By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Class of 2018 has set athletic records at area schools in scholarships, achievements and awards.
One of the prime examples coming out of Millington Central High School, Brighton High School and Munford High School is Tipton-Rosemark Academy’s Carter Weakley. Weakley was a part of a 7-3 Rebel Football team and Sub-State TRA Basketball squad.
He was named a 2017 AutoZone Liberty Bowl High School All-Star and 2018 Ultimate Prep Sports Basketball All-Star. This fall he will arrived to campus in Arkansas to play both basketball and football for Hendrix College.
And the latest recognition for Weakley came this June with him being named the 2018 Millington Star Male Athlete of the Year.
“It feels great,” he said. “I would just like to say a special thanks to my Mom, my Dad and my brother Darren. Also to my grandparents who were at a majority of the games. Also my uncle Joshua who is in a wheelchair. And he still comes out and supports me.
“As well I would like to thank my school, my coaches, my traveling teams for everything they’ve done for me,” he continued. “It’s a great honor. I’m very privileged to have this.”
Weakley’s parents Jeff and Lisa accompanied him the presentation. They have witnessed Carter’s hours of hard work and dedication. When their son hits the court or field, he has a certain swagger misunderstood by some on the opposing side.
“If you don’t know me, it’s hard for you to like me,” Carter said. “It’s just my style. It’s my moxie. It’s the way I present myself as well. Those people have been against me my entire life. That’s what I use as my motivation to succeed like I am.
“Even my own brother doubts me,” he added. “Anyone who has an older sibling knows what that is like. Him pushing me and pushing me down in the front yard, we would scrap at each other. It’s pretty hard having an older brother who is much, much larger than me. He basically doubles my size. Him bringing me down but still picking me right back up has been pretty major.”
Darren paved the road for Carter was a multiple sports standout at TRA. He was a 6’5 post player for Rebel Basketball and came out late for the football team playing quarterback.
Carter blasted on the gridiron scene his junior year as one of the best kickoff returners in the nation.
“I tried to stay humble with that and tried not to let it go to my head,” Carter recalled. “Every single kick I returned, ‘You have to try to get to the end zone.’ Hopefully that brought a lot of spotlight to TRA. I remember the coaches talking about at the end of the season we were No. 3 in special team yardage in the nation at the end of my junior year. At the end of my senior year, we were No. 2. That just sets the tone for the school. Hopefully this year they can come out and build upon that knowing that we set the foundation.”
Carter’s foundation in athletics started at a young age. At one point in his life he played basketball, football and baseball while running cross country.
“That all just goes back to being well rounded,” he said. “When I was younger I played many sports. My sixth grade year I played football and I ran cross country. I would to straight from football practice to cross country. I also played baseball and of course basketball. I was a four-sport athlete that year.”
By the time he entered high school at Christian Brothers in Memphis, Carter was mainly concentrating on basketball. Then he transferred back to TRA and started to compete full-time in basketball and football.
“Rosemark is known as a choir school,” Weakley said. “You really don’t think about athletics. I believe what my brother and I did, he did a great job with what he did.”
Then Weakley noted his peers of Alex Langford, Corey Mitson, Haley Ramsey, Tyler Flynn, Zach McCranie, Shelby Clifton, Rachel Whitley and more who signed college scholarships and helped Rebel Athletics reach new heights.
After wrapping up a 7-3 football season and home playoff appearance with Head Coach Colin Pinner, Weakley prepared to play his final prep season of basketball. At this time last year, Weakley was slated to be the go-to guy for the 2017-18 Rebel Basketball team.
“It would have been a rough one, a lot of headaches and a lot of long nights,” he said. “A lot more time I would have to spend in the film room figuring out what am I doing wrong and what do I need to do to improve our team to help it get to the level it is supposed to be. I would have to be averaging 30 a night get to where we where.”
Instead Weakley adjusted to a new-look squad under the direction of Head Coach Cedric Anderson.
“Back in the beginning of the season, the talent was there,” Carter said. “We had the talent. The issue was, ‘How are we all going to work together?’ With KD, Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, them working together took a lot of time with them getting used to each other. It took them learning each other.”
Weakley noted the success of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors comes from ball movement and getting to know each other’s game.
“That’s what we had to built that team chemistry and IQ for one another,” he continued. “We looked really rough at the beginning of the season. As soon as Christmas time came around, you saw glimpses of what was to come.”
When February hit the calendar, the Rebels went on an upset tour starting at St. George’s. Then the favorite to win the State title FACS went down next.
Then TRA got some revenge against the USJ Bruins to earn a home Sub-State game. The Rebels almost beat Lausanne in the Regional title game losing in overtime.
“Tysen’s (Banks) injury going down at the end, I believe we would have won that game,” Carter said. “We didn’t get that No. 1 seed.”
Experts doubted if the Rebels would reach that far. Now some are expressing concerns if Weakley can handle the load of playing two sports at the collegiate level.
“Most people are like you’re not going to be able to pull it off,” he said. “I tell them, ‘When I say I am going to do something, I’m going to do it.’ My family has taught me once you say you’re going to do something, you’re on it. You’re committed to it. There’s no backing out. You don’t do that to your team, your family and you don’t do that to yourself. When I say I’m playing two sports, I mean it.”
Weakley is looking to win championship for Hendrix while increasing his knowledge of both sports. He eventually wants to be Coach Weakley and help student/athletes reach their full potential.
“There is always seriousness level that each kid needs to have kick in either when they are at school or on their own time,” he said. “That, ‘Hey I am doing this to get to the next level. I’m doing this to make me better. Not just me but to make my team better and TRA as a whole.’
“I hope that everybody else at TRA plans to excel in their sport,” Weakley added. “Just look back at athletes like me, Connor Alexander, Logan Stewart, Rachel Whitley, Lyndsey Sterling and David Owen, to see our work ethic. How we went hard everyday. I was carrying around a gallon of water everyday. People who say, ‘Hey you don’t need that.’ You would try to take it away.”
Carter fought for his gallon of water and proved each day while he needed it for his training. He was the person in the gym shooting the ball at 5:30 a.m. He attacked the weights and performed drills to improve his quickness.
“I hope my legacy at TRA is one to be remembered and that folks learn from the example that I set with athletics,” he concluded. “Know that they can reach any goal they choice to set.”
2006 Buck Wakefield Munford
2007 Joe Glass Brighton
2008 Mario Justice Millington
2009 Tausean Holmes Millington
2010 Demetre Jones Millington
2011 Alan Cross Millington
2012 Ricky Foster Brighton
2013 Antonio Webber Millington
2014 Connor Alexander TRA
2015 Logan Stewart TRA
2016 Kip Fleming Millington
2017 Tyler Denson Millington