Memphis, Tenn., — The LeMoyne-Owen College (LOC) Magicians men’s and women’s basketball teams will play their final home game of the season on Saturday, February 17. Both teams will be competing against conference rival Lane College (LC), with the women playing at 5:30 p.m., and the men following at 7:30 p.m.
In what’s sure to be an exciting match-up between the two Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference teams, it will also be a memorable one for LeMoyne-Owen’s seniors.
(Alphabetical Order) Reshun Ellis, Taylor Johnson-Prackett, Demba Konate, Shantiera Miller, Aston Morton, Dareyon Terrell, and Tenesha Wright will suit up to represent the purple and gold on the Legendary Jerry C. Johnson Court for one final go-round.
In an interview with the Magicians, several have been playing the game they love and working hard as student-athletes to help reshape their community.
Senior center, Taylor Johnson-Prackett a Social Work major at LeMoyne-Owen, says she was inspired by her family to play ball. “I’ve been playing basketball for nine years,” she stated. A long time hobby of hers along with singing and playing tennis with her hubby, Johnson-Prackett says coming to LOC was a prayer answered.
“I love a small environment and I got that here at LeMoyne-Owen,” she said of her HBCU.
“I feel as if God sent me here [to LOC].” she continued. “I took a year off for my son and after prayer, God opened up this door for me to come and finish something I always loved.”
The Memphis native, who plans to go straight into the field as a social worker, encourages her teammates and fellow student-athletes to stay focused. “Be teachable and coach-able in the classrooms, and on the court,” she said. “Whatever you do, always come in with an open mind, and don’t follow the crowd. Be your own individual.”
Influenced by Assistant Coach Jonathon Collins during their individual workouts, Taylor believes that practice and hard work are important when it comes to getting better. These essential qualities are evident in many student-athletes, including her teammate and fellow senior Tenesha Wright.
“T. Wright is my favorite athlete not only because we hooped together at Shelby Metro in high school, but because she works hard,” Johnson-Prackett said of Wright.
Wright who attended Whitehaven High School here in Memphis, has been playing basketball since the 7th grade. “My brothers inspired me to play, but it was my head coach, Coach [Antony] Partee who really influenced my game the most,” she said. “He just has a positive attitude that makes you want to go hard from beginning to end no matter the circumstances.”
And go hard she does. Tenesha helped lead her team in a comeback win over Tuskegee University (Feb. 5); pouring in 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. “Coming back from being down 15 to a win, that was probably my favorite memory from the season so far,” Wright recalled with a smile. “That and our win in double overtime against Miles.”
In addition to basketball, T. Wright is a fan of Chick-fil-A, psychology, and LeBron James. “I like helping others, and psychology was a favorite class of mine because it helps you understand people and life,” she said. A Criminal Justice major here at LOC, Wright has plans of continuing her education before joining the workforce. In a note to future student-athletes, Wright advises, “To stay positive and always look to God for answers.”
Greenwood, Miss., native Aston Morton, a combo guard for the Magicians is also a fan of psychology. Studying Sociology and psychology at LeMoyne-Owen, Morton has plans of continuing his education and staying around the game of basketball. “I plan to continue with school the following semester to complete graduate school and earn my master’s degree in sociology,” Morton said. “I want to be a counselor and provider for the youth and head coach of a basketball team sometime in the near future.”
Dareyon Terrell, another senior combo guard for the Magicians Men’s Basketball team, and a Criminal Justice major at LeMoyne-Owen was inspired to play the game by his Uncle DuJuan, and his father, the late Haywood Terrell.
“For me growing up you only had two options…be in the streets or play a sport to make it out the hood.”
For Terrell, the former was not an option as he found solace in the sport of basketball – a game he’s played for the majority of his youth. “Kobe [Bryant] is my favorite athlete because of his killer mentality on the court,” Terrell said. Teammate and fellow senior Demba Konate agreed. “You gotta love his mindset, and that competitive attitude,” Konate echoed.
As an upperclassmen, Dareyon encourages his teammates and future student-athletes to keep a positive attitude, and NEVER give up. “Just keep pushing and your time will come soon.”
For senior Demba Konate, his time had finally come during the 2017-18 season.
“My most memorable moment from this season is being cleared to play again after a year of setback because of injury,” Konate said. “It’s been a blessing to be back out there to play the game I love.”
The 6-10 forward from Bamako, Mali in West Africa, received a scholarship to play at LeMoyne-Owen after his love for the game presented an opportunity here in Memphis. “I consider my time here at LOC as one of my most valuable experiences,” Konate said. Influenced by his parent, coaches, teammates, and friends, the Business Administration Finance major has plans to go play professionally and is considering grad school also.
“My favorite subject is financial accounting,” Konate stated. “I like numbers and financial accounting will always be a needed job no matter what the economy is like because there are so many things you can do with it.”
Senior Shantiera Miller, a shooting guard for the Lady Magicians, is a Business Management major at LOC and is also considering a career in accounting as a CPA.
Reshun Ellis, the SIAC’s second leading scorer, and guard for the Magicians, has plans to become a probation officer upon graduation. Ellis is a Social Science major at LeMoyne-Owen.
In a letter to future student-athletes, Demba advises:
“To take every challenge as an opportunity that you can learn, improve, and grow from. We all face challenges in our lives, but we have a choice whether to allow these challenges to destroy us or make us stronger. It’s our perspective that decides the outcome.”
Don’t miss out on the LOC versus Lane College rivalry doubleheader at Bruce/Johnson Hall this Saturday, Feb. 17 at 5:30, and 7:30 PM CST.