The Memphis version of the Williams sisters, not Serena or Venus but Lanyce and Lanetta (Central High School) have received an offer from Ole Miss after their stellar play at their elite camp. Lynette at 6’3 almost 6’4 has incredible upside as young player that can step out, make the 15 footer, post on both blocks and be highly effective and score with either hand or just finish over the top with soft hook and impact a game defensively and rebounding. 6’1 Lanyce has wing potential with his ability to handle some on the perimeter, shoot the jumper and defend multiple positions with her length. I see her being a 6’2 ish really versatile wing forward when it’s said an done and like Lanetta, be a division 1 basketball player. Could this be the next great sibling duo from Memphis? Lance Williams, the sisters father says, “It is a great privilege to be considered by any school with such a scholastic and professional, WNBA, Euroleague legacy, we only hope to rise to the occasion and we will continue to work hard, we know a lot of people are rallying for girls basketball” You will be hearing both names for the next few years, I guarantee it.
5 Memphis High School products got a chance to visit one of the historic basketball institutions in the country today, Indiana University. 5’11 2018 Carlos Sandifer, a speedy guard who prepped at White Station last season and now will attend Olive Branch High School and likely be the starter along with 6’6 Rod Brown of Cordova who’s starting to receive a lot of D1 attention, 6’6 Bruce Guy, a late blooming talented forward in 2019, 2018 Ryan Boyce (Houston) who has a Ole Miss and Memphis offer already and freshman Joe Cooper, touted as the best freshman point guard in the city by many. 3 of the 4 run with Team Thad while Carlos plays with the Arkansas Wings and Boyce with Team Penny. All figure to be mid to high major players over the next 3-4 years.
People love to compare in sports, particularly in basketball because it makes for great discussion, some discussions are crazier than others but never the less, it’s discussion. In Memphis, people love to compare classes to the 1997 class that had 10 division 1 players. I’ve had battles in the barbershop with people on that issue but what about the current classes in the city? 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019? What class is the best? Which class has the most potential? Which class will produce the most D-1 players?
This upcoming senior class already has a D-1 commit in Darrell Brown Jr who’s heading to Tulsa but how many more sure fire division 1 guys are there in 2016? I can give you a few in Nate Hoover who has a Ole Miss, Tulsa and High Point offer and interest from Memphis, Virginia and Missouri. Jaylen Fisher is high major point guard but questions are rising as to whether he will play high school basketball here in Memphis this season or at prep school. Dillon Mitchell is another that comes to mind to be committed to play football. Micah Thomas who prepped at Briarcrest for 3 years is a division 1 player, Maceo Woodard is one that marker, talent level is there so I think he gets a mid offer in the future. A player who could see his stock shoot up significantly during July is Jalen Dupree of Team Penny (EYBL) who I think might end up becoming the biggest surprise of the summer in 2016 in Memphis. Romero Hill is another who should be a mid major commit when his high school career is over after this year but after him, who are the others players in this class that will be d-1 players? Lucky Cheatham is one that comes to mind also but he will need a strong finish to the summer and a strong high school season to garner those offers he’s hoping to get. Is this class the strongest in Memphis at the current moment?
What about 2017? A few years ago, 2017 looked pretty strong with Blake Williams, Isaiah Stokes, DJ Jackson, TJ Moss and Tyler Harris but things have changed a little bit. Moss and Harris reclassified leaving two of the better players and the top 5 having to reshuffled a bit and taking talent out of this class to another. Let’s start with who’s probably still the best player in the class in Memphis, Blake Williams who had a big second half of the season last year. What about 2017 compared to 2018 and their top guys in Moss, Lomax, Harris, Mark Freeman and Rod Brown? Is 2018 stronger than 17? You can make that argument, well no not really, because I’m convinced that 18 is better long term and has the chance to produce more d-1 guys than the 11th grade class. Does that mean the 2017 group isn’t that great, no it does not, it just means I think 18 has more upside as far as producing more college players than the year older group.
What about the incoming freshman class? Now this group looks pretty good at the top with 3 to 4 players who could all be top 50-100 players in their class nationally. 6’8 Chandler Lawson, 6’7 DJ Jeffries, 6’6 Antavion “Dude” Mccollom, 6’6 Malcolm Dandridge and a former top 25 player in the country a few years ago, Joe Cooper who’s still one of the best point guards around. Do those players make up the top 5 players in that class in Memphis? Perhaps but let’s also add Sky Forrest to that discussion, a 6’3 guard who can score from all over the floor and newcomer to 2019, 6’5 Bruce Guy but how does this class compare to the others? It has the most size and adequate guards that have a chance to sneak in and be D-1. You have to factor this in as well though, where some of the 8th graders go to high school at. One school may give the opportunity to shine immediately while others, you may have to wait your turn. This is why it’s so important to pick the right high school. I think with this group, you could potentially see 5-7 high majors and 2 players end up being top 25 players all the way through their high school careers. Outside of say the best 5 in the freshmen group, this is a class that will also see Devante Williams be a name, Jeffrey Taylor be a name and even a slip in or 2 like Wayne Jones at who played at Collierville Middle last year who’s at 6’4 right now but looks to be future 6’6 wing type.
Does 2018 stack up with 2019? How about 2017 or 2016? I think if you took a vote, say with 10 people who are hoop heads on high school basketball in the city, most in the know would tell you that the upcoming sophomore class and the incoming freshmen were the best two classes in Memphis in high school. How do they stack up?
- TJ Moss East 6’4
- Alex Lomax East 5’11
- Rod Brown Cordova 6’6
- Tyler Harris ? 5’9
- Mark Freeman Southwind 5’9
- Chandler Lawson East 6’8
- DJ Jeffries Olive Branch 6’7
- Dude Mccollum Southwind 6’6
- Malcolm Dandridge ? 6’6
- Joe Cooper Houston 5’10
What group would you take? Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a RANKING, I repeat not a ranking. I have to say this before I get the dirty looks and odd text messages with mad face emoji characters. With that said up top, I think 2019 could very easily when all said and done, be the best class to come through Memphis since that vaunted class of 1997. 2018 is close second but 2019 screams special group that will produce d-1 players in big numbers. Will it be the 1997 group that had 10 plus high level ball players? It’s not in concrete but 2019 is to me the best class in the City of Memphis.
The Memphis Team Camp will be held on Monday, June 15th on the campus of the University of Memphis at the Larry O.Finch Center. All games will take place on Monday as there will be no games on Tuesday as in previous years of the team camp. Some of the players slated to play in the camp include, Union City shooting guard, Parker Stewart who will have division 1 teams on him soon, Cordova featuring Blake Williams one of the areas best point guards if not the best, Rod Brown, a 6’6 forward who will remind some of a young version of Adonis Thomas and son of former Arkansas Hog, Kavion Stewart, a 6’4 slasher. Chase Hayden, a two sport star at St.George, Job Vernor (Center Hills), Olive Branch freshman, 6’6 DJ Jeffries, Southwind’s Carlos Marshall who’s name has blown up some this summer, freshman, 6’6 Dude Mccollum and top 5 point guard in the city, sophmore Mark Freeman. East High will feature TJ Moss, a 6’4, 18th ranked player in the country by ESPN, Alex “Alo” Lomax, another one of the best point guards, Rodarius Washington and Chandler Lawson, a top 10 player in the country in 2019. Mitchell High School new head coach, Andre Turner comes out for the the first time and features Tevin Ollison, one of the areas best shooters and Bolton’s Jaylen Fisher while I’m not sure if he will play because of a possible transfer to prep school but should be noted that his team is playing in the camp as well.
9:00 am games Hamilton vs ECS – Finch Center
Desoto Central vs Memphis Catholic- Campus Rec.
10:00 am games Hamilton vs Desoto Central – Finch Center
Kirby vs Memphis Catholic – Campus Rec.
11:00 am game Southaven vs Manassas – Campus Rec.
12:00 pm games Southaven vs ECS – Finch Center
Kirby vs Manassas – Campus Rec.
1:00 pm games Bolton vs Union City – Finch Center
Cordova vs Olive Branch – Campus Rec
2:00 pm games Cordova vs Union City – Finch Center
Bolton vs Olive Branch – Campus Rec
3:00 pm games Wooddale vs St.George – Finch Center
Fayette Ware vs Craigmont – Campus Rec
4:00 pm games Woodale vs Fayette Ware – Finch Center
St.George vs Craigmont – Campus Rec
5:00 pm games East vs Power Center Academy – Finch Center
Grenada vs Southwind – Campus Rec.
6:00 pm games East vs Grenada – Finch Center
Power Center vs Southwind – Campus Rec
7:00 pm games Mitchell vs Steele (Missouri) – Finch Center
Center Hill vs Douglass – Campus Rec
8:00 pm games Mitchell vs Center Hill – Finch Center
Steele(Missouri) vs Douglass – Campus Rec
CBHS went a remarkable 29-1 last season losing in the state title game to Brentwood Academy 58-55 and one of the main reasons why, the play of 2017 guard, William Douglas. Douglas has been on the scene for awhile now, playing with the WarEagles coming up and being primarily in a defensive stopper role however he’s added to his game. Not only did Douglas hit a nice growth spurt to where he is now (6’4) but he’s added the ability to score through an improving jumper and the slash. In the open court, he’s really good, makes good decisions on the break and makes the right basketball play displaying high basketball IQ. He still generates a lot of offense through his defense playing passing lane and angles but is also a good help side defender and on the ball where he can guard 1-3 positions. While not the name still of some of the more known 2017s in the city like Blake Williams or Chase Hayden, Douglas is quietly putting himself in position to become a Division 1 guard and a name that people know in Memphis.
It’s been a long time but, I’m going to start to take a look at the best players in the city in different classes in the coming with giving top 5 and top 10 in 6 classes. Who should represent the top 5 in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 or 2016? Let’s hear your thoughts below in the Disqus comment section. It’s easy to comment, just log in through facebook or create an account on Disqus and just like that, your in and able to discuss under any article written. The 2015 rankings are coming soon!!
When you have been around basketball your whole life you hear all kinds of stories. We have all heard about that one guy, who if had stayed out of trouble, could have been big time, and maybe even made it to the league. It’s like every different part of the city has that one guy who is a super talented, “can’t miss” player. However, for some, their hoop dream just never panned out. Most of the time, not making it is falls on them. North Memphis, South Memphis, Orange Mound, these areas represent where some of the best players have come from, and those are just a few areas of Memphis that have had talented basketball players.
My cousin tells me about a player by the name of Danny McMillan from North Memphis who attended Northside High School. According to my cousin, he could do it all. McMillian could score with anyone, was a great passer and a great rebounder. What made him special was that could get it done whenever he wanted to and there was nothing any other player could do about. From what he and others told me, McMillian could give Penny fits on the court and I’m not talking about Penny from Good Times. I’m talking about the man in Memphis, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, the man who everyone is measured against once they get a name here. No other Memphis player can compare to him since his days at Treadwell. However, McMillan may be just as good. I can’t say if he is as good as or better than Penny. Honestly, I don’t think there has been anyone better than Penny, but from those around him, McMillan was that type of talent. That’s just an example from North Memphis and every part of the city has or has had that type of guy.
We used to play ball behind the school when I was young and there would be this guy who would come up there. At the time, he was probably in his late 20s maybe 30, old to us, but nevertheless, he was unbelievable. He wore a torn up t-shirt, big huge Nikes and always had a 40 ounce in hand. I’ll admit, the first time I ever saw him play I thought to myself, “who is this dude?” I mean he had bunny, I mean super bunnies, my friend threw him a lob and he went to the top of the square and got it, bad pass but he dunked it easily with two hands. He was hitting 3 pointers, dunking on guys, and doing it all like he had been playing for 20 years or more.
I know how this sounds. Sure, we were only kids and he a grown man. Of course he would be better than us. That didn’t make a difference because he did it to grown men, too. He wasn’t a huge guy, maybe 6’1 – 6’2, but he played like he was 6’8. He was the first person I ever saw, up close, do the off the backboard to himself in traffic, go get it, and finish it like no one was standing there. It didn’t matter if his opponent tried to block it or not, he was getting it off, draped all over him. I saw him hit every shot in a game to 24. He made all 24 points with guys all over him. They talked crazy and all, but he would dominate them, anyway. He would do this consistently. I started to see him at the Mt Moriah basketball courts when I would play late night pick-up games. He was always wearing his torn up shirt, carrying a 40 ounce, and still killed on the court. One day I asked him, “Where did you play college ball?” “Nowhere”, he said. I said about high school career and he said that he went to Melrose but he never got a chance to play because his mom got sick and he had to get a job to support his family. Later, when he got fired from his job, he and older brother decided to rob a store and they got caught. His crime earned him 6 years in prison. I wonder what he could have been if circumstances were different, would he be a hometown hero like Penny?
This is just one of many stories of a guy who could have been successful. His circumstances, those he created and those he did not, stood in the way of making him great. No one knows for sure if success for him would be certain, but what is certain is that we will never find out. I don’t know if he was a sure pro, but with the stuff he could do, I know could have been a high major college basketball player. I think he was just as talented as a Tony Harris or Snap Hunter, who were also immensely talented.
Out of South Memphis, there is another story that you may be more familiar with. It is the story of Taurean Moy or T-Head as he is known around Memphis. I had a chance to meet him years ago, while I was at Southwest Community College. He was a down-to-earth, cool type of guy. I knew of his talents, and was supposed to attend a game that he would be playing in later that night. It was the legendary game against Manassas where Moy hit twenty-four 3 pointers for 83 points. It’s just my luck that I missed a game that went down in the history books as well as the stats sheets. That night Moy broke a national record which still stands still this day. Moy’s exploits before that game were already one of a mythical type, you know the mythical shooter who never misses, some guys you say are pure shooters, or “wet” that’s just what he was, he never missed. Lay ups were 3 pointers, and 3 pointers were lay ups. It didn’t matter if he was open or not, if Moy threw it up, it was good. He just had that “it” factor about him. He was a naturally gifted shooter and one of the best to ever do it Memphis. The way Moy played, everyone just felt like big things were in store for him. But there was just one catch. He couldn’t stay out of the way of himself. The day after his 83 point game he was charged with assault and possession of marijuana.
One day he was on top of the world, the entire city was talking about his superstar feat . The entire country knew his name but twenty-four hours after one of the best high school basketball performances ever, he charged with two crimes and sent to jail. His team would go on to win the state championship that year (2001-2001) where he scored 26 points in the title game and set another state record for most 3 pointers made in the tournament. Just maybe, things were turning around for the young man, things were looking up but by now, you know this story doesn’t have a happy ending. Moy would go on to not graduate from high school never receiving his high school diploma and later, he would get himself into more trouble outside of Memphis, while attending college in Nebraska. While I will not get into what his charges were, let’s just say it was enough to be sentenced to 36 months in prison. It is sad to say but this is just another example of a young man with promise being reduced to a “shoulda, coulda, woulda” cautionary tale.
Moy was the star that never shined, as that is the name of the documentary being done on his life implies and although his story is tragic, it is one that could teach others? This man had so much talent but he seemed destined to do something that might derail an opportunity. His tale is so familiar. It is a familiar narrative of so many great players whose names we will never know.
Hopefully, Moy’s story is one that can teach those who maybe from South Memphis or North Memphis or East Memphis about what not to do and to give them a blue print of some of the mistakes to avoid along the way. Maybe Moy’s purpose was bigger than basketball. Just maybe, his life was meant to teach others. Is it possible that he can still make it as a basketball player? Maybe he will achieve success overseas or somewhere else on the professional level. It’s not likely at 33 years old, but maybe, for the greater good, Moy’s life went the way he did because he was meant to be a live coach. It is possible that his talents were meant to get him involved in the game that once garnered him so much attention for the purpose of helping others.
Experience is life’s best teacher and Moy’s experience has been filled with highs and lows, negatives and positives and maybe, his life as a basketball player didn’t go as planned because maybe he had a different purpose. His story can be used to show young kids about life and mistakes and never giving up. According to Moy’s Facebook page, he is now teaching young players the mechanics that made his jump shots legendary. He even came back recently and played in a Legends game held at Lemoyne Owen, where he played 1 year of college ball after getting out of prison with other local high favorites in a game spotlighting the city’s past basketball talent.
If there is a lesson that can be taken from any of the stories mentioned in this story, it is this; Life will throw you challenges along the way but you must be confident enough to get back up and take another shot. If not, it is possible that you will always wonder what would have happened if I you had taken that one more shot? Moy is the best example because he is one person who was never afraid of that moment, the person who would take the 3 and make the 3. That is Taurean “T-Head” Moy
The first official summer league of the city kicked off at Briarcrest Christian School today with several teams and coaches trying to get a feel for each other for the first time and some for the last time as seniors. Last season is a memory and now, the 2015-2016 season is coming and it’s not as far as one may think. We only have about 150 days or more until the season starts, I mean, that’s not a long time is it? Okay, well maybe but then again, it’s my favorite time of the year so I always look forward to it. I also love the month of June, the team camps as this is a first look at who can be contenders, the transfers and where the city’s best 9th graders will go and this year, it could a year of big time transfers. Below is a look at some of the teams that I had a chance to watch on Monday evening and again, these are just the teams that I saw as I didn’t get a chance to view everyone.
Harding – This is a team coming off a season where they went to state kind of out of no where getting hot at the end of the year, at the perfect time. There best player and leading scorer is back in Anthony Yarbrough who will be big time bucket guy this year for the Lions. at 6’4, Yarbrough can get to the rim off the crossover and finish and hit the 3 and go inside to rebound for his team which he will have to do. I really like his length and ability to slash for scores or get to the free throw line. As he goes this year, so will Harding and he has help in point guard, Bryant Lee, a bruiser lead who loves to attack and draw for teammates or finish at the rim and 11th grader, 6’3 Julian Isabel, an athletic 3 with bounce and scoring ability around the basket.
Southwind will always have a pretty competitive team and this year will be no different for them and they have some familiar faces to make another run this year at district championship. Mark Freeman, CJ Marshall and Robert Boyd should all be back even though none played on Monday so that will make for a formidable trio to go along with Leiland Kirkendoll, Eric Turner if the knee is closer to 100 percent this year and one of the top 3 freshmen in the city, Antavion “Dude” Mccollum, a super talented 6’6 with handle and ability to be facilitator at his height. 11th grader Kendall Edwards will also play a bigger role this year as well as Tre Davis Fisher but it all starts with Freeman and Marshall. They are going to look a little different but they will be good team in Triple A this year.
Bolton will look much different but one of the best guards in the country is back to run the show in Jaylen Fisher and a big post presence in Martavious Wilson, a 6’8 270 5 who can score with his back to the basket. Fisher is as good a play maker as anyone is in the country and his vision is outstanding however, this year, he will be expected to score a lot more, maybe at a 18-20 point a night type clip. AJ Jones will play on the ball a lot as well and do some scoring but with Bolton, Jaylen has to have a great year to repeat the success that they had last year in 14AAA.
Arlington along with Southwind maybe the most talented team in this team camp with Nate Hoover, the city’s best shooter, Garrett Golday, a 6’6 getting better every time face up 4 who has improved athleticism, Luke Wiseman, who started last year and a big transfer in Demonte Person who led Kingsbury in scoring last year and was a best of the preps pick. The ball will be in Hoover’s hands and when it is, good things will happen but I also expect Person to be able to have some big scoring game as well. This team is the popular pick for 14AAA this year and I can see why.
Briarcrest has been decimated by transfers as I’m hearing that potentially 3 starters will leave the Saints but we know this is Memphis so I will believe it when I see it but 3 of 4 starters were not there on Monday. Without them, Briarcrest might be a middle of the pack type of team but they do have another transfer who will give them a great lift in the scoring department, Nate Vaughn. He started the year off last year with a 40 point game and was in the top 5 of the city in scoring for Memphis Metro last year. Will Hrubes will be relied on heavily for offense this year and leadership and be given a chance to solidify himself as one of the best players in the city with a good year. If they don’t get back the 3 that were not there, expectations will be lowered but if they can some how get French, Woodard and Thomas back, this is top 5 team in the Memphis but that’s a big if.
MUS beat Bolton by 4, 44-40 in a pretty good game with Luke Wilfong and others hitting timely shots. The 10th grade Wilfong has grown some and added some weight to his body and it will help him scoring the ball. Josh Gray and sophomore John McBride will play huge roles in their success this year.
Again, I didn’t see everyone but on tomorrow, I hope to finish some of the teams that I missed out on on Tuesday. While I’m not saying this is the best team because I think that title belongs East, I think the best team at the team camp is Arlington and then followed by Southwind and Harding then Bolton or you could flip the last two teams if you wanted.