Wheeler High All-America basketball player Jelan Kendrick is racking up frequent-flyer miles as rapidly as he score points.
On Friday, the 6-foot-5 Kendrick will finally take his official visit to Memphis with his parents. Kendrick signed last November with Memphis, which has the No. 1-ranked 2010 basketball recruiting class in the nation, according to several recruiting services. Kendrick will take his newly-earned nickname on his trip — “Mr. Do It All.”
“When I signed with Memphis, it was kind of out of the blue,” Kendrick told the AJC. “My mom and dad didn’t even really know what I was going to do. When I signed, I decided I was going to wait until after the high school season [for my official visit]. We’re going to drive there on Friday.”
If you recall, the never-a-boring-moment Kendrick made his commitment in dramatic fashion. He was on an unofficial visit to Memphis last November when he held an impromptu press conference at the Peabody Hotel to announce his college plans.
It was a shocker, as Kendrick hadn’t even really mentioned any favorites before committing to Memphis. He had also stated previously that he was planning to wait until after his senior season at Wheeler to choose among dozens of schools, including Georgia Tech, UGA and Indiana.
Yet everything changed for Kendrick as he spent more and more time in Memphis. Last summer, he was a practically a part-time resident of the Tennessee city while playing for the Memphis Magic Elite AAU team.
Kendrick has had a travel schedule that would rival the President’s over the last few weeks. He played in the McDonald’s All-America game on March 31 in Columbus, Ohio, participated in the Jordan Brand Classic at New York’s Madison Square Garden two weeks ago, and returned to New York for an all-star league tournament last weekend.
Kendrick was joined on the iS8 team, the Sean Bell Allstars, by two other Georgians — Walton point guard Ryan Harrow (N.C. State) and Statesboro 6-8 forward Eric Ferguson (now at Winchendon Prep, signed with Georgia Southern). The team went undefeated in four games, winning each by 30 or more. Kendrick earned the nickname “Mr. Do It All,” while Harrow got the moniker “The Magician” for his fancy passing and dribbling.
“I love the nickname … I got it because they said I could score, pass, rebound and block shots,” Kendrick said. “Who wouldn’t like a nickname like that? That type of versatility has been the story of my career. No one has ever really been able to define me at just one position.
“It was great to play basketball in the city of New York, where basketball is so beloved, and be given out nicknames, which is so rare for out-of-state kids.”
Are you still surprised that “Mr. Do It All” signed with Memphis? Do you wish he would’ve given more consideration to Georgia Tech and UGA? Post your thoughts below.