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

MEKHI’S MAD SKILLZ

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

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

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

LOOK! IT’S DA BIG DIESEL!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


REMEMBER THE NAME 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spectators included.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Louisiana Tech coach LaMonte Vaughn

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

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

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

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

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

Her previous recorded time in that event was 46.45.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Former Memphis Overton High football player Christopher Patterson savoring brand new start with GSFL’s Mississippi Brawlers

 

FINISHING THE FIGHT — Former Memphis Overton High football standout Christopher Patterson, who was recruited by a host of colleges during his prep tenure, was convinced that all wasn’t lost despite having blown out his knee last year.
Months after an injury that sidelined him for approximately eight months, Patterson suddenly fielded a phone call, one that ultimately gave way to a renewed sense of enthusiasm for a youth athlete who was convinced that his best and brightest days are well ahead of him. Patterson currently plays minor league ball for the Mississippi Brawler of the GSFL.

As far as life goes, it is not what happens to us that defines us.

Rather, it is how we respond in the wake of what happens to us that greatly defines — and redefines — us, especially adversity.

Surely, Christopher Patterson, Jr. can attest mightily to this notion.

Take, for instance, how the 19-year-old Patterson, a former Memphis Overton High football standout, responded after sustaining a devastating ACL tear a little more than a year ago while attending a camp nearby at Itawamba Mississippi Community College.

STARTING OVER — The Mississippi Brawler is a Mid-South-based minor league football nonprofit organization that is affiliated with the Gulf States Football League (or GSFL).
According to its Facebook page, GSFL was designed to measure the play and football mechanics of men ranging in various ages, particularly those who boast a strong passion and love for the sport. In addition, the GSFL is comprised largely of athletes and teams in areas such as Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, team that routinely engage in competitive play in what is deemed an “accredited active league,” according to a spokesperson for the organization.

As far as Patterson was concerned, there was a silver-lining, of sorts, amid an injury that customarily sideline athletes for a lengthy period of time.

“During the eight-month recovering period, my love for the game grew stronger,” Patterson told Making Headline News this week.

That’s because Patterson, who was recruited by a host of colleges during his notable prep tenure, was convinced that all wasn’t lost despite having blown out his knee.

HE’S BAAAACK — Patterson said such a monumental opportunity would not have surfaced if not for the continuous support of his mother, Kimberly Patterson, his girlfriend, Destiney Harris, and his younger brother, Jamaa’l Patterson.
And then, of course, the quality of athlete with whom he plays is benefiting him in various aspects.

Months later, he suddenly fielded a phone call, one that ultimately gave way to a renewed sense of enthusiasm for a young athlete who was convinced that his best and brightest days are still well ahead of him.

“One day after a workout, I received a call from my cousin who referred me to Jamerson Jones,” Patterson explained.

Jamerson, as Patterson found discovered during that phone call, is the owner of the Mississippi Brawlers, a Mid-South-based minor league football nonprofit organization that is affiliated with the Gulf States Football League (or GSFL).

According to its Facebook page, GSFL was designed to measure the play and football mechanics of men ranging in various ages, particularly those who boast a strong passion and love for the sport.

In addition, the GSFL is comprised largely of athletes and teams in areas such as Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, teams that routinely engage in competitive play in what is deemed an “accredited active league,” according to a spokesperson for the organization.

As Patterson explained, it was Jones who aided him mightily with regards to providing him with the golden opportunity to resume his playing career.

“He told me about the organization and I went to the tryouts and made the team,” Patterson said.

MOTHERLY LOVE — All things considered, Kimberly Patterson is grateful of the opportunity for which her son has been afforded, one that could very well give way to greater opportunities for him to perhaps put his skills on display on a larger athletic platform.
“C. J. has been playing competitive football for seven years,” Kimberly Patterson said. “The Mississippi Brawlers will help him get to the next level. I believe in my son wholeheartedly and his work ethic and love for football show he has no limitations because he’s always going the extra mile.”

From there, one favorable thing led to another for a young athlete who contends he’s got so much more to prove.

According to Patterson, such a monumental opportunity would not have surfaced if not for the continuous support of his mother, Kimberly Patterson, his girlfriend, Destiney Harris, and his younger brother, Jamaa’l Patterson.

And then, of course, the quality of athletes with whom he plays is benefiting him in various aspects, he acknowledged.

“This team is special to me because it’s more than a team, it’s a brotherhood,” Christopher Patterson said. “And with all of the tragedies going on in the world, it’s always going to be special to me seeing all races come together and get alone.”

All things considered, Kimberly Patterson is grateful of the opportunity for which her son has been afforded, one that could very well give way to greater opportunities for him to perhaps put his skills on display on a much larger platform.

“C. J. has been playing competitive football for seven years,” Kimberly Patterson said. “The Mississippi Brawlers will help him get to the next level. I believe in my son wholeheartedly and his work ethic and love for football show he has no limitations because he’s always going the extra mile. This exposure will benefit my son in a miraculous way. I feel that God will begin to open doors like crazy.”

UNBOTHERED — As far as Patterson was concerned, there was a silver-lining, of sorts, amid an injury that customarily sideline athletes for a lengthy period of time.

The primary objective in the meantime, at least according to Christopher Patterson, is to learn all he can while he can.

You know, to never stop brawling as he steadfastly continues to audition on the stage in the very sport he’s come to adore.

So much a blown out knee.

“Playing for this team creates exposure, because not only is it a nonprofit organization, but after this season is over with, if you have good film, you could go play in college, the CFL, the AFL, or the NFL,” Christopher Patterson said.

All while responding to adversity the right way.

 

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.

 

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 shooting guard Dexter Johnson, Jr. under several college radars, hopes to land official offer soon

WHO WILL IT BE? During an interview on Friday with Making Headline News, Duncanville (Texas) High senior shooting guard Dexter Johnson, Jr. and his father, Dexter Johnson, Sr. said that the University of Texas at San Antonio, Murray State, Texas State, East Texas Baptist University, the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of San Francisco, Sam Houston State, and the University of North Texas are amongst the schools that have Johnson, Jr. under their radar, although the 6-foot-3 senior has yet to field an official offers.
Given the immense strides and considerable process he made both on the AAU and prep circuits in recent months, the possibility exist — and is expected to — that could change in Johnson, Jr.’s favor. (Photo by Jim Redman/Maxpreps)

DUNCANVILLE, Texas — As far as college basketball recruiting goes, the assortment of schools that have expressed interest in Duncanville (Texas) High shooting guard Dexter Johnson, Jr. reads much like one similar to that of an NCAA Tournament’s list of mid-major automatic bids.

During an interview on Friday with Making Headline News, Johnson, Jr. and his father, Dexter Johnson, Sr. said that the University of Texas at San Antonio, Murray State, Texas State, East Texas Baptist University, the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of San Francisco, Sam Houston State, and the University of North Texas are amongst the schools that have Johnson, Jr. under their radar, although the 6-foot-3 senior has yet to field any official offers.

A TRUE BALLERA two-year starter for a Duncanville team that is currently 23-7 and ranked No. 25 in Texas by Maxpreps.com, Johnson, Jr.’s amongst the top scorers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, according to area stats released by The Dallas Morning News.
Through 30 games, Johnson, Jr. (left) is averaging 13.4 points per game, second only to Duncanville’s Miles McDougal (18.9 points per game).

Given the immense strides and considerable process he’s made both on the AAU and prep circuits in recent months, the possibility exist that could very well change in Johnson, Jr.’s favor.

Any day now.

A two-year starter for a Duncanville team that is currently 23-7 and ranked No. 25 in Texas by Maxpreps.com, Johnson, Jr. is amongst the top scorers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, according to recent area stats released by The Dallas Morning News.

Through 30 games, Johnson, Jr. is averaging 13.4 points per game, second only to Duncanville’s Miles McDougal (18.9 points per game).

Add to the fact that he has proven time and again that he can compete with some of the fiercest talent in the nation — he’s a former teammate of Emanuel Mudiay of the Denver Nuggets, Micah Seaborn of Monmouth University, Baylor’s Terrance Ferguson and Mark Vital, and Kansas signee Billy Preston — and it’s no wonder Johnson, Jr. is being monitored closely by schools that figure to come calling with official offers.

Any day now.

Whichever schools lands a kid whom many recruiting analysts have dubbed amongst the most underrated in Dallas/Fort Worth will undoubtedly inherit a player who possess the poise and maturity to contribute immediately.

“(They are going to get) a diligent, hard-working leader who is going to show up and give maximum effort day in and day out,” Johnson, Jr. said. “I have spent my entire life working toward the opportunity to play the game I love on the college level. College ball will provide me the platform to grow as a leader both on the court and in the classroom. I want to be the positive example for other young ballers, like many college ball players have been for me.”

LONG TIME AT IT — A kid who has first picked up a basketball at just eight months of age and, consequently, began to adopt a deep admiration, coupled with a relatively favorable IQ for the game during his days of playing basketball for Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church’s recreational team, the mystery that remains is at what point will one — or several — of these schools suddenly extend a scholarship offer to Johnson, Jr.

A guard whose skills have been likened to that of former Murray State star and current Oklahoma City Thunder reserve guard Cameron Payne, Johnson, Jr. believes he’s deserving of a chance to put his skills on display at the collegiate level, in large part because aside from having blossomed into a prolific scorer who has the ability to create his own shoot, he’s gone to great lengths to fine tune his mechanics in the offseason — most notably his mental toughness, defense, as well as his floor vision.

“It really didn’t surprise me,” said Johnson, Sr., when asked what his immediate reaction when he discovered that his son could actually go a long ways in his chosen sport. “(My biggest expectation is) that he leaves the court satisfied with his efforts.”

WATCH FOOTAGE OF DEXTER, JR. IN ACTION: https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=HhDIjsCXJS0.

Aside from his solid body of work on the court, Johnson, Sr. acknowledged his son also boasts the smarts and resiliency to master the hustle and bustle that comes with being a student athlete at the collegiate level.

DAD KNOWS BEST — Aside from his solid body of work on the court, Johnson, Sr. acknowledged his son also boasts the smarts and resiliency to master the hustle and bustle that comes with being a student athlete at the collegiate level.
“Academically speaking, Dexter is a great student who works hard in the classroom,” Johnson, Jr. said. “As an athlete, he trains hard to get better.”

“Academically speaking, Dexter is a great student who works hard in the classroom,” Johnson, Jr. said. “As an athlete, he trains hard to get better.”

A kid who first picked up a basketball at just eight months of age and, consequently, began to adopt a deep admiration, coupled with a relatively favorable IQ for the game during his days of playing basketball for Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church’s recreational team, the mystery that remains is at what point will one — or several — of these schools suddenly extend a scholarship offer to Johnson, Jr.

By and large, he doesn’t shy away from the notion that he hopes it is much sooner than later.

TEXAS SIZE HOOP DREAMS — A guard whose skills have been likened to that of former Murray State star and current Oklahoma City Thunder reserve guard Cameron Payne, Johnson, Jr. emphasized he believes he deserving of a chance to put his skills on display at the collegiate level, in large part because aside from having being a prolific scorer who has the ability to create his own shoot, he’s gone to great lengths to fine tune his mechanics in the offseason — most notably his mental toughness, defense, as well as his ability to read the floor.

WATCH MORE FOOTAGE OF DEXTER, JR. IN ACTION: http://www.scout.com/player/208036-dexter-johnson/videos.

“I am a true leader and all-around team player,” said Johnson, Jr., continuing to make a plea that he’s worthy of a college basketball scholarship. “I am dedicated, extremely disciplined, and I continue to better my skills every chance that I get.”

Notable attributes about which he’s hopeful the schools that are closely watching him will take into account.

Any day now.

 

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.

 

On Barack Obama’s final day in office, Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki recalls having met the nation’s 44th President

TEXAS SIZE MEMORYDallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki presents President Barack Obama with a jersey during the team’s White House visit in January 2012. Obama’s two-term limit ended on Friday as Donald Trump was sworn in as the nation’s 45th President. (Photo by Jewel Samad/Getty Images)

DALLAS — On a lighter note, following the Dallas Mavericks’ 112-107 overtime loss to the Utah Jazz Friday night in the American Airlines Center, Mavs superstar Dirk Nowitzki took a moment to reminisce on what he described as one of the greatest moments of his life.

While taking questions from reporters, Nowitzki spoke about having met for the first time then-President Barack Obama.

Just before 12 p.m. CST on Friday, the then-most-powerful man on the planet had effectively assumed a label he hadn’t owned since he was elected as the nation’s 44th President in November 2008 — Citizen Barack Obama.

Obama’s two-term Presidential tenure included, among other things, routinely meeting with various college and professional sports teams following their respective championship.

In 2011, the Mavericks entered the NBA Finals as heavy underdogs against the Miami Heat, but managed pull the unthinkable by upending the Heat in six games for their first world championship in franchise history.

In 2011, the Mavericks entered the NBA Finals as heavy underdogs against the Miami Heat, but managed pull the unthinkable by upending in the Heat in six games for their first world championship in franchise history. Approximately six months later, the Mavs made their post-championship visit to the White House. (AP Photo)

Approximately six months later, the Mavs made their post-championship visit to the White House, where Nowitzki, the Finals MVP, stood next to the Larry O’Brien trophy and presented the President with the traditional team championship jersey.

“Well, I was fortunate to meet with the President a couple of times,” Nowitzki said after scoring a season-low three points on 1-of-13 shooting as Dallas dropped its second consecutive game. “Visiting the White House obviously was unbelievable for us after a championship.”

During their visit to the famous address that is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Nowitzki said he was mostly appreciative of how charismatic and accommodating President Obama was to Mavs owner Mark Cuban and the rest of the organization.

“We deserved to go,” Nowitzki said. “(President Obama) was really nice. We got to talk to him a little bit. He was funny.”

Much like Nowitzki was in the locker room on Friday, during which he brought the assembled media to laughs while recalling his very first encounter with the President.

“Obviously, it’s not like we talked foreign affairs,” Dirk, a native German, jokingly said when asked how the conversation went with the President. We talked sports and kept it light.”

It wasn’t long afterward that Nowitzki and President Obama’s paths had crossed again, this time on the soil of the future Hall of Famer’s native country.

GAME HAS GONE FINALOn Friday morning, Barack Obama departs the White House’s Oval Office for the final time as President. (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

“I was able to meet him again,” Nowitzki, an 18-year-old NBA veteran, said. “It was at a dinner in Germany with the Chancellor (Angela Merkel) and I was invited to that.”

Nowitzki’s latest meeting with President Obama took place in a more intimate setting and appeared to have lasted longer than the White House tour the Mavs had earned after spoiling the coming-out-party of Miami’s Big Three that was comprised of superstars LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.

“I got to spend some time with him (in Germany),” Nowitzki said. “I was actually sitting at the same table with him. I was fortunate.”

Now that Obama’s two-term limit has all but expired and the nation welcomed President-elect Donald Trump on Friday, Nowitzki said he will be forever grateful of having exchanged pleasantries with the first black President in American history.

Especially the very first time he met Obama, who’s widely known as an avid basketball fan who frequently engages in pickup games.

“That was a great day for all the players and for all the staff to go (to the White House),” Nowitzki said. “That’s obviously a day me and the rest of the guys will remember for the rest of our lives.”



Andre Johnson is Founder, Publisher And Editor-In-Chief of Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter 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 memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.