My blogs focus are to penetrate the collegiate athletes and the young athletes with advice and real experiences. I have had many ups and downs but feel my experiences can help the next person if some of my experiences are shared. Being able to take advice or ideas from others while navigating whats right from wrong is a concentration I had to grow accustomed to. I have made three decisions in my life that changed it completely and I will share it with you all.
There are many athletes who feel under the pressure from their parents or coaches but what they must understand is that besides them not being the only one, sometimes they must take the time out and figure out who has their best interest and take accountability. The fact the my dad was so tough on me and was persistent in my development as a player proved his loyalty. Never accepting money and never asking for favors for me proved to me how he seen through people and certain schemes young athletes and collegiate athletes go through today. My mom still till this day only wants her sons love and the love from her kids. She was the teacher of the house hold. Getting back to my point, watching all my friends grow up and go their separate way due to bad decisions, bad guidance and ego. Sometimes we must believe whats truly right in our hearts and stop asking so many outsiders for opinions. Most of the time we know the right answer but sometimes myself including others worry about what society may think.
In the 8th grade, I was on the cover of “Bounce Magazine” with other basketball players such as Kashief Pratt (Seton Hall), Edgar Sosa (Louisville) and Curtis Kelly (Kansas St.) in front of my dads Barbor Shop (which is a tourists attraction now). I was one of the most talked about 8th graders in basketball in the state of NYC. Though that summer, I was supposed to be going to Lincoln HS in Brooklyn; Sebastion Telfairs old school, while playing with a club team that hosted a few players from the Lincoln HS team. For the most part they were loaded and I didn’t play much in an important 8th/9th grade tournament after having close to 35pts in an opening game. I went else where and played for a friend named Danny Kenny in Queens and thats where I met a bunch of guys I went to High School with. A lot of my teammates were ranked on that Queens, NYC club team just as I was but to make a long story short, I didn’t want to go to Christ The King or a big high school or even Lincoln because I remembered how it felt to not play. All I did was want to play and score and be happy. My mom agreed though my dad was sure I was going to Lincoln. First day of school for Lincoln was Archbishop Molloys (the high school I chose to go to) Freshman Intramural’s. While my dad was in LA for business, he and the Lincoln coach was so sure I was on my way to school that monday until that morning I got up crying and was mad I had to go. My mom reasoned with my emotions but we have never made a basketball decision on our own without my dad hearing it first. My mom loved Molloy and the education the school offered considering I was an A student so she thought Molloy was a great idea. Imagine being on the expressway on your way to a school at 7am and not getting off the exit? Then going to the school your dad “at first” didn’t want you to go to and he finds out later that night! It was an intense day but dad eventually loved the idea and my decision as a man. I think from that day forward he took my ideas into consideration and respected me a lot more.
At least Lance transferred to Lincoln 2 days later lol.
Next decision I made on my own was picking my college. Not like I had all the high major offers in the world but my list sufficed. I was unsure of where I wanted to go, so I would throw schools at my dad and he would constantly say wait. I would ask my mom and she would say what ever made you happy. I never had a coach in my living room, I never was offered any cash amount, and I never felt what it was like to be hounded. I have had friends who are now overseas and in the NBA who has had collegiate coaches stalk him or blow their phone up during the live period. My dream school has always been Syracuse, because I wanted to be tall so badly. I wanted to sit in a zone knowing my opponents wouldn’t be able to get a clear shot. I want to run the break and dunk. I was delusional; especially when my second school I want to go to was Louisville. I thought I was good enough but I felt no one believed in me enough. I promised myself if Louisville ever offered me I’d be going there no exceptions. So with all the other schools on the table, people in my ear, I already had my own agenda and Louisville was where it was at. I committed to them before they even offered. So this decision was a no brainer and I’ve enjoyed the result of that decision!
My last major decision came my junior year in college after the national championship game. I am not Lebron James, I was not a guarantee first rd pick, nor was I an highly touted freshman at Kentucky or Duke. My worry was far from the embarrassment of me getting picked in the second round or not getting picked at all. Just the year previous to that, I was a college kid, who didn’t think I’d sniff the NBA. I had frat friends, known on campus, played video games and was sure I’d have a career in television or entertainment. My junior season, Coach P and my dad pushed me to be something and promised I’d become the player I wanted to be only if I listened. Check; I reached the level of achieving everything in college athletes check list but…EDUCATION. We forget how much of Americas students are in debt. We forget how many African Americans do not have their education. We forget how many athletes in general do not have an education. My advice is if you are guaranteed first round pick then go. I have nothing against that, I would too. I honestly believed that along with my education, I could for sure use the Coaching of Rick Pitino to help me get better and more prepared for whats to come athletically and mentally. I also want to be something in the world when I am finished playing. A coach, a GM or maybe even an Athletic Director like my friend Tom Jurich. Humility has shaped me into making some pretty good decisions along with who I surround myself with and therefore I had a great senior year and was the 47th pick in the draft. After it was all done I would not have done it any more different.
Throughout all of this information, what remains the same in my life that has helped me with my decisions has been my mom, dad, and Coach P. Coach Jack Curran (RIP) of Archbishop played an important role with his quotes, cliches, advice and wisdom as well. Consistency is what we can all use; myself especially on the court. The goal is to get better by making the best and most reasonable decisions you can make. Trust your heart. We know what is right from wrong but we tend to be influenced by our peers or what we think is cool. Teammates in the locker room or outsiders aren’t always who you may think they are, so share your personal stories with your dad, mom or someone you know 110% you can trust. Make the smart decision, stay out of trouble and learn to be consistent and patient.