By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Shawnese Harris must have known something when she gave birth to her baby girl.
She named her child Treasure. And through the game of basketball, Treasure Redding has been a hidden jewel to coaches like Stan Gatlin and Bruce Marshall.
Now the talents and skills of Redding are the special find of Southwest Tennessee Head Coach Andrea Martre. On April 9 in the Millington Central High School Library, Redding signed her letter of intent to play basketball for the Lady Salquis.
“I think I’m getting a complete player,” Martre said. “Once she gets in there and adjusts her game from high school to college, she’ll definitely be able to be relentless on the boards and an offensive threat. She’s a great passer. We had her in about a couple of weeks ago.
“She and my post players connected immediately,” she continued. “They were passing it to each other and looking for each other. She got rebounds and the stick backs. I see her being our go-to post. If she gets in there and does the work, she’ll be rewarded greatly once she finishes two years.”
Redding earned her reward of signing a college scholarship by leading the Millington Lady Trojans to the 2013 District 14-3A regular-season and tournament titles.
But that all seemed in jeopardy this past November. It was after a preseason practice, Redding realized she wanted to play college basketball. Although her academics and ACT score had her offers for non-athletic scholarships to schools like Christian Brothers University, Redding realized she wanted to further her playing career.
“It took hard work and I had to set my mind to what I wanted to do and to what I wanted to accomplish,” Redding said. “I guess I succeeded. Now I have to work hard at Southwest.
“I felt like I wasn’t putting in my all,” she acknowledged. “I didn’t want to be left behind because I wasn’t giving my all. I knew I had it in me. But I guess I just let it out.”
Coaches like Marshall always saw the talent Redding possessed in her 6’1 frame. But it wasn’t always simple to get Redding to display those skills.
“Frustrating but exhilarating at the same time,” Marshall said of coaching Redding. “I’ve seen her play since she was a freshman. She played a good bit her freshman year for Coach Gatlin. She did a lot of things well. It was obvious she had a lot of skills. But the most frustrating thing about it, she just didn’t really want to get after it. She was kind of laid back and just really wouldn’t show her abilities like she was capable of doing.
“The exhilarating part is that she woke up,” he added. “About the midway point of this season, she started showing what she can do. She should be averaging 14 and 10 a night. And that’s pretty much what she did especially the second half of the season. That’s why she had an opportunity to go play at the next level.”
Marshall said Martre has a tremendous player in her recruiting class. The Millington Lady Trojan Head Coach said he knows from both vintage points about the player Treasure Redding.
For two years as an assistant coach for the Bolton Lady Wildcats, Marshall had to game plan against Redding. Then he had the skill set of Redding as a weapon for two seasons.
“It’s a lot nicer having her on my team instead on the other team and us trying to figure out how we’re going to stop her,” he noted. “If she didn’t want to be stopped, she wasn’t going to be stopped. She’s got to have that attitude when she goes off to college. The fact that I’m not going to be stopped. I’m better than everybody out here on the floor. I’m going to prove it every night. She has that type of ability”
That ability was God-given according to Harris.
“She’s been playing since the sixth grade at Woodstock,” Harris recalled. “I played for LaSalle High School in South Bend, Indiana. She inherited those skills. I was a post and a center. I could shoot too.
“I can see me in her,” she added. “And I can see her excelling to define herself. I see us doing this again in a couple of years to a four year school. I’m going to do everything I can to help her reach that dream”
Martre, who has been coaching at Southwest since 1996, has guided several players to four-year and Division-I schools. She said it will be simply up to Redding to be the next in line.
“Soft touch, face-up game, she can shoot the three,” she noted. “She can put it on the floor. She can pass. Really she’s a steal. I’m just really glad I was able to get her.
“We’re going to get her in the gym and work mentally, physically, social skills,” Martre added. “It’s not just about basketball. She’s a great student. So we won’t have to worry too much on the academic side. As long as she stays focused and do what she’s supposed to do, she’ll be ready in two years to graduate.”
Redding said as long as her support system is there, she will continue to live up to her talents and name.
“Everybody motivated me and supported helped me keep my mind on track,” she concluded. “I wanted to make people happy, especially those who supported me.”