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Long before his personal encounter with Shaq, young Mekhi Welch has become a gifted sports buff

MEKHI’S MAD SKILLZ

HE’S THE TRUTH — For the child who’s widely known as “Mekhi,” a rather distinctly unique thing occurred some three years or so ago, according to his mother, Tawanna Chamberlain. “Mekhi has been a sports buff since the age of three,” Chamberlain told Making Headline News this week. “But when he started to read around five years old, he asked me to read books to him about the history of basketball and great players.”

DALLAS — Mekhi Welch is just eight years old, meaning for a kid his age, one would think he’s essentially in the beginner’s stage with regards to his knowledge about sports.

For the child who’s widely known as “Mekhi,” a rather distinctly unique thing occurred some three years or so ago, according to his mother, Tawanna Chamberlain.
“Mekhi has been a sports buff since the age of three,” Chamberlain, a Clearwater, Florida resident, told Making Headline News this week. “But when he started to read around five years old, he asked me to read books to him about the history of basketball and great players.”
And just like that, a rising young sports historian, of sorts, was born, considering Mekhi’s sports knowledge is such that he could perhaps teach these old vets a thing of two about arguably some of the celebrated athletes of our generation.
Thanks in large part to his mother routinely reading his autobiographies of Lewis Alcindor, Jr, (famously known today as Kareem Abdul-Jabar), Kobe Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality,” “When The Game Was Ours,” featuring Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, Phil Jackson’s “Eleven Rings” Sam Smith’s “The Jordan Rules,” Mitch Albom’s “Fab Five,” Dick Devenzo’s “Stuff Good Players Should Know,” LeBron James’ “The Boy Who Became King,” Stephen Curry’s “The Boy Who Never Gave Up,” “Michael Jordan: The Life,” and “Little Shaq” by Shaquille O’neal,” among others, and it’s no wonder little Mekhi boasts lofty aspirations of someday emerging as household name in what has become a multi-million dollar sport industry, particularly for some the world’s most prominent sports journalists.

LOOK! IT’S DA BIG DIESEL!

GOTTA LOOK AT THIS THIS — “Then it happened,” Chamberlain said. “Three days later, I received a personal video message from Shaq to Mekhi and I almost lost it. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a surreal moment in time. I couldn’t wait to show Mekhi that his hero, Shaq, had sent him a personal message. When Mekhi saw the message from Shaq, he was overjoyed. He was smiling from ear-to-ear and he talked about the video message all the way to school that morning.”

“We absolutely love to read in our home,” Chamberlain said son’s newfound gift as a sports enthusiast. “In fact, it’s our favorite pastime. We literally own more books than we can count, and when Mekhi would become disinterested with me reading countless of books to him, he would pick up his iPad and Google interesting basketball stats and facts.”

To his credit, the more he deems it essential to become knowledge about sports opposite those up-to-date scores that customarily scroll across SportCenter’s Bottom Line, the more it seems that Mekhi essentially broadens his journalistic mechanics that figure to set him apart mightily from his peers much more sooner than later.

Never mind that he’s only eight years of age.

“Over the last five years, he has become a real life NBA basketball Wikipedia,” said Chamberlain, trying the best she could to assess her young and gifted son’s amazing gift that centered on big time sports. “You can ask him any question you want to about players from Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem, Magic, Kobe, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Tracy McGrady, Charles Barkley, Step Curry, Kevin Durant, Kwahi Leonard, Clay Thompson, Ben Simmons to Zion Williamson.”

Once someone picks Mekhi’s brain about any major professional athlete — past or present — they might as well brace themselves for what essentially will be said next.

“Amazingly, he can recall their height, what cities they were born in, all the teams that each player played on, what year they were recruited and drafted to the NBA, who their rivals were, their current stats, their highest scoring games in a season, the years they were injured, and how the injury impacted their careers,” Chamberlain said. “You should hear him tell the story about Yao Ming.”

And then there is Mekhi’s personal encounter with O’Neal, five-time NBA champion and former LSU All-American.

According to Chamberlain, her son and Shaq established friendship during which an awe-inspiring encounter took place, a development that resulted in her son being the beneficiary.


“Mekhi has always loved Shaq,” Chamberlain said. Since he was five years old, he would tell me that his dream was to play a game of one-on-one with Shaq. To Mekhi, Shaquille O’Neal is larger-than-life. The other day I was in the living room watching something on TV and a commercial for a national pizza chain came on. Just as the commercial came on, Mekhi walked out of his room and was mesmerized by the fact that Shaq was going all around the town delivering pizzas to people.”


Much to his delight, the young sports buff had become even more attentive to the commercial ad featuring his hero.

“Over the last five years, he has become a real life NBA basketball Wikipedia,” said Chamberlain, trying the best she could to assess her young and gifted son’s amazing gift that centered on big time sports. “You can ask him any question you want to about players from Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem, Magic, Kobe, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Tracy McGrady, Charles Barkley, Step Curry, Kevin Durant, Kwahi Leonard, Clay Thompson, Ben Simmons to Zion Williamson.”

“Mekhi could not believe his eyes…he thought that was the coolest thing ever,” Chamberlain recalled. “Right after the commercial went off, Mekhi asked me to call or text Shaq and ask him to bring him a (Papa John’s) pepperoni pizza. I just looked at him with a blank stare—I honestly didn’t know what to say to him regarding his request, because I was thinking to myself, “Yeah right. I don’t know Shaq’s telephone number—so I can’t call or text him and ask him to bring a pizza over here.

“Mekhi wholeheartedly believed that I would know how to contact Shaq and he was very persistent, so he went as far as to go pick up my cell phone and he handed it to me and said, ‘Here mom, please go ahead and call or text Shaq.’”

Interestingly, things would eventually become even more interesting for Mehki.

“Mekhi wholeheartedly believed that I would know how to contact Shaq and he was very persistent, so he went as far as to go pick up my cell phone and he handed it to me and said, ‘Here mom, please go ahead and call or text Shaq.’”

“Not wanting to let my child down, I grabbed my phone and sent a ‘Hail Mary’ DM to Shaq on Instagram, because my son was standing right there watching me type the message,” Chamberlain said. “No pressure…and I hit, ‘send,’ never thinking that Shaq would actually see the message or read it.”

Boy, was she wrong — wrong for all the right reasons to put it more precisely.

“A few days passed, but everyday Mekhi would ask me, ‘Did Shaq text you back yet?’” Chamberlain said. “While looking for his pizza, he truly believed his favorite player wouldn’t let him down. So I would just remind Mekhi that Shaq is a very busy man, but told him that perhaps when he isn’t so busy, he would make time to respond to my message.”

Once someone picks Mekhi’s brain about any major professional athlete — past or present — they might as well brace themselves for what essentially will be said next.

Suddenly, the long-awaited and figurative slam dunk for which Mekhi had waited was finally executed.

“Then it happened,” Chamberlain said. “Three days later, I received a personal video message from Shaq to Mekhi and I almost lost it. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a surreal moment in time. I couldn’t wait to show Mekhi that his hero, Shaq, had sent him a personal message. When Mekhi saw the message from Shaq, he was overjoyed. He was smiling from ear-to-ear and he talked about the video message all the way to school that morning.

“That same day, I was contacted by the National Pizza Chain via Twitter and they made it possible for Mekhi’s entire class to enjoy a pizza party, which made everyone’s day,” Chamberlain continued. “This is the stuff that dreams are made of.”

Much like the wealth of knowledge Chamberlain’s son has garnered as such a young age.

Stay tuned. This kid seems well on his way to making major moves in the sports world, something that, well, perhaps even Shaq has sensed.


REMEMBER THE NAME 

STAR WATCH — To his credit, the more he deems it essential to become knowledge about sports opposite up-to-date scores that customarily scroll across SportCenter’s Bottom Line, the more it seems that Mekhi essentially broadens his journalistic mechanics that figure to set him apart mightily from his peers much more sooner than later.

“It was so very thoughtful of Shaquille O’Neal to take a few moments out of his busy schedule to send Mekhi a message,” Chamberlain said. “It meant the world to him and it is something that he will never forget.”

With all of the sports knowledge he’s acquired in recent years, how could he?


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EDITOR’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 the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to makingheadlinenews@gmail.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Arizona AAU basketball player Hannah Young ‘will be D-1 ready’ by 2023, her prep coach says

YOUNG AND GIFTED

BRINGIN’ IT — Besides proving to be as good as advertised for a player whose best and brightest days are well ahead of her, Arizona Select 15-and-under basketball player Hannah Young seemingly has taken it upon herself to go to the extra mile, particularly with regards to becoming a better overall student athlete.

DALLAS — It doesn’t take much to fuel Robin Young’s desire to strike up an in-depth conversation about Hannah Young, her gifted amateur athlete daughter, who’s making her presence felt on the AAU circuit.

Consider, for instance, how Robin routinely goes about assessing the performance of her daughter, a 13-year-old athlete who stars for the Arizona Select Girls Under Amour Association 15-and-under squad that’s based in Phoenix.
“Hannah is a diamond in the rough,” Robin told Making Headline News during a recent interview.
That her immeasurable mechanics, coupled with her length and wing span, have progressed considerably in recent years, Robin and those who have monitored closely Hannah’s rise as a youth basketball player have christened her with a name that figures to stick for years to come.

“We call her the clean-up woman,” Robin said of her daughter, who has gone from a shooting guard to a power forward since making a transition to the 15-and-under division. “She makes moves to the basket and finishes when giving the ball in the post. Rebounding and mid-range jumper have improved along with her put-backs.”

Besides proving to be as good as advertised for a player whose best and brightest days are well ahead of her, Hannah seemingly has taken it upon herself to go the extra mile, particularly with regards to becoming a better overall student athlete.

That her immeasurable mechanics, coupled with her length and wing span, have progressed considerably in recent years, Robin and those who have monitored closely Hannah’s rise as a youth basketball player have christened her with a name that figures to stick for years to come.

During the course of the summer, for instance, the rising Xavier College Preparatory freshman not only established a camaraderie by playing pickup games with her high school teammates, but she also found time between competitive play by taking two summer school classes.

For her valiant efforts: two A’s, a feat that consequently brought her mother to all smiles.


“She understands the true meaning of student athlete,” Robin said of her daughter’s willingness to exceed her own expectations. “She works hard on and off the court.”


A native of nearby Irving, Texas, Hannah has become engaged in what undoubtedly has been an eventful summer for a youth athlete, who’s making a solid case that she’s destined to attract interests from college scouts and recruiters — much sooner than later.

Amongst the reasons is that she’s currently active with a somewhat congested AAU itinerary, one that included a recent visit to the Mill City Invitational in Minnesota and the Girls Under Amour Session II in Indianapolis.

But wait. She isn’t finished.

Hannah also is scheduled to participate in the AAU’s Southern Showtime in Atlanta from July 20-22 and will cap off her summer-long slate by competing in the Girls Under Amour Finals July 23-26.

Arizona Select is comprised of five different teams and three UAA age divisions (15, 16, and 17-and-under).


MORE ON HANNAH YOUNG: https://recruit-match.ncsasports.org/clientrms/athletes/6295766

ALL-AROUND ATHLETE — During the course of the summer, for instance, the rising Xavier College Preparatory freshman not only established a camaraderie by playing pickup games with her high school team, but she also found the time between competitive play by taking two summer school classes. For her valiant efforts: two A’s, a feat that consequently brought her mother to all smiles.

The 15-and-under squad is comprised of its top freshmen and middle school players, particularly those who do not earn roster spots on 16-and-under team. A team that represents Arizona Select’s Girls 15-and-under division of Under Armour Association, players selected to this team are elite participants, who successfully compete against elite competition at their respective age division and are striving to play high level college basketball.

Interestingly, the players will compete in regional and national events against other GUAA teams, as well as against elite competition nationwide. Their schedules include — but isn’t limited to — team practices, skills training, strength and conditioning training, and frequent out-of-state travel.

As for the immeasurable exposure Hannah has had the luxury to garner, Robin says she daughter is especially deserving of it, given her solid work ethic.

“(Xavier College Preparatory) coach Jennifer Gillom is excited to have Hannah as a freshman,” Robin said. “She believes that at the end of her four years at Xavier, she will be D-1 (Division 1) ready. Gillom loves that fact that Hannah is coachable and so eager to get to the next level.”


ARIZONA MADNESS 

NATIONAL AUDITION — The 15-and-under UAA team is comprised of its top freshmen and middle school players, particularly those who do not earn roster spots on 16-and-under team. A team that represents Arizona Select’s Girls 15-and-under division of Under Armour Association, players selected to this team is elite players, who successfully compete against elite competition at their respective age division and are striving to play high level college basketball.

But first thing’s first, Robin’s stressed.

“Hannah’s goal is to bring Xavier College Preparatory its first girls’ high school state championship.”

As if anyone should be surprised.


A RELATED STORY:

Arizona youth basketball player Hannah Young learning life lessons, fine-tuning her skills with help of former WNBA player


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

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher of Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and former reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to makingheadlinenews@gmail.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Mid-South AAU hoops player Christian Brown following in foosteps of his mom and dad

BEAST MODE 

REMEMBER THE NAME — To his credit, AAU basketball standout Christian Brown went into beast mode during what was a memorable AAU game between Brown’s Murfreesboro, Tennessee-area Storm squad versus Eagleville. In a game that will go down as arguably the most memorable one to date for Brown, his Storm team faced a 12-point deficit with inside of two minutes remaining. That is when spectators witnessed flashes of greatness surrounding a kid who’s nearing 6-foot as a preteen.

He’s only 12 years of age.

But for a youth basketball player, Christian Brown is a beast on the court.

To his credit, he certainly went into full beast mode during what was a memorable AAU game between Brown’s Murfreesboro, Tennessee-area Storm squad versus Eagleville.

In a game that will go down as arguably the most memorable one to date for Brown, his Storm team faced a 12-point deficit with inside of two minutes remaining.
That is when spectators witnessed flashes of greatness surrounding a kid who’s nearing 6-foot as a preteen.
Brown was the catalyst for a Storm team that stormed back in the waning moments, erasing a double-digit deficit and miraculously coming away with a 50-49 victory, having outscored the opposition, 18-3, the rest of the way.
In manufacturing 17 points in what was an AAU game for the ages, Brown managed some late heroics when he stole an in-bounds pass and was fouled as a result.

His two clutch free throws helped the Storm ease out to the final margin and, most importantly, his immeasurable display proved to be a microcosm of his resiliency for which he customarily exemplifies in close-game situations.

So remember the name, much sooner than later: Christian Brown.

Because if there’s one thing he’s proven, it’s that his best and brightest days are well ahead of him.

“I always tell him he’s destined for greatness and to always make the most of each day,” said Chelsea Brown, Christians’s mother, during interview with Making Headline News this week. “That day will be confirmation of what we speak into his life on a daily basis.”

If anyone can appropriately assess — and critique — Christian’s progress on and off the court, it’s his mother.

Chelsea Brown was a basketball standout in her own right, most notably in high school, where she starred for perennial power Memphis Whitehaven (from 1990 to 1992), which boasted a number of Division 1 recruits. Brown went on to star at SWAC member Southern University from 1992 to 1995, capping off what was stellar basketball tenure for the native Memphian.


RESPECT DA HAVEN

IN RETROSPECT — Christian Brown’s mother, Chelsea Brown, was a basketball standout in her own right, most notably in high school, where she starred for perennial power Whitehaven (from 1990 to 1992), which boasted a number of Division 1 recruits.

Given that her son seems on path to following in the footsteps of his parents – both his mother and father are former athletes — it’s safe to assume that, well, the apple didn’t fall very far from the tree (with all due respect).

“Of course, I will be overjoyed to see his dreams and aspirations come to fruition,” said Chelsea Brown how special would it be if her son is fortunate to sign a National Letter of Intent to play college basketball. “But most of all, I’m thankful for the opportunity for him to continue to grow as an athlete.”

Chances are, the 5-foot-10 Christian Brown will grow — literally and figuratively — in the foreseeable future as he looks ahead to next season as one of the marquee players for Rocky Fork Middle School in Smyrna, Tennessee.

A slim 113-pounder — yet with so much growing to do and weight to put on — Christian often rotates between playing the small forward and shooting guard positions.

In addition to his attractive length for a 12-year-old, he’s proven to hold his own and make his presence felt, particularly against bigger and more experienced players, a trend that shouldn’t merely come as a surprise, considering Christian began playing competitive basketball at five years of age for the Rutherford County basketball league.

“He beat everyone down the court and played good defense,” Chelsea Brown said. “And he was the tallest kid on the court most of the time.”

The possibility exist that will surely be the case when he transitions to the prep basketball ranks, an attribute that figures to garner the attention of scouts and recruiters.


“He never ceases to amaze me,” Chelsea said her son’s continuous progress. “I love watching him exceed my expectations through growth and development. He always plays to the end.”

He sure does.

Remember that recent game against Eagleville?

His mother sure does. There’s a good chance she won’t be forgetting it, either.

FULL RIDE — Brown (in powder blue) went on to star at SWAC member Southern University from 1992 to 1995, capping off what was stellar basketball tenure for the native Memphian.

“I actually witnessed him lead his team to victory with two minutes on the clock and they were down by 12,” said Chelsea in pure wonderment. “I saw it in his eyes. He reads his opponents and went into (attack mode) and came out victorious.”

That, to his credit, figures to be a sign of things to come — much sooner than later.


“My parents always tell me that as long as I work hard, developing as a student-athlete, they will always provide an avenue for me to succeed,” said Christian, who recently was the beneficiary of the Athlete Academic Award, given to the student-athlete with the highest grade point average (he manufactured a 3.6 GPA), as well as being named Offensive Player of the Year in both football and basketball.

In addition to his attractive length for a 12-year-old, he’s proven to hold his own and make his presence felt, particularly against bigger and more experienced players, a trend that shouldn’t merely come as a surprise, considering Christian began playing competitive basketball at five years of age for the Rutherford County basketball league.

“My dad is always there to support me, and his presence always motivates me to play hard.”

Interestingly, although he has plenty of basketball left to play before bolting the high prep ranks, Christian doesn’t shy away from the notion that’s he’s presently auditioning for a full-ride athletic scholarship.

As far as he’s concerned, there’s no time to waste, not when he’s closing in on 6-feet in height as a preteen and making his presence felt against more experienced players.

“I would like (scouts and recruiters) to know that I am a hard worker and coachable,” said Christian, who will attend a hoops camp at Duke University over the summer. “I am a team player and have experience, playing every position on the floor. Most of all, I’m always open to learning and using skills learned from camps and other resources.”


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

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle delighted Virginia is back in the Final Four for the first time in 35 years

THEY’RE BACK 

LONG TIME COMING — After a 35-year drought, the Virginia men’s basketball program is back in the Final Four. The champions out of the South Region, the top-seeded Cavaliers (33-3) will face Midwest Region champion, fifth-seeded Auburn (30-9), Saturday at 5:09 p.m. CST from U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (Getty Image Photo)

DALLAS — The Virginia men’s basketball program is back in the Final Four for the first time in 35 years.

Amongst the UVA alums who seems the proudest is Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle.

Prior to Friday night’s game versus the Memphis Grizzlies in the American Airlines Center, Carlisle spoke of how delighted he is to witness Virginia atone for last year’s NCAA Tournament’s first-round exit by reaching the national semifinals.
The champions out of the South Region, the top-seeded Cavaliers (33-3) will face Midwest Region champion, fifth-seeded Auburn (30-9), Saturday at 5:09 p.m. CST from U. S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

The second national semifinal matchup will pit No. 3 seed Texas Tech (30-6), the West Region champion, squaring off against East Region champion, No. 2 seed Michigan State (32-6).

For UVA, which became the first ever No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed when it was dealt a 74–54 drubbing by the University of Maryland-Baltimore County in last year’s opening round of the Big Dance, Carlisle applauded Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett for a job well done with a program that is making its third Final Four appearance in school history (1981, 1984, 2019). 

IN RETROSPECT 

THE LAST TIME — Carlisle (left) was a member of Virginia’s 1984 Final Four squad that lost in the national semifinals to Akeem Olajuwon and No. 2 seed Houston, 49-47, in overtime.

“They’ve been consistently great all year,” Carlisle said of the Cavaliers, winners of four straight and 13 of their last 14. “I think they’ve only lost two or three games by two or three points. They have a real resolve as a team.”

In reaching the Final Four for the first time since 1984, Virginia demonstrated some much-needed resolve in the waning moments of the South Region final against third-seeded Purdue.

The Cavaliers, in fact, needed a rather awkward buzzer-beater by junior swingman Mamadi Diakite just as time expired to tie the game at 70 and force overtime, then outscored the Boilermakers, 10-5, in the extra session to preserve the win, thus erasing the memory of last year’s opening-round heartbreaker to UMBC.

According to ESPN’s Matchup Predictor, Virginia has a 79.9 percent chance of defeating Auburn, which is making its first Final Four appearance in school history.

Michigan State, meanwhile, has a 61.1 percent chance to upend Texas Tech, according to ESPN’s Matchup Predictor.

As for who Carlisle’s predicting to win the first of two national semifinal games, well, that essentially goes without saying.

PRAYER ANSWERED — The Cavaliers needed a buzzer-beater by junior swingman Mamadi Diakite just as time expired to tie the game at 70 and force overtime, then outscored the Boilermakers, 10-5, in the extra session to preserve the win, erasing the memory of last year’s opening-round heartbreaker to UMBC. According to ESPN’s Matchup Predictor, UVA has a 79.9 percent chance of defeating Auburn, which is making its first Final Four appearance in school history.

“They have a style that you need into today’s game,” said Carlisle, who was a member of Virginia’s 1984 Final Four squad that lost in the national semifinals to No. 2 seed Houston, 49-47, in overtime. “They preach defense first thing and they really understand how to play with each other. You know, the way they won the Purdue game last week was really special.”

Now that they’ve atoned for last year’s postseason disappointment, can the grit and grind Cavaliers manage two more wins to capture the school’s first ever national title?

“They’ve got a real chance now,” Carlisle said.

With a slight grin.

That, much to his delight and to the satisfaction of the rest of the UVA faithful, is a far cry from last year’s disastrous turn of events in the Big Dance.


Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder/Publisher & Editor In Chief of Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, call him at 901-690-6587 or send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

Duncanville (Texas) High shooting guard Erik Talton is as good as advertised while boosting his recruiting stock

TEXAS HIGH RISEDuncanville shoting guard Erik Talton, a 6-foot-2, 155-pound senior was seen dunking for the first time when he was a sophomore. It was long thereafter that he began to add to his basketball repertoire, having established himself as a player whose strengths consists of shooting mid-to-long range, creating his own shot off the dribble and, most importantly, demonstrating the ability to get his teammates in the flow of the game. (Photos courtesy of Cross Town Images)

DUNCANVILLE, Texas — Without question, Kenneth Talton loves his son.

Surely, he wants the best for him.

So much, in fact, that every now and then, Talton deems it necessary to demonstrate some tough love as a way to steer him in the right direction.

Take, for instance, how some time ago when Talton’s son, Erik Talton, assembled a Facebook page. You know, as expected, he was only doing that about which his peers were engaging in.

MAKING MAJOR MOVES — An honor student who’s ambition in the coming months is to suit up in college basketball uniform, Erik Talton is an electrifying, high-leaping shooting guard for perennial power Duncanville (Texas) High, which checked in at No. 25 in the state in the latest Maxpreps.com poll that was released last week.

Still, his father had other reasonable ideas. By all accounts, he sensed that Facebook could potentially be a recipe for disaster for a kid with dazzling basketball skills.

“When I discovered that Erik had created a Facebook page and that he was using it to communicate with his friends, I immediately made him take it down and began to educate him on social media,” Kenneth Talton told Making Headline News on Monday. “I told him the first thing he did wrong was not getting my permission and that there was a reaction for every action he makes wrong, right or indifferent. I felt that he was too young to engage in social media.”

Consequently, Kenneth Talton’s firm gesture and forthright response to his son having erected a Facebook, as it turned out, has proven beneficial in a variety of ways, most notably on the basketball court.

CHECK OUT ERIK TALTON: http://www.ncsasports.org/mens-basketball-recruiting/texas/duncanville/duncanville-high-school1/erik-talton.

Although his father unceremoniously suspended his Facebook account, Erik Talton, to his created, essentially has been nothing short of impressive. In fact, while playing alongside fellow Duncanville seniors Dexter Johnson, Jr. and Tyler Watkins — the three have been teammates on the same AAU team since fifth grade — Erik Talton, for a lack of better words, have posted favorable statuses not on social media, but on the court as evidenced by the slew of recruiting analysts that have followed him in recent years.

An honor student who’s ambition in the coming months is to suit up in a college basketball uniform, Erik Talton is an electrifying, high-leaping shooting guard for perennial power Duncanville (Texas) High, which checked in at No. 25 in the state in the latest Maxpreps.com poll that was released last week.

Although his father demanded that he unceremoniously suspend his Facebook account, Erik Talton, to his credit, essentially has been nothing short of impressive.

In fact, while playing alongside fellow Duncanville seniors Dexter Johnson, Jr. and Tyler Watkins — the three have been teammates on the same AAU team since fifth grade — Erik Talton, for a lack of better words, have posted favorable statuses not on social media, but on the court, as evidenced by the slew of recruiting analysts who have followed him in recent years.

For starters, the 6-foot-2, 155-pound senior was spotted dunking for the first time when he was a sophomore. It wasn’t long thereafter that he began to add to his basketball repertoire, having established himself as a player whose strengths consists of shooting efficiently from mid-to-long range, creating his own shot off the dribble and, most importantly, demonstrating the ability to get his teammates in the flow of the game.

For his valiant efforts, his solid body of work has drawn the attention of several schools, including Frank Phillips College, Hartnell Junior College in California, Northeastern Junior College in Colorado), The King’s College in New York, Norwich University, Luther College, and Kansas Wesleyan University, he said on Monday.

“I have the qualities that college coaches are looking for in a player,” Erik Talton said. “I come from a family of athletes and educators. I’m not afraid of a challenge or hard work, and I have great passion for the game. I am a high energy player, very athletic, I pride myself on defense as well as offense and I work extremely hard in the classroom and on the basketball court. I challenge myself daily to improve on my skills.”

COLLEGE BOUND FOR SUREFor his valiant efforts, his solid body of work has drawn the attention of several schools, including Frank Phillips College, Hartnell Junior College in California, Northeastern Junior College in Colorado), The King’s College in New York, Norwich University, Luther College, and Kansas Wesleyan University, he said on Monday.

Still, he realizes now is not the time to go on cruise control, in large part because he has yet to field any official offers. How else to explain his remarkable display this past summer when following what was a banner junior campaign, he enjoyed what he described as a “very big summer” on the AAU circuit when he averaged 20 points per game and led his team to consecutive championships in two major tournaments (The Great American Shootout in Duncanville and the Fab48 in Las Vegas)?

In essence, Erik’s Talton’s progress on and off the court emerged amid the wake of adversity, according to his father.

“The adversities Erik had to overcome from losing his cousin which was his best friend at the age of six and, at the age of eight, having multiple surgeries on his forearm and maintaining his drive and his desire to once again play sports at the same level prior to his injury, to the custody issues between his mom and me, which ultimately led to him moving completely with me,” Kenneth Talton said.

“That caused him to transfer his junior year from one school district (Mansfield High), where he was well established as a student athlete and played varsity since his sophomore year to another school district. He understood the impact that such a move could have on his basketball career at the college level.”

All things considered, such an untimely move from nearby Mansfield to Duncanville has in no way, shape or form hamper Erik Talton, who admittedly feels confident about his chances of playing at the collegiate level.

And to think, he didn’t need a Facebook page to express to the masses who he is.

The basketball court was a big enough platform.

“Whatever college offers me scholarship, they will get a player with tenacity, who’s a competitor, an athlete, a hard worker, a defender, a shooter and a winner,” Erik Talton said.

What a favorable difference that tough love has made.

 

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

Andre Johnson is the founder and publisher of Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former sportswriter for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Gibson County guard Ladarian McCurrie expected to graduate with honors, now auditioning for an elusive athletic scholarship

xMEDINA, Tenn. — One thing about Ladarian McCurrie is that no one has to remind him of his role as a member of the South Gibson County High basketball team.

For McCurrie, his role for the Hornets of Medina, Tennessee is one about which he takes seriously and with great pride and dignity, considering coach Eric Hampton and his staff mostly look to him as being the floor general, or sorts.

“My role as the point guard is to drive the ball to the goal where I can either take the shot or pass it to either of the other shooting guards,” McCurrie told Making Headline News earlier this week. I am a team player, so I mostly pass the ball to the open guard to generate the three.”

STAGE PLAY --- In what undoubtedly is a pivotal stretch in his final prep season for South Gibson County High, amongst the things about which senior guard Ladarian McCurrie is aiming is doing the necessary things that will ultimately give way to his being afforded the golden opportunity of playing basketball at the collegiate level. While he has yet to field any official scholarships offers, it is a foregone conclusion the future for McCurrie looks extremely favorable, in large part because with a cumulative grade point average of 3.8, he is on pace to graduate in the top five percent of his class.
HUGE STAGE PLAYIn what undoubtedly is a pivotal stretch in his final prep season for South Gibson County High, amongst the things about which senior guard Ladarian McCurrie is aiming is doing the necessary things that will ultimately give way to his being afforded the golden opportunity of playing basketball at the collegiate level. While he has yet to field any official scholarships offers, it is a foregone conclusion the future for McCurrie looks extremely favorable, in large part because with a cumulative grade point average of 3.8, he is on pace to graduate in the top five percent of his class.

To his credit, McCurrie, a 17-year-old senior for a South Gibson team that played at arch rival Bolivar Central Friday night, his primary responsibilities have been that primarily of a combo guard, meaning this slim, speedy 5-foot-9, 150-pounder is expected, by all accounts, to display significant roles both as a scorer and floor facilitator.

Most importantly, in what undoubtedly is a pivotal stretch in his final prep season, amongst the things about which McCurrie is aiming is doing the necessary things that will ultimately give way to his being afforded the golden opportunity of playing basketball at the collegiate level.

MR. DO-IT-ALL --- One thing about Ladarian McCurrie is that no one has to remind him of his role as a member of the South Gibson County High basketball team. For McCurrie, his role for the Hornets of Medina, Tennessee is one about which he takes seriously and with great pride and dignity, considering coach Eric Hampton and his staff mostly look to him as being the floor general, or sorts.
MR. DO-IT-ALLOne thing about Ladarian McCurrie is that no one has to remind him of his role as a member of the South Gibson County High basketball team. For McCurrie, his role for the Hornets of Medina, Tennessee is one about which he takes seriously and with great pride and dignity, considering coach Eric Hampton and his staff mostly look to him as being the floor general, or sorts.

While he has yet to field any official scholarships offers, it is a foregone conclusion the future for McCurrie looks extremely favorable, in large part because with a cumulative grade point average of 3.8, he is on pace to graduate in the top five percent of his class.

In essence, what that means essentially is that even if he finishes the academic year without signing a National Letter of Intent, the possibility exists that not only will McCurrie almost certainly be offered an academic scholarship, but he will likely be afforded the chance to join a college hoops program as walk-on.

Either way, a free education appears inevitable at this point for a kid who boasts lofty aspirations of putting his athletic skills on display.

“They will be inheriting a competitor, an encourager, and a player that is driven by ambition,” said McCurrie, when asked what type of player would college coaches inherit if he’s granted his long-awaited opportunity.

CHEERING HIM ON --- Either way, a free education appears inevitable at this point for a kid who boasts lofty aspirations of putting his athletics skills on display. “They will be inheriting a competitor, an encourager, and a player that is driven by ambition,” said McCurrie, when asked what type of player would college coaches inherit if he’s granted his long-awaited opportunity.
CHEERING HIM ONEither way, a free education appears inevitable at this point for a kid who boasts lofty aspirations of putting his athletics skills on display.
“They will be inheriting a competitor, an encourager, and a player that is driven by ambition,” said McCurrie, when asked what type of player would college coaches inherit if he’s granted his long-awaited opportunity.

As McCurrie tells it, while playing major prep basketball in a relatively small town reduced his ability to acquire the proper exposure, he strongly believes he boasts the skills, mechanics, and assertiveness to handle the hustle and bustle that college athletics create.

“Sometimes, newspaper articles do not capture the whole story,” McCurrie said. “Oftentimes, the newspaper does not detail that I contribute nearly seven rebounds, five steals, and nearly 10-to-15 assists a game, or how I give my teammates confidence while I’m on the court or on the bench.”

vbAll of which explains why McCurrie is destined to possess what he describes as a fair chance, one that would enable him to appropriately audition for a college hoops scholarship.

“Playing college ball is a dream for me because I am coachable,” McCurrie said. “I am willing to take risks. I am willing to put in the time, effort, and work to prove that I am ready to compete on the collegiate level. I am realistic about my ability and skills, and I know that there is plenty of work for me do, because growth on or off the court is a continuous process. But I am hopeful, prayerful, and faithful. I’m just looking for the opportunity to help a team.”

Something about which he’s done time and again throughout his notable high school career.



awseeEDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a child or team that 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 founder and publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.