Categorized | Sports

Richardson’s maturity, along with natural gifts lead to basketball scholarship

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Kendra Richardson signing Kendra Richardson to basket Kendra Walters State

Kendra Richardson will begin her next term of basketball in East Tennessee becoming a Walters State Community College Senator.
It became official May 5 in the Millington Central High School Library during a signing ceremony. Right by Kendra’s side was her mother Linda. The elder Richardson has been there since day one for her daughter.
Linda was a standout in track and basketball at T.L. Weston High School in Greenville, Miss. So when Kendra gravitated toward both sports, Linda wasn’t surprised.
Kendra having the ability to reach the college level wasn’t a shock to Linda either. She played college basketball as well.
“She’s been working hard since she was about 5 years old,” Linda recalled of Kendra. “She picked up the ball on her own. I didn’t have to force it in her hand. She stayed focused and kept her head on straight.
“I played ball and ran track,” she added. “So once again, I didn’t have to force anything on her. She took it upon herself and started on her own. I was there to encourage her, her dad and me.”
Linda and Alfred made sure Kendra stayed humbled, worked hard in the classroom and listened to her coaches to get better.
“I just look back at the time I did it and the coaches I had,” Linda said. “I had to explain to her, when a coach stays on you, that’s not because they’re picking on you. At one point and time she did think that. I tell her because they see a lot of potential in you. You have to stay with them and get better.”
Track coaches like Savannah Grow, James Edwards and T. Taylor worked with Kendra’s natural ability to reach State in the high jump and be competitive in sprints.
On the hardwood Stan Gatlin and Bruce Marshall used Richardson in a variety of ways from power forward to point guard.
With so much success on the track, several believed Richardson would be sprinting toward college.
“Her heart is truly into basketball,” Linda said. “She likes track, but her favorite sport is basketball. She followed her love.”
Kendra said there is a chance she might run track for Walters State but when it came to picking a scholarship, hoops had her heart.
“It wasn’t even a course of thinking, whether basketball or track,” she said. “It was automatically basketball. That’s what I’ve stuck with and I’m going to stick with basketball.”
Richardson said the lows and highs on the MCHS hardwood helped her mature and grow as a person. During her junior season, Richardson played along side seniors Troi Chestnut, Seymon Taylor, Erin Clark, Treasure Redding and UT-Martin’s Tiara Caldwell.
The group played a huge role in Millington winning the District 14-3A regular season and tournament titles.
“The past four years here, I’ve grown a lot,” Kendra said. “My attitude has grown a lot. I’ve learned not to get so mad and be more patient. Then I had to mature a lot so I’ve grown a lot as a person. I had to learn how to be a leader, picking people up and when I’m down I have to stay strong for everybody else.”
In 2013 Richardson shared the leadership responsibilities with the senior group. But this past season that role belonged to her being the only 12th grader on the roster.
“The moment that stuck with me the most in my time at Millington and it really hit me,” she said, “last year when my whole team left me and I realized I was the only one left.
“I realized that I had to pick it up and even be a better person for the younger kids,” Kendra continued. “This is what it is, this is what you have to do. Seeing them leave made me realize, ‘Kendra it’s your time to shine and lead this team.’”
Richardson was the leading scorer for the Lady Trojans. She was the leader in most offensive statistics while helping groom young playes like Tamia Aldrige, Glenda Garner, Jherika Brown and Marquisha Sanders.
Kendra’s hard work and leadership paid off with a scholarship offer from WSCC Head Coach David Kragel.
Linda said her daugther will continue to grow in all phases once she reaches the Walters State campus.
“As long as she stays focused and keeps her head on straight,” she said, “there’s no telling where she will be. Just take it day by day.”
Kendra said she will use the athletic ability she inherited from her mother and life lessons at the next level.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned from my mom, ‘You’ll make mistakes,’” she concluded. “‘But you’ll also learn from your mistakes. You have to keep pushing forward and move on. And just pray and it will come to you. And finally keep your head up and it will all be ok.’”

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