A west-side prodigy helps make history at Lincoln College, advances to CCAC Tournament Championship

Darnell Latham Jr. pulls up with a three and fans celebrate. Video by Areonna Dowdy.

Darnell Latham Jr., made his way back to his alma mater, Lincoln College in Lincoln, Ill. turning up his basketball career with ease. Since Latham’s return, he has averaged 18 per game and four rebounds per game. The Lynx have had three back-to-back wins leading them to their first CCAC Championship in school history.

On February 25th, the #6 seeded Lynx, survived a win against #2 seeded Indiana University South Bend in a Friday night match up by a final score of 67-64. This win advanced the Lynx to the CCAC Tournament Championship against #1 seeded, Olivet Nazarene tonight.

Latham is betting on himself and the team to win tonight’s game. No matter who is thrown in front of Latham, he is not deterred from putting points on the board. He has dreamed of getting him and his team to this point.


Latham started the game with a shot from the 3-point line. He has complete control over the game in the first half, dropping jaw-dropping buckets. He has changed the momentum of the game, leading the Lynx into the half with the score of 43-53.

Now in the second half, Aundrae Williams and Dejon Barney, are turning it up a notch. Williams making clutch lay-ups and Barney going to work in the paint. The Lynx are struggling. :48 left with 80-78.

:3.1 left. Darnell at the line. Made both free throws.

Final: 87-82.

Loyola University graduate guard, Bre Hampton-Bey, talks sports and fashion

“The transition from playing basketball at UMass to Loyola wasn’t much of a challenge. However, it did feel like I was a freshman all over again. The challenge was being in a city I’m not familiar with while living on my own.”

During Hampton-Bey’s time at Loyola, she has made contributions to the team, leading the Ramblers to their first win at the McLeod Center in program history in 2020 and recently becoming the 27th player in program history to surpass the 1,000-point mark in a game against Eastern Illinois.

“I was very proud of myself for hitting that 1,000-point mark,” Hampton-Bey said. “I have always been resilient, so I had to take it all in and give myself a pat on the back.”

When Hampton-Bey is not spending her time on the court, her outlet from basketball is being a creative.

“I have always been into sneakers, clothes, and photography. My creative side came from my dad side,” she said. “My grandmother was a photographer and ran a magazine in her town back in the day.”

Hampton-Bey chooses her pieces of clothing and shoes based off her style and what makes her stand out.

“I’m not really into designers. I like to support black businesses and brands. Pieces that will last forever, not trendy pieces,” she said.

Not only does Hampton-Bey indulge her time in fashion and styling, she creates rugs as well. As an Ohioan native, she got an opportunity to do a collaboration with a black owned brand called “Midwest Kids”, based in Toledo, OH.

“I was very grateful for that opportunity,” she said.

Hampton-Bey discussed her favorite pieces mentioning the Midwest shoe collaboration with Adidas and the Darryl Brown Japanese cargo pants.

Khalil Small brings ambitious mentality to Pro Basketball

“From freshman year to sophomore year at Providence St. Mel High School, shooting like Bill Cartwright, as the coaches would say, to endless reps after practices with Coach Rich, and a summer of daily, dedicated work, God showed me a formula: God’s Willing Faith + Consistency = Prosperity.”

After high school, Khalil Small continued to use this formula and went on to play Division I basketball at the University Of Wisconsin-Green Bay. While playing at Green Bay, Small witnessed his growth.

“I seen how I would be able to use the game to improve and position my family for even more abundant and amazing living that they deserve. I was motivated to prove to myself and my family that I was more than capable of doing so,” he said.

Furthermore, Small stated, what compelled him to work so hard was because of God. “It was the fact that He gave me a vision, and skills behind that vision to keep allowing basketball to guide and change my life for the better.”

After Small graduated from Green Bay, 1st Team All Defense and 1st Team All League, he mentioned he reached “that point of upward progression” in his game. In 2018, Small traveled overseas to play in the top league of the Finland Korisliiga for Lapuan Kobrat but the transition, playing wise, was not difficult.

“Going from college to the pros didn’t change my style of aggressive and confident play. I stayed consistent with scoring and defensive intensity against the older and more experienced players. I was able to lead my team to being one game out of the playoffs and a season stat line of 17.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2 assists.”

Although Small style of play did not change, he admits his game developed while playing overseas. 

“Overall, I believe the pro game developed my: defense, rebounding, leadership, self-discipline, comfort on the floor at the point guard position, flow and change of pace, and efficiency as a scorer and overall capability of dominance in any game,” he said.

These developments are on the list of commodities that Small plans to improve on along with shooting a three-point shot from a distance that is “consistent and confident.” Small said that he is trusting the journey and taking steps to win and improve year by year to potentially reach and dominate the EuroLeague. Eventually, he wants to play in the NBA, which is his ultimate goal.

“I believe I’m more than capable of NBA stardom. Humbly, I possess many of the skills that majority of the NBA players have as well as diversity that makes me a different, valuable player. It’s my toughness, leadership, and relentlessness. Those things bring out the Eastside breed, Chicago monster within me” Small said.

With Small’s ultimate goal comes a great work ethic.

“Even during the pandemic, the first several months of the summer leading into the winter, me, my brother Keifer Sykes and some of the other young members were getting about three to five workouts in daily,” he said.

The workouts consisted of: alone time with God, basketball gym work, fitness training and weight lifting, martial arts, outside or hot yoga, meditation, and reading.

Small’s mentality and work ethic has allowed him to be successful throughout his basketball career and as he continue his journey there is one quote that he takes with him.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not into your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6.”

Illinois College guard assures a strong upcoming season

With the upcoming season approaching, Timothy Ervin, a sophomore at Illinois College, recollects the adjustments he had to make his freshman year to the goals he has planned for this basketball season.

“There were a lot of alterations that I had to make when I attended Illinois College. I had to mentally adjust my style of play to fit into the system that I was playing in. I also had to find my role as a freshman within the team so I could guarantee myself playing time,” Ervin said.

Although Ervin had to make some changes, he learned a lot that he plans to carry into this season. He says, “I learned how to watch game film at a higher level while paying more attention to the player that I would be guarding. I also learned how to take care of my body. There would times where I would get overwhelmed and not be able to sleep before games.”

Illinois College made the decision to cancel their tournament and conference championship but Ervin’s goals for him and his team still remains.

“My biggest accomplishment that I had going into the year was winning our conference tournament. I felt confident that this was our year to put Illinois College on the map. The goals I had set for myself were to get my name on the All-Time Assist list for my school, make my teammates better around me and be a better version of myself than last year,” Ervin said.

Ervin work ethic leading up to his current season was described as difficult.

“During the summer, my coach told our team that preparing for this season was going to be a season of separation due to the pandemic. So throughout the summer, my work ethic increased. I would lift three times a week, train every Tuesday and Thursday while working a full job at Menards,” he said.

Ervin stated that he focused this past summer on improving: jumps shot, floater, control of tempo, finishing around the rim ability and change of speed.

Ervin has dedicated his time off the court to improving his game but with three seniors left on the team, he works harder to receive playing time.

“With three seniors left, I know it is going to affect my playing time but I look up to these seniors and learn from them.”

Ervin explained he spent his summer with a fellow teammate, Troy Burrows.

“Troy Burrows is a transfer from Milikin and we worked out together, trained together, and hooped in open gyms. He has really taken me under his wing and I’m excited to play a season with him,” Ervin said.

Ervin stated that he will ensure his playing time by going head to head with his teammates in practice, on defense and offense.

“Everyday is a day to compete for a spot to play because there is no guaranteed spots. Only five people can play on the court at one time, so I have to get mine,” he said.

Ervin concluded that with his height and how people view him, he has to work three times harder than everyone else. “That is nothing to me because that is the basketball foundation I come from,” he said.

Sometimes size does not matter, it is the heart of the lion.

Robert Morris transfer looks to find a home at Williams Baptist University

For many student-athletes, the first season at the collegiate level consists of adapting to a different sports environment, learning the style of their team members, or finding how they can make an impact. For Tyrone Rivers, it was a smooth ride.

According to Rivers, he played with a solid team. He was first in conference, All-Region 1st, and averaged 25 points when he led Morton College to their first nationals in 10 years. It was a no-brainer that Rivers would continue to soar in his basketball journey. However, Rivers time at Morton College ultimately ended.

Rivers connected with an assistant coach from Robert Morris that convinced him to attend for his sophomore year. Later on, he came to a shocking realization.

“I felt like I was sold a dream. Their system wasn’t for me. I was a starter but everyone played for themselves. We didn’t play like a team,” he said.

After Rivers completed his sophomore year, he was contacted by a Chicago native, Stanley Malcolm. Rivers formed a relationship with Malcolm and transferred to Williams Baptist University in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.

“This is a different type of program. Everything has been true that was told to me.”

Rivers believes he is already making an impact at Williams Baptist University. He stated, “I have leadership, speed and scoring. I have a strong mentality and I’m always looking to dominate on both ends of the floor. I especially take defense seriously. I don’t like anyone scoring on me.”

Although Rivers knows his strengths, he also knows the areas in which his game needs improvement.

“My three-point shot needs work but I’ve been in the gym practicing. I want to perfect my craft so I can be the best version of myself on the court.”

Rivers mentioned that he wants to not only perfect his craft on the court but also in the classroom.

“The balance is tough but I’m getting through it. My time management is doing well so far. I’m trying to get better each and everyday to ensure my playing time,” he said.

Darnell Latham Jr., plans to bring the heat

Southwest Baptist University transfer, Darnell Latham Jr., looks to dominate his future basketball career as a Redshirt senior at Southern Utah University.

Latham’s basketball journey started at Victory Rock Prep in Bradenton, Florida. For six months, he worked to improve his basketball skills and prepare himself for college. After his time was up at prep school, he committed to Bethune-Cookman on a Division I scholarship. While committed, the coach that recruited Latham was fired and he decided to decommit.

Latham went on to start his freshman year at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri. After he played for a season with the Bearcats, Latham knew he wanted to make a bigger impact. He transferred again and went to Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois. During his sophomore year, he and his team ended the season with a 22-8 record.

Junior year, Latham ended the season with a record of 20-13 and led Lincoln to win their very first Conference Championship. He wanted to continue to make history but that did not last long. Due to COVID-19, the finals were canceled, but Latham’s hard work did not go unnoticed.

During the summer going into Latham’s senior year, he was committed to perfecting his craft, never missing a day of workouts. In the fall of 2020, his work ethic took him D1. He committed to Southern Utah University and looked to win another championship.

“I’ve always knew I could play D1 but I was afraid to put myself out there,” Latham said.

Latham knew the transition from Lincoln College to Southern Utah University would be different. He stated, he went from being the man to not being the man because he was accessible to more talent. Latham even questioned if he would be able to mesh with the team but later on he discovered he fit in quite well.

“Heading to a D1, I knew my experience wasn’t going to be the same and I was right. The arena was bigger, there were more fans, and there was a better coaching staff.”

For Latham, a different environment produced a different mindset. He wanted to be a better leader on and off the court, constantly looking for ways to better himself.

“Off the court, I started to eat more protein to produce more body weight. I went from 140 to 160. I wanted to be able to defend bigger guards. On the court, I wanted to look for ways to implement myself within the coaching system. It was vital for me to fit into their family,” Latham stated.

Now, as a Division I player, Latham knows the challenges that he may face and the role he has to fulfill but he has no intentions on giving up.

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