A Look At 2014-2015 Basketball Season

Mitchell High Made It Back To Back State Championships
Mitchell High Made It Back To Back State Championships

2014-2015 basketball, well, it flew by and I for one miss basketball already although AAU makes up for it some however, many faces that I’m used to seeing since I’ve been doing the site will now be on to bigger and better, college basketball. Who do I start with? The Middle School basketball season which was all but given to the huge state favorite (Cordova)  but a huge upset in the state tournament upended what everyone thought was inevitable, a state title for them. See, that in itself is what Memphis basketball is about, I guess you  could say that about basketball all over the country but it’s something  special about basketball here in the city. I guess American Way’s win in the MAM was foreshadowing showing that it could be done.  Then we saw the state tournament, we saw the great performances of Jeff Walker from Elmore Park who scored over 30 points a game and  started being talked about as one of the top 5-10 players in Middle School, we saw Dude McCollum show big time future in the upset over  Cordova, we saw Deante Anding (Germantown) and teammate Deante Anding have huge state showings including in the championship game against Elmore Park. Germantown won it’s 2nd state title in 4 years and on the Small School side, we saw Bellevue led by three  8th graders, Tyson Banks, Cassius Bryant and Shemar Nash win it and from the looks of their 2020 group have a chance to go back and be in the thick of it next year. On the girls side, Cordova ended with the magical undefeated season with a win over Snowden. The Williams sister, the two best sisters to come through in awhile, Lanyce and Lanette, teammate Madison Griggs, do it all Jayla Hemingway with a huge season and one of the top 10 8th graders in the country. While the boys 2019 class could be pretty good, 3 of the top 5 girls in this class from Memphis could end up special in their own right.


2 Of The Best 5 Players In The City (Left-Jayla Hemingway, With Ball- Lanette Williams)
2 Of The Best 5 Players In The City (Left-Jayla Hemingway, With Ball- Lanette Williams)


On the girls side of High School, Ridgeway  took an undefeated season into regional play led by seniors who had been through wars in high school basketball like Erin Foster, Oreonna Brown, Alexus Bryson,  Breonna Humphrey and  Tierney Paylor.  It’s funny, I remember going to watch Erin Foster and Humphrey and Alexus Bryson (Hickory Ridge) in Middle School. I guess that means one of two things, I’m getting older or they getting old, I think I agree with the latter but go figure. Once again though, Memphis basketball struck and they were up set in the regional final by Overton who was pretty good this year but not the same super talented team that were accustomed to seeing in recent years. I’m not saying this team wasn’t good but Ridgeway was locomotive train all year long, they ran through competition and from there Ridgeway was sent on the road at Arlington where they lost and Overton who hosted, lost to 14AAA Bartlett who should be pretty good again next year. The one team that everyone thought would get out of here, ended up on a two game losing streak to end the year, that’s why the game must always be played. Bartlett and Arlington and Craigmont (Double A) all ended up going to the state but losing in the first round. I have a funny feeling though that you will see Bartlett again along with the upcoming Central with their guards and young group and rumored huge freshmen additions, I think you can kind of read through the lines there and figure out who I’m speaking on.


Overton's Kyla Gree (6'0 Forward)
Overton’s Kyla Green (6’0 Forward)


Okay okay, what was the biggest story of the year on the high school boys side? Hamilton having to forfeit games due to an ineligible player and still going to state and winning,  East High School Coach Desmond Merriwether’s   death after a long battle with cancer and how the team came together and rallied which made for a movie type of ending. Kind of hard to pick one of the two but both were remarkable stories, filled with what makes Memphis basketball so good. For Hamilton, rolling along, undefeated, off the first win over Oak Hill by any Memphis team in history and being put into the top 10 teams in the country by various websites across the country ESPN.com. Then, the hammer fell on the toe which was Hamilton and the news of an ineligible player hit twitter and spread like rumor in high school. Hamilton went on despite the news and ended up losing to the aforementioned East who’s story kind of seems parallel to Hamilton. This is the only school that beat Hamilton and it was right after the death of Coach Merriwether. For those who didn’t know him, I can’t say what hasn’t already been said about him but Coach Desmond was one of a kind and his kids went to war to honor his name and in doing so, they went through the region lost to Hamilton before beating Bolton to go to state where they lost in the final 4 to Brentwood.  Hamilton showed a lot of resiliency after the ruling and it could have went another way for them, pack it in and get it over with or come together as a group and use it as fuel to win even more. I guess we all know what happened, they won state over Brentwood and finished the season I believe as I believe the team with the most loses to ever win state in Tennessee. Mitchell High School led by Coach Faragi Phillips was going for the 2 peat when the season started and that’s exactly what they did despite being ranked as the #2 team in the state in Single A all year behind Union City who they beat by a large margin in the state championship game. Jeremiah Martin was brilliant that game along with Naba Echols and their other senior leaders. I was really impressed with them all season long how they carried themselves as a team. I’m really going to miss watching some of the seniors because this is the class that I watched maybe the most of any class in the city. KJ Lawson, Dedric Lawson, Khalil Spencer, Naba, Jeremiah, Nych Smith and  Kylan Phillips, this was truly a good class, talented on the court and in the classroom as all will play college basketball next year. In the private school sector, CBHS was undefeated before losing in the state championship to Brentwood Academy. Congratulations to them on a great season as well at St.George’s who won their state led by State MVP, Chase Hayden and Mr.Basketball winner, Justin Wertner. Other Mr.Basketball winners include Jeremiah Martin and Dedric Lawson of Hamilton who may end up college teammates at the University of Memphis.

Hamilton High School ( Triple A State Champions)
Hamilton High School ( Triple A State Champions)


So now what, we look forward to next year, 2015-2016 and an early look at the top 5 teams in Memphis.

1. East High School – Return virtually everyone from a team that was a game away from the state championship game with 2 9th graders in the starting line up, a 10th grader and two juniors.

2. Germantown High School – Darrell Brown Jr, Johnathan Bins, Mike Bamrick and Jacob Ivey will lead this team now as seniors

3. Briarcrest High School – Talented team once again with the group to win it next season. Micah Thomas 6’7, WF, leads this team with Maceo Woodard, Mark French and Will Hrubes.

4. Cordova High School – Roderick Brown will be a year older, Blake Williams will be at the helm and jr Kavion Stewar, a later bloomer might have a break out season.

5.Southwind High School – Same team minus Donte Fitzpatrick who will be hard to replace but with Cheatham, Freeman, Eric Turner who’s knee should be better and CJ Marshall, they could be dangerous team.



Real Deal Rewind

Tecorrian Smith (6'3 SG- Team Penny)
Tecorrian Smith (6’3 SG- Team Penny)


For many teams, its the first test of the spring/summer, the widely poplar Real Deal In The Rock in Little Rock Arkansas. From all over the country, teams traveled in trying to get a indication of the types of seasons they could have. For years, Memphis teams have had a strong presence in Little Rock and that didn’t change this year. From the Eric Robinson led Memphis Magic organization, who’s 15 year old team featured 7’4 Christopher Yannick to Team Penny’s organization who fielded two 16u teams and their 15s who played up 16u. The Memphis Wildcats also under Team Penny had 3 teams represented in 11u, 12u and 14u who featured Chandler Lawson, one of the top players in the country in 2019. Here are a few of the Memphis prospects that had good showings over the weekend and could propel them into nice spring/summer campaigns.

Team Penny 15s (Black- Golden)

TJ Moss 6’4, he was the leading scorer in all the games that I saw and looks like the year of varsity has payed major dividends. He was in attack mode in transition, the half court, knocked down the 3, showed some vision as a passer and was a shot maker. He was really good to the rim, drawing fouls and pushed it when opportunities presented themselves in the half court and full court. He was one of the best players in 16s over the weekend.

TJ Moss (Team Penny)
TJ Moss (Team Penny)

Alex Lomax 5’11, Coming off a great high school season, “Alo” was primary ball handler and did a good job for the most part as a player. Lomax has a great feel for the game and doesn’t back down from competition and as a defender, he’s strong and moves his feet well although he can tend to reach some but makes up for his ability to read passing lanes.  Scoring the ball this weekend, he wasn’t at his best but showed flashes of the high school season late where he improved his jumper dramatically making him a tougher player to guard. I don’t expect him to struggle offensively like that much this travel season.

Mark Freeman 5’10, Solid as point guard, finding teammates, Freeman was good. I thought he did a good job of turning ball handlers on defense as he’s known as one of the best defensive guards in Memphis. Like Lomax, he found it hard to make shots some but again, Freeman is another guard who has made tremendous strides in that area.

Ryan Boyce 6’5, Bouncy undersized 4 with future as a wing, he had a few eye catching dunks off the rim showing off his ever improving athleticism. Really good catch and shoot from 10-15 feet but seems really adept with the corner jumper which he hits with regularity.

Team Penny 16s (White- Valentine)

Rodarius Washington 6’5, High motor energy 4 with some ball handling ability, Washington was big in the win to make it to championship game on Sunday. He’s a good rebounder, can guard out on the perimeter some and likes the elbow/ free throw line jumper. A bit of player in between player but one thing I love about him is his toughness.

Kylan Watkins 5’10, Was a spark off the bench and showed some scoring ability which some may not have know that he had getting in the lane for runners and knocking down some big shots. He was a disruptor of the others teams offense putting so much pressure on opposing guards always making it difficult just to get open. He along with a 2 or 3 others can make a claim as the best defender in Memphis.

Tyran Davis 6’0, Like Watkins, Davis bring infectious energy as a defensive minded player who can hit the open 3 as well. He attacks the ball like Watkins and if you thinking about having a big scoring day, he’s going to make you work for every point.

TK Smith 6’3, His confidence has grown and it showed this weekend now becoming more well rounded as a guard instead of people just knowing him for his athleticism although I think he is a big time athlete.  He’s a guy who can get his off the pull up, shoot the 3, get to the rim and be dangerous in open court. I think Smith’s best days are ahead of him and has confidence increases, I think college may start to take notice.

Team Penny 16s (Cotton)

Khalil Garland 6’5, Operator off the slash, he has an excellent first step and he was hard to guard especially in the championship game on Sunday. He has good body control and knows how to finish once he gets to the rim and shows some ability as a good defender once the effort in that area increases. Garland has the look of the next high major out of Little Rock.

Tyree Appleby 5’11, Always a quality guard, he added some inches to his frame and his offensive game has improved. Really crafty scoring it, he loves quick 1-2,  crossover and get by you for attempts at the rim. I really like him as a penetrator and willing passer once he gets deep. Has a chance to be really good this spring/summer.

Memphis Wildcats 14u

Eric Gray 5’9, Down hill attacker but excels to the basket in the open court, Gray is a aggressive guard who’s not afraid of contact at the basket.

Sky Forrest 6’3, Big guard, Sky is more of a jump shooter but has made and effort to take easier shots through pull ups. A bit methodical but he gets it done, as motor increases, so will production.

Chandler Lawson 6’7, Athleticism has increased tremendously since last year and it showed against WACG where he stretched for shot off the rim for a big time dunk. Lawson is an  extremely skilled unselfish wing and while he did play up this weekend 16s with (Team Black-Golden) and showed something’s there, at 14u, he as the ability to dominate a game as a shot blocker, rebounder and scorer. Lawson has also worked as a post up utilizing the short jump hook to add a different element to him.

Jeremiah Martin On the Way To Memphis?



Jeremiah Martin ( Mitchell H.S.-Middle Pic) , a two time state champion and one of the best guards in the country has decided to open his recruitment back up after committing to Louisiana Tech earlier in the year. The 6’2 long point guard is coming off a state championship and Mr.Basketball Award in TN and in the state tournament was undoubtedly the best point guard of any classification. Jeremiah is a coaches dream, competitive strong willed defensive minded with a facilitator mentality but with  the ability to score the basketball  off the catch, off the bounce and get to his spot whenever he gets ready and he’s a really crafty finishing  as well.  As a defender, he might be the best in the area and one of the better defenders in the country on ball but the thing I like most about him is his attitude and dog mentality on the court. His relationship with KJ and Dedric Lawson may have some influence as all 3 have known each other for 9 years plus. Could this and other factors lead him into to choosing his hometown team? I think we will all know soon but best believe, if you get Martin, he’s not just some player from the area to give a scholarship too, he’s more than deserving and would be a steal for the Tiger program to get a guard of this caliber. Jeremiah would have been the Tigers best guard this year as a high school senior. His play will be infectious to his teammates and he would become a crowd favorite of the fans of Memphis. Memphis fans, if you get Martin, you will be glad you did.

Scalped: My McDonald’s All American Experience

Dedric Lawson (University of Memphis Commit- Far Right)
Dedric Lawson (University of Memphis Commit- Far Right)

My first McDonald’s All-American Game, the “Chi”(Chicago that its), second visit to the Windy City, first time was for well basketball and my last, well for basketball, the game I love. Excited, most definitely because it was a once in life time chance to see to University of Memphis commit Dedric Lawson, my nephew on the biggest stage in all of high school basketball, pinnacle of basketball, a basketball right of passage as it said on the game booklet and across both team buses on the outside of the team hotel. The 24 chosen, the best in the country from all over. Ben Simmons, the number 1 player virtually on everybody’s list, Cheick Diallo, Jaylen Brown, Antonio Blakeney, Isaiah Briscoe (Kentucky), Jalen Brunson (Villanova) super scorer Malik Newman and others, all stars in own right and respective state all under 1 roof. The crowning achievement , all the work, all the sacrificing, other friends hanging out, you working out, countless hours in the gym, the results, a McDonald’s All American

Chicago is well, Chicago, for a Memphian, a guy like me, it’s such a fast pace type of city especially in the downtown area. Everyone is walking, I guess that’s why in cities like Chicago and New York, you don’t have “Bookman” built people (my Goodtimes fans) and more straw built people in the North. In the South, we car riders, I don’t care if it’s up the street and around the corner, we cranking up, driving 5-6 minutes talking about walking there, are you out your mind, that’s to far.  First night in, we arrive at 9:45 pm, grab the rental, it’s now almost 11:00 pm, another 40 minutes to the hotel and now it’s 11:45. Tired hungry and just ready to lay down but wait, we starving so White Castle it is. I know I know, why there, well considering the time and nothing being open, I had know choice, well I had a choice but I couldn’t pass up White Castle besides, it’s White Castle, those little onions the honey mustard but let me get back to the story. Next morning hop in the shower for an hour, in the room, it’s 74 degrees but why, well the Hilton downtown doesn’t cut on it’s on air that early in the year which is a reminder, never stay at the Hilton in downtown Chicago again, I’m sorry, I like cold hotel rooms.

Okay, let’s fast forward after driving around trying to find something to eat which reminds me, the parking in the downtown area, is unreal expensive, well for a guy like me, I’m from Memphis, we find places to park, we park but there, 12, 15, 17 dollars just to park in a parking garage, I would go broke just parking in Chicago. We meet up with big bro, my sister and the 3 Lawson brothers and head to Giordano’s for lunch and if you don’t know about this pizza place, it’s everything everyone says about it and more but also a little tad bit, Derrick is part owner. The Deep Dish, Chicken, Sausage, Mushroom, I’m full after 2 slices, yeah you would be full too, trust me but well worth every bite. Afterwards, a little window shopping and everyone is ready to go to the game and this is where the story gets interesting.

Let me say this, we get to the United Center and from the outside, I thought it would be nice or would be nicer than what it was and a from TV, its looks really nice but oh well, let’s continue.  We walk up the ticket office, I see 50.00 on the wall which is what I figured we would pay anyway  and also the other tickets, the 10.00 tickets in the I can’t see section or better known as the “nose bleed” section, no deals but wait , excuse me, do you guys want to buy some floor seats? They 95.00 dollars, I say no but my mind gets to wondering, man, once in a life time, she proceeds to say, she can go in after you pay, come back out and show you, they legit tickets and get you. My mind is still like, I don’t know but wait, can you drop the price of the tickets my wife ask? Well, we can do 80.00 dollars. More questions are in my mind like man, would be nice, I ask my wife what you think, she says buy them. Grab the tickets proceed to the inside, go through the scanner and uh oh, there is a problem with the tickets says the attendant. She then directs us another representative from the United Center, she says go with her and they will see what’s going on with your tickets. We walk down the hall way and I get the worse feeling. We get to the back and the tickets are coming up, what, refund. What does this mean basically? Well, we got duped by a scalper, whoever bought the original tickets, bought them, printed out the tickets and then went back in and got a refund for their money. Basically, the tickets we had were null and void. So again, what does this mean, In my Bob Barker from the Price is Right show,  COME ON DOWN CHUCK, your the next idiot at the United Center.

I’m hot, I just lost out on 160.00 dollars and had to pay another 100.00 for new tickets and now my wife is going outside and I ask, where you going, “I’m going to find those two women”. I’m thinking to myself, it’s pointless, they gone but once again, COME ON DOWN, your the next idiot who’s still here after selling bogus tickets. I see her and immediately ask, where my chips and let’s just say some more choice words that I can’t say here. I wouldn’t do that to you, I’m still here says the woman but I then say, you weren’t expecting us to come back out here and see you again. I got all but 20.00 dollars of my money back and partly because I felt kind of sorry for her because her hustle is the scam people out of money and that has to be a horrible existence for anyone but never the less, a screwed up existence and a way to get herself hurt because there are a lot worse people out there than me.

Now to the game, what I was there for to watch,  Dedric on this stage and I thought he played well for the most part. Yes, he had 2 points, he didn’t shoot the ball great but he showed flashes of what made him a top 20 player in the class of 2016 before he reclassified  and a top 30 player in 2015. He was unselfish in what was I got it, I’m going with it type of game which is typical for the game, its a guard and wings game. He blocked a game high 3 shots, have 6 rebounds and 3 assists showing the mismatch 4 capability who will be hard to guard on the collegiate level. While there will always be detractors, I say this, this game was not indicative of the kind of player Dedric is and if you have watched him locally or nationally, you know why I say this. I was also impressed with Ben Simmons but I always am, to me, he looks like a Lebron type of player, not saying he’s this or going to be that good but he has some do it all do him, like that type. I think he’s a top 5 pick in the 2016 draft. Cheick Diallo was extremely active, motor on 10 and showed to skill set that I didn’t know he had. He’s more than a rebounder/shot blocker, showing some behind the back handle and finish. Others who I thought played well were Dwayne Bacon, Jaylen Brown, Isaiah Briscoe who will be attending the University of Kentucky but will be the much different from guards Cal has had in the previous years but he’s really good. I really like Brandon Ingram as well, a super long and skilled 3 who has star written all over him. Whoever gets him will get a top 10 pick in NBA draft whenever he comes out.

Brandon Ingram (White Jersey) Jaylen Brown (Blk Jersey) Both Undecided
Brandon Ingram (White Jersey) Jaylen Brown (Blk Jersey) Both Undecided


I would also like to welcome you to the new 901PrepScoop.com, we will of course talk a lot of basketball but don’t be surprised if you see some football and other sports here as well from time to time but I am at heart a basketball guy and I love this game. Thank to everyone who supports the site and continues to support. Let’s go another 7 years strong!

Coverage from the Mc Donald’s All American Game 2015


Welcome to the new 901 Prepscoop. The site is going under construction to become the new home of sports in the Memphis area and beyond. We will be adding a number of locations in the new coverage, from Texas to California and we will also cover every sport to bring light to sports outside of our traditional hoops coverage. Our first stop will be the 2015 Mc Donald’s All American Game. Check back soon for updates and information very soon.

Chuck Lawson