Rodney Westmoreland of Greensboro Galaxy

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Rodney Westmoreland the director of the Greensboro Galaxy AAU organization has
worked hard to keep the youthful organization in tact over the years. He directs
most of his energy towards the younger non teenage group but has coaches in place
to oversee that the teenage girls teams stay active and winning. The Galaxy squad
has had many young student athletes to come through their program whom once they
reached the ninth or tenth grade they ventured off to other programs that what they
pereceived would offer them better exposure and opportunity. In many cases it did
because the older squad had practically vanished. They had players such as Helen
Terry the former Dudley and now Charleston Southern player. Nicole Hargraves who
help Grimsley rule this county for three years and now plays for UNC- Charlotte.
Bronna Patterson the Dudley star and recent UNCG signee and many more that have
climbed the ladder to sort of speak. So for a while it made things
pretty difficult to find players that would stay and help the organization to have
a presence on the AAU scene. So it was pretty much like starting over again.

Then something happened in the Summer of 2006 when Coach Ursula Williams became the
head coach and John Newman assistant coach. They added a few pieces to the puzzle
that already had furture good players in Brittany Drew of Page and Desiree Drayton
of Dudley whom were now seventh graders but had already been in the organization
probably since they were wearing diapers. They added Jamila Pickard the Eastern
Alamance star, Asia Milton who starts for Northern Guilford, Khadejah Wilkerson who
now stars for Greensboro Day after transferring from Dudley, Taneesha Williamson of
Northern Guilford and Miranda Jenkins of Eastern Guiford. They had a pretty good
squad that competed and was now beating teams like the Greensboro Gaters whom had
been the powerhouse of the AAU circuit and the Lady Phoenix. They won locally and
played in the Nationals but with out much success. Some of the players on this squad
did not attend the Nationals. The following year 2007
many of the players left for greener pastures accept Brittany Drew, Khadejah
Wilkerson, Desiree Drayton and Miranda Jenkins. They added Leandra Hicks (Dudley),
Precious Tonkins (Grimsley), Haley Newman(NWG) and Brooklyn Davis (Smith). This
group played hard and went on to do something that had never been done before in
Greensboro History of AAU womens basketball. They won the “National AAU Division II
Championship for 13 & under” in Kingsport, Tennessee by going 8-0 during their run
and went 23-9 for the year.

Whenever an organization have a tremendous amount of success, along with it brings
about other unwarranted challenges. Players may decide to move on. Coaches get
offered other opportunities and changing of the gods is not always a bad idea. Like
previous players from the past some did move on and some decided to stay and take on
a greater challenge. They decided that they wanted to challenege for a Division I
title. So Coach Shawn Simpson and Rick Mcclean took over the reigns. Former Head
Coach Ursula Williams became an assistant at Northeast Guilford after a stint at
Southwest Guilford. Brittany Drew, Khadejah Wilkerson, Desiree Drayton, Leandra
Hicks and Miranda Jenkins remained with additions of Katrina Gibson (Smith) and
Shameka Robinson (Dudley). Galaxy made it into the Division I Nationals by winning
in a tournament in Ashville, North Carolina. During the Nationionals in Clarksville,
Tenneessee they were the only team from North Carolina to make
it to a Championship game. The Tournament had 57 teams and just about every major
college coach one could see including Pat Summit from Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Brenda
Freese from Maryland, Tasha Butts from UCLA, Notre Dame Coach, Ole Miss, Alabama,
Georgia, Florida ect…. Galaxy made it to the Classic Champioship game before
coming up short 66-62 in a hard fought game. They finished the year 27-12 with only
seven players.

In 2009 the coaches decided that they would do tournaments and showcases and again
proved to be successful at it. They even embarked on a greater challenge by deciding
to play up against older competition with their core group still in place with the
exception of Khadeja Wilkerson who had moved on. The group added some older girls
from the Galaxy squad in Lakendra Wilkerson Maryland Eastern Shore signee and Smith
star , Chell Jackson (Dudley), Valarie Beale of Highpoint Weslyland, Amerijah
Jamison (Eastern Guilford), Portia Oakley (Page) and Hannah Talton (Page). The squad
got to play some of the best talent in the nation. Players such as Bria Hartley
(Connecticutt), Jennifer Oneal (Kentcuky), Shannon Smith (UNC), Kelsey Harris
(Elon), Clair Watkins (Vanderbilt), Cierra Burdick (Tennessee), Chandler (GW) and
many more. The irony of it all is that they beat each one of those players squads at
showcases or tournaments. The team went 28-18 and had a
great year playing up. They won the Lady Phoenix Tournament Championship. They
finished runnerups in the Deep South Showcase Tournament. They went 4-2 at the
Battle in Boro in Tennessee in front of hundreds of college coaches as well as the
Junior Nationals,Candance Parker Tournament and Southern Premiere.

Many of the young student athletes are now at a different stage in their young
athletic careers. Lakendra Wilkerson who stayed through it all will be playing for
Maryland Eastern Shore next season. Desiree Drayton has verbaled to UNC Charlotte
according to an early publication at a Dudley tournament that they participated in.
Brittany Drew is receiving a lot of interest. Miranda Jenkins has more than two
offers on the table and has received a lot of college interest from many different
college programs from across the nation. Khadejah Wilkerson has received letters
since the Nationals in 2008 when she was with the Galaxy. Chell Jackson is also
receiving interest from colleges. The young athletes that have been mentioned not to
slight anyone else. Everyone that played were a part of the teams success. The path
that each player chosed was an individual decision. That 2007 National Championship
team was something special and if one would look at how each
individual highschool career has taken off, it will show why it may have happen.
If anyone would like to know more about this little organization just contact coach
shawn simpson at and he can share with you on how your
prospective student athlete can become a part of it.


1 comment

  1. This is a fantastic article for the job that these young student athletes have done. It showed a great deal of preserverence and making things happen. Keep up the great work players and coaches.

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