Tag Archives: Maxpreps.com

New Jersey prep football standout Kavon Chambers clinging to high hopes of acquiring a scholarship

HOLDIN’ IT DOWN

LEADER OF THE PACK — To his credit, Kavon Chambers has held his own as one of Saint John Vianney’s marquee players. A 5-foot-11, 205-pound speedy running back, Chambers has turned in valiant contributions for a Lancers, a Holmdel, New Jersey-based private institution that opens postseason play November 15 at Donovan Catholic, according to Maxpreps.com.

Kavon Chambers entered the 2019 campaign for Saint John Vianney High, assuming the businesslike approach.

That’s because Chambers is a senior, meaning as far as he’s concerned, he had to strategically devise ways to — you know — get the most out of his final year as a prep football player.
“(I’m) giving each and every play my all and trying to get to 1-0 every week with my team,” Chambers told Making Headline News during a recent interview.
To his credit, Chambers has held his own as one of Saint John Vianney’s marquee players. A 5-foot-11, 205-pound speedy running back, Chambers has turned in valiant contributions for a Lancers, a Holmdel, New Jersey-based private institution that opens postseason play November 15 at Donovan Catholic, according to Maxpreps.com.
COLLEGE PARTY — While Chambers’ quest to sign a National Letter of Intent in the coming months remains a mystery, the possibility exists that his dream of playing college football could become a reality. According to Chambers, he’s garnered letters of interest from Purdue, East Carolina, the University of Buffalo, the University of Richmond, Central Connecticut, Princeton, and Rutgers.

In a year he’s dubs a crucial one, considering he’s lobbying to play at the collegiate level, Chambers has gone to great lengths to turn the heads of scouts and recruiters.

Through eight games to date, he’s amassed 653 yards on 84 carries, according to stats obtained through Maxpreps.com.

His biggest game occurred in 33-0 win over visiting Freehold Boro on October 11 during which he manufactured 209 rushing yards on 12 carries and three scores for a Saint John Vianney squad that won two of its last four outings en route to advancing to the playoffs.

Through eight regular season games, Chambers averaged 93.3 yards per outing and 7.8 yards per carry.

In a year he’s dubs a crucial one, considering he’s lobbying to play at the collegiate level, Chambers has gone to great lengths to turn the heads of scouts and recruiters.

Interestingly, while he admittedly could have done more to boost his recruiting stock during the course of his prep tenure, Chambers doesn’t shy away from the notion that he undoubtedly has what it takes to play at the next level.

“I just need a chance to make it happen,” said Chambers, when asked what he’d like for college scouts to know about him. “Whatever college offers me a scholarship will be getting a motivated and determined student athlete that works each and every day to be great.”

Chambers’ father, Marcus Chamber, his mother, Jessica M. Zamot, are amongst those who have witnessed their son’s progress on the field in recent years.

Like so many others who say Kavon possesses the mechanics to play collegiate ball,  his parents are hopeful their son earns a fair chance.


“(Coaches and scouts) say that he’s a good, all-around person and athlete on and off the field and that he is a Division 1 player with a bright future ahead of him,” said Marcus Chambers, assessing his son’s overall body of work. “I was astounded, but knew since the day one he was born he had greatness in him. The sky is the limit for my son, because he can do all things thru Christ that strengthens him.”


While Kavon Chambers’ quest to sign a National Letter of Intent in the coming months remains a mystery, the possibility exists that his dream of playing college football could very well become a reality.

According to Kavon, he’s garnered letters of interest from Purdue, East Carolina, the University of Buffalo, the University of Richmond, Central Connecticut, Princeton, and Rutgers.

Not bad for a solid student athlete whom, as he prepares for postseason play in mid-November, realizes he’s still afforded the golden opportunity to make a favorable impression, particularly with regards to fulfilling his ultimate goal.


PRAYING WITHOUT CEASING

“(I’m) giving each and every play my all and trying to get to 1-0 every week with my team,” Chambers told Making Headline News during a recent interview.

As Kavon emphasized, though, he’s taking it one game at a time — postseason included.

“(I’m) giving (it my) all each and every day and not letting any days go by without working hard,” Kavon said. “I’ve got three younger brothers who look up to me, and everything I do is for them and my family.”

All of which practically sums up why this gifted student athlete is committed to assuming the businesslike approach.

Every single chance he gets.


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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.

Texas prep football player Elijah E. Harvey: ‘I just don’t wanna stop playing after high school’

CRUNCH TIME AUDITION 

LOFTY GOALS — The catalyst of a Sandcrab offensive unit as one of the team’s featured rushers, Elijah Harvey said his primary focus is centered largely on helping propel Calhoun to a region title and, most importantly, a lengthy postseason run.

DALLAS — Just recently, Elijah Harvey was asked to assess the overall landscape of his performance as a member of the Calhoun High football program.

As usual, he was rather forthright and straight to the point.
“I think I’ve done pretty good since the coaches switched me from linebacker to outside linebacker for last season,” Harvey told Making Headline News this week.
For Harvey, a speedy 5-foot-10, 215-pound senior, he’s certainly proven to be an integral part of a Calhoun defensive unit that has emerged amongst Texas 5A-2 Region IV District 15’s finest.
The catalyst of a Sandcrab offensive unit as one of the team’s featured rushers, Harvey said his primary focus is centered largely on helping to propel Calhoun to a region title and, most importantly, a lengthy postseason run.
The Sandcrabs enjoyed a 10-4 campaign last year, which ended in a 48–17 loss to district rival Calallen in the region final in San Antonio.
ON THE CLOCK — Fortunately for Elijah, he’s certainly got time — six more regular season games and hopeful a satisfactory postseason run, to put it more precisely — to emerge as a late bloomer amongst college scouts, this after a summer in which his schedule did not allow for him to attend any football camps. (Photo by Kellie Whitaker)

With Calhoun carrying a 2-1 mark into Friday night’s region opener at Gregory-Portland, Harvey also doesn’t shy away from the notion that this undoubtedly is a crucial time in his final prep season.

That’s because Harvey admittedly is auditioning for the chance to play football at the collegiate level. He especially remains hopeful he does the necessary things that would subsequently draw the attention of scouts and recruiters.

Surely, there’s still a lot of football left to play, although he’s approaching every week as if he’s got something to prove.

In actuality, he does. And he knows it.

“Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning,” said Harvey, alluding to his arguably his crucial days of the week during which he enhances his conditioning schedule.

Besides playing on the amateur circuit years ago, Elijah’s older brother, Malik also is amongst a few fellow family members who have inspired him to stick with football.

According Harvey’s father, Leonard Harvey, he sensed that dating back to his son’s amateur playing days, he was destined to go a long ways on the gridiron.

“When he was small, he used to carry a football are a basketball everywhere he go,” Leonard Harvey recalled. “When he was five years old, what we have called CCYFL is like Pop Warner. I knew he was good, but as a parent, you always think your kid is good.”

The more Elijah’s parents began to sign him up to play at the competitive level, the more his football mechanics were noticed by people outside of the Harvey household.


“When other people start telling you how special your kid, is my first response was (I was) happy that he found something he loves so early in life,” Leonard Harvey said of his son’s football skills. “But then as a parent, I was scared every game, hoping and praying he doesn’t get hurt.”


All things considered, placing his son on field has been a risk worth taking, in large part because as far as Elijah is concerned, he simply could go on without football.

Now we know why, given he diligently boasts lofty aspirations of playing beyond high school.

So far, so good for this multi-sport athlete who, much to his delight, has drawn interest from at least school: Southwestern University in nearby Georgetown, Texas.


FOR STARTERS

According Harvey’s father, Leonard Harvey, he sensed that dating back to his son’s amateur playing days, he was destined to go a long ways on the gridiron.

Could other schools come calling with so much football left to play, with so much more to prove by a kid who’s been playing competitive football for nearly all of his young life?

“(They will be getting a) hard-working player who’s always ready to practice and have fun,” said Elijah Harvey, when asked what kind of player would a college inherit if it extends to him an offer. “I’m as serious as I can be and I will be ready for any moment they need me in.”

Besides playing on the amateur circuit years ago, Elijah’s older brother, Malik, is amongst a few fellow family members who have inspired him to stick with football.

With Calhoun carrying a 2-1 mark into Friday region opener at Gregory-Portland, Harvey also doesn’t shy away from the notion that this undoubtedly is a crucial time in his final prep season. (Photo by Kellie Whitaker)

Fortunately for Elijah, he’s certainly got time — six more regular season games and hopefully a satisfactory postseason run, to put it more precisely — to emerge as a late bloomer amongst college scouts, this after a summer in which his schedule did not allow for him to attend any football camps.

“I always tell him that there is no limit and that anything is possible,” Leonard Harvey said of his son’s display to this point. “I tell him he can do anything and that he has to work for it, has to be coachable.”

Especially long before Friday nights under the lights.


For Harvey, a speedy 5-foot-10, 215-pound senior, he’s certainly proven to be an integral part of a Calhoun defensive unit that has emerged amongst Texas 5A-2 Region IV District 15’s finest.

“(I tell him) when others are at home watching games, you have to be outside practicing, getting better, always wanting to get better and never being satisfied where you are.”

Talk about being rather forthright and straight to the point to his son, a kid who boasts a never-say-die attitude on and off the field, a trend he’s confident some college program will ultimately embrace.

“I love the game,” Eiljah Harvey said. “I just don’t wanna stop after high school. I wanna see how long I can keep this going for myself. Everything about it, I know I can do it, so why stop now when I can prove myself to more people?”


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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.

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.

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.

Collierville offensive lineman Kendarius Malone’s mother writes him an open letter as he lobbies for football scholarship

MEMPHIS — Kendarius Malone can be appropriately described as an opportunistic student athlete.

STOCK RISING — Aside from helping steer the Collierville High to a third place finish in the always rugged 6A Region 7 district, Kendarius Malone enjoyed a resourceful, yet crucial senior season which, to his credit, had given way to at least one college thrusting him under its radar. According to the 17-year-old Collierville native, Mid-South Conference member Kentucky Christian University has expressed interest in Malone, who earned All-Region Honorable Mention for his valiant contributions.

Consider, for instance, how Malone, who recently wrapped up his prep football tenure for Collierville High, had gone about doing the necessary things to enhance his stock as he continues to lobby for a full ride scholarship.

A 6-foot, 260-pound left tackle, Malone made appearances — thus made his presence felt — this past spring and summer during camps at the University of Memphis, Belhaven College, Austin Peay State, not to mention the Team USA Camp.

“In the Team USA Camp, I made it to the final round to be able to play for the United States,” an enthused Malone told Making Headline News this week. “However, I had to withdraw so that I would not lose my eligibility to play for my senior year because of TSSAA rules.”

Although Malone didn’t savor the chance to showcase his football mechanics for his country, his immeasurable body of work, nevertheless, undoubtedly was nothing short of impressive.

For starters, he was the catalyst his senior campaign for a Collierville team that finished the season with a 5-6 overall record, but still managed to advance to the opening round of the TSSAA state playoffs.


EYE OF THE DRAGON

SOMEONE SIGN THIS KID — Malone, who recently wrapped up his prep football tenure for Collierville High, had gone about doing the necessary things to enhance his stock as he continues to lobby for a full ride scholarship.

Aside from helping steer the Dragons to a third place finish in the always rugged 6A Region 7 district, Malone enjoyed a resourceful, yet crucial senior season which, to his credit, had given way to at least one college thrusting him under its radar.

According to the 17-year-old Collierville native, Mid-South Conference member Kentucky Christian University has expressed interest in Malone, who earned All-Region Honorable Mention for his valiant contributions.

“I would say that I had an excellent season,” Malone said.

Much to Malone’s delight, no can attest to how great a season he enjoyed more than his mother, Jennifer Bogan.

ALL AMERICAN IN HIS OWN RIGHT — A 6-foot, 260-pound left tackle, Malone made it appearance — thus made his presence felt — this past spring and summer during camps at the University of Memphis, Belhaven College, Austin Peay State, not to mention the Team USA Camp.

Hours after the Collierville’s team banquet Monday night, Bogan took to her Facebook page, where she assembled an open letter to her son in relatively loving, emotional fashion.

Said Bogan in a spirited, tear-jerking, early morning post that was made public before her nearly-400 social media followers:


Congratulations to Kendarius on a wonderful time at the CHS football banquet. You didn’t receive the top award that you wanted, but baby, the champion lies within your heart. You fought a great battle, and to even see last night happen and for that, there is no trophy, certificate, banner, or plaque worthy enough to symbolize how blessed you are after all that you have been through. You didn’t lose sight of your dreams and didn’t lose your faith in seeing your senior football season happen! Your story is still unfinished. The reason of this path is still unknown, but what we do know is there is purpose behind every situation! The thing I love about you is no matter what, you have not gotten discouraged and still hours later, you looked on to what’s getting ready to happen in the next chapter and the next doors that’s opening, and for that I’m sooo proud of you! Again, congratulations on the award you did receive…keep going and keep having the heart of a champion in all the things you do…with God, ALL things are possible!!! Mama loves you! 


Talk about an encouraging, open letter for the ages — this from a mother whom, years ago, didn’t sense her son would become engaged in athletics.

“I never thought that Kendarius would play football, because he was never interested in sports growing up,” Bogan, a Pharmacy Technician Supervisor at Baptist Memorial Hospital, said. “He was in the shadows of his older brother’s basketball teams, being the water boy. I never thought he would play football until he started his eighth year at First Assembly Christian School and the coaches kept begging him to play and told me that they see so much potential in him.

HOLDING IT DOWN — Malone was the catalyst his senior campaign for a Collierville team that finished the season with a 5-6 overall record, but still managed to advance to the opening round of the TSSAA state playoffs.

“However, I didn’t think anything of it and had said ‘No’ to him playing football until one day he came home with pads, and a consent form.”

Malone, as Bogan recalled, was 14 years old at the time.

A little more than three years removed from having come home with a consent form to play competitive football, Bogan’s son now finds himself just one National Letter of Intent signing away from attending college free of charge.

What a difference having initially assumed the role as a water boy has made.

When asked what kind of player will a college be inheriting if he’s offered a football scholarship, Malone said, “A player that is passionate about the game of football… (one who is) ready to learn and be taught how to excel at the college level, a player that is open to all possibilities, and one the will give 110 percent on every snap and every down.

That, after all, practically sums up why he can be appropriately described as an opportunistic student athlete.


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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.

 

 

Lewisville High football standout Tahj Martin: ‘It is a dream for me to play college football’

LEWISVILLE, Texas — Tahj Martin is just a tender 15-year-old student athlete.

A great, big gigantic one, that is.

Consider, for instance, Martin’s massive frame that is comprised of his standing 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 261 pounds which, to his credit, is practically equivalent of an NFL lineup.


FRESHMAN SENSATION

UNDER THE RADAR — Assuming roles on both sides of the ball as a left tackle and defensive end for Lewisville coach Michael Odle’s squad, Tahj Martin enjoyed a significant amount of action this past season for the Farmers as his stock amongst college scouts and recruiters increased mightily in the process.

Speaking of the NFL, Martin doesn’t shy away from the notion that playing football on Sundays undoubtedly is amongst his major long-term ambitions.

But first thing’s first: blossoming as a rising prep footballer.

“I am a hard working athlete, who has come from very humble surroundings,” Martin told Making Headline News during a weekend interview. “I am a magnet and people gravitate to me, because of my winning personality and attitude.”

A triumphant mentality certainly highlights Martin’s assortment of key attributes as a true freshman for Lewisville (Texas) High’s football team.

 

STOCK IS RISING — With so much high school football ahead of him, Martin has already garnered interests from Texas Christian University and the University of Texas.

Martin, in fact, is coming off of a productive and breakthrough season for an upstart Lewisville team that finished the 2018 campaign with a 9-3 mark, including an impressive 6-1 record in 6A Region I District 6, second only to conference rival Flower Mound.

Assuming roles on both sides of the ball as a left tackle and defensive end for coach Michael Odle’s squad, Martin enjoyed a significant amount of action for the Farmers as his stock amongst college scouts and recruiters increased mightily in the process.

No one, it seems, can attest to his notion more than his father, Geoffrey Grant Martin, who’s thoroughly convinced that his son is making a strong case that his prep football career will culminate with him signing a National Letter of Intent.

TEXAS-SIZED IMPACT — Martin is coming off of a productive and breakthrough season for an upstart Lewisville team that finished the 2018 campaign with a 9-3 mark, including an impressive 6-1 record in 6A Region I District 6, second only to conference rival Flower Mound.

“Tahj has grown tremendously both on the field and off,” Geoffrey Grant said. “He’s gained a level of confidence and passion for not only his role on the team, but for the entire team itself, all while maintaining his grades academically.”

All things considered, Martin’s favorable display as a true freshmen for the Farmers has, in fact, given way to a few college scouts deeming it essential to thrust him under their radar.

With so much high school football ahead of him, Martin has already garnered interests from Texas Christian University and the University of Texas.

DOING IT BIG IN TEXAS — Martin’s massive frame that is comprised of his standing 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 261 pounds which, to his credit, is practically equivalent of an NFL lineup.

Given the immeasurable impact he’s had thus far in his prep career, expect that list to expand much sooner than later.

“It is a dream for me (to play college football), because I am made and built for the sport of football,” Martin said. “I know that all the years I have been playing will pay off and a college scholarship would be the ultimate satisfaction of all.”

Although he did not attend any camps this past summer because of unforeseen circumstances, Martin was especially active, particularly as it relates to conditioning regularly and monitoring his weight.

“(I would typically workout) Monday and Wednesday mornings and in the afternoons, (and would take part in) cardio training on Saturdays and Sundays,” Martin said. “I also work on healthy eating habits that include making smoothies and protein snacks to build a strong muscle mass.”

DON’T LEAVE ME HANGING — A triumphant mentality certainly highlights Martin’s assortment of key attributes as a true freshman for Lewisville High’s football team.

Despite his overall body of work on and off the field, coupled with the impressive resume he’s established to this point, Martin also doesn’t shy away from the notion that no one has to persuade him not to hit the cruise control button at this point.

Not with so much prep football ahead of him.


“I performed exceptionally well (during the 2018 season), but I still have more work to do. I’ve got to work more on dropping into coverage. I have to work on that. My speed needs to improve, but with growth, I know I will get faster.” — Lewisville freshman Tahj Martin


WAITING HIS TURN — All things considered, Martin’s favorable display a true underclassmen for the Farmers has, in fact, given way to a few college scouts deeming it essential to thrust him under their radar.

A pretty wise and thorough assessment, this coming from a tender 15-year-old student athlete.

A great, big gigantic one, that is.

One whose short list of interested colleges undoubtedly is expected to expand much sooner than later.

So stay tuned.


For more information about Lewisville (Texas) High School football standout Tahj Gabriel Martin, connect with him via social media at:

Instagram: @tahjmartin12

Snaphat: tmahal_878

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tahj.martin.1

Twitter: @martin2Tahj


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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.

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duncanville (Texas) High point guard Tyler Watkins making a strong case that he’s worthy of a hoops scholarship

TANTALIZING TYLERA slim, speedy 6-foot-1, 156-pounder, Duncanville High senior point guard Watkins has yet to receive any official offers. However, chances of that changing in the foreseeable future certainly appears likely, considering he’s at least in the discussion amongst the schools that have him under their radar. According to Watkins, Midwestern State, Southern Nazarene, University Of Massachusetts at Lowell, Oklahoma Wesleyan, and Paris Junior College are among the schools that have expressed interest in Watkins, the catalyst of a Duncanville team that is ranked No. 25 in Texas according to Maxpreps.com’s latest poll.

DUNCANVILLE, Texas — Tyler Watkins doesn’t just think he can.

Heck, he’s literally gone from thinking to knowing.

Take, for instance, how late Sunday night, Watkins, a senior point guard for Duncanville (Texas) High, dauntlessly issued a rather bold, spirited declaration when asked what he would like for college scouts and recruiters to know about him, particularly his quest toward garnering an athletic scholarship.

TANTALIZING TYLERA slim, speedy 6-foot-1, 156-pounder, Duncanville High senior point guard Watkins has yet to receive any official offers. However, chances of that changing in the foreseeable future certainly appears likely, considering he’s at least in the discussion amongst the schools that have him under their radar. According to Watkins, Midwestern State, Southern Nazarene, University Of Massachusetts at Lowell, Oklahoma Wesleyan, and Paris Junior College are among the schools that have expressed interest in Watkins, the catalyst of a Duncanville team that is ranked No. 25 in Texas according to Maxpreps.com’s latest poll.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Watkins, reciting the familiar Biblical passage of Philippians 4:13, told Making Headline News.

And just like that, the kid whom, for a majority of his young life, has established a keen reputation that suggest, among other things, that he’s capable of defying the toughest of odds, appears destined to stage the unthinkable.

Once again.

A slim, speedy 6-foot-1, 156-pounder who grew up sleeping with his basketball tucked under his arm, Watkins has yet to receive any official scholarship offers. However, chances of that changing in the foreseeable future certainly appears likely, considering he’s at least in the discussion amongst the schools that have him under their radar.

According to Watkins, Midwestern State, Southern Nazarene, University Of Massachusetts at Lowell, Oklahoma Wesleyan, and Paris Junior College are among the schools that have expressed interest in Watkins, the catalyst of a Duncanville team that is ranked No. 25 in Texas according to Maxpreps.com’s latest poll.

“I’d like colleges to know that I am noticeably  hard-working and a humble ball player,” Watkins said. “I am also highly dedicated to playing basketball and becoming a better player.”

Aside from his mental assertiveness and favorable IQ as the Panthers’ floor general, Watkins acknowledged that amongst his notable strengths is his ability to penetrate and attack the rim, not to mention demonstrating the ability to become the floor facilitator.

TEXAS TOUGH — Aside from his mental assertiveness and favorable IG as the Panthers’ floor general, Watkins acknowledged that his amongst his notable strengths is his ability to penetrate and attack the rim and demonstrating the ability to become the floor facilitators.

Conversely, arguably his most notably weakness, in his estimation, is his inconsistency to shoot from long range, although he possesses an attractive midrange shot and has proven to be an aggressive defender.

“I work on (my mechanics) every single day and I lift weights about three times a week,” Watkins said.

Among those who are especially working diligently to help steer Watkins in the right direction, particularly with regards to upgrading his stock in landing a scholarship, are his parents, Leonard and Wendy Watkins.

Both of whom are Corporate America professionals, Tyler Watkins’ parents have demonstrated unyielding support for a kid who first picked up a basketball at the age of four.

That he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down any time soon, Tyler’s parents, like his teammates and Duncanville’s coaching staff, are hopeful he’s afforded the golden opportunity they sense he deserves — putting his immense skills on display at the collegiate level.

MOM KNOWS BESTThe good news, at least for Tyler Watkins, is that the interest he’s generated in recent months is valid proof that he’s at least being considered for a full ride scholarship. “The sky is the limit for Tyler because never gives up,” Wendy Watkins said. “Tyler goes to the gym seven days a week, and he constantly tells us, ‘No Days Off.’”

“The moment I realized that Tyler may actually have a future in basketball was after several coaches came to me after a tournament handing me their cards saying,  ‘If your son ever needs a team to play for, please call me,’” Leonard Tyler said.

The biggest mystery that remains, particularly at such a crucial stage in their son’s prep basketball career, is at what point will college coaches approach them with that same enthusiasm.

The good news, at least for Tyler Watkins, is that the interest he’s generated in recent months is valid proof that he’s at least being considered for a full ride scholarship.

“The sky is the limit for Tyler because never gives up,” Wendy Watkins said. “Tyler goes to the gym seven days a week, and he constantly tells us, ‘No Days Off.’”

PUTTN’ IN WORK — Aside from his mental assertiveness and favorable IG as the Panthers’ floor general, Watkins acknowledged that his amongst his notable strengths is his ability to penetrate and attack the rim and demonstrating the ability to become the floor facilitators.

Added Leonard Watkins: “Tyler deserves the chance to play on the collegiate level because he is the most hardworking and humble individual I know.”

Not to mention that floor general for an upstart Duncanville team that could stage a dramatic and lengthy postseason run, a trend that, to Tyler Watkins’ credit, would in all likelihood, boost his recruiting stock.

By and large, the good news is he’s still got time to make a favorable impression during what has been a rather compelling scholarship audition.

“The college that offers me will be inheriting both a player and a student dedicated to helping not only myself, but others,” Tyler Watkins said. “I play hard both offensively and defensively.”

That’s because for a kid who boasts lofty aspirations of playing college basketball, he doesn’t just think he can compete with and against the finest players.

Heck, he’s literally gone from thinking to knowing.

 

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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.