Former Vol Tony Harris on Pat Summitt’s death: ‘People in Knoxville loved this lady’

ROCKY TOP REMEMBERS PATHaving coached the University of Tennessee women’s basketball program for 38 years from 1974-2012, Pat Summitt is widely known in the sports world for having brought respectability and relevancy to women’s college basketball. Summitt died Tuesday morning, five years after being diagnosed with early onset dementia in the form of Alzheimer’s. She was 64. (Photo by Wade Payne/AP)

Former University of Tennessee point guard Tony Harris on Tuesday offered a rather riveting suggestion hours after news spread of Pat Summit’s death.

“That’s Pat Summitt University,” Harris, a former Memphis East High star told MemphiSport during a telephone interview from Los Angeles. “I mean, look at her success, her wins…she was the winningest coach in college basketball history.”

Summitt, the legendary Tennessee women’s basketball coach who enjoyed an illustrious career that was highlighted by an unprecedented 1,098 wins, eight national championships, and 16 Southeastern Conference regular season and tournament titles, died early Tuesday, five years after being diagnosed with early onset dementia in the form of Alzheimer’s.

She was 64.

A public memorial service for Summitt has been scheduled for 7 p.m. EST on July 14 at Thompson-Boling Arena on the Tennessee campus.

Having coached the Lady Volunteers for 38 years from 1974-2012, Summitt is widely known in the sports world for having brought respectability and relevancy to women’s college basketball.

TEN-NES-SEE THE SUCCESSBesides compiling a .841 winning percentage (1,098-208) during her stint with the Lady Vols, Summitt was named SEC Coach of The Year an unprecedented eight times and National Coach of The Year seven times, including in back-to-back seasons in 1994 and 1995. (AP Photo)

Her best display as a Hall of Fame coach undoubtedly occurred in the mid-1990s when Summitt guided the Lady Vols to three consecutive NCAA titles from 1996-1998, that last of which came during Harris’ freshman season in Knoxville.

“It was a great experience,” Harris said of having crossed paths with Summitt. “I knew at the time she was going to be a Hall of Fame coach. So I was blessed to share the same campus with a legend. I had a close relationship with her as far as being a student athlete. The men’s basketball office was right next door to the women’s. And there were times I went in there. She was big on professionalism in everything I did.”

In August 2011, Summitt announced that she had been diagnosed three months earlier with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Still, she chose to coach Tennessee during the 2011–2012 season, but at a reduced role while longtime assistant Holly Warlick — an assistant under Summitt since 1985 — had assumed most of the responsibilities.

Besides compiling an all-time best winning percentage of. 841 (1,098-208) during her stint with the Lady Vols, Summitt was named SEC Coach of The Year an unprecedented eight times and National Coach of The Year seven times, including in back-to-back seasons in 1994 and 1995.

A former Parade All-American who named TSSAA Class AAA Mr. Basketball in 1997, Memphian Tony Harris starred at point guard for East from 1994-97 before ultimately signing a National Letter of Intent to play at the University of Tennessee. To his credit, the Vols re-emerged as a national standout, having appeared in the NCAA Tournament in each of Harris’ four seasons, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2000. (Getty Images Photo)

“People say she was stern,” Harris said. “But that sternness got her a lot of wins and won her a lot of championships. She had some of the top players in the country wanting to play for her.”

Although for years, the Tennessee football and women’s basketball enjoyed paralleled success, Harris said it was in large part because of Summitt’s well-publicized resume that the men’s basketball program had finally began to earn mentions on a national platform.

A former Parade All-American who was named TSSAA Class AAA Mr. Basketball in 1997, Harris starred at point guard for East from 1994-97 before ultimately signing a National Letter of Intent to play at the University of Tennessee.

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

“I can’t put a number on it,” Harris, founder of the Tony Harris Basketball Academy in Los Angeles said, when asked how many Lady Vols games he attended during his time in Knoxville. “But every time they played, I tried to make when we didn’t have a game.”

BEST LADY VOL EVER? Two-time Naismith Award winner Chamique Holdsclaw starred for Summitt’s Lady Vols from 1995-1999, having guided the Tennessee to three consecutive NCAA Championships from 1996-1998. The 1998 national title capped Tennessee’s first ever undefeated season at 39–0 and also set an NCAA record for the most wins ever in a season. (AP Photo)

Even as the catalyst of the men’s team, Harris said attending Lady Vols’ games was an experience in its own right, largely because tickets were hard to come by.

“It was one the great experiences I’ve been a part of as a student athlete,” Harris said. “I never really watched women’s basketball until I got to UT and saw the impact (Summitt) had on the program.”

Not just in Rocky Top, but the entire Volunteer state, Harris quickly acknowledged.

“(The city of) Knoxville loved this lady,” Harris said. “Not just in Knoxville, but the whole state of Tennessee. When you talk about (the University of) Tennessee, you’ve got to talk about women’s basketball.”

Or, as Harris charismatically suggested, “Pat Summitt University.”



12308302_1264615573553243_4556209296677596210_nAndre 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 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.

 

 

 

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

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

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

So what figure did Harris come up with?

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

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

THAnd so on and so forth.

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

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

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

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

Who better to run such a business than Harris?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much like her husband was nearly two decades ago.



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

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

Covington’s scholar athlete Alexis Johnson making the grades, aiming to impress scouts

AJIn case you don’t know her, allow Alexis Samantha Johnson to introduce herself.

For starters, Johnson a senior multi-sport athlete at Covington High School, an institution that is approximately 30 minutes from Memphis.

She is an honor student who is well on her way to graduating in the top 10 percent of her graduating class in the spring.

Aside from having a monumental impact in the classroom, she has become a fixture for the Lady Chargers’ cross country team.

She has routinely provided favorable contributions for Covington’s track and field squad.

GO GETTER --- As far as athletics go, Alexis Johnson works out virtually “daily” to fine-tune her mechanics, most notably her basketball fundamentals. According to the 5-foot-9 combo guard, now is not the time to become complacent, considering she’s doing everything she deems necessary to make a favorable impression upon college scouts and recruiters.

GO GETTERAs far as athletics go, Alexis Johnson works out virtually “daily” to fine-tune her mechanics, most notably her basketball fundamentals. According to the 5-foot-9 combo guard, now is not the time to become complacent, considering she’s doing everything she deems necessary to make a favorable impression upon college scouts and recruiters.

As if that’s not enough of a thorough introduction, she is the catalyst of a streaking Lady Charger basketball team that could very well find itself vying for a state championship sometime next month.

“She’s the type of kid who doesn’t want to sit around and not do anything,” said Nacquia Smith Johnson, Alexis Johnson’s mother, during a telephone interview with Sports Journalist Andre Johnson on Sunday. “She’s a true competitor.”

Let alone one who, as she tells it, doesn’t shy away from the notion of what she aspires to do when she sets foot on a college campus this fall.

Surely, Alexis Johnson — who’s ranked No. 6 overall in her graduating class and boasts a 3.96 grade point average — is optimistic mightily in that she will continue to fortify academic excellence at the collegiate level.

As for engaging college athletics, she’d be the first to tell you that embarking upon such a commendable feat will only add to what figures to a memorable college experience.

In a nutshell, this vibrant, assertive student athlete who boasts an array of resiliency appears destined to go full throttle even at the college level just as she has done for a majority of her prep career.

“Playing sports in college is a dream for me, because I have been doing it my whole life,” Alexis Johnson said. “I wouldn’t want all of my hard work and dedication to (sports) to be for nothing. I want to prove to everyone who has ever doubted me and said I can’t do it. Nothing is impossible for me to accomplish.”

TRUE GENIUS --- Johnson is an honor student who is well on her way to graduating in the top 10 percent of her graduating class in the spring.

TRUE GENIUSJohnson is an honor student who is well on her way to graduating in the top 10 percent of her graduating class in the spring.

Covington basketball coach Katrisha Glass echoed Alexis Johnson’s dauntless declaration on Monday prior to her team’s afternoon practice.

“Alexis Johnson is a young lady whose character is what one would like to see in every child that they come across,” Glass said. “I have coached Alexis for the last four years in basketball, and her hard work, dedication, and perseverance is what has left a lasting impression on me.”

All things considered, her resiliency and willingness to persevere are what college scouts and recruiters ought to take in account as it pertains to expressing interest in Alexis Johnson, Glass acknowledged.

Alexis Johnson trains regularly with Team Penny AAU hoops guru Jevonte Holmes as well and with Mid-South area trainer Frank Harris.

“Alexis’ zeal to want to be the best makes her stand out from the rest of her peers,” said Glass, whose team (17-4) is first in the Region 15-AA standings heading into Tuesday night’s game at Liberty Tech in Jackson. “She is not only a great athlete, but she is also an excellent student. She is very deserving of any (scholarship) that is offered to her. Whatever Alexis sets her mind to, she will achieve it. Her humbleness and willingness to help out her teammates are qualities that will help her excel not only in sports, but also in life.”

MOM KNOWS BEST --- “She’s the type of kid who doesn’t want to sit around and not do anything,” said Nacquia Smith Johnson, Alexis Johnson’s mother, during a telephone interview with Sports Journalist Andre Johnson on Sunday. “She’s a true competitor.”

MOM KNOWS BEST“She’s the type of kid who doesn’t want to sit around and not do anything,” said Nacquia Smith Johnson, Alexis Johnson’s mother, during a telephone interview with Sports Journalist Andre Johnson on Sunday. “She’s a true competitor.”

As far as athletics go, Alexis Johnson works out virtually “daily” to fine-tune her mechanics, most notably her basketball fundamentals. According to the 5-foot-9 combo guard, now is not the time to become complacent, considering she’s doing everything she deems necessary to make a favorable impression upon college scouts and recruiters.

“A college that chooses me will inherit an athlete that will not give up and will do whatever it takes to get to the top,” Alexis Johnson said.

Not bad for a solid introduction.

 

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

Thanks to Recent Coaching Hires SEC Basketball No Longer A Two Team League

SEC basketball courtWhen most fans think of the Southeastern Conference football immediately comes to mind, and justifiably so.  After all, the SEC did go on that seven consecutive year tear where they won seven straight BCS Championships from 2006-2012 .  Also, it seems like the mighty SEC always leads the other FBS conferences with ranked teams at the end of every football season (they tied with the Pac-12 this year as both conferences had six teams to end the year in the AP Poll).

Billy Donovan has contributed to the basketball success of the SEC. He is the fifth highest paid college basketball coach in the nation and has led the Florida Gators to four Final Four appearances in his 19 years as head coach. He is also one of two coaches to reach 500 career wins before the age of 50.

Billy Donovan has contributed to the basketball success and prestige of the SEC. He is the fifth highest paid college basketball coach in the nation and has led the Florida Gators to four Final Four appearances in his 19 years as head coach. He is also one of two coaches to reach 500 career wins before the age of 50.

Yet, for some reason basketball has not had the same type of success (or at least it does not have the same perception) as football the past decade or so.  One reason may be that the conference RPI has been down the past five years.  According to CBSsports.com, the conference is fifth in RPI this year behind the Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, and ACC.  That is the highest RPI the SEC has managed since 2011-2012 season when they finished third, and in the last five years 2011-2012 was the only season that the conference finished in the top three nationally in RPI.

Even though the confernce RPI is down, the SEC does fare well in postseason play.  The conference has three National Championships and seven Final Four appearances in the last ten years.  That is pretty good, especially when you consider that the Big Ten has 10 Final Four teams and no National Championships, the Pac-12 has just three Final Four teams and no championships, and the Big 12 has 2 Final Four teams with one championship in that span. Even the mighty ACC only has five Final Four teams and three championships in the last 10 years.

So why does basketball not garner the same type of reverence that football does in the Southeastern Conference? Probably because just two teams make up those seven Final Four appearances, Kentucky and Florida.  Moreover, in the last ten years there are just two coaches, John Calipari and Billy Donovan, who account for the most (if not all) of the success the conference has.

Compare that to the four different BCS Championship teams (led by four different head coaches) that were a part of that historic seven year run, and you see that football has something that basketball does not have in the SEC. Depth.

Since coming to Kentucky from Memphis in 2009 Coach John Calipari's Wildcats have run the SEC.  They have three regular season championships, three conference championships, five Elite Eight appearances, and four Final Four appearances.

Since coming to Kentucky from Memphis in 2009, Coach John Calipari’s Wildcats have run the SEC. They have three regular season championships, three SEC Tournament Championships, five Elite Eight appearances, and four Final Four appearances.

Kentucky and Florida have been regular season champions eight times while winning the SEC Tournament seven times in the last ten years.  In fact you have to go back six years to find a team other than the Gators and Wildcats that won the regular season crown, seven years to find a SEC Tournament Championship game that did not feature at least on of those two teams, and 19 years to find a SEC Final Four team that was not named Kentucky or Florida (Mississippi State in 1996 ironically Kentucky won the National Championship that year).

However, there will be some changes at the top of the conference real soon thanks to the additions of some high profile coaches the last couple of years.  From Auburn’s Bruce Pearl to Frank Martin in South Carolina, the SEC is now full of exceptional coaches who are more than capable of taking down the Gators and Wildcats.

Now there is this report from Gary Parish about the Alabama coaching situation, and with Tennessee hiring Rick Barnes and Mississippi State snagging Ben Howland it is beginning to look like the conference will have some much needed parody soon.

CJ Hurt is the producer for Cerrito Live and he covers college basketball for MemphiSport. You can hear him on the Playing Hurt Podcast and follow him on twitter @Conradicalness for live tweets from games.

SEE ALSO:

Former Arkansas prep hoops standout recalls life’s tough obstacles in tell-all book

DALLAS — Lucas Armstrong relocated from Pine Bluff, Arkansas to Dallas, Texas approximately six years ago.

He was destined to do better for himself.

LucasLike many who move from a rural town to a large market, Armstrong initially found it difficult to become acclimated to his new establishment.

Fortunately for him, someone along the way enlightened him that big things happen in Texas.

For Armstrong, 30, it seems he has steadfastly embraced such a notion, considering he appears to be adjusting comfortably to life in Big D.

Never mind the tumultuous encounters life often dealt him while growing up in Pine Bluff. Born prematurely at just one pound, doctors told Armstrong’s mother that he would not live beyond his third birthday, in large part because they sensed he would endure an array of mental challenges.

“They told my mom that I wouldn’t pick up on things as fast as other kids,” Armstrong told MemphiSport during a recent interview in North Dallas. “I guess that’s the whole defect of premature kids in those days. They didn’t know what to expect.”

But just as he’s done virtually his entire young life, Armstrong demonstrated the keen desire to defy the odds.

So far, it’s safe to assume he’s managed to hold his own quite nicely.

So much, in fact, that Armstrong has shared his life story in his first book entitled, “Your Story Is Not Your Story: From Adversity To Success Through The Hardships Of Life.” Published late last year, Armstrong’s 10-chapter book depicts everything from his stormy relationship with his father to his analysis on the importance of one seeking proper mentorship.

Long before he evolved into a rising self-published author, Armstrong had a fond admiration for basketball and sensed that he could ultimately used the sport as an outlet, or sorts, to landing a free college education.

SURVIVOR OF THE FITTEST --- Lucas Armstrong relocated to Dallas from Pine Bluff, Arkansas six years to have a better life for himself. He has since written and published his first book.

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST — Lucas Armstrong relocated to Dallas from Pine Bluff, Arkansas six years to have a better life for himself. He has since written and published his first book.

However, after enrolling at Pine Bluff High, Armstrong was cut from the team as a sophomore, a development that left him somewhat distraught and dejected and unfulfilled.

“Man, that was devastating because I had played basketball from like middle school on up,” Armstrong said. “I was hurt. I felt like I was better than some of people who got picked. So I went to another school.”

That school was none other than nearby Dollarway High where, to Armstrong’s credit, he made his presence felt as a combo guard.

He was only 15 years old at the time, 12 years removed from what doctors had sensed would be his death sentence as a toddler.

“I was a die-hard basketball player, man,” Armstrong said. “That’s what I wanted to do. I wasn’t going to give up on my dream of playing basketball. It felt good (making the team). But I know me. I wasn’t going to stop until I got want I wanted.”

Years before his hoops prowess was ever discovered, Armstrong endured an array of hardships, most notably a rocky relationship with his father, which he outlines in his book.

For starters, Armstrong’s father got custody of him when he was a youngster. Thinking his son was gripped with an assortment of mental challenges, he made repeated attempts to garner a monthly check as a way to cash in off what presumably was a child with special needs.

“Teachers would tell him that I wasn’t doing well academic wise,” Armstrong explained. “For 10 years, I went to a psychiatrist and took a series of tests.”

He mastered them all, thus erasing any speculations as to whether he was a mentally-challenged child.

“Where people say you’re weak in, I was strong,” Armstrong said. My communication skills were pretty good.”

So favorable, in fact, that Armstrong felt compelled to recall the highs and lows of his life in a tell-all, self-published book.

So far, he’s already been invited to several speaking engagements throughout Dallas’ Metroplex to discuss and promote his book. Looking ahead, he plans to promote his book throughout the Mid-South, particularly at his alma mater, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Armstrong is a 2007 graduate of UAPB with a degree in Business-Marketing.

“Life experiences and my passion for people who are going through things,” said Armstrong, when asked what inspired him to write his book. I also felt like God had me go through things for a reason. I want to be a beacon of light for other people to let that know that if Lucas can make it, they can make it.”

Let alone, think big in the process, just as he’s doing in Big D.

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.