E.A. Sports Today

Famous follower

Flenord’s famous dad has rarely missed one of his son’s games the last two years, has become a big friend to the Clay Central program

Former NBA star Gerald Wallace watches son Davyn Flenord and his Clay Central basketball team in Northeast Regional action at JSU Tuesday.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story first appeared in East Alabama Sports Today in January. We are re-posting it today with updated information in recognition of Flenord’s final game.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

LINCOLN – It hasn’t been often Davyn Flenord’s dad has missed one of his son’s games since retiring from his regular job that took him all over the country, but on those nights he does, Davyn makes sure they connect to tell him all about it.

The three things Gerald Wallace always asks his son when they revisit the previous night’s game are how many rebounds did you grab, how many free throws did you make and how many fouls did you get. Points may be the last thing they talk about. When you’ve been in the NBA you know what’s important.

There was a lot to talk about after Monday (Jan. 30). Flenord had seven rebounds, 2-of-4 fourth-quarter free throws and three fouls to go along with 18 points in surprisingly unranked Clay Central’s harder-than-expected 68-63 win over Lincoln that completed a sweep of its Class 5A Area 10 schedule.

Wallace has been to virtually every one of Flenord’s games – home and away – these last two years since he stepped away from an NBA all-star career that spanned 14 years with connections to seven teams. He missed Monday visiting one of Davyn’s sisters in Arizona.

But be assured they’ll talk about this one.

“It really is different now because he had time to work with me during the summer from the bad things that I did and the stuff I can make up for that I did in the first season,” Flenord said. “It’s my senior year so he’s been at basically all my games.

“Every time he’s come he tells me whatever I’ve done wrong and he sits over there on the side of the court every game so he’s always hollering at me. I think it’s a whole lot better this year because he actually sees what I’m doing wrong and I work on it just about every day with him and watching film.”

Wallace was on the front row Tuesday (Feb. 21) for what unfortunately turned out to be the final game of his son’s high school basketball career. He sat across the floor from the Clay Central bench and watched intently as the Volunteers lost to Guntersville 57-50 in the Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinals.

After all the years on the road he’s back home and watching Davyn play is truly one of his great pleasures.

“Just for me being able to be here and watch him play, just to be a fan, to be a parent in the stands, has been great,” Wallace said before Tuesday’s game. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, watch him growing up, but with me being on the road all the time I didn’t have an opportunity to do that.

“But being here now, being able to make it to every game, being a fan hollering in the stands it’s been a great opportunity, amazing to me. It’s exciting for me to be here, to be his biggest fan, to be here to support him and help him out. I think it’s helped him a whole lot, but for me it’s a great experience to sit in the stands. I enjoy it very much.”

It was a tough day for dad and son alike Tuesday. Wallace watched as Davyn picked up two quick fouls, sat for most of the second quarter and then press when he returned. There was a highlight early on, though, when Davyn finished off a spectacular hanging dunk; if you looked real close you caught him taking a glance in the direction of where his father was sitting as he dropped down to the floor.

Last year having a former NBA player at the Vols’ games was a novelty that attracted a fair share of autograph seekers. Now that everyone is used to seeing him at the games he blends into the crowd. He sat underneath the far goal when the Vols played at Talladega this year and he grabbed a spot on the edge of the bleachers when they went to Saks.

Davyn used to catch himself looking for his dad in the stands that first year. Now, he’ll look over when he’s on the bench taking a breather or when his dad is trying to offer a helpful hint.

“I was just most excited about him being there because he hadn’t been for like 14 years straight since he been in the league,” Flenord said. “That’s a former NBA player watching his son play for the first time. I was making sure my pops was over there.”

Wallace isn’t one of those helicopter parents, hovering over his child’s every move and meddling in the coach’s every decision. he doesn’t want to be the coach. He wants to be a fan. He lets Davyn be Davyn, providing basketball advice only when it’s solicited. He’s really become a friend to the entire program.

“He’s very encouraging, that’s the biggest thing,” Volunteers coach Joby Burns said. “I’ve come to him some. Look, you’ve got one of the best players that’s ever been around here, that’s played in the NBA, that’s guarded the best players that’ve ever played; he’s been through it. I’ve asked him a couple times. He has never once come and said you need to do this, you need to do that.

“The thing I’ve been so impressed about is everything about him is defense. He talks to those guys; it’s great stuff. The only thing I’ve ever heard him get on Davyn about is reaching on defense and missing free throws. He’s so supportive. He encourages every one of those kids out there on the floor, from the best one to the worse one, and when he says something to them they listen.”

Father and son have had a lot more than basketball to talk about these past couple “crazy” days. Davyn also is a top football prospect. Wednesday is National Signing Day for those guys and he admits he’s still not certain what he’s going to do.

He had been considering Troy, Toledo and just about had his mind set on South Alabama when Ole Miss jumped into the mix Monday with a phone call after one of its receiver prospects de-committed.

“As of right now I really don’t know,” he said. “I’m just going to sit down with my parents and have them talk about it. Hopefully pray about it and see the path that God has taken me.

“This past week has been crazy and this just popped up. That’s what my dad said: It ain’t over yet. I’m just waiting, being patient, keep my time wise.”

He expects to have a decision Wednesday, and it won’t be with all the props some prospects bring to Signing Day. He signed with South Alabama.

The family legacy might be basketball, but football seems to be Flenord’s college sport of choice. He left the door open to play basketball once he gets more comfortable in the college setting, but for now wherever he goes it will be for football.

“I’ve made my mind up; I’m going to go just for football,” he said. “If I do get a basketball that would be nice but I’m not going to do two. I think that’d be too much.”

Whatever he decides, rest assured his dad will be close by watching every play.

Clay Central 68, Lincoln 63
Davyn Flenord 6 2-4 17, Cole Burns 1 0-0 3, Ben Street 5 4-6 15, Jamal Williamson 1 2-2 4, Cameron Peoples 2 2-4 6, Shamari Simmons 1 2-2 4, Quan McKinney 1 0-0 2, LaShawn Simmons 0 0-0 0, Joe Bullock 6 2-2 17. Totals 23 14-22.

LINCOLN – L.J. Carmichael 5 2-4 14, Donte Rivers 2 3-3 8, Chris Prince 7 2-3 19, Cody Williams 2 0-0 5, Brikael Truss 4 2-2 10, Earl Lucas 1 0-0 2, Shamar Hampton 1 0-0 2, P.J. Gaddis 1 0-0 3. Totals 23 9-12 63.

Clay Central 16 17 20 15 — 68
Lincoln 16 16 12 19 — 63

3-point goals: Clay Central 8 (Bullock 3, Street, Burns, Flenord 3); Lincoln 8 (Carmichael 2, Rivers, Prince 3, Williams, Gaddis). Technical fouls: S. Simmons. Total fouls: Clay Central 17, Lincoln 19. Officials: Lemon, Robinson, Stringer.

Clay Central senior Davyn Flenord had a little fun at halftime of the Lady Vols’ game at Saks earlier this year. He made the half-court shot. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

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