The shot clock was winding down and the ball was in my hands, I knew I had an advantage on my defender so it was time to attack. I drove to the middle from the right side like I’ve done a million times and when it was time to explode up for a shot… I heard a “pop” and collapsed to the floor.
I rose up from the fall grimacing in pain while hearing the claps from the opposing fans and team. I knew something was wrong when I began walking to the bench. We ended up winning a tough road game at Western Carolina but the bus ride home would be even longer with the news I received of a likely torn ACL in my left knee. After all the x-rays and MRI appointments it was confirmed that I had torn my ACL 16 games into my sophomore year.
That previous spring and summer I had suffered a broken wrist and I would later need two surgeries to repair it. I was at an all time low knowing I’d be going into surgery for the third time in a year. The rehabilitation process takes about 6-8 months before you can get back to full contact. I knew this would be something I would have to overcome and it would not be an easy task.
My whole life, my amazing mother has instilled a Scripture verse in her children that we all tend to fall back on when life hits you hard. Philippians 4:13, which reads, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 is written on all of my game shoes as a reminder that with God all things are possible. However there were some days where the motivation just wasn’t there. Any athlete who’s ever been out due to an injury knows how hard it is to watch your teammates practice or play in a game without being out there with them.
When you work so hard at something for so many years and it’s suddenly taken from you, it’s hard to keep a positive mindset. But I knew there would be good and bad days that would prepare me for life on and off the court.
My rehab process was very successful with the help of many family members and close friends. I received many encouraging texts, emails, and letters from people who have been supporting me throughout my career. I even received a signed picture from NFL superstar running back Adrian Peterson who also tore his ACL and came back the next year as the best running back in the league breaking all sorts of rushing records.
My advice to any athlete who has to go through a long rehab process is to stay positive even on the bad days because it will make a huge difference in your overall health. The following year I played in every game making 21 starts and was a key member to an 18 win season.
My last year at Elon was memorable to me in many ways on and off the court. I received the Black Excellence Award for having a GPA of 3.0 or higher. I was voted a captain by my teammates and coaches which was very humbling for me because I knew I had worked hard that summer and it was my turn to lead a young group of guys who were eager to learn and get better. This year’s team had its ups and downs with a lot of key players getting hurt and the inexperience of a young team.
We finished the season by beating the top 3 teams in the league, which made us the hottest team in the conference leading into postseason play. My basketball career at Elon would come to an end in the quarterfinal of the conference tournament to a very talented William and Mary team. But the season would not be a disappointment in my eyes because we showed how resilient we were and that our program was headed in the right direction.
The best part about all the success we had was sharing it with those two guys. Like myself they also battled through injuries throughout their careers. There was one time we all were injured at the same time and we had to help one another put clothes on because we had so many limitations, it was quite funny looking back on it. We learned so much from one another and I thank God for having the opportunity to have them in my life.
Now college has come to an end, which seems like yesterday I was just signing my letter of intent to attend the beautiful Elon University. I graduated with a degree in Sport and Event Management with a minor in Business. Like every college graduate, I’ve been getting the question, so what’s next?
This question gets pretty old after awhile but I don’t mind since I’m pretty excited for what God has in store for me. My whole life I’ve dreamed of playing professional basketball at a high level and God willing I’ll be starting that next chapter in the next couple of months. I will most likely be playing overseas in a country that I have no clue about however I’m thrilled for the experience.
I would like to thank all my supporters for getting me to this point because without you I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would also like to thank Bryan Wish for the random Facebook message asking me to share my story (haha), this is great what you’re doing and I enjoyed sharing my story. My purpose of sharing my story and what I’m currently going through is to remind people that life has its twists and turns but with God and people that love and care for you the sky is the limit.