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.

Memphian Brenda Swift is swiftly becoming a rising success as ‘The Water Lady’ for Xooma Worldwide

MAKING SWIFT MOVESHaving been dubbed an “A Type personality,” Memphian Brenda Swift acknowledges that she never shied away from placing her total trust in God, a life-enhancing trend, a pivotal, gut-checking lifestyle, of sorts, that greatly fueled her desire to start a business venture. To her credit, it is a business concept whereby many from all walks of life can benefit.
Swift, 51, is a national manager for Xooma Worldwide, a global company that has mightily afforded her with the keen ability to create her own company.

Brenda Swift is a proud alumna of Fairley High School in Memphis’ historic Whitehaven district.

After graduating from high school, where amongst her grandest achievements were being named a beauty queen as well as a thriving dancer while simultaneously starring on the tennis squad, being a member of the choir and various other clubs — mostly notably the Debutante — Swift took her immense talents to nearby Tennessee State University in Nashville.

While in college, she was nothing short of impressive, nothing short of successful it seemed, considering she ultimately became a lifetime member of the flagship Greek organization, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

During her illustrious journey to possessing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications/Speech And Theatre, amongst Swift’s notable accolades were having won an array of public speaking awards, all while making her presence felt in a number of stage plays.

Yes, life, as she knew it, was memorable and enjoyable to say the least.

But just as she once found herself living and basking in the glow on the larger side of God, Swift had to endure and see and consult her Creator amid life’s most challenging of obstacles.

A SWIFT SUCCESS STORYA devout Christian and dedicated mother, Swift admittedly has been victimized by Multiple Sclerosis, a diagnosis that spans for more than a decade.
A little more than 13 years to be technical.
“The disease tried to rob me of my life,” Swift told News Reporter Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I was bedridden, couldn’t stand without shaking nor walk.”

A devout Christian and dedicated mother, Swift admittedly has been victimized by Multiple Sclerosis, a diagnosis that spans for more than a decade.

A little more than 13 years to be technical.

“The disease tried to rob me of my life,” Swift told News Reporter Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I was bedridden, couldn’t stand without shaking nor walk.”

Still, in spite of the slew of physical challenges that essentially surfaced to test and try her faith, Swift, to her credit, clung to unwavering faith.

So much, in fact, that with God, her Helper leading the way, she managed to persevere and eventually defied the odds of a disease she sensed would alter her life for all the wrong reasons.

But God…

Having been dubbed an “A Type personality,” Swift acknowledges that she never shied away from placing her total trust in God, a life-enhancing trend, a pivotal, gut-checking lifestyle, of sorts, that greatly fueled her desire to start a business venture.

To her credit, it is a business concept whereby many from all walks of life can benefit.

Swift, 51, is a national manager for Xooma Worldwide, a global company that has mightily afforded her with the keen ability to create her own company.

In addition, she is owner of Swift Health And Wellness Distribution.

FOLLOW BRENDA SWIFT’S BUSINESS ONLINE: http://swiftshealthandwellnessdistribution.com/.

As Swift, widely known as “The Water Lady,” is swift to say, her newfound business has undoubtedly changed the overall landscape of her life.

“The Xooma products have changed my life,” Swift said. “I have been given a second chance as a disabled individual to continue to be a viable asset to my community.”

While she says that “no one” inspired her to start my company, Swift was quick to point out that she’s mostly appreciative of her husband, Kevin Clay, and her mother who, even after having gift birth to her a teenager in the 1960s, she had has a monumental impact on her life.

MORE ON BRENDA SWIFT: https://youtu.be/Ki8AgV0w4YM.

How else to explain why’s she managed to tackle and conquer her battle with Multiple Sclerosis?

“I guess the disease did (challenge me) and it’s all the positive influences I’ve had in my life along the way,” said Swift, who’s also a longtime ordained minister. “Starting with my mother, who was a teenage mother in the 60s who decided to keep and raise her baby, I thank God for her and for my stepfather. It is their wisdom and examples of hard work and the belief and wisdom of a strong praying grandmother that were my examples. I was also blessed with guidance counselors and teachers that were a positive influence in my life.”

As a result to her life-changing and life-impacting influences, Swift — even a flourishing business owner — deems it necessary to pass along her wealth of knowledge to others.

Especially through her fledging business venture.

“I would encourage everyone from any early age to invest in their health,” Swift said. “It’s your life and you are responsible for it. “God gave us a mind. We have to use it.”

Spoken like the true, big-hearted fighter for which she is widely known.



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

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

Is rising playwright and progressive actress Renii Charleston Memphis’ best kept secret?

BUT GOD

To Renii Charleston’s recollection, she was once a self-proclaimed procrastinator, particularly with regards to achieving goals and maximizing her potential.

Surely, we all have our share of life-changing issues, these seemingly distracting stumbling blocks we seldom encounter that could greatly disrupt or delay the purpose for which God created us.

Renii Charleston, of all people, can greatly attest to this notion.

In fact, to her recollection, Charleston was once a self-proclaimed procrastinator, particularly with regards to achieving goals and maximizing her potential.

Then one day, just like that, her proverbial light bulb moment flashed right before her very eyes.

In a nutshell, Charleston began writing.

And writing some more.

And writing some more.

STAR WATCHToday, to her credit and unlike never before, Charleston is a rising Memphis-based playwright, producer, and actress.
Given the immense strides she’s made in recent years, it’s safe to assume that her best and brightest days in this ever-so-evolving industry are well ahead of her. Photo by Darren Catron

So much so that this 44-year-old native of Chicago ultimately began to witness her craft, let alone her dreams become a reality.

Today, to her credit and unlike never before, Charleston is a rising Memphis-based owner  playwright, producer, actress and, most notably, owner and chief executive officer of DREAMTYME Productions.

Given the immense strides she’s made in recent years, it’s safe to assume that her best and brightest days in this ever-so-evolving industry are well ahead of her.

By and large, she has no one but her Creator to thank, no one to whom to pay homage moreso than God, Who thought enough of her to order her steps, thus strategically steer her in the right direction.

RENII SPEAKS“Over the years I have watched several playwrights such as David Talbert and Tyler Perry to name a few who have inspired me to divorce procrastination and to write this play and start writing those books, etc.” Photo by Darren Catron

“Over the years I have watched several playwrights such as David Talbert and Tyler Perry to name a few who have inspired me to divorce procrastination and to write this play and start writing those books, etc.,” Charleston told News Reporter Andre Johnson during a recent interview.

The play to which Charleston is alluding is her much-anticipated stage project called, “Dare to Dream,” a well-orchestrated and eloquently-written and designed play that was assembled largely to give hope, empower, and to spread the underlying message that “dreams do come true,” as Charleston is swift to point out.

FOLLOW RENII’S DREAMTYME PRODUCTION ON FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/dreamtymeproductions/info/?tab=page_info.

Moreover, Charleston said, this premiere event — which will take place July 23-24 at 5 p.m. daily at Fairley High’s Performing Arts Center — will challenge individuals socially and culturally, thus inspire people from various walks of life to dream “outside of the box.”

A catalyst for positive, “Dare to Dream” possesses the power to alter decisions, ignite growth, and ultimately change lives, according to a spokesperson for the hit play.

“We are looking for individuals, businesses, and organizations to help us make this event truly special for our community,” said Charleston, who’s widely known also as a hairstylist, mentee coordinator, and dance instructor. “(A variety of) media coverage, sponsorships, and/or contributions will help us to put on this production on a major platform. It will also afford you the opportunity to target potential individuals that may not be captured in your current communities, church services, or promotional campaigns.”

More than anything, Charleston acknowledged, her stage play could very well have a monumental impact on the community, especially throughout a Memphis-metropolitan area that has been plagued by crime this year.

“It will also spotlight your community involvement and provide you with strong visibility in the communities of your potential audiences, which can mean additional support and possible membership,” Charleston said. “It is our goal to make our association with (our audience) a positive one, in promoting their participation and publicly expressing our appreciation.”

A mother of one biological child and a foster mother to her nephew, Charleston’s reputation is such that she’s always been devoted to ensuring that her craft as a playwright would ultimately come full circle.
FOLLOW RENII CHARLESTON: www.reniicharleston.com.

Given her continuous success of late, there’s no doubt she appears well on her way of savoring even more success as an actress.

“The importance of investing in people is a model that even our national leaders can’t deny,” Charleston, whose acting resume includes having appeared in two movies, said. “Because someone invested in me, I’ve had the honor of working with prestigious writers, producers, and directors in Memphis.”

In essence, nonetheless, she will be the first to tell you that her overall objective in her increasingly successful career is mightily enable others to maximize their potential, thus making their dreams a reality.

Talk about being committed to giving back and remembering where she came from.

”My biggest expectation is to give hope, empower, encourage, and change lives, causing individuals to launch out into the depths of the unknown and make their dreams come true,” Charleston said.

After all, she, of all people, can greatly attest to this notion.



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

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

 

Memphian Damian Griffin goes from high school dropout to a rising gospel rap artist

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 KJV)

 

Just after midday on Wednesday, Damian Griffin found himself meditating briefly on what undoubtedly is his favorable Biblical passage.

For Griffin, while such a scripture is amongst the most recited and familiar in the Body Christ, for him, it is one that has greatly shaped the overall landscape of his young life.

“It always reminds me that in all things, it is working out for my good,” Griffin told News Reporter Andre Johnson.

Fortunately for Griffin, a 24-year-old native of Memphis, his young life surely has been filled with its share of highs and lows — with the lows, to his recollection, steering him mightily ever so closely to Almighty God.

Looking back, it’s safe to assume that all things have worked out for his good, largely because of his immense talents through music.

TRULY INNOVATIVELooking back, it’s safe to assume that all things have worked out for Damian Griffin’s good, largely because of his immense talents through music.
After spending years entertaining crowds as an up-and-coming rapper in the secular realm, Griffin miraculously witnessed his musically-inclined endeavors take on a whole new meaning when he ultimately had an unforeseen worship experience with Christ.
Boy, did he ever.

After spending years entertaining crowds as an up-and-coming rapper in the secular realm, Griffin miraculously witnessed his musically-inclined endeavors take on a whole new meaning when he ultimately had an unforeseen worship experience with Christ.

Boy, did he ever.

“When I got saved, my way of living changed,” Griffin explained. “I was a secular rap artist before accepting Christ. After I accepted Him, I begin spreading the Gospel through rap music.”

 

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…”

 

For Griffin, who was raised in the heart of poverty-stricken South Memphis, life as he knew it wasn’t always such that he was living carefree, let alone on cruise control. Having dropped out of school months before he was scheduled to graduate from Memphis Carver High, Griffin subsequently witnessed his life seemingly take a dreaded detour.

An unchartered one at that.

All because he bolted school prematurely.

But God…

“I told my mother I would go and get (my diploma),” Griffin said. “I stayed persistent and I did.”

He eventually made good on his pledge.

Having re-enrolled in school, this time at Memphis’ Messick Adult High, Griffin last weekend earned his much-anticipated diploma, effectively ending the notion that this young black man was destined to become yet another statistic on the dangerous streets of Memphis.

 

“…to them who are the called according to his purpose….”

 

Aside from having earned his high school diploma days ago, life for Griffin appears headed a favorable direction.

For starters, he doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s become ever so close in his relationship with God.

“I didn’t grow up in church,” Griffin said. “I didn’t have anyone to drag me and my siblings into church. A lot of things I’m not familiar with because of this, but I have grown spiritually since being in church after I got saved.”

So much, in fact, that Griffin’s music talents soared to immense heights when he assembled his album entitled, “Jesus And Grind,” which was officially released on October 11, 2015.

A project that is comprised of seven tracks, amongst Griffin’s notable hits is a remix with Erica Campbell entitled “I Luh God.”

Not “Love,” mind you. But “Luh.”

DEFYING THE ODDSHaving re-enrolled in school, this time at Memphis’ Messick Adult High, Griffin last weekend earned his much-anticipated diploma, effectively ending the notion that this young black man was destined to become yet another statistic on the dangerous streets of Memphis.

“It caught the attention of RJ Groove,” said Griffin, alluding to the renowned disk jockey for Memphis’ Hallelujah FM 95.7. “Two months later, I heard it on the radio.”

Griffin said the purpose for his album — which is starting to become known amongst Memphians — is to “uplift and inspire” people from various walks of life, regardless of their age, regardless of their race, creed or color.

“(I want) to let people know about God’s love by spreading the good news through song and recording,” Griffin said. “This album was inspired by my pastor, Marron Thomas, who often tells us to, ‘Have, Jesus and grind.’”

Much to the delight of Griffin, Thomas, the Senior Pastor of Innovation Church at 3925 Overton Crossing Street in the Frayser area of Memphis, has helped steer him in the right direction spiritually, particularly during a time he needed it the most.

“Pastor Marron is one of my greatest inspirations and a spiritual father to me,” Griffin said.

Not to mention a man who greatly helped him realize that even through his musical gifts, he’s empowered and equipped to reach the masses.

FATHER FIGUREMuch to the delight of Griffin, Marron Thomas, the Senior Pastor of Innovation Church at 3925 Overton Crossing Street in the Frayser area of Memphis, has helped steer him in the right direction spiritually, particularly during a time he needed it the most.

“My ministry as a recording artist is anointed,” Griffin explained. “The thing I love to do is include a scripture in my songs. I honestly like to prefer them as sermons. Because I don’t see myself as an artist, but as a minister. The booth is my pulpit, and when I’m recording, I’m spreading the word of God. God has blessed me with the ability to actually memorize my rhymes instead of writing them. So when you see me recording, it’s neither pencil nor paper near me…just me, the microphone, and God.”

By and large, as Griffin tells it, there is no certain catch to putting his gospel rapping talents on display.

“I usually pray before recording a song,” he said.

Something by which we all ought to follow suit.



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

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

Total Life Changes independent distributor Tiffany Young enjoying some global success

tlc2Tiffany Young has a plethora of Facebook friends, many of whom admire and look up to her.

So when word spread Monday morning that Young, a rising, Bentonville, Arkansas-based business owner, had generated the attention of the media with regards to her affiliation with Total Life Changes and their assortment of dietary products, it seemed that her social media page was about to go viral.

“I love helping people and watching them succeed,” Young told News Reporter Andre Johnson.

To her credit, the 35-year-old native of Newport, Arkansas has routinely gone to great lengths within the past year to aid others in being successful, particularly as it pertains to harboring and savoring a healthy lifestyle.

assss“(I aspire) to help and redirect people to a healthier life,” said Young, when asked what is her mission for associating with Total Life Changes.

In essence, she has a very good reason for helping motivate other to acquire — and retain — favorable health, although her primary objective was triggered in large part because of sadness.

tlc3Approximately two years ago, Young’s husband died as a result of a variety of health issues, most notably obesity.

According to a February 12 report on www.thefiscaltimes.com, a new Gallup survey published recently revealed that the obesity rate among adults surged in 2015 soared to a new high of 28 percent, or a 2.5 percentage point increase since 2008.

That means the ranks of dangerously overweight Americans increased by 6.1 million adults over that seven-year period, the reported indicated.

“After losing (my husband), I decided to not only change myself and improve my health, but also help those that are open to change and want to improve their health and finances.”

alskisSo far, she appears to have found her niche in this ever-so-evolving Total Life Changes industry, considering her becoming an independent distributor for TLC has allowed her to travel abroad.

Young said that her affiliation with TLC has given way to her having toured such establishments Jamaica, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, France, and Germany, among other places.

alskskGenerally, Total Life Changes maintains an active vision of selecting and providing superior products that have a lasting effect on consumer’s health while providing these same customers with an opportunity to change their socioeconomic status through a rewarding binary compensation plan, according to a spokesperson for the company.

ashshsIn addition, tens of thousands of people have already benefited from our signature line of Iaso™ Weight-loss and Skin Care products and are well on their way to sustaining a permanent secondary income. Moreover, TLC will continue to deliver quality products matched with a resilient support team to help you every step of the way.

Which, as result, are amongst the reasons Young — who’s also the CEO of Lavished Looks — has become a Mid-South-area fixture for TLC.

Need more proof?

Take a look at all the traffic on her Facebook page.

There, you will become thoroughly enlightened.

agsgs“My goal is to help 1000 families earn at least $1,000 dollars or more weekly,” said Young, adding that she’s currently partaking in a Global Connection Tour. “In order for me to do so, I have to make contact with anyone who’s open to change and willing to do the work. Total Life Changes is more than just a marketing company. TLC is a company that is looking to transform bodies and bank accounts.”

 

For more information about Total Life Changes independent distributor Tiffany Young, call 870-217-9724. Also follow her on Facebook under Tiffany Young.



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

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

Memphis barber and beauty salon owner Amy McClellan enjoying the fruits of her labor

AMY3Upon crossing paths with Amy McClellan, amongst the key attributes about which people would discover is that it is relatively easy to tell that she is one who is a go-getter.

A self-motivator.

One who customarily takes the high road as it pertains to life’s assortment of challenges and hardships and obstacles.

One who, well, if you take the time to get to know her, she’s destined daily to embrace the abundant life, thus maximize her potential.

By and large, it is a foregone conclusion that McClellan’s reputation is such that according to her, she’s spiritually equipped and empowered daily to “encourage and help shift people to their next level” in life.

Besides, that is what self-motivators do.

That is what go-getters do.

That is how those who are destined daily to savor and possess the abundant life were strategically taught.

That’s McClellan for you, alright.

AMAZING AMY --- Having once gone to college to study social work, McClellan has steadfastly embraced yet another calling in that she is the longtime owner and chief executive officer of A & R Classic Designs Barber And Beauty Salon. Housed at 3014 Old Horn Lake Road, located just off Interstate 240 West in South Memphis, A & R specializes largely in spa, beauty and personal care as well as relaxers, haircuts, hair colors, braids, hair extensions, and much more.

AMAZING AMYHaving once gone to college to study social work, Amy McClellan has steadfastly embraced yet another calling in that she is the longtime owner and chief executive officer of A & R Classic Designs Barber And Beauty Salon.
Housed at 3014 Old Horn Lake Road, located just off Interstate 240 West in South Memphis, A & R specializes largely in spa, beauty and personal care as well as relaxers, haircuts, hair colors, braids, hair extensions, and much more.

All is which is to say that for this native of Cleveland, Mississippi, she and her friends, loved ones, and close acquaintances count her blessed.

Blessed for all the right reasons, mind you.

“My mother and father inspired me to go into business,” McClellan told News Reporter Andre Johnson during a recent interview.

To her credit, she did just what her parents had suggested, something about which has benefited her mightily over the  years.

Having once gone to college to study social work, McClellan has steadfastly embraced yet another calling in that she is the longtime owner and chief executive officer of A & R Classic Designs Barber And Beauty Salon.

Housed at 3014 Old Horn Lake Road, located just off Interstate 240 West in South Memphis, A & R specializes largely in spa, beauty and personal care as well as relaxers, haircuts, hair colors, braids, hair extensions, and much more.

SHOW STOPPER --- As if her longstanding and well-publicized accomplishments in this ever-so-popular industry aren’t enough, she’s also been the beneficiary of his array of achievements since she delve off into this booming business. All of which essentially has given her the right and luxury to demonstrate some much-anticipated swag, thus praise and pay home to Almighty God in the process.

SHOW STOPPERAs if her longstanding and well-publicized accomplishments in this ever-so-popular industry aren’t enough, she’s also been the beneficiary of his array of achievements since she delve off into this booming business.
All of which essentially has given her the right and luxury to demonstrate some much-anticipated swag, thus praise and pay home to Almighty God in the process.

This business establishment’s prices range from $15 and up for haircuts and a variety of other services and, according to McClellan, it is best that consumers visit her salon for an analysis and consultation so that they might perhaps receive a more accurate price.

While A & R Classic Designs have been in operations at its current location for a little more than three years, McClellan’s career in the cosmetology industry spans more than three decades.

As if her longstanding and well-publicized accomplishments in this ever-so-popular industry aren’t enough, she’s also been the beneficiary of his array of achievements since she delve off into this booming business.

All of which essentially has given her the right and luxury to demonstrate some much-anticipated swag, thus praise and pay home to Almighty God in the process.

That’s McClellan for you, alright.

“I am the classic queen of cuts and colors and styles,” McClellan said in a review on boostasite.com. “I have won several Hair Shows. I am a professional barber and stylist that specialize in the latest cuts and styles, and I am also a healthy hair guru.”

MORE ABOUT AMY MCCLELLAN: http://www.boostasite.com/uploads/AR-Classic-Designs-Ad31568.html

And, after more than 30 years in this industry, she’s still convinced that her best and brightest days are well ahead of her.

That’s a life coach for you.

Not to mention a go-getter.

BETTER THAN EVER --- And, after more than 30 years in this industry, she’s still convinced that her best and brightest days are well ahead of her. That’s a life coach for you. Not to mention a go-getter. Not to mention a self-motivator. Not to mention one who takes the high road as it pertains to life’s assortment of challenges and hardships.

BETTER THAN EVERAnd, after more than 30 years in this industry, she’s still convinced that her best and brightest days are well ahead of her.
That’s a life coach for you.
Not to mention a go-getter.
Not to mention a self-motivator.
Not to mention one who takes the high road as it pertains to life’s assortment of challenges and hardships.

Not to mention a self-motivator.

Not to mention one who takes the high road as it pertains to life’s assortment of challenges and hardships.

“I was making lots of money and owned my own salon at age 19 while my high school classmates were in their first year college,” McClellan said.

Look at her today, still very exemplifying that she’s very much destined daily to embrace the abundant life, thus maximize her potential in the process.

Besides, that is what self-motivators do.

That is what go-getters do.

So take notes.



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

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

Fisk University point guard LaMetria Dunn making her presence felt in the Music City

DUNN DEAL --- Former Memphis Fairley High standout LaMetria Dunn appeared in each of Fisk’s 29 games this past season and, as expected, she was often as good as advertised, having averaged better than six points per game while shooting nearly 50 percent from three-point range.

DUNN DEALFormer Memphis Fairley High standout LaMetria Dunn appeared in each of Fisk’s 29 games this past season and, as expected, she was often as good as advertised, having averaged better than six points per game while shooting nearly 50 percent from three-point range.

If anybody knows LaMetria Dunn, it’s Curtis Jones.

Jones is longtime Memphis-area AAU basketball coach who was afforded the opportunity of coaching Dunn from the time she entered sixth grade until she graduated from Fairley High School.

On Wednesday, or approximately two months removed from Dunn having completed her junior season at Fisk University in Nashville, Jones was asked to assess the overall progress of his former player.

“There are no words to express how pleased and impressed I am with her growth on and off the court,” Jones told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson. “In my 15 years of coaching, I have the most personal relationship with her that goes beyond basketball. LaMetria is like my 3rd daughter.”

To her credit, the 22-year-old Dunn has given her former coach and her mother, Tondelayo Williams, something about which to be proud.

For starters, Dunn, a 5-foot-4, 140-pound point guard, enjoyed a favorable tenure at Dyersburg State Community College prior to extending her collegiate basketball career at Fisk.

To her credit, she showed no signs of a letdown this past season for the NAIA member Lady Bulldogs, having emerged as a key contributor for a Fisk team that ended the season with an 11-18 mark.

Although the Lady Bulldogs failed to manufacture a winning campaign in 2015-16, Dunn admittedly still came away with more highs than lows in her first full season at the school.

“Progression (was the biggest thing),” Dunn said. “I’m more of threat as far as a scoring point guard. I worked out fairly every day, whether it was shooting and ball-handling or in the weight room getting some reps in.”

SHE AIN'T DUNN --- Considering room for improvement is always an ambition, surely, amongst the things about which Dunn will be aiming to fine-tune is her ability to make free throws. This past season, she shot an unsatisfactory 49.1 percent from the free throw line.

SHE AIN’T DUNNConsidering room for improvement is always an ambition, surely, amongst the things about which Dunn will be aiming to fine-tune is her ability to make free throws.
This past season, she shot an unsatisfactory 49.1 percent from the free throw line.

Dunn appeared in each of Fisk’s 29 games this past season and, as expected, she was often as good as advertised, having averaged better than six points per game while shooting nearly 50 percent from three-point range.

She finished in double figures twice as a junior, with her season-best of 13 points coming in a Philander Smith College of Arkansas.

Considering room for improvement is always an ambition, surely, amongst the things about which Dunn will be aiming to fine-tune is her ability to make free throws.

This past season, she shot an unsatisfactory 49.1 percent from the free throw line.

Even aside from her frequent offseason workouts, this summer will undoubtedly be a busy one for Dunn, who boasts lofty aspirations of becoming a medical doctor.

Dunn, who holds an Associates of Science Degree from Dyersburg State, is a Biology major at Fisk.

DR. DUNN --- By and large, although she has one more year of college eligibility remaining, Dunn doesn’t shy away from the notion that she’s already planning for life after basketball. Even aside from her frequent offseason workouts, this summer will undoubtedly be a busy one for Dunn, who boasts lofty aspirations of becoming a medical doctor.

DR. DUNNBy and large, although she has one more year of college eligibility remaining, Dunn doesn’t shy away from the notion that she’s already planning for life after basketball. Even aside from her frequent offseason workouts, this summer will undoubtedly be a busy one for Dunn, who boasts lofty aspirations of becoming a medical doctor.

“I will spend my summer doing an internship and hopefully I’d be accepted into the graduate school of my choice,” Dunn said. “I will be doing a volunteer summer camps this summer at the McCabe Center in Nashville.”

By and large, although she has one more year of college eligibility remaining, Dunn doesn’t shy away from the notion that she’s already planning for life after basketball.

“On a billboard in Dyersburg, Tennessee, I’m being recognized as a student first and then an athlete,” Dunn explained.

Of course, atoning for last year’s losing record is a key goal also, she said.

“At the end of the game, when the clock strikes zero and the buzzer has sounded, my objective is to have a win, no matter how many I score or how many my teammates score,” Dunn said. “All I will do seek is the W and walk off the court knowing I gave everything I could.”

Something about she has doing since her AAU coach first discovered her immense skills back when she entered sixth grade.



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.

Premier Flowers owner Colby Midgett becoming a household name in Memphis

Colby2Would you like to learn about all things flowers?

Try talking to Colby Midgett.

A native of Memphis, Midgett, 40, apparently is quite knowledgeable about an assortment of topics and trends pertaining to flowers.

You name it.

Surely, she can enlighten you about it.

For real.

“The way flowers make you feel,” said Midgett during an interview Wednesday afternoon with news reporter Andre Johnson, when asked what does she likes mostly about her business. “They are like therapy. They are beautiful. They can change your life. They light up and bring class to a room and they bring joy to others. They tell a story.”

Speaking of a story, Midgett, a rising business owner, who’s becoming a fixture as a professional florist in the Memphis-metropolitan area, certainly has gone to great lengths to share hers — a story that, fortunately for her, is greatly giving way to the essential exposure she needs in this ever-so-competitive industry.

FINDING HER NICHE --- A Memphis Trezevant High and University of Memphis graduate, Colby Midgett is in her second year as owner of Premier Flowers, but had been involved in floriculture and gardening for eight years and counting. To her credit, her immense track record has been nothing short of impressive.

FINDING HER NICHEA Memphis Trezevant High and University of Memphis graduate, Colby Midgett is in her second year as owner of Premier Flowers, but had been involved in floriculture and gardening for eight years and counting.
To her credit, her immense track record has been nothing short of impressive.

The owner and chief executive officer of Premier Flowers at 80 North Tillman Street, Suite #104, just minutes west of midtown, Midgett’s business venture — or “Floriculture,” as she labels it — is geared large around emerging as a preferred florist whom customers contact for all of their floral needs. “When you think of flowers, (I want) you think of Premier Flowers and how wonderful we made you feel through those flowers,” Midgett said. (We want) those memories to last a lifetime, to be a top event florist even for those on a small budget.”

Premier Flowers certainly is committed to accommodating consumers who can’t merely afford the proverbial overpriced, less-than-attractive flowers.

“Not everyone can afford to spend $3,000 or more on flowers,” Midgett said. “To be as successful as God allows me to be is by doing my due diligence to make this last.”

Midgett said her business caters to individuals of all ages, and has accommodated people as far as in Europe. A Memphis Trezevant High and University of Memphis graduate, Midgett is in her second year as owner of Premier Flowers, but has been involved in floriculture and gardening for eight years and counting.

To her credit, her immense track record has been nothing short of impressive.

For starters, her business was voted amongst the Top 10 To Watch by the Greater Memphis Chamber. And, just recently, she became a nominee for The Commercial Appeal’s Memphis Most Best in the florist category.

Also, she will be a recipient for the Tri-State Defender 2016 Woman of Excellence Award at the Esplanade on May 30, 2016 — “And I have a wedding that same day…Yikes!” she said — and she has been invited to be apart of the decorating committee for this year’s American Cancer Society’s Imagine Ball on August 27, news by which she said she’s “super excited about.”

SHOW STOPPER --- Midgett's business was voted amongst the Top 10 To Watch by the Greater Memphis Chamber. And, just recently, she became a nominee for The Commercial Appeal's Memphis Most Best in the florist category.

SHOW STOPPERMidgett’s business was voted amongst the Top 10 To Watch by the Greater Memphis Chamber. And, just recently, she became a nominee for The Commercial Appeal’s Memphis Most Best in the florist category.

As Midgett explained, it is in large part because of her success in her brief time as a business owner that she deems it necessary not to concern herself with what her competitors are doing.

“Never worry about the competition,” she said. “None is in comparison to you. And ignore the whispers.”

Among the things from which she never shy away is esteeming others daily highly than herself, particularly through her business venture.

“For some people, the only positive thing they have in their life is you inspiring them,” Midgett explained. “People in life are so judgmental, so vain. You never know what someone is going through, or where they have been, and where they are going in life.

“Follow your dreams and your heart. You’ll never know the outcome until you do,” Midgett added. “Only then, can you say, ‘At least I tried and now I know.’ You never know where life will take you and you have one shot at this. I inspire others to be themselves, to do what they love, and to ignore the naysayers. I strive to do and be the absolute best I can because there is always someone watching.”

Let alone someone who wants to talk about and purchase flowers.

You name it.

Surely, she can enlighten you about it.

For more information about Premier Flowers or to make purchases, call 901-320-7000 or send email to: [email protected]



AndreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, 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.

Memphis Evangelist Delmelodia Tipton recalls life-changing ‘miracle’ in her book, “In the Midst Of The Storm There Is Purpose”

Tip2EDITOR’S NOTE: Evangelist Delmelodia Tipton was inspired to write this epistle in the form of a teaching manual with faith declarations,  prophetic utterances and work study for the empowerment of the household of faith in Christ Jesus.

On Wednesday morning, Delmelodia Tipton went on and on about her passion and fond adoration for ministry.

Without hesitation, she wasted little time getting her vital point across.

“I have a love for people,” Tipton, a longtime licensed and ordained evangelist told news reporter Andre Johnson.

Given her immense track record, coupled with her steadfast ability to live on the larger side of God, it is abundantly obvious why isn’t hard-pressed for many to recognize just how much of a pillar and asset Tipton is to the Body of Christ.

Having found her niche and identity in ministry some 12 years ago or, as she tells it, having been rooted in ministry “with my hands to the plow for 12 years,” Tipton also is a rising author, one who recently assembled and released a book that, to her credit, could very well impact hundreds of thousands throughout the modern-day church and the world.

ddHer latest project, entitled “In the Midst Of The Storm There Is Purpose,” is a 220-page soft cover book that includes a bookmark and CD of her enchanting, thought-provoking, life-enhancing message, one that undoubtedly has changed the overall landscape of her life.

“Many of us have either been in, entering in, coming out of or in the midst of trials and tribulations in the form of a storm crisis,” Tipton said while explaining the theme and purpose of her book. ‘”In the Midst of the Storm’ was the first message that I preached under the unction of the Spirit of the Living God in March 2006. In 1996, after five years of building a bond and foundation, my husband and I decided it was time to start our family.”

Unfortunately, during the early stages of her pregnancy, Tipton began to encounter an array of physical challenges. Nevertheless, because of her devout faith walk with Almighty God, she sensed that having an abortion was not an option.

hhAs she recalled, in fact, her firstborn was diagnosed with Wolf Hirsh II Syndrome, a rare condition that is characterized by learning difficulties, epilepsy, growth delay and craniofacial digenesis, which customarily happens in one out of every 100,000 individuals.

According to PatientInfo.com, patients also experience a severe general learning disability, severe limitation of comprehension and speech, seizures, ataxic gait, hypotonic, and muscle hypertrophy.

After the death and bury their baby, angry with God, Delmelodia would write letters to God because in her mind she thought God had forsaken her. However, God did not speak or reveal Himself to her in pity, but power and told her to write a book. Eighteen years later it has come to pass; the Holy Spirit spoke the prophetic word through Apostle Larry Pratcher, Jr. and she knew and acted without any hesitations to the voice of the Lord.In writing her first book the Holy Spirit revealed a second book.

“The Mission is to silence the kingdom of darkness in works against believers as believers come into the knowledge, power, obedience, faithful, revelation and wisdom of God in Christ Jesus and to prophetically speak life,” Tipton said.

Evangelist Tipton is the Founder, Host & Producer of AMBASSADORS 4 CHRIST APOSTOLIC BROADCAST MINISTRY, airs every Thursday @1:00PM CST, Comcast Channel 17.

“I had all kind of genetic testing and amniocentesis,” Tipton explained.

All of which ultimately gave way to her harboring mixed emotions, of sorts, pertaining to her faith.

During the time as a salon business owner and cosmetologist,” Tipton said. “I worked half of a year, lost client, income, clients and during the same season husband job was closing its doors to relocate. We had all kinds of neonatal facts and genetic expertise given to us. In spite of all that was told to us we prayed and believed God was going to bring in through and restore his health. After he was born which was a miracle, because the circumstances said the opposite; however, we were hopeful. 

“Things turned for the worst after some days after arrived home,” continued Tipton, alluding to after she had given birth to her firstborn. “I saw with my very own eyes my baby die. Now men and women handle emotions totally different. I took it extremely to heart, yet torn ripped and emotionally devastated. I almost gave up on God. As a believer in Christ, I was severely put on trial and my faith was tested. God blocked what the devil meant for her destruction; the sucidal thoughts from becoming reality, God blocked the giving up on her life her marriage, her business and all the he had bless her to accomplish thus far. Every door every thought that was meant for evil God blocked it, shut it down and worked it all out for her greater good.”

But God…

ARRAY OF TIPS --- Tipton's latest project, entitled “In the Midst Of The Storm There Is Purpose,” is a 220-page soft cover book that includes a bookmark and CD of her enchanting, thought-provoking, life-enhancing message, one that undoubtedly has changed the overall landscape of her life.

ARRAY OF TIPSTipton’s latest project, entitled “In the Midst Of The Storm There Is Purpose,” is a 220-page soft cover book that includes a bookmark and CD of her enchanting, thought-provoking, life-enhancing message, one that undoubtedly has changed the overall landscape of her life.

Or as Tipton specifically recalled, “The Lord intervened on my behalf, not because I was and still is saved,” she said, “but because He is faithful to those that will call upon His Name out of a sincere heart. Even though the pain was there, the confusion and emotional breakdown looked like it was taking over. But the Lord prevailed against the gates of hell.”

Today, unlike never before, Tipton thought it necessary to recall — and share — arguably her life’s grandest encounter in her debut book.

On Saturday, she is will host an official book signing from 2:30-6 p.m. at the Panera Bread at 4530 Poplar Avenue (April 30). In addition, T-shirts will be available for purchase as well as the CD that depicts her message with regards to “In the Midst Of The Storm There Is Purpose.”

Tipton’s book can also be purchased online at: www.ambassaduer4christ.net.

By and large, Tipton emphasized that she remains hopeful and prayerful that her book will impact lives not just amongst believers but, above all, those who have yet to make peace with God.

ON FIRE FOR GOD --- Given her immense track record, coupled with her steadfast ability to live on the larger side of God, it is abundantly obvious why isn’t hard-pressed for many to recognize just how much of a pillar and asset Tipton is to the Body of Christ.

ON FIRE FOR GODGiven her immense track record, coupled with her steadfast ability to live on the larger side of God, it is abundantly obvious why isn’t hard-pressed for many to recognize just how much of a pillar and asset Tipton is to the Body of Christ.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but The Lord delivers us out of them all,” she said. “Crisis that we face are stages set for the opportunity for Yahweh God to show us His Glory.

“When the storms of life rumble, all types of winds blow and beat against us, whether it’s divorce, health, finances, job, family friendly, children or other turbulences,” added Tipton, who also owns Studio of Styles Salon Spa at 5134 Millbranch Road, Suite 100, in the Whitehaven area. “Know that there is no power, no devil, and no crisis bigger or greater than the power of God, Who is still performing miracles.”

TipIn a nutshell, understand, Tipton reiterated, “I am a miracle and so are you.”

“The Lord often use the suffering and pain…I use to bring out the gold, the purification, the greatness and the purpose within the believers soul,” Tipton continued. “The storm came to usher in the Supernatural development that has been or is still asleep in many believers. He desires to exalt you to greater, but it comes through the fire. Many of us say we know Him, say we trust Him, and many of us even say we love Him, which is good. However, beloved, some things He will allow shaping and shifting the paradigm and thoughts. God wants to get us to the place, a place whereby nothing will shake us, the redeem, off of the true Rock of Salvation. Therefore we just don’t go to church as usual, talk or behave as usual, but we Rise in the Spirit to our birthright position in Christ and Live!  Take the leap of Faith at All cost. The gift of faith which is God in us makes us whole; spirit, mind, heart, soul and body. The renovation is necessary for the infusion of the Kingdom of God to Rise within your soul empowering us to overcome every crisis and every devastation! Faith Abounds! Its the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in my eyes.”

For more information about Delmelodia Tipton, send email to: [email protected]



AndreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you are a pastor or minister, entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, or model 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 is the former chief adjutant to Elder Andrew Jackson, Sr. of Faith Temple Ministries COGIC in Memphis. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, call him at 901-690-6587 or send email to [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

Briarcrest basketball player Reginald Neely: ‘I believe I am one of the best players in Memphis in my age group’

Reginald Lee Neely isn’t playing around.

Simply put, as it pertains to his basketball mechanics, this Briarcrest Christian School basketball standout is forthright and to the point.

RobMainGo ahead.

Ask him to assess his skills and be prepared for Neely’s customary direct responses.

“I feel like I can blow past anybody,” Neely told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I believe I am one of the best players in Memphis in my age group, I believe I can finish anything at the rim.”

Some pretty dauntless statements from 5-foot-11, 150-pound eighth grade swingman who, like his peers — most notably upperclassmen — boasts lofty aspirations of playing basketball at the collegiate level.

HE'S JUST SAYIN' --- Ask him to assess his skills and be prepared for Briarcrest eighth-grader Robert Neely’s customary direct responses. “I feel like I can blow past anybody,” Neely told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I believe I am one of the best players in Memphis in my age group, I believe I can finish anything at the rim.”

HE’S JUST SAYIN’Ask him to assess his skills and be prepared for Briarcrest eighth-grader Reginald Neely’s customary direct responses.
“I feel like I can blow past anybody,” Neely told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I believe I am one of the best players in Memphis in my age group, I believe I can finish anything at the rim.”

If nothing else, Neely is making a solid case that by the time his prep career ends, he could emerge as one of the finest basketball players ever to put on a Briarcrest tradition-rich uniform.

For starters, this athletically-talent kid, who was a catalyst on the Saints’ eighth grade team this past season, demonstrated time and again that he destined to hold his own once he suits up for the school’s varsity squad in the coming years.

Add to the fact that Neely has become an effective player for Memphis’ Team Thad AAU team, and it’s no wonder many who have followed his hoops prowess believe the sky’s undoubtedly is the limit for a thriving student athlete who, well, isn’t playing around.

“I am a good athlete, a good listener, and a good communicator on the floor,” said Neely, steadily being rather straight forward as it critiqued his skills. “I take my education and spiritual growth very serious. (I train) as often as I can, which lately has only allowed for two times weekly”

In assessing his progress, coupled with his strengths and weaknesses this past season for Briarcrest coach John Harrington and Zac Davis’ eighth grade squad, Neely was as good as advertised.

Next year, though, he will be expected to pick up where we left off as a member of the Saints junior varsity team.

According to his coaches, Neely is deemed a versatile scorer, a sharp communication on the floor, and an efficient player who displayed solid ball-handling skills and is aggressive on defense.

As for his offseason plans, Neely’s primary focus is to improve his overall game.

STOCK RISING? Add to the fact that Neely has become an effective player for Memphis’ Team Thad AAU team, and it’s no wonder many who have followed his hoops prowess believe the sky’s undoubtedly is the limit for a thriving student athlete who, well, isn’t playing around.

STOCK RISING? Add to the fact that Neely has become an effective player for Memphis’ Team Thad AAU team, and it’s no wonder many who have followed his hoops prowess believe the sky’s undoubtedly is the limit for a thriving student athlete who, well, isn’t playing around.

“Getting stronger, getting time in at the gym, getting in shape, working on my fundamentals, and actively playing competitive ball with my competitive team,” Neely said.

With some much basketball to play in what figures to be a promising career, Neely’s mother, Felicia Collins-Neely, is thoroughly impressed with the strides her son has made in recent years.

“I love to watch him play…and to think he could go a long way with his love for the game is scary,” Collins-Neely explained. “The sport is so competitive and everyone is always fighting to be in the spotlight…it’s scary. I have always told him there are no limits to what he is able to achieve.  Through commitment, practice, and time, he can earn anything he sets his mind to.  But, he knows his education is first and foremost.”

Simply put, all her son needs to do is keep his focus on the larger picture. In other words, education first, athletics second.

The rest, Collins-Neely said, will take care of itself.

“I don’t believe anyone has a limit,” Collins-Neely said. “You set your own limits. With that being said, it’s all about your determination, how you handle setbacks, how you pick yourself up from a fall, and how you continue to stride full force toward you goal.  The sky is the limit for my son because I make sure he knows that he will not make every shot, he will not pass every test, and everyone will not like him.”

Like her son, mom isn’t playing around either.

Rather, she’s only being forthright and to the point regarding her son, who’s clinging to lofty aspirations of playing basketball at the collegiate level.



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

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