Like father, like son: Marlon and Jacari Brim share bond beyond basketball

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 9, 2023

By Jay Spivey
For the Clemmons Courier

The balancing act between a parent and a child versus coach and player can be perilous.

However, that dynamic appears to have only become stronger on the West Forsyth boys basketball team between Coach Marlon Brim and his son, sophomore Jacari.

And all the while, they’re doing it in their first seasons at West Forsyth after Marlon Brim was the coach at Atkins before this season, and Jacari averaged 12.2 points last season at Atkins as a freshman.

“I just think watching him grow playing basketball, I knew he could be special,” Marlon Brim said. “I just think the hard work that he’s put in from being in elementary school until now, and him seeing his own path is starting to figure out.”

Despite being a coach, and a former player at Carver with the legendary Coach Alfred Poe, Marlon Brim never pushed any of his three children — 27-year-old daughter, Jalyn, who is a nurse practitioner; Jacari; and Jaxon, a sixth-grader at Forsyth Country Day — into the sport he loves.

“I think he’s just used to being in the gym with me,” Marlon said of Jacari. “I never forced him to play basketball, never really even talked to him about playing basketball. It started with playing at the Y(MCA), and following that, to practice, dribbling the basketball, and then old enough to do drills with the guys, then he just picked it up from there. There wasn’t anything that forced him into anything.

“I just told all three of my kids, even my youngest one, that they don’t have to play basketball. That’s something that they choose to do. If they choose to do it I will give them all the tools, and all I can to help them be as good as they want to be.”

Even knowing the situation, until the balancing act actually happens on the court, at school, or at home, neither the coach/father nor the player/son knows how to react.

“It can be hard at times, but at the end of the day he puts me in the position to be the best I can be,” Jacari Brim said. “He puts the whole team in position to be the best players they can be. But I feel like it’s a good way to build our relationship more, even though we have a strong relationship.”

Before entering high school during the 2021-22 academic year, Jacari Brim went to school at Forsyth Country Day. However, until he became a student at Atkins, he tagged along with his father as much as he could during Brim’s seven seasons as the head coach there.

“I used to go to every game even if it was home or away,” Jacari Brim said. “But I stopped (doing that) during sixth grade, during that middle-school season because of basketball. And if I didn’t have any games, I would go to the Atkins games.

“And I would always be at the practices shooting around when I was little, or I was kind of practicing with the JV team, or to do some of the drills with the varsity or JV kids.”

Marlon Brim saw that young, bright-eyed child and saw the potential that he might have in basketball.

“For him, it was him seeking out to play basketball, not me, or my wife, or anybody making him go to the gym,” Marlon Brim said. “He thought he was a basketball player at a young age. He was in the gym with the players. He would talk to them and would play some one-on-one, and he would get in there and he would shoot with them, and do the contests.

“So, he thought he was a player when he was in middle school and he was in a high school being a part of the program.”

Marlon Brim, his wife, and Jacari elected to move Jacari from FCD to Atkins as a freshman.

“I think he always wanted to play for me, but we kind of made him make the decision of it that was happening, or if this was your dream to play for Dad, Dad isn’t going to show favoritism and anything like that,” Marlon Brim said. “So, he kind of knew going in that he wanted to play for Dad.”

“Family is everything,” Jacari Brim said. “They’re always here for me, always in my corner, so whatever I do will always reflect on them.”

Flash forward to last spring when Marlon Brim left Atkins to take the job at West Forsyth when Kevin King resigned.

“When they had the press conference and I was there and looking around, I had never been to West Forsyth, been on the campus. I think I went to a couple of games, but when I went to the campus, I thought, ‘Oh, it’s big. It’s way bigger than Atkins because it’s 4-A school (compared to 3-A at Atkins).’”

Jacari Brim isn’t just some token player playing for his father. As of Tuesday morning, Titans were 13-9 overall and 8-4 in the Central Piedmont 4-A, and Jacari Brim is the second-leading scorer on the team at 17.3 per game, just behind senior A.J. Baskerville at 17.7.

“I think the summer is where we saw a difference,” Marlon Brim said. “…It wasn’t playing AAU. It was playing in the live period at RISE, going to elite camps and showing college coaches that he could be one of the best guards in the (Class of) 2025 in the state of North Carolina.

“So, I started to see the confidence, and if you’ve watched him play over the season his confidence has grown more now.”

One person who gets to cheer from the stands at night, as well as stand guard at home is Kimberly Brim, Marlon’s wife of 23 years, and Jacari’s mother.

“It’s intense sometimes,” she said. “But I love it. I love the connection that they share on the court and as father and son. I’m just a referee between them in the father-and-son situations and on the court.”

Kimberly Brim also gets to see both sides.

“At home it’s a father-son relationship, but it’s the same on the court in the sense of, I can’t explain it,” she said. “He treats all the boys on the team as his sons. So, he tries to treat Jacari the same. There’s no difference.”

The family dynamic is so close, and Jacari has become such a good player, that he’s starting to get some offers from some colleges. One instance happened this past weekend when Marlon, Kimberly and Jacari Brim drove to Appalachian State.

“To be honest with you, I didn’t know,” Jacari Brim said. “The coach wanted me to come up for another game and we waited after it was over. And we went to talk to one of the assistant coaches. The assistant coach told me to go to Coach (Dustin) Kerns’ office, the head coach there, and he was said, ‘Well, I’m been wanting to do this for a long time,’ and he didn’t want to do it on the phone.

“He told me and my family that they were offering me a full scholarship.”