By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The day Reggie Elkins’ prep basketball career at Brighton High School in 2010, he walked off the court saying his playing days will continue and he wanted to play professionally.
Over time Elkins has proven himself to be a man of his word becoming an NAIA standout for the Mid-Continent University Cougars. This year his run with the Cougars came to an end and it was time for Elkins to pursue the next level.
Elkins was invited to the Portsmouth Basketball Summit in Virginia. The 5’9 shooting guard was looking for an overseas deal after graduation.
“Word got to me that Memphis was bringing a new ABA team here,” Elkins said. “So we got that information, and after six weeks of training, I made the roster. The team is the Memphis Lions and its a newly accomodated franchise in the Mid-South, and will be a part of the official American Basaketball Association this upcoming season.”
The son of Ronnie and Patricia Elkins has reached his dream and fulfilled his promise. Now Elkins will represent his family, Brighton High School and town of Brighton on a professional level.
“It feels good,” Elkins said of his achievement. “Knowing you’ve worked hard since high school, had a successful college career, and now the next goal at hand is pro, and you actually make it, there’s no better feeling at hand. And actually coming from a place where you can count on one or two hands were people actually make it professionally, its a blessing.”
During his days as a Cardinals, Elkins played for Head Coach Wesley Miller. He was named to the District 13-3A All-Tournament team as a junior and senior. Elkins was also All-Region and played at the U.S. Junior Nationals in 2010.
After racking up accomplishments in college, Elkins eyed the next level and found a place for his game.
“So many different things, confidence for one,” Elkins said of his pursuit. “Never taking the word “No,” or “You can’t or you won’t,” as an answer, knowing that there is a world besides the NBA professionally. Which don’t get me wrong, the NBA is still the goal, but this is just the first stepping stone for me.”
Now he’s a Lion and Elkins is looking forward to the life of being a professional basketball rookie.
“A lot of exposure and molded into a professional before more opportunities come at hand in the next year or so,” he said. “Enjoy the rookie life, and just thank God for everyday i’m able to do this, because everyone can’t and won’t.”
Elkins hopes his game continues to improve and this stop in the ABA will create more opportunitites.
“I honestly don’t plan to stay in the ABA long,” he acknowledged. “ As I get better, hopefully go to the CBL or overseas, then the next stop,the NBA D-League, then the NBA to end my career on a good note, that’s the plan.”
Whether he makes it to the Association or not, Elkins has already carried the Brighton Basketball name across the country.
“Man, coming from here, this is definitely unexpected,” he said. “Some people feel as if after high school sports here, that’s it. Or possibly college, but you never hear about someone going pro, so it feels good to be one of the first along with Jasmine Newsome. If I’m not mistaken, and others.”
A fan of the game, Elkins has kept an eye on the former Millington Lady Trojan Jasmine Newsome during her college days at UT-Martin. Now Newsome is a professional baller as well.
Now two local products will continue to make headlines on the court.
“I know we’ve got some up and coming, not just out of Brighton, but the whole Tipton County,” Elkins said. “You get a mindset that, ‘This is what I want to do.’ Then you go for it. I mean who’s going to stop you besides yourself.
“And since I’m closer to home, which is a blessing this first year, depending on how busy my schedule I plan to be in the community a lot helping out along the basketball and mentoring aspects,” Elkins concluded. “With my knowledge, something I didnt have while I was in high school, AAU, etc. You can never have too much advice, so thats what I plan to do. This is only the beginning for me with my goal. I feel as if I was put here, to inspire coming from a small town.