stellar sophomore campaign for coach Henry Anglin’s squad, considering she recorded a double-double in nearly every contest.

The team’s second tallest player behind senior Mikiyah Croskey, the 6-foot, 16-year-old Calder averaged 10 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists for the Lady Eagles, who won 11 of 13 games to end the season.

“My last season was good and I always try to make every season better than the (previous one),” said Calder, assessing her overall display as a sophomore. “I practice four days a week in the offseason and practice five days a week during the season. My strength as a player is that I’m very athletic, a great rebounder, and a great defender.”

Some might label that which Calder has expressed as cockiness or boasting. However, to her credit, her consistency, poise, and assertiveness on the court consequently have drawn the attention of a slew of college scouts.

HUGE TIP-IN --- That Calder has progressed considerably as a basketball player in such a brief time span since relocating to the U.S. with her mom has prompted to her uncle, Stephen Baker to assume a vital role in ensuring she garners the essential exposure in her quest to solidify an athletic scholarship.

HUGE TIP-IN — That Calder has progressed considerably as a basketball player in such a brief time span since relocating to the U.S. with her mom has prompted to her uncle, Stephen Baker to assume a vital role in ensuring she garners the essential exposure in her quest to solidify an athletic scholarship.

According to Calder, she has fielded letters of interest from several major Division 1 schools, mostly notably, the University of Minnesota, Jacksonville University,

Hofstra University, Robert Morris, St. Mary’s College, The University of North, North Carolina A&T, George Washington University, Elon University, and the University of Tennessee, among others.

That Calder has progressed considerably as a basketball player in such a brief time span since relocating to the U.S. with her mom has prompted to her uncle, Stephen Baker to assume a vital role in ensuring she garners the essential exposure in her quest to solidify an athletic scholarship.

STAR WATCH --- According to Calder, she has fielded letters of interest from several major Division 1 schools, mostly notably, the University of Minnesota, Jacksonville University,  Hofstra University, Robert Morris, St. Mary’s College, The University of North, North Carolina A&T, George Washington University, Elon University, and the University of Tennessee, among others.

STAR WATCH — According to Calder, she has fielded letters of interest from several major Division 1 schools, mostly notably, the University of Minnesota, Jacksonville University,
Hofstra University, Robert Morris, St. Mary’s College, The University of North, North Carolina A&T, George Washington University, Elon University, and the University of Tennessee, among others.

Baker’s son, Malachi Baker, also is a rising basketball standout in the Washington, DC area and has become a fixture on the local AAU circuit.

“I first saw her interest when she first arrived in this country around 2008,” Baker said of Calder. “She began playing basketball on a team around that same time. I was excited for her as an uncle, considering that she (relocated) here from Jamaica and began playing   playground basketball with little to no skills.”

As Baker tells it, what separates Calder from other youngsters with whom she plays is that she has managed to accept and embrace constructive criticism, something about which she must become familiar at the collegiate level.

“When I’ve watch her play, I’m constantly critiquing her,” said Baker, “but I am also overjoyed to see her hard work on display.”

Said Calder, a marquee player for Team Sol, her DC-area AAU squad, when asked what she’d like for college coaches to know: “The colleges that offer me (a scholarship) will be inheriting a hard-worker, a great rebounder and defender, and also someone that can put it in the basket.”

What’s so astounding for a player of Calder’s caliber is that not only has she done a masterful job of generating interest of scouts, but as it pertains to her weaknesses, she two full season of high school ball ahead of her to fine tune them.

“My weakness is probably my ball-handling,” Calder said. “But I’m not as bad, but it’s also not as great as I want it to be.”

Regardless, she still has more than enough time to progress, something she’s constant done she arrived to the states.

“In the summer, I will be at camps and I’ll have my AAA teammates (to help improve my mechanics),” Calder said. Playing college ball is a dream for me, because that’s what I’ve been working hard for every day. I’ve get in the gym since I was young just so I get a scholarship.”

Plain and simple.

With absolutely nothing to hide.

 

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

Rosa Fort RB Kevin Perkins progressing mightily, generating interest from colleges

There’s no other way to put it.

Sonia Robinson was downright worried.

Worried whether her son would become acclimated to what was at the time his new sport.

KP1Worried whether he would become a fixture while competing against the finest prep footballers in Mississippi.

Worried whether he would manage to perform free of any devastating injuries.

Worried whether he would handle the immense and sometimes brutal challenges that emerge through athletics.

Fortunately for Kevin Perkins, Jr., a senior standout at Rosa Fort High, he has adjusted superbly as a member of the fraternity that is major high school football.

A multiple-position athlete for the Lions, Perkins is the catalyst for a Rosa Fort team that has already atoned for last year’s disastrous 4-8 finish.

That’s because the Lions, who are idle this week, have won each of their five regular season outings, having done so in rather impressive fashion. What’s even more impressive for a Rosa Fort team that boasts postseason aspirations is that three of its wins have come on the road, including last week’s 7-3 gutsy triumph at Clarksdale.

MAKING MOM PROUD --- Fortunately for Sonia Robinson's son, Kevin Perkins, Jr., a senior standout at Rosa Fort High, he had adjusted comfortably as a member of the fraternity that is major high school football.  A multi-position athlete for the Lions, Perkins is the catalyst for a Rosa Fort team that has already atoned for last year’s disastrous 4-8 finish. (Photos submitted by S. Robinson)

MAKING MOM PROUD — Fortunately for Sonia Robinson’s son, Kevin Perkins, Jr., a senior standout at Rosa Fort High, he had adjusted comfortably as a member of the fraternity that is major high school football.
A multi-position athlete for the Lions, Perkins is the catalyst for a Rosa Fort team that has already atoned for last year’s disastrous 4-8 finish. (Photos submitted by S. Robinson)

Make no mistake, Perkins, a 6-foot, 215-pounder, has been an integral force for a Lion offensive unit that has averaged near 30 points through five contests.

A team that averages a little more than 200 yards on the ground, Perkins is the team’s leading rusher with 679 yards on 74 carries. To his credit, he is the team’s marquee player, particularly on the offensive side of ball, considering he averages 135.8 yards rushing per game and 9.2 yards per carry. In addition, he has accounted for 11 of the Lions’ 12 rushing touchdown.

Not bad for a kid who, through just five games, has already eclipsed his rushing total of last when he amassed 664 yards on the ground and eight rushing scores.

Most importantly, it’s safe to assume that his mother appears more relaxed nowadays, in large part because her son has been as good as advertised.

“I never looked at him as a football player,” Robinson told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson. “It was his (high school) baseball coach who convinced him to try out for the team during his sophomore year. It actually shocked me to see him become great at a sport that is so physical in such a short period of time.”

That Perkins has adjusted masterfully in recent years, it seems that college scouts and recruiters have taken notice of his rise as a high school standout.

That’s because according to Perkins, Mississippi State, Mississippi Delta Community College, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Northwest Mississippi Community College, Alcorn State, Southeast Missouri State, and Copiah Lincoln Community College all have expressed interest in a three-year starter who figures to witness that list increase as the season progresses.

STOCK RISING --- According to Perkins, Mississippi State, Mississippi Delta Community College, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Northwest Mississippi Community College, Alcorn State, Southeast Missouri State, and Copiah Lincoln Community College all have expressed interest in a three-year starter who figures to witness that list increase as the season progresses.

STOCK RISING — According to Perkins, Mississippi State, Mississippi Delta Community College, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Northwest Mississippi Community College, Alcorn State, Southeast Missouri State, and Copiah Lincoln Community College all have expressed interest in a three-year starter who figures to witness that list increase as the season progresses.

“I want college coaches to know that I am eager to play,” said Perkins, when asked what he wants college coaches to know about him as he continues to audition for a scholarship. “I will go after every play 100 percent each time.”

As for his keen ability to adjust on both sides of the ball, Perkins said, “I am a versatile skills player, and if the ball is in my hands, you can count on me. I work out three times out of a week if I am not practicing. My biggest strengths are running people over, using my speed to get past the opponent, and blocking. My weakness is getting hit below the knees.”

Rosa Fort coach Edwin Norwood on Thursday said he is thoroughly pleased with how Perkins has gone about upgrading his mechanics over the years.

“Over the past three seasons, Kevin has developed as the prototypical student athlete,” Norwood said. “He embodies everything a coach could ask for in a student athlete. Not only does he take care of business on the field, but in the classroom as well. Kevin finished all of major credits for graduation his junior season and has already qualified academically for college. He’s a hard-worker, respectful, and a natural leader. His success on the field is a direct reflection of that. He is the first one on the field and in the weight room and the last to leave.”

So much for mom’s constant worrying.

There’s no other way to put it.

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.

Manassas hoops standout Joslynn Basemore excelling with solid parental support

When Manassas basketball standout Joslynn Basemore decided she would like to give a competitive hoops a try nearly a decade ago, her mother wasted little time conducting a one-on-one meeting with her.

As Michelle Basemore explains, it was imperative that she and daughter got a thorough understanding.

Michelle“See…when she started playing ball, we had this understanding that in order to play, she had to bring me home all A’s regardless of what the school says…that you must have a C average,” Michelle Basemore told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson. “That just didn’t do it for me. And since day one, she has been bringing all A’s home and staying focus on training on and off the court.”

For Joslynn Basemore, it is because of her mother’s stern but strict approach, coupled with her fiancée’s — Daren Peterson — influential guidance and impact that has greatly enabled Joslynn Basemore to excel in the classroom and on the hardwood, thus make a solid case to solidify an athletic scholarship.

A 5-foot-4 senior combo guard and the team’s leading scorer, Joslynn Basemore is the featured player for a Manassas squad that will be aiming to surpass last year’s 14-10 finish. Since joining the Lady Tigers’ program three seasons ago, Joslynn Basemore admittedly harbored concerns as to whether for a thriving young basketball player in this hoops-crazed Bluff City, she’d generate the essential attention at a school that is housed in inner city North Memphis.

To her credit, though, not only has she garnered interest from a couple of schools — most notably Georgia State and Austin Peay State — but if she manages to duplicate the success she enjoyed the previous two seasons as the Lady Tiger’s best offensive threat, the possibility exists that Joslynn Basemore will almost certainly find herself decked out in a college basketball uniform around this time next year.

Of course, she’ll have her mother and father to thank.

“In the last three years, my dad, Daren Peterson, has been my biggest support by training me,” Joslynn Basemore said. “He has worked with me on and off the court on enhancing my skills. I also train with my AAU team (in the offseason) as well, and also train with (Manassas teammates). I always push myself by keeping a ball in my hand at all times and doing dribbling drills daily when I’m not studying.”

DarenMichelle Basemore and Daren Peterson are former athletes which, for Joslynn Basemore, have provided her with an added advantage, or sorts, as a young, thriving student athlete.

Even aside from their demanding work schedules, this couple has become devoted to ensuring that Joslynn Basemore is generating the necessary exposure that will prevent her from going unnoticed, especially for an athlete who has proven time and again since entering the high school ranks that she possesses the skills, mindset, and maturity to play at the collegiate level.

A program director at Vatterott College, Daren Peter is native Memphian and former Memphis Tech High and Northwest Mississippi Community College basketball player. In addition, he is a former U.S. soldier, having served in the United States Navy, where he was a member of its Fleet Team.

Michelle Basemore, on the other hand, is a native of Horseshoe Lake, Arkansas, and works as a bill collector/debt counselor in the Memphis-metropolitan area. She is a former basketball standout for Hughes (Ark.) High.

COLLEGE HOOPS MATERIAL --- A 5-foot-4 senior combo guard and the team’s leading scorer, Joslynn Basemore is the featured player for a Manassas squad that will be aiming to surpass last year’s 14-10 finish. Since joining the Lady Tigers’ program three seasons ago, Joslynn Basemore admittedly harbored concerns as to whether for a thriving young basketball player in this hoops-crazed Bluff City, she’d generate the essential attention at a school that is housed in inner city North Memphis.  To her credit, though, not only has she garnered interest from a couple of schools --- most notably Georgia State and Austin Peay State --- but if she manages to duplicate the success she enjoyed the previous two seasons as the Lady Tiger’s best offensive threat, the possibility exists that Joslynn Basemore will almost certainly find herself decked out in a college basketball uniform around this time next year.

COLLEGE HOOPS MATERIAL — A 5-foot-4 senior combo guard and the team’s leading scorer, Joslynn Basemore is the featured player for a Manassas squad that will be aiming to surpass last year’s 14-10 finish. Since joining the Lady Tigers’ program three seasons ago, Joslynn Basemore admittedly harbored concerns as to whether for a thriving young basketball player in this hoops-crazed Bluff City, she’d generate the essential attention at a school that is housed in inner city North Memphis.
To her credit, though, not only has she garnered interest from a couple of schools — most notably Georgia State and Austin Peay State — but if she manages to duplicate the success she enjoyed the previous two seasons as the Lady Tiger’s best offensive threat, the possibility exists that Joslynn Basemore will almost certainly find herself decked out in a college basketball uniform around this time next year.

In helping her daughter flourish as one of Shelby-Metro’s top players for the Class of 2016, Michelle Basemore acknowledges among the notable lessons she’s learned through sports that she’s instilled in Joslynn Basemore is to take the initiative to raise the bar in excelling on and off the court.

“One of the main lessons that I have learned and have tried to carry over to her is that you never give up on the things that you want regardless of what it looks like and what others may say,” Michelle Basemore explains. “Joslynn has had to make the same move I did when I was in school, moving from one city to another. But I didn’t have anyone to push me to keep going and to pursue what I loved at the time which was basketball. So I push her to continue to strive to be her best even the more because she is the new kid on the block. She must understand that doesn’t mean that she has to take the backseat she can set the bar and be the standard.”

Said Peterson: “I always tell her that by working hard, everything else will take care of itself, and that if she is going to be a leader, she needs to be a leader on and off the court.”

In addition, Peterson and his fiancée have become fixtures during the summer months when their daughter is putting her skills on display on the AAU circuit. Both, in fact, agree that never do they grow weary of supporting a well-disciplined, teachable child who routinely goes above and beyond to ensure the Manassas girls basketball program remains relevant in this hoops-crazed city.

To her credit, she’s done just that, something about which her parents say college scouts and recruiters shouldn’t overlook or take for granted.

“The sky is the limit for her because not only does she excels in basketball with a 22.5 (points per game scoring) average but she has a 4.3 GPA, which puts her in the top of her class as well as she is part of The National Honor Society,” Peterson said. “Even with all the gifts and talents that she possesses, the sky is the limit because she believes in putting God first in everything that she does and she thanks Him first and foremost, knowing that if she continues to bless Him, He will continue to bless her. She should hold on to the fact the greater is coming so the sky is the limit.”

Spoken like true, loving, supportive parents.

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.

Is Cal-area footballer Dalvin Jamal-Milton being overlooked by Mid-South, Pac 12 schools?

Lorenzo Jackson remembers that 10-foot pole, remembers it like yesterday.

At the tender age of three, Jackson’s grandson, Dalvin Jamal-Milton — a rather active, energetic kid — was seen somehow climbing atop that rather long, medal pole during what ultimately turned into a holiday worth remembering for his beloved paw paw.

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN' --- A flourishing, crafty football player Jamal-Milton has become, one, who, with another masterful display in this, his final season at Jesuit High School in Carmichael, California --- in the outskirts of Sacramento --- could very well find himself playing on Saturdays around this time next year.  A stocky, speedy, 5-foot-8 running back who has evolved as an integral force for the Marauders’ potent rushing attack in recent years, Jamal-Milton has been nothing short of impressive, although he admittedly brings into the 2015 season higher expectations. (Photos submitted by A. Jamal)

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ — A flourishing, crafty football player Jamal-Milton has become, one, who, with another masterful display in this, his final season at Jesuit High School in Carmichael, California — in the outskirts of Sacramento — could very well find himself playing on Saturdays around this time next year.
A stocky, speedy, 5-foot-8 running back who has evolved as an integral force for the Marauders’ potent rushing attack in recent years, Jamal-Milton has been nothing short of impressive, although he admittedly brings into the 2015 season higher expectations. (Photos submitted by A. Jamal)

“When he was three years old, Dalvin climbed up a 10-foot pole, using pure arm and stomach strength just to reach an Easter egg,” Jackson told sports journalist Andre Johnson. I knew from that point on he would be an elite football player.”

A flourishing, crafty football player Jamal-Milton has become, one, who, with another masterful display in this, his final season at Jesuit High School in Carmichael, California — in the outskirts of Sacramento — could very well find himself playing on Saturdays around this time next year.

A stocky, speedy, 5-foot-8 running back who has evolved as an integral force for the Marauders’ potent rushing attack in recent years, Jamal-Milton has been nothing short of impressive, although he admittedly brings into the 2015 season higher expectations.

Never mind the assortment of accolades he’s garnered in recent years, honors such as: the Shrine Bowl Most Valuable Player in  2011 while playing for the Rosemont Jr. Wolverines; Offensive MVP in 2012 while a member of Jesuit High’s freshman team; MVP 2012 of Jesuit’s freshman rugby squad in 2012; and Offensive MVP of Jesuit’s junior varsity team in 2013.

A TRUE TALENT --- Jamal-Milton was named the Shrine Bowl Most Valuable Player in  2011 while playing for the Rosemont Jr. Wolverines; Offensive MVP in 2012 while a member of Jesuit High’s freshman team; MVP 2012 of Jesuit’s freshman rugby squad in 2012; and Offensive MVP of Jesuit’s junior varsity team in 2013.

A TRUE TALENT — Jamal-Milton was named the Shrine Bowl Most Valuable Player in 2011 while playing for the Rosemont Jr. Wolverines; Offensive MVP in 2012 while a member of Jesuit High’s freshman team; MVP 2012 of Jesuit’s freshman rugby squad in 2012; and Offensive MVP of Jesuit’s junior varsity team in 2013.

To his credit, this thriving multisport athlete had shown flashes of resiliency during what was an efficient junior campaign.

In being installed in his first full season on the varsity squad, Jamal-Milton essentially showed no signs of rust, having ended the season with 424 rushing yards and five rushing scorers. To his credit, he managed to help propel the Marauders on effective drives, considering he averaged 5.7 yards per carry.

He was just as remarkable as a member of the school’s rugby team, given he managed to start in 10 outings.

MR. ALL-AROUND --- He was just as remarkable as a member of the school’s rugby team, given he managed to start in 10 outings.

MR. ALL-AROUND — Jamal-Milton was just as remarkable as a member of the school’s rugby team, given he managed to start in 10 outings last year.

Still, looking ahead, many who have followed Jamal-Milton’s rise and development as a football standout — he runs an average of 4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash and bench presses approximately 225 pounds — believe he possesses the tools and skills to play football at the collegiate level, although he has yet to field any official scholarships offers.

But what does Jamal-Milton thinks about all this?

“I’ve always imagined college football as being a utopia for players who truly love the game of football,” Jamal-Milton said. “I have yet to be on a team where I could walk on the field, knowing that all of my teammates share the same passion for football as I do. This dream of mine could not get any better.”

CHECK OUT JAMAL-MILTON IN ACTION: http://www.maxpreps.com/athlete/dalvin-jamal-milton/Hlph8hysEeS00gAmVebEWg/videos.htm?videoid=46d0b324-edd6-40fe-80ae-b627453afd69

What so astounding about his athletic progress over the years, Jamal-Milton said, is that he had grown accustomed to silencing naysayers and critics — or those who sensed that as an undersized athlete, he didn’t have what it takes to compete at a high level.

Uh oh.

Somebody told them wrong.

HE SAID IT --- “I’ve always imagined college football as being a utopia for players who truly love the game of football,” Jamal-Milton said. “I have yet to be on a team where I could walk on the field, knowing that all of my teammates share the same passion for football as I do. This dream of mine could not get any better.”

HE SAID IT — “I’ve always imagined college football as being a utopia for players who truly love the game of football,” Jamal-Milton said. “I have yet to be on a team where I could walk on the field, knowing that all of my teammates share the same passion for football as I do. This dream of mine could not get any better.”

“Since the day I first set foot on the field with my helmet and shoulder pads in hand, I’ve always been looked at as a lesser child,” Jamal-Milton explained. “As a result of being looked at this way, I was moved to play on the (offensive) line. I played line until my sixth grade year. I remember my uncle, Rashad Jamal, walking into my room and asking me if I’m ready to work. I replied saying, ‘Yes, but for what?’ He replied to me, saying, ‘For your opportunity.’

“From that day on, I worked every day to cut weight in order to be eligible as a running back,” Jamal-Milton continued. “When the day came for weigh-ins, I made weight and ran the ball for the first time like I never thought I could. Every day I wake up, I remember the work and pain I had to go through that led to the life I live today. I often realize that with hard work, blood, sweat, and tears, great things can be accomplished without a doubt.”

A trend that, to his credit, has taken place time and again since he his grandfather, his self-proclaimed “No. 1 fan,” caught his climbing that 10-foot pole at the tender age of three.

For Jamal-Milton, the biggest question now is at what point college scouts will acknowledge his assertiveness and immense skills.

 

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.

 

Memphis Manassas’ Joslynn Basemore: ‘I am the best player in the Shelby-Metro area’

BaseMainJoslynn Basemore on Thursday was asked if she’s getting the respect she deserves as a Memphis-area high school basketball player.

She didn’t hold back.

“The respect I’m getting, I deserve it,” Basemore, a rising senior standout for Manassas High, told sports journalist Andre Johnson. “I will say I am respected, but can be taken for granted or overlooked because of where I attend school.”

Shortly, thereafter, Basemore wasted little time being forthright about where she ranks amongst Shelby-Metro’s finest prep girls basketball players.

“I truly believe I am the best player in the Shelby-Metro area,” Basemore said with a straight face. “My outlook on my final prep season is that it will be a success, because I will work even harder to make sure that my team and I am not overlooked because of our location. This season is the beginning of my new life.”

STOCK RISING --- According to many who have followed Basemore’s rise as arguably one of the best basketball players in the history of Manassas High, she has every right to embark upon the 2015-16 season harboring some newfound swagger.  For starters, Basemore has yet to field official scholarship offers from any colleges, although she has garnered letters of interest from a few Division 1 mid-major schools, most notably Georgia State and Austin Peay State. (Photos submitted by D. Peterson)

STOCK RISING — According to many who have followed Basemore’s rise as arguably one of the best basketball players in the history of Manassas High, she has every right to embark upon the 2015-16 season harboring some newfound swagger.
For starters, Basemore has yet to field official scholarship offers from any colleges, although she has garnered letters of interest from a few Division 1 mid-major schools, most notably Georgia State and Austin Peay State. (Photos submitted by D. Peterson)

TRUE TALENT --- Basemore also was the Lady Tigers’ top scorer as a sophomore, averaging 20.4 points, including eight 20-plus point games in 25 starts.  “She started playing basketball when she was in the second grade,” said Basemore’s mother, Michelle Basemore. “I thought about basketball being a way for her to go to college paid for in conjunction to her getting a scholarship based on her GPA, which has always been a 4.0 or higher. Basketball, to me, was the way out, especially with me being a single mother and doing it all on my own.”

TRUE TALENT — Basemore also was the Lady Tigers’ top scorer as a sophomore, averaging 20.4 points, including eight 20-plus point games in 25 starts.
“She started playing basketball when she was in the second grade,” said Basemore’s mother, Michelle Basemore. “I thought about basketball being a way for her to go to college paid for in conjunction to her getting a scholarship based on her GPA, which has always been a 4.0 or higher. Basketball, to me, was the way out, especially with me being a single mother and doing it all on my own.”

Some pretty dauntless words from a player who, although her school is based in the inner city — in the heart of North Memphis to be exact — appears destined to head into this, her final prep season, with a chip on her shoulder.

According to many who have followed Basemore’s rise as arguably one of the best basketball players in the history of Manassas High, she has every right to embark upon the 2015-16 season harboring some newfound swagger.

For starters, Basemore has yet to field official scholarship offers from any colleges, although she has garnered letters of interest from a few Division 1 mid-major schools, most notably Georgia State and Austin Peay State.

Add to the fact that this speedy, 5-foot-4 standout has built a reputation as one of the most prolific scorers on the local high school hoops circuit in recent years, and it’s no wonder she’s clinging to lofty expectations of picking up where she left off last year.

That, after all, is what appears to be so scary for opposing players who will have the brutal task of squaring off against Basemore in what she deems as a “life-changing” season, of sorts, this year.

“I personally feel as if I don’t have a quitting spirit when things become a little complicated,” explains Basemore, when asked what is it she’d like college scouts and recruiters to know about her. “Most importantly, I am coachable, hard-working, dedicated, and a team player who puts God first. Through Him, Who strengthens me, I can do all things no matter what the task may be.”

Base3Last year, Basemore — though she often faced a size disadvantage against the opposition — was relied upon heavily to score early and often for a Manassas team that finished with a 14-10 mark.

Having averaged a team-best 22.5 points per game, Basemore made a strong case that she has the smarts and skills to play at the collegiate  level, especially in what turned out to be the Lady Tigers’ final game of the season.

In a 90-84 overtime loss to neighborhood rival Trezevant, Basemore caught fire and drew rave reviews from a standing-room-only crowd when she scored a career-high 46 points, a feat that surpassed her 43-point outburst against Craigmont days prior.

In addition, Basemore led the team in other statistical categories as a junior, including assists (4.7), rebounds (5.3), and steals (4.7) — a solid resume for a player who boasts high expectations of putting her immense skills on display in a college uniform sometime next year.

Basemore also was the Lady Tigers’ top scorer as a sophomore, averaging 20.4 points, including eight 20-plus point games in 25 starts.

“She started playing basketball when she was in the second grade,” said Basemore’s mother, Michelle Basemore. “I thought about basketball being a way for her to go to college paid for in conjunction to her getting a scholarship based on her GPA, which has always been a 4.0 or higher. Basketball, to me, was the way out, especially with me being a single mother and doing it all on my own.”

STAR WATCH --- Basemore led the team in other statistical categories as a junior, including assists (4.7), rebounds (5.3), and steals (4.7) --- a solid resume for a player who boasts high expectations of putting her immense skills on display in college uniform sometime next year.

STAR WATCH — Basemore led the team in other statistical categories as a junior, including assists (4.7), rebounds (5.3), and steals (4.7) — a solid resume for a player who boasts high expectations of putting her immense skills on display in college uniform sometime next year.

Besides emerging as Manassas’ featured player, Joslynn Basemore  — who’s also gotten strong support from her father, Daren Peterson — has been a fixture on the AAU circuit in recent years, most notably for the Tennessee Glory. Fortunately for her, she has been afforded to play the games she loves in a number of establishments around the country, including Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and Missouri, among others.

As she prepares for what figures to be a banner season, Joslynn Basemore said her primary objective is to add to what has shaped up to be solid resume on and off the court.

Especially on the court.

“Basketball is something that I can’t really explain, but what I can say is that I have a sincere passion for the game,” Joslynn Basemore said. Plus, I look at basketball as another way of learning life experiences. My ultimate dream is to pursue a career in basketball, one day playing for the WNBA.”

Some pretty bold words from a player, one who’s finally getting the respect she deserves.

 

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.

Illinois softball standout Makayla Denson eyeing Tennessee State, other HBCU’s

Just recently, Makayla Denson was asked to explain her passion and adoration for softball.

DIAMOND DREAMS --- While the softball diamond undoubtedly has proven to be a place of solitude and refuel for Makayla Denson, a rising senior first baseman at Bremen High School in Midlothian, Illinois, this prep athletic standout doesn’t shy away from the notion that she boasts lofty aspirations of extending her playing career beyond high school. (Photos submitted by R. Denson)

DIAMOND DREAMS — While the softball diamond undoubtedly has proven to be a place of solitude and refuel for Makayla Denson, a rising senior first baseman at Bremen High School in Midlothian, Illinois, this prep athletic standout doesn’t shy away from the notion that she boasts lofty aspirations of extending her playing career beyond high school. (Photos submitted by R. Denson)

As usual, speaking of the sport brought her to smiles.

“I would categorize myself as being a multisport student athlete,” Denson said during a recent interview with longtime journalist Andre Johnson. “That means student first, then athletics…basketball and softball. But softball is my passion. At times, it is very difficult to compass. But you have to keep telling yourself, ‘You can do it’ and to ‘Keep pushing forward.’”

While the softball diamond undoubtedly has proven to be a place of solitude and refuel for Denson, a rising senior first baseman at Bremen High School in Midlothian, Illinois, this prep athletic standout doesn’t shy away from the notion that she boasts lofty aspirations of extending her playing career beyond high school.

According to Makayla Denson’s mother, Robin Williams-Denson, her daughter has expressed considerable interest in attending Tennessee State University either on a softball scholarship or taking necessary steps to join to the Lady Tigers’ program as a walk on.

To her credit, Makayla Denson has become a fixture on the Chicago-area prep softball circuit since transitioning to the high school ranks three years ago, a trend about which she hopes college coaches will take into account as she continues to lobby for a full-ride athletic scholarship.

To her credit, Makayla Denson has become a fixture on the Chicago-area prep softball circuit since transitioning to the high school ranks three years ago, a trend about which she hopes college coaches will take into account as she continues to lobby for a full-ride athletic scholarship.

Besides TSU, the 17-year-old Makayla Denson also has expressed interests in Texas Southern University, Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Bethune-Cookman University in Florida, and nearby Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

In addition, this speedy, durable athlete was the catalyst of AAU 16-and-under Chicago-area Lady Monarch travel team that competed in a variety of local and state tournaments last year.

In addition, this speedy, durable athlete was the catalyst of AAU 16-and-under Chicago-area Lady Monarch travel team that competed in a variety of local and state tournaments last year.

Regardless of which school she attends, Makayla Denson said being afforded the opportunity to play collegiate softball would make reality a dream to which she has clung for some time.

“That is my short-term goal, to play softball in college and continue to learn new ideas and make new friends along this journey,” Makayla Denson said.

Having first played competitive softball when she was eight years ago, Makayla Denson admittedly has since grown a deep admiration for the sport, having also been afforded the golden opportunity to travel throughout the region and heartland for AAU and club teams.

“Every year since then, I’ve played on different levels such as in-house recreational local softball teams to AAU 18-and-under travel softball,” Makayla Denson explains.

In addition, this speedy, durable athlete was the catalyst of AAU 16-and-under Chicago-area Lady Monarch travel team that competed in a variety of local and state tournaments last year.

To her credit, Makayla Denson has become a fixture on the Chicago-area prep softball circuit since transitioning to the high school ranks three years ago, a trend about which she hopes college coaches will take into account as she continues to lobby for a full-ride athletic scholarship.

To her credit, Makayla Denson has become a fixture on the Chicago-area prep softball circuit since transitioning to the high school ranks three years ago, a trend about which she hopes college coaches will take into account as she continues to lobby for a full-ride athletic scholarship.

To her credit, Makayla Denson has become a fixture on the Chicago-area prep softball circuit since transitioning to the high school ranks three years ago, a trend about which she hopes college coaches will take into account as she continues to lobby for a full-ride athletic scholarship.

“We decided to let her play a sport, so she chose softball and basketball at the same time,” said Williams-Denson, explaining her daughter’s rise as a softball standout. “But when we put her on an in-house softball team at (the age of) seven, we ended up coaching. She naturally knows what to do and everybody wanted her and said she was a natural (athlete). She plays first base; that’s her love, but she really plays all positions except pitcher. People look at her and think, ‘Oh, she’s not going to do anything.’ And then she blows them away.”

All of which — according to Makayla Denson’s mother — means chances appear highly likely that her daughter will be afforded the chance to suit up in a collegiate softball uniform sometime in the Spring of 2017.

After all, she’s been considered a fixture on the Illinois-area softball diamond for some time.

“We always taught her to do her best and complete what she starts,” Williams-Denson said. “She is a perfectionist in school, sports or whatever else she does. Coaches used to get upset with her dad because he would encourage her to do her. She would get upset if she made errors — which I can’t remember many — because she wanted to make a name for herself.”

So far, so good.

Chances are, the competitive softball circuit hasn’t seen the last of this dual-sport athlete.

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.

 

Prep hoops standout Tiffany Byrd making her presence felt in Tennessee and Texas

TiffanyHOUSTON — Tiffany Nicole Byrd is what one would describe as a military child.

How else to explain why she’s resided in a number of establishments across the country.

Born in Pensacola, Florida, Byrd has lived in Bartlett, Tennessee — which is the outskirts of Memphis — and Chesapeake, Virginia. Since earlier this year, she’s been a resident of Houston, where the rising basketball standout seemingly hasn’t missed a beat following masterful stints for Bon Lin Middle and Bartlett Ninth Grade Academy.

A newcomer to Houston’s George Ranch High basketball team this upcoming season, the speedy point guard figures to contribute immediately for a Lady Longhorn squad that ended the 2014-15 season having won eight of its last 12 outings to end the year with a 16-12 mark.

TEXAS SIZE IMPACT --- A newcomer to Houston’s George Ranch High basketball team this upcoming season, Tiffany Byrd figures to contribute immediately for a Lady Longhorn squad that ended the 2014-15 season having won eight of its last 12 outings to end the year with a 16-12 mark.

TEXAS SIZE IMPACT — A newcomer to Houston’s George Ranch High basketball team this upcoming season, Tiffany Byrd figures to contribute immediately for a Lady Longhorn squad that ended the 2014-15 season having won eight of its last 12 outings to end the year with a 16-12 mark.

Known largely for her resiliency and keen ability to be a facilitator on the floor, Byrd’s ability to create her own her shot coupled with her passion for the game will almost certainly prompt scouts to inquire about her services once her prep hoops career ends.

“I’ve been playing (basketball) since I was four,” Byrd told longtime journalist Andre Johnson. “I love the sport. When I play, I don’t think of anything else when I’m on the court.”

Because passion and enthusiasm for a sport are attributes coaches can’t merely teach athletes, the admiration Byrd’s exemplifies for basketball could prove beneficial now that she will be afforded the golden opportunity to put her hoops heroics on display in Texas, where they do things bigger here.

No one, it seems, realizes this more than her mother, Tena Byrd, who served 28 years in the Navy. As she tells it, ever since she first witnessed her daughter reach for a basketball nearly a decade ago, she sensed she would ultimately blossom into an efficient athlete.

MOM KNOWS BEST --- Because passion and enthusiasm for a sport aren’t attributes coaches can’t merely teach athletes, the admiration Byrd’s exemplifies for basketball could prove beneficial now that she will be afforded the golden opportunity to put her hoops heroics on display in Texas, where they do things bigger here.  No one, it seems, realizes this more than her mother, Tena Byrd, who served 28 years in the Navy.

MOM KNOWS BEST — Because passion and enthusiasm for a sport aren’t attributes coaches can’t merely teach athletes, the admiration Byrd’s exemplifies for basketball could prove beneficial now that she will be afforded the golden opportunity to put her hoops heroics on display in Texas, where they do things bigger here.
No one, it seems, realizes this more than her mother, Tena Byrd, who served 28 years in the Navy.

To Tiffany Byrd’s credit, she has been nothing short of impressive on the amateur hoops circuit.

“I was very proud of her and excited at the same time,” said Tena Byrd, recalling the first time Tiffany picked up a basketball at Bartlett Community Center.

As for a typical weekend, particularly as a basketball mom, Tena Byrd said that by all accounts, three words come to mind.

“Practice, practice, practice,” she said, “whether it’s going to a local, college, or NBA game. But I love to see her play, love it when she steals a ball and hits her (three-pointers).”

In her rise a basketball standout, Tena Byrd said she was mostly impressed when her daughter earned a spot on Bartlett’s junior varsity team last.

Once again, she didn’t disappoint. Instead, she made a strong case that surely, she has a future in the sports she has come to embrace.

“I was even happier to see her start (on JV),” Tena Byrd said in assessing her daughter’s play last year. I’m very happy for her. I pray that she stays focused off and on the court…prays she makes varsity. But if not, I hope she gets lots of playing time on JV.”

In addition to her impressive showing last year, Tiffany Byrd had proven to be just as effective off the court, in large part because she trained intensely under the direction of Cedric Anderson, her personal training coach. Besides basketball, she played T-ball for two-years and strongly considered soccer before deciding to settle solely on playing hoops.

“Her coaches have been very supportive,” Tena Byrd said. “I tell her constantly to get good grades, stay positive, and that basketball is a team sport. That means she is to respect her teammates because everyone makes mistakes.”

BRIGHT FUTURE --- Known largely for her resiliency and keen ability to be a facilitator on the floor, Byrd’s ability to create her own her shot coupled with her passion for the game will almost certainly prompt scouts to inquire about her services once her prep hoops career ends.

BRIGHT FUTURE — Known largely for her resiliency and keen ability to be a facilitator on the floor, Byrd’s ability to create her own her shot coupled with her passion for the game will almost certainly prompt scouts to inquire about her services once her prep hoops career ends.

As Tiffany Byrd — who has begun to build a solid rapport with her George Ranch teammates and coaches — continues to prepare for first full season of varsity basketball, her mother, like many others who have witnessed her development as a young athlete, knows the sky’s the limit for a kid who possesses the skills to play at the collegiate level.

“Because she is a child of God, anything is possible,” Tena Byrd said. “If she gives 100 percent at practice, stays positive, stays focus, and takes responsibility for her actions and respects others, there’s no limit to where she can go.”

Regardless of where around the country this military kid resides.

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.

Arlington High RB Keelon Webber primed to upgrade his recruiting stock this season

STOCK RISING --- Keelon Webber, a 6-foot, 205-pound speedy rusher was a pivotal force for an Arlington High team that finished 11-4 last year, ran the table in District 14-AAA play, and manufactured an impressive postseason display before falling in the Tennessee Class 6A quarterfinals to perennial power Whitehaven. (Photos submitted by C. Webber)

STOCK RISING — Keelon Webber, a 6-foot, 205-pound speedy rusher was a pivotal force for an Arlington High team that finished 11-4 last year, ran the table in District 14-AAA play, and manufactured an impressive postseason display before falling in the Tennessee Class 6A quarterfinals to perennial power Whitehaven. (Photos submitted by C. Webber)

Listening to Carsett Franklin Webber weigh in on the athletic heroics of her son, Keelon Webber, and it would be rather easy to tell she’s an avid football mom.

One who, without question, knows exactly what she’s talking about.

Take, for instance, earlier this week when she was asked what she deems mostly intriguing about his son’s progress as the featured running back for Arlington High.

As usual, Carsett Webber was forthright and direct.

“He has passion for the game and he is very respectful and coachable,” Carsett Webber told MemphiSport. “Over the years, he has evolved into a beast of a football player.”

Indeed he has, a trend about which Keelon Webber hopes college scouts will take into account as he readies for what figures to be a productive senior campaign in the coming weeks.

To his credit, a 6-foot, 205-pound speedy rusher was a pivotal force for an Arlington team that finished 11-4 last year, ran the table in District 14-AAA play, and manufactured an impressive postseason display before falling in the Tennessee Class 6A quarterfinals to perennial power Whitehaven.

CHECK OUT KEELON WEBBER IN ACTION VIA VIDEO: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/3413846/highlights/213806383/v2

According to a season-ending poll released by Maxpreps, the Tigers finished 52nd overall in the state.

And, because the nucleus of Arlington’s starters will return in 2015, surely, Keelon Webber and Co. will be expected to make yet another brilliant run at that elusive state crown.

The Tigers open the season August 21 when they play host to Kirby.

GOOD AS ADVERTISED --- Fortunately for Keelon Webber, the assertiveness and poise he exhibited under the Friday night lights gave way to his being nothing short of impressive.  For starters, this bruiser, rugged back was a catalyst for an Arlington potent rushing attack that emerged as one of Shelby Metro’s finest last season, a unit that compiled nearly 200 yards rushing per game.

GOOD AS ADVERTISED — Fortunately for Keelon Webber, the assertiveness and poise he exhibited under the Friday night lights gave way to his being nothing short of impressive.
For starters, this bruiser, rugged back was a catalyst for an Arlington potent rushing attack that emerged as one of Shelby Metro’s finest last season, a unit that compiled nearly 200 yards rushing per game.

“I had a great junior season,” Keelon Webber said. “I showed I am a versatile playmaker. I continued to get better and better every week. Every game, I worked harder.”

Fortunately for Keelon Webber, the assertiveness and poise he exhibited under the Friday night lights gave way to his being nothing short of impressive.

For starters, this bruiser, rugged back was a catalyst for an Arlington potent rushing attack that emerged as one of Shelby Metro’s finest last season, a unit that compiled nearly 200 yards rushing per game.

Having appeared in a prep career-best 13 games as a junior, Keelon Webber had 1,270 all-purpose yards, including 1,104 yards on 204 carries and 16 rushing touchdowns. In addition, he registered 166 receiving yards while making 17 catches and one score as he complemented the play of then-senior Joe Stevenson.

Add to the fact that he led Arlington with 100-plus yards per outing, and it’s no wonder Keelon Webber is destined to generate interests from colleges this upcoming season.

As he tells it, that’s certainly one of his short-term — yet monumental — goals as he and the Tigers look ahead to training camp in the coming days.

KeelonIn addition, the summer months were indeed all business for a talented kid who boasts lofty aspirations of playing at the collegiate level. Keelon Webber made valiant attempts to establish a favorable athletic resume after attending such camps as the Rivals Combine, AEA Combine, as well as camps hosted by the University of Memphis and Tennessee State.

While he has yet to generate real interest from any schools, many figure that undoubtedly will change early and often this upcoming season.

Carsett Franklin Webber

Carsett Franklin Webber

“I am a hard worker. I give my all to my team,” said Keelon Webber when asked what direct message he’d like to send to college scouts. “I’m a leader, a motivator to my teammates. I am coachable. I can easily pick up new skills and plays. I am not a quitter.”

Surely, no one can vouch for that more than his mother who, on Friday, was seen witnessing her son’s continuous progress during the team’s scrimmage.

“In middle school, he had a natural talent for football,” said Carsett Webber, whose son has been playing competitive football since the age of six. “I’m always praying for an injury free game. Playing football will help him get a college scholarship to the college of his choice.”

Spoken like an avid football mom.

One who, without question, knows exactly what she’s talking about.

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.

Mid-South-area prep baseball standout Ben McCardle having impact on and off the field

COTTONWOOD, Alabama — Kim McCardle on Wednesday was asked what normally goes through her mind whenever she’s sitting in the stands watching her son, Cottonwood (Ala.) High baseball standout Ben McCardle, play the game he loves.

Ben1“I’m always concerned about him as an individual player,” Kim McCardle said. “I try not to compare his talents with others, but I love to watch him pitch and guess which combination of pitches he comes up with. I also like to see him get along with his team. That means they trust each other.”

It is, in fact, because of how Ben McCardle has gone about adjusting comfortably to varsity baseball that he appears destined to fulfill his dream of playing collegiate baseball once his prep career ends.
A 15-year-old rising sophomore for Cottonwood, Ben McCardle was as good as advertised this past season for a Bears team that finished third in the four-team Alabama Area 2A standings.
Given how the speedy 5-foot-6, 140-pound ace had performed this past season, it’s safe to assume that with three full seasons of varsity ball ahead of him, the possibility exists that college scouts and recruiters will almost certainly inquire about his services in the coming years.

MOM KNOWS BEST --- “I'm always concerned about him as an individual player,” Kimberly McCardle said. “I try not to compare his talents with others, but I love to watch him pitch and guess which combination of pitches he comes up with. I also like to see him get along with his team. That means they trust each other.” (Photos submitted by K. McCardle)

MOM KNOWS BEST — “I’m always concerned about him as an individual player,” Kim McCardle said. “I try not to compare his talents with others, but I love to watch him pitch and guess which combination of pitches he comes up with. I also like to see him get along with his team. That means they trust each other.” (Photos submitted by K. McCardle)

“My goals are clear for me to play baseball outside of high school,” Ben McCardle said. “I live baseball and it’s a drive for me like no other. I want to get a degree on Agriculture whether it is in Agronomy and Soils or some other branch of the Ag family.”

To grasp a thorough understanding of why Ben McCardle has his mind set on pursuing a degree in Agriculture, look no further than his job in the comfortable confines of Cottonwood, one of Alabama’s smallest cities that is comprised of just 1,278 residents, according to a 2013 census report.

Ben, along with his older brother, Cody, work regularly on his family’s watermelon farm, something about which seems more like a hobby, of sorts, for the two teenagers, considering the gig has afforded them to travel frequently throughout the Mid-South.

“The boys have been throwing melons since they were five,” Kim McCardle said. “They were on the Birmingham farmers market since they were in diapers. Now they go between games and stay in our camper and resale and wholesale to people from Arkansas to Indiana from Mississippi to Ohio. It’s just part of life.”

Fortunately for Ben McCardle, hurling melons seemingly has benefited him mightily on the mound, although Cottonwood coaches Danny Coachman and Jake Kirkland often assigned him to outfield duties.

Not bad for a newcomer who, given how masterfully he performed this past season, is determined to upgrade his mechanics during the summer months.

DUAL THREAT --- Ben is a fixture for the Dothan (Ala.) Post 12 Youth baseball team that competes regularly throughout the region.  Dothan Post 12 is scheduled to play this weekend in the Junior State Championship in Hartselle, Alabama.

DUAL THREAT — Ben is a fixture for the Dothan (Ala.) Post 12 Youth baseball team that competes regularly throughout the region.
Dothan Post 12 is scheduled to play this weekend in the Junior State Championship in Hartselle, Alabama.

That’s because Ben is a fixture for the Dothan (Ala.) Post 12 Youth baseball team that competes regularly throughout the region.

DOUBLE DUTY --- Ben, along with his older brother, Cody, work regularly on his family’s watermelon farm, something about which seems more like a hobby, of sorts, for the two teenagers, considering the gig has afforded them to travel frequently throughout the Mid-South.

DOUBLE DUTY — Ben, along with his older brother, Cody, work regularly on his family’s watermelon farm, something about which seems more like a hobby, of sorts, for the two teenagers, considering the gig has afforded them to travel frequently throughout the Mid-South.

Dothan Post 12 is scheduled to play this weekend in the Junior State Championship in Hartselle, Alabama.

Aside from competing on the competitive circuit, Ben McCardle often makes it a point to work on his pitching and hitting fundamentals with members of the Cottonwood coaching staff.

As he tells it, because of the lofty aspirations to which he’s clinging with regards to playing at the collegiate level, there is no time to slow down.

At least not right now. Not with a potential athletic scholarship at stake.

“I have just started quick videos of my work and set up a profile and intend to be in touch with several colleges,” Ben McCardle said. “I want people to look back and remember me as Benjamin McCardle. A hard-working family guy who loves his baseball diamond and his farm life.”

And, for a 15-year-old rising baseball standout, Ben McCardle seems to be a kid who customarily says all of the right things.

For instance…

“Sitting around never gets you anywhere,” he said. “You have to work and work hard but respect people as you take the journey. That’s who I am.”

Spoken like a student athlete who not only boasts dreams of playing major college baseball someday, but one who is destined to savor a bright future.

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.