The Number 1 High School Team In The City???

 

 

East High School Remains At #1
East High School Remains At #1

Now that the team camps are over for high school teams, we can get to who I think are the top 5 teams in the city. This doesn’t mean that this team may stay there all the way through when the season actually starts however just a look into some of the best teams that I saw, key word being “saw” during the month of June. Ladies and gentlemen, 901Prep’s Top 5 ranking of high school teams in Memphis.

1. East High School – From what I saw, this is the best team in the city and there are several reasons for my decision to put them here. For starters, they return their virtually their entire core and when I say entire, I mean everyone. Rising Sophmores Alex Lomax,  TJ Moss, Jr Courtney Mclemore, Jr Rodarius Washington who were starters last year are all back and Teddrick Mcghee who is also a great football player  and was a starter . Last year, they went on a great run to end the season and made it to Mufreesboro losing in the Final 4 game to Brentwood, just a game away from a dream season. Not bad for a team full of freshman and sophomores with no expectations right? That team will be back, a year older, more mature and ready to finish this year off with a state championship but with a few new faces including 2019, 6’8 Chandler Lawson, a consensus top 10 player in the country and Malcolm Dandridge,a burgeoning 6’7 with high upside to match. They have great guard play, length, lots of talent but still lots of youth which can’t be discounted but this is a team very very capable of going back to state and this time winning but again, this is way early and again a young group to depend on. Have to mention also that they may have a new coach in the fold in Memphis legend Penny Hardaway who coached them at the University Of Memphis team camp and MUS. His addition is huge to a group that he knows because of his time at Lester where he won 3 middle school state sectionals will greatly enhance their chances because of his familiarity them. The only starter or future starters in the group that didn’t play for him is Lawson and Moss. They took a loss to Brentwood Academy in the MUS Summer Classic who won state in private last year but turned around and beat very good Germantown team who beat Brentwood by double digits the next day after their loss. I had  two teams to choose from then but that made the decision a little easier. This is the team to beat and one likely to be in this position through out the season.

Key Players:  6’4 TJ Moss, (#18 on ESPN 2018 rankings) 2018 5’11 Alex Lomax, 2017 6’4 Rodarius Washington, 2016 6’2 Courtney Mclemore, 2016 6’7 Robert Washington, 2017 5’7 Nick Merriwether, 2019 6’8 Chandler Lawson, 2019 6’7 Malcolm Dandridge

2. Germantown High School – Senior laden team and a good one!!! Strong guard play with Darrell Brown Jr, a Tulsa commit, who is one of the best scoring guards in the state,  Jonathan Bins, 6’2 Michael Bamrick, a shooter, Rodney Williams, a strong athletic 4 man, Jacob Ivey and transfer, 6’7 Marcus Mitchell, who will provide some inside scoring ability and rebounding which they needed at times last year.While it can be tough to repeat what you did in Middle School, parts of this team has been together since 7th and 8th grade and were apart of a state sectional championship 5 years ago. This is group that has a lot of chemistry and cohesion, been through tough games and now, many are expecting this to be the year for Germantown to get out of here and on the state and with that becomes expectations and a little pressure. Brown is the heart and soul of this team but Williams does the dirty work while Bins is a solid guard who can be another point guard and get you 10-15 points a game. Mitchell will be a big time addition for the Red Devils and Coach Davis. The added length will allow them to have interchangeable lineups, big or small and give Williams help on the glass. Is this the year for Germantown? It happened in 8th grade for a few of them, maybe history repeat itself.

Key Players: 2016 6’0 Darrell Brown Jr, 6’0 2016 Jonathan Bins, 2016 6’5 Rodney Williams, 2016 6’7 Marcus Mitchell, 6’4 2016 Jacob Ivey, 2016 6’2 Michael Bamrick, 5’9 2016 Dacoda Stone, 6’0 2016 London Gool

3. Cordova High School –  One of the more talented rosters in the city, Cordova after a few years off, came back to the scene last season where they finished just a few games away from a state berth. At the head of this team, Blake Williams, a name that’s been among the city’s best players for the last few years but really came on strong late in the year. Blake is one of the top 4 pgs in the City and you could argue, that he could be the best. It will all start with him but Rod Brown, a rising sophmore and one of the best young players in the state could come into his own this year. Brown is super athletic 3-4 who in transition and at the rim maybe as good as anyone in Memphis. 6’8 Jalen Dupree has turned himself into one of the best big man prospects in the city and rumored to have interest from Memphis. Dupree is a rebounder shot blocker who will benefit from playing summer basketball this year at a high level. Kavion Stewart will also play a large role with his ability to slash and hit the jumper but also look for Cordova to make a splash with a transfer or two. The lights will  be on them this year and they should be, Cordova has a really talented team.

Key Players: 2017 5’11 Blake Williams, 2016 6’4 Kavion Stewart, 2016 6’8 Jalen Dupree, 2018 6’6 Rod Brown

4.Southwind High School – Like Arlington, the Jaguars lost a lot of talent last year and must find players on the roster to take up for what they lost. Donte Fitzpatrick is off to Ole Miss, was their top scorer, best player last year and now, they have to find a go to guy to fill his shoes. Enter in Carlos Marshall, a 6’4 forward who can play with the ball in his hands on the perimeter and score from mid to low post. His value to his team will substantially increase as he will likely be required to be that guy but Mark Freeman could be a player who they can go to as well. Freeman quick true pg who can score and a terrific defender on the ball where he can wreck havoc for opposing point guards. His jumper has improved as as made him a viable scoring option any where on the floor. 2017 Robert Boyd is starting to come into his own some and will be relied upon this year, maybe in a starters role and Tyler Brewer who didn’t play last year is said to be back in the fold again as one of the teams guards. 6’6 Freshman, Antavion Collom is top 3 player in the freshman class and one of the immediate impact freshmen in the city. He’s a versatile as any, can be a guy than can start the offense as big guard/forward, handle, create with the pass and be an added rebounder to help Boyd and Marshall on the boards. Maybe not as talented as their teams have been in the past but this is still maybe even the team to beat still in 15AAA because they have always seemed to be right there and winning in the past few years and even with #2 Germantown being in this district. I’m looking for big years from Mark Freeman and Carlos Marshall and to keep them in contention all year long.

Key Players: 2017 6’4 Carlos Marshall, 2018 5’10 Mark Freeman, 2019 6’6 Dude Collom, 2017 6’6 Robert Boyd

5.Arlington High School – One year removed away from a state appearance in 2014, Arlington was just a game away losing to eventual state champions, Hamilton. They lost keys guy in Adarius Avery and Kendall Jefferson but do return Nathan Hoover, one of the best shooters around in 2016 who has received multiple interest and some offers from schools around the country. 6’6 Sophmore Garret Golday is also back after a starters role last year and he should be much better after summer on the circuit but had a nice year in his freshman season. Luke Wiseman will be another handler who maybe asked to score a little bit more this year but is I think up to the task and transfer Demonte Person,  a best of the preps player from last year is now there and will bring scoring from the point guard position and a guard who can give them 15-20 point per night on average. I think Hoover becomes one of the top 5 scorers in the city and could theoretically make a case as the best player in 2016 with Fisher, Thomas leaving the city.They will have a lot of competition in district however from the #3 ranked Cordova but this is like last season, a team that capable of a similar run as last season.

Key Players: 2016 6’3 Nate Hoover, 2016 5’10 Demonte Person, 2017 6’2 Luke Wiseman

This is just a look into the upcoming season. One of these teams could drop out depending on who I see in scrimmages etc before the next season starts and again, these are based on teams that I’ve seen in person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 In 2020 (7th Graders)

Cameron Matthews (Best Player In 2020)
Cameron Matthews (Best Player In 2020)

1. Cameron Matthews 6’3 G/F (Bluff City Ballers) Good looking prospect with big time promise at the big guard or wing position, Matthews has the look of a future d-1. Has a good first step where he can take bigger or smaller players off the dribble using his size and body to shed defenders. He’s very reliable inside where he plays for his summer team but is a ball handler who can get where he wants. Playing inside right now, will make him better long term but he projects as strong, big body 2-3 who will be able to knock score at all 3 levels and cause mismatches. He can finish with either hand, a good rebounder and shows some versatility as a defender. He’s a good and willing passer who can pass out the post and the high post and can post smaller players for lay ups. Pretty athletic right now but by this time next year, I think lay ups will turn into dunks for him as I look for him to stretch some and grow into his strong frame and keep his spot atop the ranking for some time.

2. Rodney Mason 6’3 Forward (Team Impact) Skilled 3-4, Mason is coming into his own and growing on me the more I see him as a player as I thought long and hard about him being the overall best player. Has really worked on his perimeter game, improved athletically and  while he’s more so a face up type right now, Mason can go over the top or around and while jumper has improved, to the 3 where he shows that ability,  he’s still more or a mid range player where the jumper looks a little more fluid. Mason doesn’t mind being physical defensively or rebounding and won’t back down from a challenge by stronger players. He projects as a possible 3 with his skill set and will be fun to watch him develop over time.

3. Matthew Murrell 5’10 G/F (Bluff City Ballers) Really a scorer, right now at 2 levels to the rim and in 15 feet in, the 3 will come as he matures,  Murrell can put up points in bunches. His demeanor never changes and you never know whether his team is up or not as he goes along about business and operating at a efficient clip. Not flashy,  doesn’t try to do things he can’t do, he has  great fundamentals where he uses the ball fake and loves to get middle for scoring opportunities. He has good form on his shot and elevates enough to get it off and is a solid rebounder from the guard position. The more confident he becomes, the better player he will become and that will elevate him even more.

4. Alfred White Jr 5’8 SG (Memphis WarEagles) Talented shooter who can score it from all over and what I like most is the confidence he displays in himself. He has a good quick release and isn’t shy letting it go but also can make it happen to the rim where he can stop for the pull up and the floater. He can come off the screen but like his younger teammate (Jones) looks more comfortable off the spot up. Really smart player to, when the jumper may not be going, White can get to the line as well, willing to go to the rim but again, is a shooter mostly. As he gets older, scoring in a variety of ways will become a point of emphasis but right now, White is as good as any at what he does in middle school in the city.

5. Marcellus Brigham 6’0  SG/SF (Memphis WarEagles) Effective with the jumper, Brigham’s  upside is as high as any in this class in Memphis. Doesn’t wow with athleticism just yet but has the looks of a player who knows how to play the game and get it done. The jumper off the dribble is I think his go to but can attack in the half court or transition. Can create space for the jumper and release it fluidly and is a player who you can go to late in games for a shot to win.

 

Top 5 In 2021

TOP 5 In 2021

2021 Impact To Soon Be Felt

This is the first time, I’ve done rankings in awhile and it takes sometime, some will hate them, some will like them, some will love them however it’s what makes the basketball world go in Memphis. I do not look at other rankings when I do my own locally. Well, why is this person over this person and on this site, they are higher than that person on another site. The answer,  I don’t know but I don’t base my opinion on the opinion of another because that’s their opinion. Thank you to those who continue to support the site.

1. Johnathan Lawson 6’2 Guard/Forward (Memphis Wildcats)  – The last in line of the Lawson brothers, Johnathan definitely takes after his siblings.  The freakish long 6’2 pushing 6’3 guard has a piece of each brother which could lead him to become the best brother of them all, high praise but if you watch him, you don”t have to watch long to see. More of a playmaker, than dogged scorer of older brother KJ but he’s very capable, showing it when it’s needed.  Highly skilled, Johnathan is a big  gamer, Lawson doesn’t shy away from the moment and isn’t afraid of the moment when it arises. He handles like a player much smaller, has vision in the open court as a passer and can finish to the basket. More driver make it happen type right now, he can keep you honest with the 3 and be a shot maker, taker  but is at his best finding where he uses his length to his advantage where he is creative with the pass  to find the easy scores. He’s anticipates well defensively and knows when and when not to gamble in the passing lanes for a steal and can guard both guard positions as well as the 3 spot when needed. His basketball IQ is as high his age as any of his brothers and his will to win is in measurable. Lawson has the tools to make his own name and be not only the last out but the best in a long line of his brothers.

2. Willie Foreman 6’2 PF (M33M) -Relentless worker on the glass, offensively and defensively, Foreman’s biggest strength is his motor and ability to finish around the rim. He fights for every rebound, using his long arms and is an improving offensive player outside of 5 feet where he can step out to the free throw line and make the jumper and shows some ability to handle in the open court off the rebound but will mostly score off energy and hustle. He’s a good help side defender where he can be a shot blocker/ shot alter type and he will go to war with bigger players for rebounds. He will expand his offensive game because he seems to be a hard worker which will help him become more versatile as offensive player.

3. Kennedy Chandler 5’5 PG (Team Izod)– Diminutive in stature, Chandler gets it done with great ball handling and knack for scoring off the jumper or the drive on floaters and runners. What he may not have in size, he makes up for with skill and toughness and he can run a team in the half court and he can make shots from all over the court which makes him a very viable scoring option. He’s a sneaky good passer and pest as a defender able to bother his opponents using good positioning and quick hands for steals. He plays with excellent pace and savvy beyond his years and never gets rattled under pressure. While not the quickest, Chandler gets by you with handle and is good enough to get his shot on the pull up. Chandler already known around the country as one of the best players in the country, should be among the best players in this class for years to come especially locally.

4. Jaylen Brown 5’9 Guard (Memphis Wildcats) – Puts constant pressure on the defense by always being in attack mode, Brown is a classic scoring point guard that many have become accustomed to in Memphis. Can play off the ball and on, Brown scores it with an assortment of runners, pull up jumpers and hits the 3 at a above average rate so you just can’t play him for the drive. Tough to the basket, where he’s not afraid of contact from bigger strong players. He just has that ability to make the big shot in big moments for his team and seems to relish in that opportunity. He seems to really work well from baseline where he utilizes the floater game and the short jumper and can create space for the jumper from the free throw line to the short corners. He seems to be more comfortable scoring but over time, I think he becomes more of traditional point guard who can score but also facilitate when needed.

5. Kameron Jones PG 5’5 (Memphis WarEagles) -Shooter to the core, Jones is one of if not the best 6th grade shooters in the city. Off the spot up is where he excels especially spotting up in the corner but is a better than given credit for off the catch and shoot 3.  He was productive primarily as a shooter but will be asked more of this year at Cordova to be a ball handler and player who can make his teammates better in half court and in transition off the pass. His knock is size but shooting is value and Jones does it as well as any in this class in Memphis.

Jalen Brown (Memphis Wildcats/Team Penny)
Jalen Brown (Memphis Wildcats/Team Penny)

 

 

Williams Sisters Add Offer From SEC

Lanyce Williams and Lynette Williams (Central High School)
Lanyce Williams and Lynette Williams (Central High School)

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.

Memphis Products Visit Indiana On Unofficials

L-R (Carlos Sandifer, Rod Brown, Bruce Guy, Ryan Boyce, Joe Cooper)
L-R  Pic By Memphis Love (Carlos Sandifer, Rod Brown, Bruce Guy, Ryan Boyce, Joe Cooper)

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.

And The Best Class In Memphis Is…….

 6'5 Ryan Boyce Already Has Ole Miss Offer  (2018)
6’5 Ryan Boyce Already Has Ole Miss Offer (2018)

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?

  1. TJ Moss  East 6’4
  2. Alex Lomax  East 5’11
  3. Rod Brown Cordova 6’6
  4. Tyler Harris ? 5’9
  5. Mark Freeman Southwind 5’9

2019

  1. Chandler Lawson East 6’8
  2. DJ Jeffries Olive Branch 6’7
  3. Dude Mccollum Southwind 6’6
  4. Malcolm Dandridge ? 6’6
  5. 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.

 

Memphis Team Camp Schedule (Monday- 6-15)

New Look Bolton?
New Look Bolton?

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

 

Christian Brothers Guard Is a Name To Remember!!

William Douglas 6'4 (CBHS)
William Douglas 6’4 (CBHS)

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.

Number 1 Player In 2020? 2015 Rankings Coming Soon

Cameron Matthews (Best Player In 2020)
Cameron Matthews (Best Player In 2020)

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!!

A Star That Never Shine? Or Did It?

Taurean "T-Head" Moy
Taurean “T-Head” Moy

 

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