How does a standout athlete go from All-America college basketball star to All-D.O.C. (Department of Corrections)? That’s the question Regi Harris answers in On The Rebound, a gripping story of how a boy who grew up in church can find himself in a lonely prison cell by making a few seemingly harmless decisions to fit in with the crowd.
Regi has experienced the highs and lows of life. Raised in a Christian home, Regi learned values, morals and a biblical faith. Though he grew up in the church, it wasn’t enough to keep him from the luring temptations common to most college campuses.
Regi was a standout athlete at North Marion High School in Ocala, Florida, where he earned a basketball scholarship to Sam Houston State University in Texas. Going from his small Florida town to the big city of Houston was an enormous culture shock to the young athlete.
Though he had never touched drugs or alcohol before his college days, the peer pressure to experiment with them became a powerful enticement. Deeming it a harmless social drug, Regi started smoking marijuana at college parties and other get-togethers. But his quest for an occasional “high” didn’t stop there.
While at Sam Houston, Regi earned All-Conference and All-America honors his sophomore year. His aspirations of playing professional basketball took a sharp turn when he injured his knee during a pick-up game.
Having staked his entire future on his athletic abilities, his sudden setbacks led him into a state of depression. It was during this time that Regi turned to cocaine which eventually progressed into a deadly crack addiction. On a path to self-destruction, the hardwood superstar found himself on the wrong side of the law trying to support his habit. This ultimately landed him in a Florida state prison.
While incarcerated, Regi began to understand that his “biggest problem wasn’t a drug problem, it was a sin problem.” Being an avid church member growing up with perfect Sunday School attendance, he could see where his rebellion began long before his experimentation with drugs in college, it started as a kid when he made basketball his god, describing it as a form of idolatry.
During his prison term, Regi dedicated his life to Christ and made his priorities twofold; cultivating an intimate relationship with God and contributing to the advancement of His kingdom. Ten years after being released from prison, Regi says his life-mission is all about showing kids a way out of a troubled past and into a relationship with Christ.
Regi’s story is a relevant outreach resource for juvenile detention centers, urban youth ministry, and a stunning reminder for any Christian young person the progressive repercussions of giving in to peer pressure.
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