Two childhood friends are taking their love of basketball to the next level to empower a new generation of athletes.
Before being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1986, Andre Turner was known as the “Little General” of the Memphis State University Tigers. Meanwhile, his friend, Davitria Harrell, now “Coach D” of FUNdamentally Sound, was racking up points as starting center for the University of Kentucky Lady Wildcats.
During the upcoming school holiday break, Turner and Harrell’s FUNdamentally Sound organization will present a joint, four-day Basketball Skills Camp. The camp for ages 7-14 will be held Dec. 27-30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Collierville Community Center at 440 West Powell.
Coach D founded FUNdamentally Sound in 2000 “to empower, educate and equip students through motivation, teaching and mentoring to become fundamentally sound, self-confident, team-oriented athletes.” Like Turner, she recently returned to Memphis after more than 20 years away from home. This is the first, but not the last, camp on which they will collaborate.
Turner, a 5-11 point guard for the Tigers, was the little engine that could, providing leadership that helped propel the team to a 31-3 record and the 1985 Final Four against Villanova. During his collegiate career, he became the U of M’s all-time leader in assists (763), dishing them to fellow Tigers such as Keith Lee, Vincent Askew, William Bedford, and Baskerville Holmes.
A native Memphian, Turner spent six seasons with seven NBA teams, including the Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Bullets, before leaving the U.S. for Spain, where he played until his retirement from professional basketball in 2008. Turner, now 47, was inducted into the University of Memphis Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.
Since returning to Memphis ten years ago, Turner fulfilled a longtime promise to his mother by completing his degree at the University of Memphis. He is in the process of forming the Andre Turner All-Star Basketball Club to provide academic college scholarships.
“I am excited and motivated to make a difference in a child’s life. The power of sports can influence a child to make better grades and improve their athletic performance,” Turner said.
Harrell earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Memphis. A former educational specialist for the Tulsa Department of Education, she has more than 20 years experience working with diverse youth populations. Although she never played for the WNBA, she has amassed years of experience teaching children and adults the fundamentals of her favorite game through private sessions, coaching clinics and team consults, along with many church and corporate basketball camps in Texas, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
The basketball skills camp, she said, will cover offensive and defensive fundamental drills, shooting techniques (including proper form and footwork), free throw performance, ball passing, dribbling and handling and game situation drills. It will be limited to 100 participants.
“Our goal is to enhance individual and team performance,” said Coach D. “We focus on sportsmanship, discipline, positive mental attitude, endurance and team work in addition to the fundamentals to build well-round athletes.”
The cost of the Andre Turner-FUNdamentally Sound Basketball Skills Camp is $150 for the four days. To register, contact Brad Heacox at the Collierville Community Center at 901-457-2770.