Coach Derek Moves On

Earlier this month, Coach Derek accepted a job to be an assistant coach at the University of Charleston in West Virginia. Derek served as the head jv coach and assistant varsity coach at South for the last two years, but his role was much larger than that.
Coach Derek spent countless hours developing players, working travel tournaments, coaching off-season games, and traveling across the state for team camps. There were also many times Coach Derek would travel 40 minutes on a weeknight just to scout a game. These are things that basketball coaches do however, Derek took much more pride because he loved South so much.

Coach Derek played for South and graduated in 2003. He would always say how much he loved South and how much the school gave back to him. One of the things Derek would say to the players was to play hard because that's how its done at South. From the players perspective, they knew how much he cared especially because he wore his heart on his sleeve when it came to basketball. As emotional or into the game Derek got, the players always knew it was because he cared. Some of them would even find themselves saying his catch phrases like "SEE YA," "OC" and "I LOVE IT."

There are a lot of things South is going to miss about Derek, but the thing I will miss most is our basketball talks. It's hard to find another person that can talk strategy and plays for hours. Derek was that person. We ofter would talk after practices and games trying to figure out how to make the team better. Even after a win, we talk about things that we could have been better.

Even though we will miss Derek greatly, we know that he is moving on to better things. He is a young, passionate and gifted coach that will make a career out of this game we all love. On behalf of all of South, we would like to wish Derek the best in all of his endeavors.


Student Athletes

From left to right - Kenny Boynton, Florida • Chris Uz - Barry U, William Jewel • Arsenio Avant - NSU, Elms College


There are a few things each of the athletes above have in common - all three played in Broward County, all three played point guard, all three were team captains, all three played for me, and all three graduated high school with a GPA above a 3.5.

I have been coaching in Broward County since 1998, and in that short time many things have changed in high school sports. Without question the number of kids transferring to different high schools has grown and it can also be argued that travel sports influences where these kids go. However, the one thing that has remained consistent is academics and athletics go hand in hand and that will never change. 

At South I have an academic rule and its a simple one - if a players grades have gone down or they are not in good standing with School Board Policy it will affect your playing time or spot on the team. Most of my players in the past have understood this rule and have become better for it. Every now and then, there's a player that has a difficult time understanding this rule and has trouble finding the floor and/or staying on the team. This past year was unlike any other.

A good part of my players really struggled to "do the right thing" and forgot that academics and school comes first. This really hurt the program in terms of wins and losses, but in the long run it will hurt those players even more. I really believe that as a whole my best basketball players have also been players that did well in school. I think that the correlation comes from players that are both responsible and work hard will do so in any capacity. I'm not saying that a successful team is made up of a bunch of choir boys, but its crucial that players on a team care enough to do what is necessary for them and the betterment of the team. If that means keeping their grades up, being on time for class, or being able to manage time to complete homework and attend basketball activities. They do it because that is what's necessary.

Playing on a team is a privilege not a right. This past season, we had 26 players combined on the jv and varsity teams and we have over 2300 students. That means just about 1% of the students at our school gets the opportunity to play in our program. Regardless of anything else you need to be elite to play at South. With that being said, our players need to hold themselves in high regard and always be the best they can be. Kenny, Chris and Arsenio all knew what it meant to be part of a team and to be their best. Because of that they all reached their goal of playing at the collegiate level. If my players take on the same attitude as those three, I am convinced our program will be elite.

So this off-season, what I want to focus on is getting our players to understand that opportunities will be there to those that will be their best in the classroom and on the court. That includes the opportunity to play at South. 


Run Backwards

Most of our conditioning at South consists of the normal, everyday routine exercises i.e. suicides, 17's, lunges. However, this off-season I've done more research and consulted with professional athletic trainers for exercises that focus more on core and lower body strength. The other day, I took my players to the track to complete what I call the "Arsenio," which is a 800 meter running forward then a 400 meter run going backwards. Doesn't sound like a lot, but its can be very grueling. The first 400 meters is not bad even the second 400 is manageable. However, its the run backwards that hurts. Running backwards strengthens opposing muscle groups that you normally work on while moving forward. It strengthens calves, quads, shins, and helps create balance. Besides running backwards we've done wall jumps, bear crawls, crab walks, dips, push ups, wheelbarrows, squats, squat jumps, jump tucks, farmer carries, base line lunges, push mans, theres more I just cant remember right now. We are still about 4 months away from the beginning of our season, and Im confident this will be the best conditioned team I've had.

South Trivia: Name three South players from last years team that played on three different varsity sports. Name the players and the sports they participated in. First non-player to email me the right answer wins a prize.

Lunch With Durelle

A few days ago Durelle sends me a text that he is leaving for NY in a week, so I invited him out for a "good-bye" lunch. In the first few minutes after we sit, he shares with me how excited he is to be moving on to the next part of his life. Not only is he looking forward to what the college life will bring him, but Durelle is anticipating even more the time he will get to spend with his family in NY.
Just recently all of his family from NY was down here due to an unfortunate event. Even though they were not here on the best of situations they were able to come together and forge a stronger family bond. It also gave Durelle an opportunity to talk to the NY part of the family he rarely see but will be his closest support for the next two years.

After swapping pictures on our iPhones, his with family pics and mine of my recent trip to Alaska with my wife, its time to order our lunch. He orders a rack of ribs with double fries and I order a Mahi sandwich with asparagus. The only reason I include what we ate is because Durelle has the metabolism to eat a mountain of ribs and fries and burn it off in 2 hours while me, at age 37, I have to stick to fish and veggies or I get an instant gut.

Even with all of the catching up of our Summer experiences the majority of our conversation focuses on the past, and the good times we had this year. One might think how many memories can you have in one year, but for Durelle and I we have plenty.

Besides the many normal experiences we had with basketball our journeys go beyond the court. Durelle was a student in my 6th hour Honors Government class, we had frequent McDonalds and coffee breakfast meetings, and we both participated in the Knights and Squires competition where we placed a controversial 2nd. If you ask all of the people that attended the event, they would tell you we should have gotten first. For Durelle and I it was a great experience no matter the outcome.

With the end of our lunch near, Durelle asks our waitress to take a pic of us. He's been really into this app called Intagram which is an app that allows people to follow you and view pictures you take on your phone. Durelle is quick to tell me he stopped following me on Instagram because of my lack of posting pics, but I just blame it on my wanting to be private. Well, Durelle posted our pic and thats what you see in this BLOG my guess is that he used the Toaster filter.

Good-bye Durelle and good luck and make sure you start following me on Instagram again.

Big Hen & Durelle

Henry Brand & Durelle Bailey

Good Luck to Durelle and Henry as they leave this week to start their college careers. Durelle will be attending Hostos College in Bronx NY where he will be playing basketball for the school and studying business. Durelle only played one year at South but made a huge impact on the school and team in a short time. What I will miss most about Durelle is his ability to make the best out of any situation. When times were tough, thats when Durelle pushed even harder.
Henry Brand aka "Big Henry" will be attending Easter Maine Community College. He is also playing basketball for the school and wants to major in Nutrition. Henry's road that led him to this point was a tough one, with many hard lessons. However, with experience and maturity Henry was able to focus on his priorities and had a stand out senior year. Henry was a standout athlete on Football as well as basketball and still hopes to play college football after community college. What I will miss most about Henry was his loyalty to me and the team. He never once wavered from what his responsibilities and duties were on the team. For that I will always be loyal to him. 
One thing is for sure when it comes to Durelle and Henry, they will both be greatly missed and can never be replaced.


Lynn Team Camp

This year South Plantation participated in the Lynn University basketball team camp. This was the second year in a row that South attended this team camp. We like it because we play against teams we will usually never see, and it give the players a chance to play together in the off-season.

We finished this year 4-3, but only lost to two teams. We played Westminster Academy in pool play, and met up with them in the Semi-Finals of the tournament. The three games we lost were all by close margins while our wins were by an average of 18 points. Despite having only one day of preparation with all of the players, we played pretty well together. Our defense caused a lot of problems for opposing teams creating many steals, deflections and easy buckets for our guys. Although we need some work with positioning and keeping out hands up, I like what I have to work with.

Our offense was not our strong point at Lynn. We have a tough time running anything and made some poor shot selections. We also have no identity on offense while on defense we already know we are going to be a run and jump team. I'd like for our players to know how to space the floor better, this would help us identify when to attack and give us better opportunities to look for our shooters.

Now that Summer is here, its time to go to work on fundamentals. My goal is to get every player better, faster, and build unity between our players.

The Past Two Months

The past two months have been eventful for South Basketball. Aside from our regular off season conditioning our players have played in and ran travel tournaments, had our off season banquet, participated in Western High's Spring League, and said good-bye to one of our coaches.
Travel Ball - we hosted two USSSA tournaments in our gym this off-season for fund raising purposes. In two days, we squeeze in over 20 teams and have about 15 games played in our gym. These are long weekends, especially when the gym AC is turned off because of budget cuts Broward County Schools controls when it goes on and off. The kids seems to not mind it so much but almost every parent that comes in and says "is the AC off?" or " it's hot in here, can you do something?" I just SMH and explain the whole thing over and over. Outside of it being hot the kids do a great job running the scores table and door. Coach Derek, Coach Steve, and Coach Remy help out as well. Without them these weekends would be impossible.
We played in a couple travel tournaments as well. Let's just say some of the up and coming guys have talent, but really need to understand the game.
Annual Banquet - Our team banquet was on April 28, and was a huge a success this year. Again, we used the Magnet Theater at our school and had it catered by a soul food restaurant. Food was great, players looked great, and the evening went as smooth as can be. I would like to mention a few people that helped and made the night a special evening: Mr. and Mrs. Collins, Dr. Culpepper, Zeno, Nandi, all the coaches and my wife Ingrid. Without your help the banquet could not have been half as good. I'll be putting the 2011-2012 Season video on the team website soon.
Spring League at Western High - Last night was the first look at South Plantation basketball without kids like Delan, Henry, and Dom. It was a little weird not seeing any of those guys on the floor, but at the same time I've been through this every year now for the past 14 years. Old players move on and new players come in. We played Piper and lost by 2 in over time. The last two Piper/South games have gone into overtime and have ended with us on the losing end. Yesterday was just a spring league game, but you still want to see our team on the winning end of an overtime game whether it's Piper or anyone else. From what I saw last night is my team is going to be tough. We didn't play well defensively or offensively, but I saw flashes of a team that can be really good. A couple players that stood out was Justin and Ed. Justin had 7 blocks and 9 rebounds and Ed was the most efficient player scoring 15 with 4 steals, 3 deflections and only one turnover he also got to the line more than anyone else. We play western on Thursday, so let's see who steps up.
Coach Trez - For two seasons Coach Trez has been on the South bench helping coach our players be the best they can be. He also was a huge help to me in getting this program on the right track when i took over. A few weeks ago, Coach Trez was offered and accepted the head coaching position at West Broward High School. I couldn't be more happy for coach Trez, I know he'll do a great job over there. I will definitely miss him next season.
It's been a while since I've posted on this blog. I know I've said this before but I'm going to try and update this at least once a week.
To see who has read this entry, I will give the first person to answer the next question and get it right a prize.
Question: Can you Name all the senior players on the team? Send me the answer via email for a prize.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Season is over, but the Future is Bright

Losing a game that could have been won is hard. Losing a game in the playoffs, in overtime, and by just 3 points is devastating. Final game of the season Piper 66 South 63.

We were the 6th seed and they were the 2nd seed, but by the way this game was played it looked like to heavy weights going toe to toe. We were down most of the first half, but midway through the third we started making our run.

During the middle of the 3rd and fourth quarter, it seemed as if we were in control especially with Piper not being able to score. We made some key stops, and got some huge 3 point baskets by Ed Danis. However, we couldn't stop the refs whistles from blowing in Pipers favor.

In the 4th quarter Piper scored all of their points from the free throw line. No points from the floor! Seemed like no matter how we played Piper defensively we were called for fouls. I won't put all the blame on the fouls we should have closed it out by getting to the free throw line, but we made some poor decisions with the ball down the stretch.

Despite the tough loss, I am extremely proud of how much better we got throughout the season. I don't think any other team in Broward County made a bigger improvement than we did and that's a credit to our teams ability to stay the course. This is why I am confident about our future at South.

We have a great group of players returning next season. They are the most well rounded group I have had in a long time. Not only are they very athletic, but they are very hard working and good students in the classroom. I believe if I have a group of players that can excel both on the court and in the classroom those are players that can form a great team.

I've also had the opportunity to meet some of the future students of 2016, and from what I have seen so far I think they're going to be a special group. The incoming freshman are very talented players and are good students as well.

Now, the next step is having a productive off-season booked with countless hours of skill work. All great programs have off-seasons that concentrate on getting their players better by working on their weaknesses. More importantly being able to get plenty of Spring, Summer, and Fall league games to have that game experience we lacked this year.

For those that are following South on our website and twitter I thank you. For those that haven't kept tabs, you need to start following us. South Plantation is going to do big things next season.

Till next time,
Coach Marino

Trivia: Where did Coach Remy go to high school, and who was one if his high school coaches?

First person to email me the answer gets a prize.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

District Playoff Game

I have not posted a new Blog in 4 months, and I promised myself I would do one at least once a week. I also promised myself I would keep running at least 3 times a week. I guess I need to work on fulfilling my promises to myself.

The season has been long and draining at times, but we're now in the home stretch, just a couple more weeks if all goes well.

This past Tuesday, we beat Douglas High School 64-59 which is 33 point swing from the first time we played them where we lost 82-53. That first game happened back on Dec. 16, almost 2 months ago. Since that time, my team has bonded and worked really hard at getting better.

I have definitely enjoyed the last two weeks of practice, especially because it seems like the players have been pushing themselves instead of me or the other coaches pushing them. One of our quotes in practice was "The push from behind is not the as meaningful as the drive from within." I believe the self motivation has been the difference that has given us recent success.

We have to play Piper tomorrow, and if we win we not only play in the district championship on Saturday, but it also guarantees us a spot in the Regional Playoffs. I can't predict the future, but from our recent wins and hard work in practice I really like our chances to win.

I'm done for now, but I PROMISE to write my thoughts on whatever the outcome. As a bonus the first parent to email me what our school colors are will win a team t-shirt. Email your answer to coach@paladinbasketball.com

Coach Marino

Location:South Plantation Gym


Less Than One Week Away

Almost time for basketball tryouts. Hope all that are trying out have been working on their game the past two weeks. This is going to be one of the most competitive tryouts I've had in the last 10 years.

With losing 9 seniors from last years team of 14, there are plenty of spots open for the taking. Just so it is clear I am looking for players that will can not only help a team win, but also is the right fit. I know that is very vague, but when a coach picks a team they look for different things.

Sometimes it may be a player that has no fear or doesnt get nervous in pressure situations.Other times coaches look for an underdog type player that is willing to do anything for the team, a guy that does the grunt work but never expects accolades or their name in the paper.

Without any question this years tryouts are going to be tough, but I am eagerly waiting to get this thing rolling.