Tag Archives: NCAA Basketball

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

MEKHI’S MAD SKILLZ

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

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

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

LOOK! IT’S DA BIG DIESEL!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


REMEMBER THE NAME 

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

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

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


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

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

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

YOUNG AND GIFTED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

But wait. She isn’t finished.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


ARIZONA MADNESS 

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

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

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

As if anyone should be surprised.


A RELATED STORY:

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


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

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

Winners BBQ has been nothing short of remarkable since its 2015 Dallas/Fort Worth inception


“The highest human act is to inspire.”Late superstar rapper Nipsey Hussle


WINNER’S CIRCLE 

DOING IT BIG IN TEXAS — A former Iowa State football standout, DeAndre Jackson had ultimately delved off into the ever-so-competitive world of entrepreneurship as the proud founder of Winners BBQ, a family-owned restaurant that has established three franchises since its inception in 2015.

DUNCANVILLE, Texas — If there’s one thing that DeAndre Jackson has learned as a former athlete, it’s how to make good on a seemingly unfavorable situation.

Consider, for instance, how when Jackson’s bid to land on an NFL roster spot fell short amid a career-ending ACL injury, he diligently had become resourceful in that he miraculously found his niche, both as an athletic trainer and real estate agent.
Much to his delight, things for the Garland, Texas native would only get better.
A former Iowa State standout, Jackson had ultimately delved off into the ever-so-competitive world of entrepreneurship as the proud founder of Winners BBQ, a family-owned restaurant that has established three franchises since its inception in 2015.

MORE ON WINNERS BBQ: https://www.facebook.com/winnersbbq/

https://m.facebook.com/winnersbbqaustin/

THEY ARE LIT — Winners BBQ, in fact, has become a fixture throughout North Texas, in large part because consumers have come to enjoy — and embrace — its delectable meat plates, meat by the pound, its assortment of sandwiches, not to mention its smoked turkey legs, as well as its distinctly unique meat loaded potato that’s famously deemed “The G.O.AT.”

Winners BBQ’s original location is housed at 3200 14th Street in nearby Plano. A popular Dallas/Fort Worth restaurant that Jackson owns along with his cousin, Tevin Jackson, Tevin’s wife, former University of Texas and professional track and field star Nichole Denby-Jackson, Winners BBQ has since added two locations — one in Cedar Hill and in Austin.

Following what the Jacksons described as “massive success” of the Plano location, DeAndre opened Winners BBQ Cedar Hill in 2017, and in less than three months ago, Nichole, Tevin, and Nichole’s sister, Nichale,  opened the Austin location. 

For DeAndre Jackson and Co., it’s been all good ever since.


RED ZONE EFFICIENCY 

To their credit, the Jacksons have gone to great lengths to form what has become an All-Star lineup of Winners BBQ CEOs.

“We pride ourselves on bringing flavorful craft BBQ with having a one-of-a-kind menu and delivering exceptional customer service,” Nichole Denby-Jackson told Making Headline News this week.

Winners BBQ, in fact, has become a fixture throughout North Texas, in large part because consumers have come to enjoy — and embrace — its delectable meat plates, meats by the pound, its assortment of sandwiches, not to mention its smoked turkey legs, as well as its distinctly unique meat loaded potato that’s famously deemed “The G.O.AT.”

Following what the Jacksons described as “massive success” of the Plano location, DeAndre opened Winners BBQ Cedar Hill in 2017, and in less than three months ago, Nichole, Tevin, and Nichole’s sister, Nichale,  opened the Austin location. For DeAndre Jackson and Co., it’s been all good ever since.

And then there are Winners BBQ’s mouth-watering sides and its kids menu, not to mention its sweet and tangy BBQ sauce and its flavor-packed dry rub, which takes all of its smoked meats to “another level of flavor,” DeAndre Jackson acknowledged.

Interestingly, Winners BBQ has earned mentions in a slew of food publications, trends that have given way to this star-studded restaurant chain having garnered a host of food awards and magazine honors.


“As high profile collegiate and professional athletes, we are highly competitive by nature and this competitiveness and drive spill over into every faucet of our lives,” DeAndre Jackson explained. “Sports is what we all have in common, and the discipline, dedication, perseverance, mental toughness, sacrifice, motivation, and determination that athletics have instilled in us has taught us very valuable life lessons and how to never quit, no matter what curve balls life throw your way.”


To their credit, the Jacksons have gone to great lengths to form what has become an All-Star lineup of Winners BBQ CEOs.

Surely, their competitive drive as former athletes has contributed mightily to their sustained entrepreneurship success.

For starters, DeAndre and Tevin Jackson, both were legitimate hopeful to land NFL contracts before injuries reduced their effectiveness, thus bringing their careers to unceremoniously ends.

ON A MISSION — As for the Jacksons’ mission for having delved off into entrepreneurship, what it all boils down, they said, is devising ways to leave a legacy for their children — and their children’s children.

Both, in fact, had sustained torn ACL’s, and were forced to tackle — and sack — what they label as the “real world” for the first time in a long time.

And then there was Nichole, a Los Angeles native, who was the catalyst of Texas’ track and field program that captured a national championship before she enjoyed a professional stint with Nike and Adidas that spanned a decade.

Interestingly, Nichole maintained a top-10 world ranking and represented the U. S. on its World Championship Team, as well as served as an alternate on the U. S. Olympic team.

Winners BBQ’s original location is housed at 3200 14th Street in nearby Plano. A popular Dallas/Fort Worth restaurant that Jackson owns along with his cousin, Tevin Jackson, and Tevin’s wife, former University of Texas and professional track and field star Nichole Denby-Jackson, Winners BBQ has since added two locations — one in Cedar Hill and in Austin.

As for the Jacksons’ mission for having delved off into entrepreneurship, what it all boils down, they said, is devising ways to leave a legacy for their children — and their children’s children.

“My personal mission is to be able to pass down something for my children to own and start them off at an even better place in life than I was,” Nichole said. “I would also love to use my platform to motivate and inspire others, whether that be on speaking panels, through a published book, public appearances, and various events or seminars.

“Another mission is to have enough financial freedom for me to give back to many communities through charitable acts of kindness and build water wells in certain parts of Africa for those without clean water,” Nichole added. “We are all big on philanthropy and are big advocates for our community.”

DeAndre and Tevin Jackon both were legitimate hopeful to land NFL contracts before injuries reduced their effectiveness, thus bringing their careers to unceremoniously end. Both, in fact, sustained torn ACL’s, and were both forced to tackle — and sack — the real world for the first time in a long time.

In addition, the Jacksons announced strategic plans to create what they call the “WINspiration Foundation,” an organization that would allow them to display their notable philanthropy efforts.

“Something that I learned from the late great Nipsey Hussle is that the highest human act is to inspire,” Nichole said. “If I can use my platform to reach at least one person — I would love to inspire many — I would be happy.”

Said DeAndre Jackson: “It is important to pass down knowledge and wisdom to better those around you and make them want to become the best versions of themselves and to be able to pass down and instill these things in the next generation which will pick up the baton as it will be their turn to run the world.”

Just as the Jacksons are presently doing as successful entrepreneurs — this after having made good on seemingly unfavorable situations.

Talk about true Winners.


For more information about Texas entrepreneurs DeAndre Jackson, Nichole Denby-Jackson, Tevin Jackson and Nichale of Winners BBQ, call 972.424-2400 (Plano), 205.572-0256 (Cedar Hill), 512.861.5066 (Austin), or connect with Winners BBQ via Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/winnersbbq/


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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.

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.

 

Atlanta-area author Sadie Evans experienced the ‘spirit of healing’ through her new book


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)


DALLAS — Truth be told, Sadie Evans knew all along.

She knew that when adversity surfaced in her life to challenge her faith, God had her covered.

She knew that when he faith was seemingly on the brink of evaporating, God had her covered.

She knew that even when it seemed that her ability to walk in victory appeared virtually  insurmountable, God had her covered.

She knew that in spite of every tear she released into the atmosphere, God had her covered.

GRACEFUL WOMAN 

PURPOSED FOR PAIN — A book that is a few weeks removed from its much-anticipated release, Atlanta-area author Sadie Evans is the mastermind behind “Graceful Tears: Cries From A Gracefully Broken Woman.”

Because truth be told, there was a silver-lining attached to all of those times she was left weeping — one that came wrapped up in a book that figures to advance the kingdom for such a pivotal time as now.

“The vision for this book was given to me in 2014, but because of life circumstances, I could not complete it,” Evans, an Atlanta-area author, told Making Headline News this week.

BUY SADIE’S BOOK HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Graceful-Tears-Cries-Gracefully-Broken-ebook/dp/B07NKNLPHB

Released officially on February 8, 2019, Evans’ “Graceful Tears: Cries From A Gracefully Broken Woman” was assembled through what this authors describes as “life’s hardships and storms,” many of which were meant to break her, according to a detailed breakdown of Evans’ book at Amazon.com.

Despite the flurry of developments that essentially proved to be temporary barricades as it pertains to Evans finishing her book, she managed to demonstrate enough faith to press on through her project until it eventually became an awe-inspiring masterpiece.

A book that is a few weeks removed from its much-anticipated release, Evans is the mastermind behind “Graceful Tears: Cries From A Gracefully Broken Woman.”

Released officially on February 8, 2019, Evans’ “Graceful Tears: Cries From A Gracefully Broken Woman” was assembled through what this authors appropriately describes as “life’s hardships and storms,” many of which were meant to break her, according to a detailed breakdown of Evans’ book at Amazon.com.

PEEP THIS — As for the divine message she aspires to send to her reading audience through her first book, Evans stressed, among other things, that God’s people must adopt the mindset to press diligently through life’s difficulties, even when things are falling apart.

“God’s grace kept me when I couldn’t keep myself,” Evans said in the introduction of her book at Amazon.com. “All the tears I shed and we shed, God sees them and He will never leave us or forsake us. You will never look at storms in life the same after reading this book on life, lessons, faith, triumph, and perseverance.”


A book that is comprised of 54 pages in length, Evans’ “Graceful Tears: Cries From A Gracefully Broken Woman” was produced largely as a strategic way to help people from various walks of life, most notably those who struggle to see God’s grace in their live, yet realize that because of His grace, we are still here and walking out our destiny regardless of the dark seasons we go through,” Evans emphasized.

BUT GOD — Despite the flurry of developments that essentially proved to be temporary barricades as it pertains to Evans finishing her book, she managed to demonstrate enough faith to press on through her project until it eventually became a finished project.

As for the divine message she aspires to send to her reading audience through her first book, Evans stressed, among other things, that God’s people must adopt the mindset to press diligently through life’s difficulties, even when things are falling apart.

“(You’ve got to) have faith to know that if God is for us, nothing can be against us,” Evans says with such authority.

Much to her delight, the feedback since the release of Evans’ book has been overwhelmingly favorable.

“(People have said this is a) very powerful and anointed book,” Evans said. “People have retraced their steps in life and apologized to children, letting go of fear and increasing their faith in God.”

Interestingly, Evans said her new book has become a spiritual gut-checking resource, of sorts, particularly as it relates to her own ability to heal.

“This book has healed me and made me realize that even with all that I went through — rejection, childhood trauma, domestic violence, and being a single mother of five kids — God was there every step of the way,” Evans explained. “Also, it made me realize how vital self-love is, because I was lacking self-love. I fell into any of these (unhealthy) situations.”

Now that she’s made her authorship debut, Evans has announced that Book No. 2 is presently in the works. The title: “Learning To Love Thyself,” which is scheduled to be released this summer.

In addition, she will be hosting her first empowerment conference that is scheduled for October 12, 2019.

“I am a single mother of five children that did not allow the generational curses that were on my family or the stigma that being a single mother carries stop me,” Evans, a native of Omaha, Nebraska, said. “I recently relocated to Georgia from Nebraska on my own to make a better life for myself and my children.

BUY SADIE’S BOOK HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Graceful-Tears-Cries-Gracefully-Broken-ebook/dp/B07NKNLPHB

UP NEXT — Now that she’s made her authorship debut, Evans has announced that Book No. 2 is presently in the works. The title: “Learning To Love Thyself,” which is scheduled to be released this summer.

“I am also a first generation college grad and business owner,” Evans continued. “With God the Head of my life, I am pulling down strongholds of poverty and the curses that have plagued my family for decades.”

Truth be told, she knew all along — knew that when adversity had surfaced in her life to challenge her faith, God had her covered.

Every step of the way.


For more information about Atlanta-area Author Sadie Evans, or to schedule her for a public appearance, a book signing or speaking engagement, connect with her via Facebook under: https://www.facebook.com/sadie.evans.31. Also, send email to: evanssadie1989@gmail.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.

Nashville businesswoman Tamica Ross’ organization helping people ‘make their dreams a reality’


Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9 NIV)


DALLAS — Just before 10 p.m. CST on Sunday, Tamica Ross took to her Facebook page, where she shared with the masses a rather spirited, blissful announcement.

Said Ross to her gallery of social media followers: Hello FB Friends and Family! I am so excited to announce my upcoming news article. I’m making headlines. Thanking God for this awesome opportunity.


WOMAN OF EXCELLENCE 

DESTINY STEPS — A native of West Tennessee — most notably the Jackson area that is housed in Madison County — Tamica Ross is the Founder and CEO of Lanese Empowerment, a Nashville-based company that is centered largely on inspiring and aiding individuals, particularly youths, as well as young adult men and women.
For Ross, a Mid-South-area businesswoman, she has every right to share of some favorable news that, much to her delight, is a pivotal reminder of just how much God is using her for His glory.
“This business was birthed by (my) own deep desires and determination to live my best life despite the challenges of growing up in an underprivileged environment, where I became a teenage mother at the age of 16 years old,” Ross, during a weekend interview with Making Headline News, said of her quest in establishing what has emerged as a credible endeavor.

WHAT ABOUT TAMICA’S ORGANIZATION? www.laneseempowerment.com

A native of West Tennessee — most notably the Jackson area that is housed in Madison County — Ross is the Founder and CEO of Lanese Empowerment, a Nashville-based company that is centered largely on inspiring and aiding individuals, particularly youths, as well as young adult men and women.

As Ross specifically acknowledged, amongst her coaching venture’s strategic objectives is to empower individuals to live their best lives and, most importantly, to make all their dreams a reality.


“Tamica is on a mission to touch over a million people by empowering them to turn fear into faith, passion into purpose, confusion into clarity, gain self-confidence, and the tools needed to take action now, one step at a time on a journey well done,” said a spokesperson for Ross’ Lanese Empowerment. “She is determined to help those with deep desires to help themselves, reach their full potential, and have fun doing it while living their best lives and making all their dreams a reality.”


For Ross, establishing her coaching organization didn’t merely come easy. Not by a long shot.

According to the Chester County High School graduate, arguably the greatest challenge she faced was attracting sustained support from people she sensed had endured similar hardships with which she once struggled.

DREAMING BIG — Interestingly and to her distinctly unique credit, Ross’ venture has come full circle, courtesy of her resiliency through life coaching, free tools and resources, speaking engagements, writing books, providing scholarship funds, summer youth programs, yearly conferences for men and women, and through D.R.E.A.M.S.

Not to be outdone, though, Ross’ thought process was such that if she would persevere long enough, she’d ultimately reap and possess and results she so desperately sought.

The rest, as they say, was history, considering she did just that.

“I refuse to be that person who was afraid to help others succeed,” Ross said. “Therefore, I have dedicated the rest of my life as a life strategist for others with the mission to empower all people, including men, women, and youths to be the best they can be and help make their dreams a reality.”

Interestingly and to her distinctly unique credit, Ross’ venture has come full circle, courtesy of her resiliency through life coaching, free tools and resources, speaking engagements, writing books, providing scholarship funds, summer youth programs, yearly conferences for men and women, and through D.R.E.A.M.S.

HARVEST SEASON UNFOLDING

An academy that’s comprised of a six week training program D.R.E.A.M.S. is designed to walk people through the steps needed to make any dream a reality and live their best lives one day at a time, Ross emphasized.

Having resided in Nashville for the past decade-and-a-half, Ross holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership and Communication from Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee.

Consequently, she earned a Master’s in Organizational Management from Nashville’s Belmont University.

As for her coaching organization, she said such inspiration arose from the wide counsel of her mother, whom she says was “strong enough” to beat a drug addiction.

According to the Chester County High School graduate, arguably the biggest challenge she faced was attracting sustained support from people she sensed had endured similar hardships with which she once struggled.

“My grandmother and stepfather have always seen the very best in me,” said Ross, paying homage to others to have paved the way to her success. “My godfather, who has always been a transformational leader in my life, my godmother, who taught me how to love God with all my heart, my children, whom I am dedicated to showing how to live your best life, and some wonderful mentors and leaders in the industry such as Tony Robbins, Valerie Burton, and even Oprah (Winfrey)…as an African American successful women, who started from the bottom and now look at what she has become.”

Given the immeasurable strides Ross has made since the startup of Lanese Empowerment, it’s safe to assume her best and brightest days are well ahead of her — days that will include, among other things, the forthcoming release of her starting lineup of books.

“She is looking forward to releasing her new book series,” said a spokesperson for Ross’ organization.

All things considered, Ross is giddy in that she can finally profess she’s walking fervently in her God-ordained purpose.

Having resided in Nashville for the past decade-and-a-half, Ross holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership and Communication from Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee. Consequently, she earned a Master’s in Organizational Management from Nashville’s Belmont University.

“I was told when I started this business that I needed to define a niche,” Ross said. “Well I did and that’s all people who have the desire and passion to live an extraordinary life despite the challenges of bad credit, debt, failed marriages, loss of a job, low self-esteem, terrible childhood, underprivileged environments, or lack of joy in their hearts, confusion about their path in life, bad grades, teenage pregnancy, drug addiction, and even those who need clarity on their career paths.

“God didn’t put me on this earth to help everyone, because I know there are some they I may not be able to reach. However, there are more that I can reach, and I am looking forward to giving it all I got.”

That, to her credit, is worthy of making headlines.


For more information about Nashville-area Businesswoman/Author Tamica Ross of Lanese Empowerment, or to schedule her for a public appearance, a book signing or speaking engagement, connect with her via Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/tamica.ross.75. Also, send email to: laneseempowerment@gmail.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.

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.