2018 Memphis East point guard Alex Lomax breaks down Cal offer, and off-the-court persistence

Growing up in the Binghampton neighborhood of East Memphis, Alex Lomax has had nothing given to him. He's had to fight for every inch, just like Cal head coach Cuonzo Martin, who offered earlier this week.

He may be listed at 6-foot, 190 pounds, but new 2018 California offeree Alex Lomax plays much, much bigger. 

"I"m just putting everything out there on the court, and I'll do whatever it takes," he said, following his offer from the Golden Bears -- his tenth. 

That, in part, is what drew Cal head coach Cuonzo Martin to Lomax. But there was something else, something behind that hard-nosed approach to the game that Martin could feel. It was something all too familiar.

"When I was younger, we didn't have nothing," Lomax said. "There were days where I didn't have clothes to wear. My dad wasn't in the picture at first, but now, he is. But, growing up, in my 16 years, my house has been broken into at least seven or eight times.  They've taken a lot of stuff, but we have to go on."

Lomax lives in Binghampton, in Memphis, Tenn., one of the highest-crime areas in the city of Memphis -- the FBI's third-most dangerous city in the nation, with a poverty rate just under 28%.

Yet, despite all of his circumstances, Lomax not only won the Gatorade High School Player of the Year award last season for the state of Tennessee, in part for his play (13.2 points, 6.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 steals per game), and in part for his off-the-court activities. Lomax maintains a 3.62 GPA, was the winner of Shelby County's J.L. Perry Leadership Award, was one of the founding members of the Memphis East Poetry Club this past year (he wanted to help out one of his favorite teachers) and volunteers as a tutor for Peer Power, an after-school tutoring program.

Lomax's likes his English teacher, and said that it's up there as one of his favorite classes, but he likes Algebra 2, more.

"The poetry club, it's a fun activity. You learn about other people, their lifestyles, the type of people they are, and you also try to put your best work into it, to make it sound good, but also, to be honest with it," Lomax said. "Peer Power, I tutor in English, and I'm helping everybody else out, but I'm also learning, too."

Martin grew up in East St. Louis, Ill., in a housing project called "The Hole." He knows the struggle, and he knows that basketball can be a gateway to a better life.

"He didn't tell me much about his background, but he said we had the same thing," Lomax said. "I said I want to make sure my family gets out. He told me he said the same thing, when he was my age."

While his strength off the court is undeniable, it's the combination of that, and his on-court tenacity that makes him the prototypical Martin recruit. 

"My biggest asset on the court, I feel, is that I can do whatever the coach needs me to do," Lomax said. "If the coach needs me to get five rebounds, 10 rebounds, I'll do it. If he needs me to run the point, I'll do that. Whatever they need me to do, I'll do it, and I can lead."

Lomax has a very quick, very repeatable three-point stroke, and can hit it from anywhere along the arc. At 190 pounds, he's a bit thicker than current four-star point guard signee Charlie Moore (5-foot-11, 170 pounds), but has the potential to be just as quick, and to develop into that same kind of shooter. Lomax is very strong with the ball, and a lot more physical than one would think, in the lane.

"He told me that he likes everything about my game," Lomax said of Martin. "He told me he likes the toughness, the smarts and the poise that I have in my game ... I feel good about it. It's one of the big schools, and it's a school that I looked into last year. I also really appreciate it, because they were one of the first schools that sent me a letter, like, serious, out of any school."

Above all, Lomax said, he's looking for a good education. Also at the top of his list?

"Basketball-wise, I just want it to be more of a family, everybody together, everybody out there playing together, having fun," Lomax said. 

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