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MHS star athlete takes his game and his life to the next level

Middlesex High School basketball and football standout Ryheem Lockley

by Tom Chillemi

Hard work has helped propel Ryheem Lockley to the top.

But heeding advice may have been the key difference for this Middlesex High School senior, who this season set the all-time career scoring record for a Charger basketball player. Also, Lockley added first-team Group A All State honors for basketball to his long list of athletic accomplishments.

Lockley has signed to play football this fall at Miami University on a full scholarship. He is the first MHS athlete to ever receive a football scholarship from a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) team.

While Lockley (6’4”, 215 lbs.) is an exceptional athlete, he still had to work through typical teenage issues, he said. Eventually, he listened to those who offered help. And in doing so he improved athletically and matured as a person. “I had an attitude,” he admits. “I wasn’t listening.”

As an eighth-grader, Lockley didn’t think he would go to college. Being told he “wouldn’t amount to anything” made his resolve stronger. “I fed on it,” he said.

Lockley explained he had to grow up quicker than others because he didn’t have a father figure to point out “right and wrong.” That changed when he got on the basketball court. His coaches took on the role of a father figure, starting with his days as a standout in the Middlesex Youth Basketball League.

In his sophomore year at MHS, Lockley’s stepfather, John Dandy, took him under his wing. “He told me that as long as I kept working and kept my morals correct I could do whatever I wanted to do, and nobody could stop me.”

His high school basketball coaches, Patrick Weller, Brody Jackson and Chris Walker, kept pushing him as well.

In his junior year, Lockley began weight training. “I realized I needed to push myself to become better at what I do,” he said. 

MHS wrestling coach Joel Anderson motivated Lockley, who admitted he was stubborn at times. “He really pushed me to my limits,” said Lockley.

Anderson said Lockley worked very hard in the weight room and increased his bench press by 60 pounds to 290. “I saw he was very focused on getting stronger,” said Anderson. “He was competing for the strongest bench press in the school. And, with the likes of Matt Green and Vladimir Rowe, he had some stiff competition! I believe with hard work and his frame, Ryheem could add another 40 to 50 pounds in each lift before he heads off to college.”

Being stronger made Lockley faster and his reactions quicker. “It makes the game slow down and that helps me see everything that’s going on,” said Lockley. As a result, the game “opened up” and it was easier for him to pass because he was aware of all that was happening on the court.

Chris Walker, the 2012-13 MHS head basketball coach, saw how Lockley matured since his sophomore year when Walker was an assistant coach. “I noticed a difference with him this year in his decision-making on the court,” said Walker. “He was able to make decisions quicker as if the game had slowed down for him as he matured.”

Lockley has consistently put up big numbers his entire career even though he played for three different head basketball coaches in his four years at MHS. “Ryheem is a great athlete,” Walker added.

“It has been an honor to have the opportunity to coach him and I know he will do great things in his future,” said Walker. “He earned everything he has achieved.”

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 05.01.2013

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