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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.

 

Thanks to a former NFL player, Duncanville’s Barak Gurnell has found his niche and passion in football


TEXAS CLASS 6A FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW


DUNCANVILLE, Texas — Tamara Gurnell was going on and on Wednesday morning about how her son, Barak Gurnell, doesn’t routinely watch football.

“He doesn’t watch a whole lot of football,” Tamara Gurnell told Making Headline News. “I could turn it on a game and he’ll go in another room. He’s just not into watching football like that.”


EYE OF THE PANTHER 

HEART OF A CHAMPION — A little more than two years removed from having become thoroughly active in competitive football, Barak Gurnell has made some pretty immeasurable strides for a Duncanville High team (15-0) that has re-emerged as a national standout and will square off against Houston’s North Shore (15-0) for the Texas Class 6A championship Saturday at 7 p.m. CST at AT&T Stadium.

That certainly isn’t the case for her son on the field.

A little more than two years removed from having become thoroughly active in competitive football, Barak Gurnell has made some pretty immeasurable strides for a Duncanville High team (15-0, ranked No. 8 nationally by MaxPreps.com) that has re-emerged as a national standout and will square off against Houston’s North Shore (15-0, ranked No. 10 nationally by MaxPreps.com) for the Texas Class 6A championship Saturday at 7 p. m. CST at AT&T Stadium.

Led by former Dallas Skyline coach Reggie Sample, Duncanville is ranked No. 1 in Texas Class 6A, according to MaxPreps. North Shore is ranked No. 2.

A 6-foot-3, 285-pound senior defensive tackle, Gurnell has practically held his own and made a name for himself as a marquee player for a Panther defensive unit that denied perennial power Allen of a second consecutive state title with a 44-35 win in the state semifinals.


“Football has become a very important part of my life in a very short period of time and I honestly can’t see going to college without it. It pushes me to be a better version of myself every day.” — Duncanville senior defensive tackle Barak Gurnell 


STOCK IS RISING — What a difference two years have made for a young, gifted kid whom, to his credit, has managed to attract interests from a host of college, a trend he expects to increase much sooner than later.

Football alone isn’t the only factor that has greatly inspired Gurnell to maximize his potential as he continues to lobbies for a full ride scholarship as a member of a nationally-ranked Duncanville team that’s loaded with Division 1-caliber players and is back in the state championship for the first time in two decades.

Amongst those who essentially spearheaded Gurnell’s quest to consider football is former NFL player Roderick Lewis.

A former Dallas Bishop Dunne Catholic and University of Arizona star, Lewis, 47, played four professional seasons for the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans from 1994-1997.

PIVOTAL EXTRA POINT — Amongst those who essentially spearheaded Gurnell’s quest to consider football is former NFL player Roderick Lewis. A former Dallas Bishop Dunne Catholic and University of Arizona star, Lewis, 47, played four professional seasons for the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans from 1994-1997.

As Tamara Gurnell recalled, Lewis was rather direct when suggesting that her son — who already exhibits the size of an NFL defensive lineman — should serious consider giving football a try.

“My friend, Rod Lewis, hadn’t seen Barak for some time until his daughter’s 17th birthday party,” Tamara Gurnell explained. “Rod’s face lit up with excitement and he began to pat Barak on the back and chest, commenting on how big he had gotten.”

As it turns out, it seemed that divine intervention essentially couldn’t keep Barak Gurnell off of Lewis’ mind days after the two had crossed paths.

MOM KNOWS BEST –— Come Saturday night, amongst the things that will likely come to mind for Gurnell when he sets foot on Texas high school football’s biggest stage is how his willingness to embrace wise counsel has ultimately allowed his gift to make room for him.

“A few days later, Rod called me to discuss Barak’s future, highly encouraging (him) to consider football as a viable option to add to his high school portfolio,” Tamara Gurnell recalled.

And the rest, as they say, was history.

That’s because not only did Barak Gurnell heed the pertinent advice of Lewis but, much to his delight, it’s safe to assume that competitive football, by all accounts, has become an integral part of his life.

Come Saturday night, amongst the things that will likely come to mind for Gurnell when he sets foot on Texas high school football’s biggest stage is how his willingness to embrace some wise counsel has ultimately allowed his gift to make room for him.

Yep. What a difference two years have made for a young, gifted kid whom, to his credit, has managed to attract interests from a host of college, a trend he expects to increase much sooner than later.

“I have spoken to Lyon College over the phone and Texas State University (scouts) in person,” said Gurnell, adding that Oklahoma State and SMU have expressed interests in his services.

REMEMBER THE NAME — A 6-foot-3, 285-pound senior defensive tackle, Gurnell has practically held his own and made a name for himself as a marquee player for a Panther defensive unit that denied perennial power Allen of a second consecutive state title with a 44-35 win.

Surely, Gurnell’s short list of schools, in all likelihood, will expand, considering just this past summer, he attended camps at SMU, OSU, Baylor, TCU, the University of Houston, Rice University, and Texas A&M Commerce, among others.

“There will be no problems off the field,” said Gurnell, when asked what direct message he’d like to send to college scouts and recruiters. “I always make sure to conduct myself in a respectable fashion and that my grades are never a problem. Right now, I’m preparing for the state final game against North Shore, and I plan to continue to lift weights through the winter and do some conditioning once it gets warmer.”

If nothing else, for a youngster who’s a relatively newcomer to football, Gurnell certainly has become knowledgeable of the prerequisites essential for landing an athletic scholarship.

“The coaches give honest feedback,” Tamara Gurnell said of her son’s constant progression to the sport. “Essentially, Barak is a diamond in the rough. Because he is so new to the sport, the learning curve is massive.”

All things considered, one would be hard-pressed to discover just how “massive” of a curve it is, given the sustained success Gurnell has enjoyed in such a brief timeframe.

“He is a quick study, and in football, intellect is key,” said Tamara Gurnell, sounding very much like a prep football insider. “(The Duncanville coaching staff) believe he will be offered a (partial) scholarship, if not a full one, mainly because there is limited film due to his late start in the sport. They believe he will surely be an asset, because of his character and great grades.”

PUTTING IN WORK — If nothing else, for a youngster who’s a relatively newcomer to football, Gurnell certainly has become knowledgeable of the prerequisites essential to landing an athletic scholarship.

Something even a former NFL player had recognized at a birthday party.

Speaking of party, expect the Gurnells to host one if the Panthers upend North Shore Saturday night in Arlington, which is roughly two towns over from Duncanville.

Heck, expect them to throw an even bigger party if Barak Gurnell pulls off the unthinkable by signing a National Letter of Intent in the foreseeable future , which undoubtedly would be a massive, remarkable feat for a relatively newcomer to the sport.

“I will be proud (if he earns a football scholarship), because he is one step closer to his independence,” Tamara Gurnell said. “I am enjoying the man he is becoming.”

A youngster who already exhibits the frame of an NFL defensive lineman.

Talk about impressive.


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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 andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Memphian Gregory Lofton pleading with Penny Hardaway to possess copyrights of his music

MAKING HEADLINE NEWS WELCOMES GREGORY LOFTON


As Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway prepares to begin a new era as the new University of Memphis men’s basketball coach this week when the Tigers host a sold out Memphis Madness in FedExForum, one longtime U of M faithful has something intriguing to pass along to the Bluff City hoops legend.

Longtime entertainer Gregory Lofton, a native Memphian, the CEO of Silky International Records and the mastermind behind the hit song, “Tiger Fever,” doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s determined to garner the attention of Hardaway, a former U of M star and four-time NBA All-Star.

“I want it to be known that a song by an unsigned artist and publisher is worth $250,000 per year to sample and with all monies due according to the copyright act under a master licensing agreement that covers The Penny Hardaway Show, Stadium use, performance and broadcast royalties, CD and DVD production, TV, Movies, Film, etc.,” Lofton told Making Headline News during a recent interview.

PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS — Longtime entertainer Gregory Lofton, a native Memphian, the CEO of Silky International Records and the mastermind behind the hit song, “Tiger Fever,” doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s determined to garner the attention of Hardaway, a former U of M star and four-time NBA All-Star.

“The University of Memphis, the Rebounders Club, and Highland Hundred Club know about this project, but I will not give my hard work away for exposure and season tickets,” Lofton continued. “Writing exposure instead of a dollar amount on a check will buy me nothing for my hard work.”

Lofton, meanwhile, was extremely complementary of one Mid-South radio personality, who deemed it essential to applaud his immeasurable body of work as an entertainer.

“My strongest supporter at the time I was trying to promote Tiger Fever was John ‘The Rainman’ Rainey,’ said Lofton, alluding to the sports media personality for WHBQ 56AM’s The Southern Sports Report.  If you want to know how powerful a theme song like ‘Jingle Tiger Fever’ is, talk to him.”

According to Lofton, Rainey had gone as far as to play Tiger Fever during Memphis’ NCAA Final Four run in 2008, a sequence that ended with the Tigers losing to Kansas in overtime, 75-68, in the championship game.

ANSWERING THE CALL? As Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway prepares to begin a new era as the new University of Memphis men’s basketball coach this week when the Tigers host a sold out Memphis Madness in FedExForum, one longtime U of M faithful has something intriguing to pass along to the Bluff City hoops legend. (AP Photo)

“(Rainey) used Tiger Fever to open his show and played several snit bits of it within the first hour of the show,” Lofton said.

Now with the Hardaway coaching era looming, coupled with all of the hoopla surrounding Tiger hoops, Lofton remains hopeful that the former Memphis Treadwell High star will follow Rainey’s lead and tune in to his compelling musical project.

Hardaway, 47, was hired as head coach by his alma mater on March 19, having replaced Tubby Smith, who was fired after two seasons at Memphis.

Lofton was rather forthright in his proposition to Hardaway. 

“I’m willing to transfer the rights over to you, Penny, to own it outright,” Lofton said. “You and I are North Memphis products and I support you. I only met you once when I was with Kevin Morrow.  I will do for you what I would do for the university administrators. You will own everything outright.  The whole collection promotes Memphis and the Tigers. I put my hard earned money and intellectual properties into this project and I deserve financial gratification.”

Besides Rainey, Lofton said that U of M Band Director Albert Nuguen is familiar with his popular hit that is “Tiger Fever.”

All of which is why he has extended a plea to Hardaway to strongly consider listening to what could very well become an enjoyable and fun trend for U of M sports fans.

“I was asking the one-year sampling rate of $250,000 as a buyout price that I knew they were going to try and juggle with price lowering strategies,” Lofton said. “The administration will not deal with me, because of my deep knowledge of the music industry game and knowing my worth when it comes to licensing. They will deal with (Hardaway) if (he) owns the rights in full for (his) program.”

Along with his direct proposition to Hardaway to assume copyrights of his work, Lofton is pleading with the local media to look into his music.

“The Memphis media — even though they never did a story on me — know about my work,” Lofton said.

For more information about Memphis Businessman Gregory Lofton of Silky International Records or to inquire about his music, call 901.474.9209. Also, send email to: gregorylofton@ymail.com


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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 andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Ex-spouse of NFL player, author Angela Marshall’s autobiography inspiring others to ‘get in the game of life’

MAKING HEADLINE NEWS WELCOMES ANGELA MARSHALL 


Every so often, Angela Marshall fields the question as if she expected it.

“After being asked numerous times about the supposed lifestyle of the rich and famous, I decided to pen my truth about reality, rags, and riches,” Marshall said.

During a recent interview with Making Headline News, Marshall, an Augusta, Georgia-based author and former wife of a professional athlete, spoke at length about her assortment of experiences as a devoted spouse to a wealthy NFL player in her latest book entitled, “The Story And Life Of An Ex-NFL Wife: Reality To Rags To Riches.” Reality To Rags To Riches: The Story And Life Of An Ex-NFL Wife.”

GAME CHANGER — During a recent interview with Making Headline News, Angela Marshall, an Augusta, Georgia-based author and former wife of a professional athlete, spoke at length about her assortment of experiences as a devoted spouse to a wealthy NFL player in her latest book entitled, “The Story And Life Of An Ex-NFL Wife: Reality To Rags To Riches.” Reality To Rags To Riches: The Story And Life Of An Ex-NFL Wife.”

A book that was officially released in November 2017, Marshall’s autobiography depicts what she appropriately describes as “this football life,” a life-changing trend that had afforded her extraordinary opportunities, exposure to life’s options, and blessings untold, according to a detail breakdown of her book at Amazon.com.

As Marshall vividly explained, such a unique life had filled what she has dubbed her “personal playbook,” one that was accompanied by the wisdom to call what she refers to as “an audible, pass, run,” even a proverbial “go for the two-point conversion as I lived each day,” she explained.

PURCHASE ANGELA MARSHALL’S BOOK HERE:  www.lulu.com/spotlight/ AuthorStone

FIRST QUARTER — A book that was officially released in November 2017, Marshall’s autobiography depicts what she appropriately describes as “this football life,” a life-changing trend that had afforded her extraordinary opportunities, exposure to life’s options, and blessings untold, according to a detail breakdown of her book at Amazon.com.

“Yes, I observed the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat from the stands and sidelines,” Marshall continued while sharing a synopsis of latest book. “Most importantly, I beheld strength, courage and purpose. And those qualities molded me into the person I am today. I got off the bench after merely existing and got into the game of living.”

A book Marshall began composing sometime in October 2016, this accomplished writer needed just shy of a year to complete an informative written document she says is a thorough perspective of how she felt while living what she describes as a “life of lack,” particularly through the public’s thought whereby she was, by all accounts, living a life of lavish.

MORE ON AUTHOR ANGELA MARSHALL:  www.inotherwordsbystone.com

PERSONAL SUPER BOWL — As Marshall vividly explained, such a unique life had filled what she has dubbed her “personal playbook,” one that was accompanied by the wisdom to call what she refers to as “an audible, pass, run,” even a proverbial “go for the two-point conversion as I lived each day,” she explained.

While some of the immediate feedback has been favorable, Marshall also acquired her share of backlash since the release of her second book.

“A handful of people have criticized me, saying I am exploiting my ex-husband’s former pro-career to make money,” said Marshall who, in November 2016, made her authorship debut with the release of Lust, Lessons, Love and Life. “A few had no idea that I was suffering in silence during that period in my life, and others have said they still want money, fame, and the experience.”

Despite the array of mixed reactions surrounding her latest book, Marshall doesn’t shy away from the notion that she’s undoubtedly fulfilling her divine purpose through a newly-erected project, one that is accompanied by God’s endorsement.

After all, if God said it, that settles it.

“The Biblical scripture says that tables are prepared for us,” Marshall said. “I’m exhorting folks to feast daily from the tables of promises, potential, power, and prosperity from God. Also, to get off the bench and get in the game of life.

“Without giving too many details from the book, I had quite a few lessons that I needed to learn as well as continue growing through my struggles to strength,” Marshall continued. “Being able to tell my truth has and is setting myself and others free.”

FIRST AND 10 — A book Marshall began composing sometime in October 2016, this accomplished writer needed just shy of a year to complete an informative written document she says is a thorough perspective of how she felt while living what she describes as a “life of lack,” particularly through the public’s thought whereby she was, by all accounts, living a life of lavish.

Having announced that other books are forthcoming, Marshall describes her itinerary as mostly steady, thanks in large part to what she labels her “transparent platform” about her life.

“I have speaking opportunities or have author appearances at least three times a month for various businesses and organizations,” Marshall said.

In all likelihood, the possibility exist that more opportunities to share of and promote her book could very well come to fruition, especially considering the 2018 NFL season officially begins in the coming days.

Said Marshall: “Life has taken me on a journey, which took three major turns, each leading to a road of exploration and discovery, each crafting me into the person who would become skillful at using life’s compass in navigating new directions and negotiating what’s best for me:

IN THE RED ZONE — Having announced that other books are forthcoming, Marshall describes her itinerary as mostly steady, thanks in large part to what she labels her “transparent platform” about her life.

Reality is a place that forced me to face life early on as is. The seeds planted during that period are directly responsible for my growth. All of my core values were established. No matter how far I strayed, the experiences throughout that time, prepared me for rags and riches.

Rags taught me humility, agility and possibility. I learned to be grateful when I am served, but more importantly, to be willing to serve others. The events during this period instilled fearless faith that grounded me and prepared me for true Riches.

AFTER FURTHER REVIEW — In all likelihood, the possibility exist that more opportunities to share of and promote her book could very well come to fruition, especially considering the 2018 NFL season officially begins in the coming days.

Riches are not about what, it’s about whom. For me, that means family, friends and moments. They are true riches, which are irreplaceable. If I can replace it, it is not a true treasure.”

Well said by this brilliantly gifted author, fielding the question as if she expected it.

Once again.

For more information about Augusta, Georgia-based Author Angela Marshall, or to schedule her for a public appearance, a book signing or speaking engagement, connect with her via social media under: Facebook: www.facebook.com/ wisewordswoman; Instagram: www.instagram.com/inotherwordsbystone; Twitter: www.twitter.com/wordsbystone.


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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 andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Atlanta-area prep basketball standout Markus Lofton is as good as advertised as he auditions for a scholarship

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of a series of reports on Berkmar High School basketball standout Markus Lofton as Making Headline News will chronicle his progress through his upcoming senior campaign. 


Making Headline News earlier this week took some time to observe YouTube footage of Atlanta-area prep basketball standout Markus Lofton.

Yep, surely, the kid who’s widely known as “The Old Soul” and “The Silent Assassin” is as good as advertised, a trend a flurry of college scouts and recruiters will likely discover in this, Lofton’s forthcoming final full year of high hoops.

“Markus first started playing basketball when he was three years old,” said Marlon Lofton, Markus’ father. “He would not leave the house without a basketball jersey, wrist bands, and head band on.”

Ever since his parents first introduced him to basketball, Markus Lofton has been nothing short of brilliant, especially on the ever-so-competitive ATL hoops circuit.

A 6-foot swingman who helped propel Greg Phillips’ Berkmar High team to a third place region mark of 16-13 finish in 2017-18, Markus Lofton figures to raise his level of play in what undoubtedly will be a crucial campaign for him.

Crucial in the sense that he knows full well that he’s auditioning for a full ride scholarship, something he’s dreamt about since, well, he first picked up a basketball at tender age of three.

“They’ve been very encouraging and uplifting,” said Markus Lofton, explaining his parents’ immeasurable impact on rise as one of Berkmar’s marquee players. “They always persuade me to follow my dreams.”

SOLID SUPPORTING CAST — For what’s it worth, the Loftons are confident that given their son’s immeasurable track record on the court to date, the time and work he’s invested will surely pay off with arguably his grand prize — a full ride scholarship, coupled with a college basketball uniform.

And following diligently after his dreams is certainly what this basketball-crazed kid has done throughout the years.

Coming off of a stellar junior campaign in which he was afforded the golden opportunity to play significant roles both of the varsity and junior varsity squads, Markus Lofton held his own and, a majority of the time, he exceeded his own expectations.

WATCH MARKUS LOFTON IN ACTION: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=BPzdPSgVf7Y&t=2s

For starters, he manufactured an impressive scoring average last year with 16 points per game along with four rebounds, while handing out five assists while being the only Berkmar player to see action both on JV and varsity. Add to the fact that he converted 91 percent of his free throws and shot an impressive 52 percent from three-point range, and it’s no wonder he’s already fallen under the radar of a handful of major Division 1 schools.

AUDITIONS UNDERWAY — According to Markus Lofton, Baylor, Stetson, Auburn, and Clemson are amongst the schools that have expressed interest in his services.

With others likely to follow, presuming his all-around game takes a significant upgrade this upcoming season.

According to Markus Lofton, Baylor, Stetson, Auburn, and Clemson are amongst the schools that have expressed interest in his services.

“It’s been a dream since I was younger,” Markus Lofton said of the possibility of playing major college basketball. “Basketball is all that I know and have studied, so it not being a dream wasn’t an option for me.”

As he prepares for his decisive prep season, Markus’ father, too, has stressed to his son the importance of not settling for the success he enjoyed last year. Rather, he deems it essential to often remind him on the importance of increasing his productivity and leadership qualities. 

MORE OF MARKUS LOFTON IN ACTION: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=MuYCATpagZ0&t=6s 

“To whom much is given, much is required,” said Marlon Lofton, when asked what pertinent advice he often passes along his son, whose impressive basketball resume includes playing for the Georgia Tornadoes, G- Team USA and ATL Playmakers AAU squads. “I also tell him what his great grandmother told me: ‘Let the work you do, speak for you.’ I think this is why he is always in the gym. He doesn’t miss a day in the gym with his coaches or working on his game and training.”

HOOP DREAMS — For what’s it worth, the Loftons are confident that given their son’s immeasurable track record on the court to date, the time and work he’s invested will surely pay off with arguably his grand prize — a full ride scholarship, coupled with a college basketball uniform.

For what’s it worth, the Loftons are confident that given their son’s immeasurable track record on the court to date, the time and work he’s invested will surely pay off with arguably his long-awaited grand prize — a full ride scholarship, coupled with a college basketball uniform.

And everything else that comes with it.

“He is smart, witty, and wants to study Sports Management, Education, and Health outside of basketball,” said Marlon Lofton, adding that his son boasts what he deems a high IQ and exceptional wisdom. “With sports growing the way that it does, the door for him is wide open with major opportunities.

“My wife of 31 years and I believed that he loved the sport so much, he would sit and study the game, watching his older brother (Markele) who is a good player and has graduated from Georgia State University.”

DAD KNOWS BEST — “To whom much is given, much is required,” said Marlon Lofton, when asked what pertinent advice he often passes along his son, whose impressive basketball resume includes playing for the Georgia Tornadoes, G- Team USA and ATL Playmakers AAU squads. “I also tell him what his great grandmother told me: ‘Let the work you do, speak for you.’ I think this is why he is always in the gym. He doesn’t miss a day in the gym with his coaches or working on his game and training.”

If Markus Lofton’s has his way and continues to show he’s as good as advertised, the Lofton household will soon find itself going to more college basketball games in the near future.

So stay tuned.

As evidenced by all of that impressive YouTube footage of the kid who’s widely known as “The Old Soul” and “The Silent Assassin”. 


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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 andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Baltimore area entrepreneur/investor Manny Gathers aiming to have a global impact through his professional track and field league

Just after 11 p.m. EST on Sunday, Manny Gathers staged to his Facebook timeline some pretty compelling information regarding professional sports entertainment rankings.

Surprisingly, track and field was amongst the 19 sports listed on the chart.

With a No. 3 ranking being rated “Excellent” and No. 1 ranking being rated “Poor,” track and field, as it turned out, ranked near the bottom of the pack with three No. 1’s. Nevertheless, there is a silver lining and it is called American League Track & Field.

According to Gathers, ALTF has corrected all of the issues that traditional track and field faces today. “ALTF is supreme and is the solution to elevating this Globally Recognized Sport to its rightful position,” Gathers said. 

All things considered, credit Gathers and his staff for playing some of favorable role to what undoubtedly is an ongoing upward trend, considering track and field figures to remain one of the world’s most popular sports.

An accomplished Baltimore-area entrepreneur and investor, Gathers is the mastermind by behind organizing what he describes as a “uniquely designed” Professional Track And Field League.

Widely regarded as the first of its kind, Gathers said this is the first and only professional sports league that is comprised of men and women teammates, an up-and-coming league in which many of these athletes have a share in ownership and revenue.

“(We’re) the first to have passive, fractional ownership of each team which allows middle-class investors to participate,” Gathers told Making Headline News during a weekend interview.

Interesting enough, this track and field organization is the first to consolidate sponsors’ contracts into a single, short-term agreement model, Gathers said.

“I enjoy being able to meet, work with and served people of various backgrounds the most,” said Gathers, explaining what he admires the most about a uniquely distinct business he hopes will attract more of a global presence in the foreseeable future. “Being able to be a part of a diverse team is a rewarding experience.”

SOLID SUPPORTING CAST — “My personal mission is to successfully bring track and field to life as a professional sport,” said Gathers, who acknowledged that he was inspired to organize the league by Ernest Lindo, whom he deems the Author and Founder of this business model. “By doing that, we will be creating thousands of job opportunities, a new shared ownership model, and more financial good for the communities in which we will operate.”

What’s even more intriguing is that this league strives diligently to attract talented athletes from various levels, most notably former high school and college athletes, or those who have a solid past resume in this internationally-acclaimed sport.

“As far as athletes goes, we will attract and hire graduates from the high school and collegiate levels to participate in the sport,” Gathers said.

A league that is steadily devising ways to generate more exposure, it seems that this organization is starting to become a fixture for those who have a fond interest in track and field.

Spectators included.

“Because of our unique capital raising model and debt mitigation strategies, we will draw families to our events,” said Gathers, adding that ticket prices will typically range in the neighborhood of less than $35 for regular seating — VIP seats are also available, he said — which will make his organization’s events affordable for fans and other groups. “Imagine being able to bring your babies and entire family to a professional sporting event because of affordable ticket prices.”

A native of Eutawville, South Carolina, Gathers served more than 20 years of active duty in the Marine Corps and also boasts experience in mid-level management by way of the ever-so-competitive Corporate America industry.

It is due in large part, he said, to his solid experience as an accomplished businessman that has contributed mightily in his latest venture.

“I have been conditioned to manage complex operations, high-valued budgets, and people management,” said Gathers, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Operations and an MBA Degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland University College. “My life experiences and world travels have allowed me to interact with people from various backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and cultures. Strong interpersonal skills have prepared me for this next chapter of my life.”

Extensive traveling both in the military and his selected profession have greatly aided him as well.

“I have traveled around the world a couple of times and have lived in multiple countries and states within the USA,” Gathers said.

As for his mission for electing to organize an athletic venture of this magnitude, well, his primary objective is simple.

MAKING MAJOR MOVES — An accomplished Baltimore area entrepreneur and investor, Manny Gathers is the mastermind by behind organizing what he describes as a “uniquely designed” Professional Track And Field League. Widely regarded as the first of its kind, Gathers said this is the first and only professional sports league that is comprised of men women teammates, a league in which many of whom of the athletes have a share in ownership and revenue.

“My personal mission is to successfully bring track and field to life as a professional sport,” said Gathers, who acknowledged that he was inspired to organize the league by Ernest Lindo, whom he deems the Author and Founder of this business model. “By doing that, we will be creating thousands of job opportunities, a new shared ownership model, and more financial good for the communities in which we will operate.

As for the notable forthcoming additions and changes with this organization, Gathers said a number of projects are presently in the works as he and his staff continues to upgrade and enhance their brand.

“We have recently begun collaborating with the Black Men United Organization and plan on conducting strategic think-tank events to attract the brightest and ideal Leaders to run the business,” Gathers said. “Our primary goal is to target credible celebrities and business owners that share our belief that we can build a successful business model that will provide family entertainment once again, financial and business education, and wealth creation for generations to come.”

“Track and field is the oldest known sport in the world,” Gathers added. “It is popular in America and internationally. How bad do you want it is the question. When asked, ‘Manny, what is it that you need to make this thing work?’ I simply say, ‘connections’…introduce me to Colin Kaepernick, Usain Bolt, T.I., Olympic Medalists or any respectable Star that can help give birth to this Game-Changing idea.’”

For more information about Manny Gathers and his professional track and field organization, email Manny Gathers at manny@bestmoneystrategies.com. Also, contact Manny via his website www.bestmoneystrategies.com

 

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 Founder and Publisher for 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, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

National Arena League player Glen Rowell making favorable impressions, aiming to generate looks from NFL scouts

PRAYERS BEING ANSWERED — Besides exemplifying a wealth of faith in his Creator, Glen Rowell, like many NFL hopefuls who are aiming to cash in on the big leagues, has hired an agent, a development that has contributed mightily to his being afforded the opportunity to put his football skills on display in the minor leagues. A former Kentucky Christian University standout, the 26-year-old Rowell in 2015 signed with Bloomington Edge of the Champions Indoor Football before ultimately accepting an invitation to join Tri-Town the following year. So far, he’s auditioned for two National Arena League teams with another one scheduled for late October.

A pretty resourceful guy, that Glen Rowell is.

Take, for instance, how just before midday on Monday, Rowell, a minor league football player who last played for the Tri-Town Titans of the Midwest Professional Indoor Football league, staged to his Facebook page an informative pie graph that featured the percentage of individuals who wound finding their way onto a National Football League roster.

Surprisingly, the largest piece of the graph cited that 39 percent of undrafted free agents end earning a spot on an NFL 53-man roster.

A pretty galvanizing discovery for the 26-year-old Rowell, who’s steadfastly clinging to lofty aspirations of auditioning for an NFL team down the road — hopefully much sooner than later.

“I think I have a good chance (of auditioning for an NFL team) because I got God on my side,” Rowell, a Danville, Illinois native, told Making Headline News during a recent interview.

Besides exemplifying a wealth of faith in his Creator, Rowell, like many NFL hopefuls who are aiming to cash in on the big leagues, has hired an agent, a development that has contributed mightily to him being afforded the golden opportunity to put his football skills on display in the minor leagues.

A former Kentucky Christian University standout, Rowell in 2015 signed with the Bloomington Edge of the Champions Indoor Football League before ultimately accepting an invitation to join Tri-Town the following year.

However, it wasn’t until January 25 of this year that Rowell made his professional debut.

HE’S BEING WATCHED — Rowell was invited to work out for both the Columbus Lions and the Lehigh Steelhawks of the National Arena League. As if that’s not enough to turn heads, he is scheduled to audition for the NAL’s Jacksonville Sharks in late October.

Given the developments that followed, it’s safe to assume that he essentially made the most of that monumental opportunity.

That’s because just recently, Rowell was invited to work out for both the Columbus Lions and the Lehigh Steelhawks of the National Arena League. As if that’s not enough to turn heads, he is scheduled to audition for the NAL’s Jacksonville Sharks in late October.

A pretty resourceful guy, that Glen Rowell, a middle school teacher assistant who knows full well he’s been thrust in a favorable situation, considering it appears that pro scouts have him under their radar.

HOLDING HIS OWN — During his stint with Tri-Town, Rowell, a former NAIA All-American for Kentucky Christian, was as good as advertised. In a career-best five professional appearances, the 6-foot, 238-pound linebacker recorded 60 tackles, six sacks, and batted down 15 passes.

“I just signed with an NFL/CFL (type of) agent that really believes in me and my hard work and playing ability,” Rowell said. “All I have to do is keep training hard, stay focused, and stay ready for any opportunity.”

During his stint with Tri-Town, Rowell, a former NAIA All-American for Kentucky Christian, was as good as advertised. While making a career-best five professional appearances, the 6-foot, 238-pound linebacker recorded 60 tackles, six sacks, and batted down 15 passes.

To his credit, 10 of his tackles ended in loss yardage and two safeties.

A pretty versatile guy, that Glen Rowell is.

HEAD OF THE CLASS — A middle school teacher assistant, Rowell who knows full well he’s been thrust in a favorable situation, considering it appears that pro scouts have him under their radar.

“My latest tryout went great,” Rowell said of his August 26 invite to Columbus. They invited me to mini-camp. I got a lot of good feedback. They like my hustle, work ethic, and explosiveness and grind to never give up when I make mistakes. They like how I move athletically and fly around and how I catch the ball for a linebacker.”

For what it’s worth, that he’s being afforded the exposure of playing at the professional level is priceless, Rowell said. Still, he stressed, among other things, that now is not the time to delve off into cruise control.

Especially considering the NFL is his prized destination.

“The many ways that playing professionally has helped me is by being a motivation to others in my community, to (inspire them to) go back to school and reach for their dreams and to never to give up no matter what the situation is,” Rowell, last year’s MPIF runner-up for Defensive Player of  The Year, said. “What’s special about my pro career is that I get to showcase my mobility and versatility to scouts.”

All of which practically sums up why this NFL hopeful deemed it essential to stage that intriguing pie graph to his Facebook page just before midday on Monday.

A pretty resourceful guy, that Glen Rowell is.

 

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 Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter 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.

Plano (Texas) West sprinter Sharoné Johnson reaping benefits of hard work with track and field scholarship to Louisiana Tech

TEXAS SIZE BLESSINGS — While making the switch to different events in such a brief time frame brought about a few challenges for Sharone Johnson, it is her body of work as a sprinter in recent years that has benefited her mightily. That’s because approximately one week before Thanksgiving, the West Plano senior standout was left to count her blessings after she signed a National Letter of Intent to join the track and field program at Louisiana Tech.

DALLAS — All things considered, Sharoné Johnson is a glass-half-full kind of person.

Take, for instance, how last summer during a Junior Olympics track and field meet in Sacramento, California, when Johnson, a Plano (Texas) West High sprinter came away somewhat harboring mixed feelings after having placed place 15th overall out of 58 participants in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:04:14.

“Although disappointed with my ending rank, I am pleased with the overall progress that I made over the course of only a few months,” a seemingly upbeat Johnson told Making Headline News during a recent interview. “Going from school track to summer track, I was told that the move from the 300 (meter hurdles) to the 400 (meter hurdles) would be a difficult adjustment.”

MAKING CONTINUOUS PROGRESS — Having spent a majority of my track career as a fixture in the 200 and 400-meter dash, Johnson ultimately set a personal best and a new school record in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 42.23, a feat she accomplished a short time after having made the switch to that event.
Her initial time in that event was 46.45.

While making the switch to different events in such a brief time frame brought about a few challenges for Johnson, it is her solid body of work as a sprinter in recent years that has benefited her mightily.

That’s because approximately one week before Thanksgiving, the West Plano senior standout was left to count her blessings after she signed a National Letter of Intent to join the track and field program at Louisiana Tech, ending a rather intriguing recruiting process that also included schools such as Wichita State, the University of South Florida, the University of New Orleans, Baylor having shown interest in the Lady Wolves’ featured sprinter.

A native of the historic Oak Cliff district of the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the 17-year-old Johnson said she was thoroughly sold on Louisiana Tech, in large part because Lady Bulldogs coach LaMonte Vaughn was determined to convince her to commit before any other school could lure her to its campus.

A native of the historic Oak Cliff district of the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the 17-year-old Johnson said she was thoroughly sold on Louisiana Tech, in large part because Lady Bulldogs coach LaMonte Vaughn was determined to convince her to commit before any other school could lure her to its campus.

“I felt that was the best decision for me. I loved that he didn’t discredit any other colleges or put them down,” said Johnson, explaining her decision to sign with Louisiana Tech. “Instead, his main focus was to tell me what he could do for me on and off the track. My ultimate goal was to go to a college that would not only help me develop as an athlete, but as a better person so that I’m prepared for life after college.”

Louisiana Tech coach LaMonte Vaughn

As Johnson acknowledged, it was Vaughn — a former University of Kentucky track and field standout  whose two decades of college coaching experience includes eight years in the Pac-12 Conference with stints at Washington and UCLA — who discovered qualities and mechanics through her immense skills as a gifted sprinter that no other coached had noticed.

“He said, ‘She’s one race away from having the race of her life and I want to get her before anyone else does,’” Johnson said. “That immediately drew me toward his program. I believe with him in my corner, I will do big things in college and after.”

Much like she has done for a majority of her career at Plano West.

JUST DOING IT — Arguably Johnson’s best achievements in this, her final prep season, is having clocked in at 43.69 in the 300-meter hurdle, a mark that gave way to her having secured a No. 2 ranking in Texas in that event.

Having spent a majority of my prep tenure as a fixture in the 200 and 400-meter dash, Johnson ultimately set a personal best and a new school record in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 42.23, a feat she accomplished a short time after having made the switch to that event.

Her previous recorded time in that event was 46.45.

LOUISIANA TECH-NICAL KNOCKOUT — In November, Johnson ended a rather intriguing recruiting process that also included schools such as Wichita State, the University of South Florida, the University of New Orleans, Baylor having shown interest in the Lady Wolves’ featured sprinter.

In addition, she was a member of the Plano West’s 4 x100 and the 4×400 meter relay squads that advanced to the regional competition.

Arguably Johnson’s best achievements in this, her final prep season, is when she registered a time of  43.69 in the 300-meter hurdle, a mark that gave way to her having secured a No. 2 ranking in Texas in that event. Also, she added the 100-meter hurdles to her sprinting repertoire and, although she has officially committed to a college, she destined to her finish Plano West career on a strong, memorable note.

“As I finish out my senior year, I’m going to make it my mission to win state in the 300 (meter) hurdles,” Johnson said. “I want to also make it as far as I can in the 100 (meter) hurdles. I have to take it one race at a time and one hurdle at a time, because every step contributes to a bigger move.”

Well said by a talented, college bound sprinter who appears to be one race away from having the race of her life.

 

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.

Southeast Missouri State swingman Antonius Cleveland looking forward to Senior Day while aiming to boost his NBA stock

JOB WELL DONEHaving arrived on campus at Southeast Missouri State as a true freshman after a successful prep stint at Faith Baptist Christian Academy in Ludowici, Georgia, Memphian Anotonius Cleveland is a four-year starter who has proven to be as good as advertised. Cleveland will play his final collegiate home game when SEMO welcomes Austin Peay State. (Photo by Andrew Whitaket/SEMOBall.com)

Antonius Cleveland insists that it will be just like any other day.

Well, sort of.

“I think it’ll be like any other day, to be honest” Cleveland, during a telephone interview Wednesday night with Making Headline News, said when asked what will go through his mind when he’s honored during Saturday’s Senior Day pregame festivities as he prepares to play his final collegiate home game when Southeast Missouri State welcomes Austin Peay State. “I’m just prepared to play a home game. But it’s being my final home game will be special.”

Not to mention a rather emotional, tear-jerking occasion orchestrated by his mother, Shonda Bowie, who is expected to bring a busload of family members, close friends, and well-wishers from Memphis as they witness her son play for the final time at SEMO’s Show Me Center.

HOOP DREAMS — Besides his dazzling athleticism and remarkable leaping ability, Cleveland (left) boasts an efficient all-around game, considering he leads the Redhawks in scoring (17.0 per game), field goal percentage (.054), and minutes played (32.9 per game).
Add to the fact that 6-foot-6, 188-pound swingman has managed to draw the attention of pro scouts, and it’s no wonder the possibility exists that this mid-major standout could very well find himself auditioning for an NBA roster spot in the foreseeable future. (Photo by Andrew Whitaket/SEMOBall.com).

While there is still a lot of basketball to play for the Redhawks (13-16, 8-6 in the Ohio Valley Conference), who are aiming to end a 17-year NCAA Tournament drought, Saturday figures to be a day of remembrance — and reflection — for Cleveland, one of SEMO’s four seniors and the team’s featured player who’s making a strong case that he could perform on basketball’s grandest stage in the coming months — the NBA.

Having arrived on campus as a true freshman after a successful prep stint at Faith Baptist Christian Academy in Ludowici, Georgia, Cleveland is a four-year starter who has proven to be as good as advertised.

Besides his dazzling athleticism and remarkable leaping ability, Cleveland boasts an efficient all-around game, considering he leads the Redhawks in scoring (17.0 per game), field goal percentage (.054), and minutes played (32.9 per game).

AIR ANTONIUS — To his credit, Cleveland certain has been dubbed one of college basketball’s best dunkers. Last week, SEMO announced that Cleveland is among 16 finalists for the 2017 Dark Horse Dunker competition and that he is in the running to compete in the State Farm College Slam Dunk Championship Final Four weekend in Phoenix. (Photo by Glenn Landberg/SEMOBall.com).

Add to the fact that 6-foot-6, 188-pound swingman has managed to attract the attention of several pro scouts while appearing in each of SEMO’s 29 games, and it’s no wonder the possibility exists that this mid-major standout could very well find himself auditioning for an NBA roster spot in the foreseeable future.

According to DraftExpress.com, Cleveland is ranked amongst the nation’s top 15 seniors and is rated No. 99 amongst the top 100 prospects, which means if the NBA Draft took place today, the 23-year Cleveland would, in all likelihood, sign as an unrestricted free agent.

All things considered, what is extremely pivotal for Cleveland at this point is to earn an invite to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament April 12-15 in Portsmouth, Virginia.

While his chances appear favorable, Cleveland contends that isn’t his primary focus.

“I don’t think it’s something I’ve been thinking about as much,” Cleveland said. “Right now, I’m just focusing on the season and finishing the year strong, although I’m just as talented as anybody else.”

To his credit, Cleveland certainly has been dubbed one of college basketball’s best dunkers.

Last week, SEMO announced that Cleveland is among 16 finalists for the 2017 Dark Horse Dunker competition and that he is in the running to compete in the State Farm College Slam Dunk Championship Final Four weekend in Phoenix.

VOTE FOR ANTONIUS: http://gosoutheast.com/news/2017/2/13/mens-basketball-voting-begins-for-dark-horse-dunker-competition.aspx?path=mbball.

The mostly soft-spoken Cleveland, who was informed this week that he has advanced to the round of eight, seemed somewhat surprised by the news.

SHOW ME YOUR SKILLSAs for increasing his NBA stock, Cleveland, who isn’t listing among the 60 picks in NBADraft.net’s latest mock draft that was released on February 16, said the Redhawks earning an automatic to the NCAA Tournament could allow him to generate more exposure as a mid-major prospect. “I think it’s important, because it’ll say a lot about your program,” Cleveland said. And, as for myself, it’ll be a boost as far as people realizing who I am.” (Photo by Andrew Whitaket/SEMOBall.com)

“Our SID (Jeff Honza) told me that I was nominated and I told him I was cool with it,” Cleveland said. “The school has done a great job of promoting it. I think I’ve got a good chance and my chances are pretty good.”

As for increasing his NBA stock, Cleveland, who isn’t listing among the 60 picks in NBADraft.net’s latest mock draft that was released on February 16, said the Redhawks earning an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament essentially could allow him to generate more exposure as a legitimate mid-major prospect.

“I think it’s important, because it’ll say a lot about your program,” Cleveland said. And, as for myself, it’ll be a boost as far as people realizing who I am.”

Much like the gallery that will be making the 2 1/2-hour trip from Memphis to Cape Girardeau, Missouri to witness him play for his final home game.

 

Andre Johnson is Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter 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.