The Memphis Home Education Association won the National Home Schools Championship last year, now they are 22-4 beating some of Shelby County’s top teams
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – When you think of homeschooling, basketball might not be the first thing that comes to mind.
But the Memphis Home Education Association boys’ basketball shows there’s no place like home.
“If you’re talking about a home school team you’re thinking of, we’re just going to take them on our senior night and kill them. Destroy them on the field,” said MHEA senior Justin Morgan. “But now they know that when we’re in their gym it’s going to be a good game.”
For years, the Eagles struggled to be a .500 team; then coach Preston Butts came on board in 2020.
“When I got here, people were scheduling us for homecoming or as a schedule-filler,” he said. “Now that has changed dramatically.”
Butts’ hiring coincided with a merger with another home school team, the Memphis Nighthawks. While the infusion of talent was welcome, the freshman head coach was unexpectedly tasked with making a seamless transition between two teams.
“They knew what they wanted and they were willing to do whatever it took to make it happen,” Butts said. “And we tried to influence them as a coaching staff to get them there. It was great to see.”
MHEA have won the 2020-21 National Home Schools Championship. After graduating eight seniors, the Eagles haven’t taken the leap. They are 22-4 and ranked among the top 15 teams in all of Tennessee.
They are now beating some of the same teams that used to schedule them expecting an easy win.
“Hopefully we’re starting to build that respect. I know teams are starting to circle us a little more than before rather than before ‘Oh we’re playing the home school team today. “”
Colleges realize this too. Morgan is signed to play at Murray State, Ja Morant’s former home turf.
Now he hopes his longtime Nighthawks teammates and fellow senior Shoemaker and Drew Kyzar will be the next to get coaches.
“They’re very talented,” Morgan said. “I think any school they go to, it’s going to be a steal.”
“You look at some of these guys in Memphis who sign Div. I scholarships, they compete and beat them,” Butts said of Shoemaker and Kyzar. “Their game might not be sexy, they might not hit the top of the backboard, but these guys are competitors and winners.”