Winter Sports preview — Boys basketball
Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 8, 2022
The New Style
New coach and a new system brings a renewed energy to the Titans boys basketball team
By Jay Spivey
For the Clemmons Courier
It has been a little over six months since Marlon Brim was named the head boys basketball coach at West Forsyth, and it’s already paying dividends even though the season just started.
Coaching at Atkins for seven successful seasons, Brim was already well equipped to be the head coach at West. He also adds something else — stability.
Since Mike Pennington resigned in 2014 to become the athletics director at West, the school has had four coaches — Derrele Mitchell, Rusty LaRue, Howard West and Kevin King.
The Titans finished 8-17 overall last season and 3-11 in the Central Piedmont 4-A in King’s final season as head coach.
“You’ve got to have a head coach that’s all in,” Brim said. “And I’ve been that way since Coach Pennington at Parkland, in that basketball season is a year-round sport, whether it’s lifting weights, whether it’s skill development in the season and summer.
“There’s always four parts to become a great basketball player, and to build up a great basketball program.”
Stability is key for the players who played for King, the new players, and the entire coaching staff, two of whom Brim brought with him from Atkins — Bronal Gary and Steve Epps.
“I just think now that you’ve got stability, kids know that Coach Brim is going to be there for them for a while,” Brim said. “That is not, he is here just for a couple of years. I plan on being here until I retire, or a college job or a pro job or something comes open then (I’ll) consider it. But I plan on being a fixture of West Forsyth basketball for a long time.”
Even though some of the players from last season are back, Brim isn’t the only thing new for the Titans.
“It was very exciting to have that very first practice and that breath of fresh air with the new gym (floor),” Brim said. “We’ve redone the locker rooms. A lot of things we’ve changed and we’ve put in fresh air into this program knowing that it’s going to breed success, so it was very exciting.”
One of the key returners for the Titans is senior A.J. Baskerville, the brother of former West Forsyth girls player and current player at High Point, Shakira Baskerville, as well as freshman Jeanna Baskerville, who is on the girls team at West this season. Cam White, Jordan Jones and Buddy Bartlett are will also add returning experience.
There is one player on the team Brim knows quite well — his son, Jacari, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound guard, who followed his father from Atkins.
“I credit (the returners) with this transition being smooth because he came in and they accepted (Jacari) and they talked to him about how I do things and how they would like to see things,” Marlon Brim said. “So, (Jacari) was the newest one, but the guys that were here, they accepted the transition smoothly and they just dove right in.”
Even though Jacari Brim knows his father better than anybody on the team, it’s also an awkward situation for him as a player.
“He would tell you that he doesn’t get any special treatment from dad/coach,” Marlon Brim said. “I’m on him just as hard as I am on the other guys. I tell all the other players, ‘All of y’all are my sons, so I treat everybody equal.’
“The transition at West has been great for (Jacari).”
In addition to Jacari Brim, West has eight other new players.
“They were with us this summer,” Marlon Brim said. “They were with us in the fall. So, they’ve kind of picked right up and kept everything going. So, it’s been a learning curve for some of them from a JV standpoint, but a lot of them have picked things up really fast, and you’ll see as our depth gets better, we’ll be able to go 10 or 11 deep.”
That depth should pay dividends in the Central Piedmont 4-A.
It opens conference play Friday at Mount Tabor.
“We’re going into the conference as the unknown as being a new coach, the new guys on the block,” Marlon Brim said. “How can we establish ourselves as one of the best teams in the conference? I think you do that by competing and winning games on the road and making sure you’re taking care of your home court during conference games.”
West Forsyth Boys Basketball 2022-23
12 –ZaMarie Jenkins
21 – Zach Holloway
23 – Christian Alexander
35 – Elijah Armour
Head Coach: Marlon Brim