My father prayed me into existence before I was ever conceived.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. My mother thought it sounded crazy, too. He told her he was going to have a son with her before anything ever happened. She thought, “How could he have possibly known I was going to be a boy?”
Oh, but he knew.
He even went as far as begging my grandmother for her blessing. There was something about his conviction that made her a believer as well. He prayed day and night, asking for a son as a do-over for so many missed opportunities in his own life.
His persistence, prayers, and infinite love gave me life.
From the moment I opened my eyes, my dad always called me Bigtime.
He claimed he knew the entire time that I would grow up and make it big one day. For much of my life, I didn’t like that nickname. It was sort of awkward when he’d just come up to me and call me that in front of my friends.
But now, I embrace it with everything within me. He gave me that nickname for a reason, and I want to live up to it every time I have the ball in my hands.
I fell in love with basketball because it was a way to really connect with my dad. The drive and passion he had for the game moved me to the point where I just wanted to make him proud and win his approval.
It literally started as early as me formulating my first words. Both of my parents remember the times vividly when I’d walk around Wal-Mart, reaching out my arms and saying “ball” every time I saw one in the store.
My mom didn’t think my dad was so crazy at this point.
He wanted a son and a basketball player, and boom, there I was in front of her asking for a ball.
I guess God really does work in mysterious ways.
My dad always called me Bigtime because he wanted me to be everything he felt like he could have been. He believed he really had a chance to do something big when he was playing basketball, but he wasn’t able to have the same opportunities. So the next best thing for him was to live some of his dreams through me.
I was never nervous about those sorts of expectations because I’ve always been one to accept challenges and step up to get things done. On the flip side, I would even say those expectations have motivated me more than anything. I see it as no choice but to make those around me proud.
Without that motivation, I’m not so sure I would have made it to the collegiate level.
I always loved sports growing up, but I mostly played them for fun. It wasn’t until my junior and senior year in high school that I tried to really embrace the sport of basketball and get the most out of it. That was around the time when my first scholarship offer rolled in.
And then, the fire was lit.
I wasn’t heavily recruited, but that one opportunity gave me a reason to hope for the future if I put in the work. In the back of my mind, I always dreamed of being a professional athlete, but I’d never taken that goal seriously up until that point. I knew it was there, but I didn’t really know, if that makes sense.
I didn’t even have a plan. I was just kind of going through the motions.
But that one offer sparked everything into reality.
My game really started to take off in my senior year of high school. That’s when I made the connection with Presbyterian College.
At that point, there were other offers on the table as well. But once Presbyterian College made contact, everything happened so quickly. It was probably less than a month of us talking before I ended up signing.
I’ll never forget my first phone conversation with coach Quinton Ferrell. It was a midnight call after assistant coach Nick Lagroone came up to watch one of my games in Arden, North Carolina.
Coach Ferrell basically offered me over the phone, but I didn’t really understand what he was saying. Did he actually offer me a scholarship, or was he just saying he wanted me?
Maybe it’s because it was so late, and I was still hyped up on the game or something. But I still laugh about that conversation whenever it comes up.
The choice to come to PC was never hard for me. I signed here because of the family atmosphere they provided from the jump. It just felt right.
I’m big on faith, and I prayed throughout the entire process. In the end, it was all about consistency. I wanted to go somewhere that wanted me to be there just as badly as I wanted to go there. PC was the one school that showed me that kind of love. They showed me they really wanted me to join their program.
And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like to have that feeling?
PC gave me an opportunity to go dream-chasing for both me and my dad.
I’ll never forget the moment when I told him I committed. We were just relaxing in the house when I walked right up to him and told him where I wanted to go. He was just so happy and proud. This was one of the moments he dreamed of all of those years back when he told my mom he wanted to have a son.
And to think, he spoke it all into existence.
I’m so excited for the journey, but I’ll be honest and say the transition has been eye-opening. That first practice is probably as ingrained in my memory as breaking the news of my decision to my dad. I’m pretty sure I would have passed out if I kept going any longer.
But those first couple of weeks helped mold me into what I needed to be to compete at the next level. It refocused my mindset entirely.
My goals don’t end with a scholarship. I want to make it to the NCAA Tournament with my team, but most of all, I want to make the coaches that have given me this opportunity proud.
Oh, and I definitely want to play in the NBA one day. Go big or go home, right? I wouldn’t be Bigtime if I didn’t try.