Alex Lomax grew up in an impoverished community that is often riddled with crime, drugs and violence. Lomax could have steered off course and chosen a different route, but basketball, prayer and guidance kept him on the path that led him to become a Memphis Tiger.
“My entire circle did a great job of keeping me grounded,” Lomax said. “I wanted to stay focused, and it all went together.”
Wearing a University of Memphis jersey goes beyond just playing basketball at home. Lomax wants to bring the entire city together. Being from North Memphis, he understands he bears the responsibility to be a role model for the youth, and it is something he takes seriously.
“It means a lot to be that kid that inspires other kids because I was once that same kid,” Lomax, who played at Memphis East High School under Penny Hardaway, said. “It is going to be exciting for the entire city of Memphis. I think it will be very inspiring for everyone.”
In addition to being an inspiration for the future generation in Memphis, Lomax can continue to fulfill the vision of his late coach, Desmond Merriweather.
Before Merriweather coached at East High in 2014, he coached Lomax at Lester Middle School. After receiving a colon cancer diagnosis in 2010, Merriweather asked Hardaway, a good friend of his, to help coach the team. They went on to win three straight state championships. Before passing away in 2015, Merriweather hoped Hardaway would coach at East High.
Merriweather also envisioned Lomax going to the University of Memphis and bringing home a national championship.
“It’s always been a plan since the Coach Dez days,” Lomax said on signing day. “It’s just surreal. Each step of the way, it is just forming out every day, and his plan is coming true.”
Lomax was granted his release from Wichita State University after Hardaway was announced as Memphis Tiger head coach. Lomax sees Hardaway as more than a coach and said he is honored to play for him on the collegiate level.
“He is like a father figure to me,” Lomax said. “I’m very thankful for him and everything that he has done for the city of Memphis.”
Lomax said it is important for him to play for Hardaway because he understands what is expected and knows Hardaway’s style of coaching.
Lomax will join another Memphis-area native Tyler Harris at Memphis. Harris committed to the U of M on Friday, and Lomax was in attendance at his signing day.
“Me and Tyler are very close,” Lomax said. “That’s my guy. We will work good together on the court. It’s going to be fun.”
Alex Lomax, middle, sits with his parents on each side of him for his signing event. Lomax played under new Memphis coach Penny Hardaway at Memphis East High School.
Penny Hardaway addressed the public as men's basketball coach. The public was invited to attend the coaching announcement.