Balancing the roles of father and son, coach and player

Balancing the roles of father and son, coach and player
March 31
07:10 2022

The Atkins Camels varsity basketball team enjoyed yet another successful season on the court. The Camels finished the year 16-10 (11-3) and had quite a few bright spots. One of those bright spots was freshman point guard Jacari Brim, who is the son of head coach Marlon Brim.

Coach Brim has been the head coach of the Camels for seven seasons, so adding his son to the varsity team added a different dynamic to this season. Coach Brim just wanted Jacari to play his game and not try to do too much, too soon.

“I just wanted him to really just be himself. Play the way he can play and elevate his game and grow as a player,” Coach Brim says about how he wanted his son to integrate himself on the team.

“I just wanted him to be the best player he could be as a freshman. I try not to put any pressure on him. He puts enough pressure on himself by trying to be as good as he wants to be, so for me as a father, I just wanted him to be a good player and grow into his freshman year.”

It was no surprise for Brim that Jacari had what it took to make an impact on the varsity team. The work Jacari has put in playing high level AAU basketball over the years prepared him for this step up in competition level as a freshman.

“I attribute it to playing AAU at a young age. He played on Team All-Out from first grade all the way to fifth grade and then played with CP3, the elite team, on six, seventh and eighth grade,” Brim said about Jacari’s development. “So, the development every year has always gotten better.

“It was just a matter of do we want him to play as a freshman on varsity and was he good enough. And if his skill set was good enough, then we as a coaching staff made that decision that it was the best thing for him.”

Another advantage for Jacari in his development was the fact that he has been around the Camel program since his father took over as head coach. He has been practicing and running drills with the team since he was eight.

At 6’1” and 165 pounds, Jacari doesn’t look like your typical freshman. He came in with the confidence that he could play well on the varsity level and had a number of goals he wanted to achieve.

“Some of my goals were to average at least a double-double but I averaged 13 (points) and 7 (assists), win conference, win Frank (Spencer Holiday Classic), all-conference and make a deep run in the playoffs,” said Jacari about his goals.

Jacari was not really worried about the transition to playing varsity basketball due to stiff competition he played on the AAU circuit. He was more concerned about how the dynamic was going to play out with his father being his head coach.

“I thought it was going to be bad, I thought it was going to be like a lot of pressure on me,” said Jacari about his thoughts before the season. “Some of the games it wasn’t a lot of pressure, just playing for my dad and the coaches was fun.”

The one thing you noticed about Jacari right away was his court vision. For such a young player, he has an uncanny ability to find his teammates and could also put the ball in the hoop when needed.

As player and coach, and father and son, the conversations last much longer after games and practice between Jacari and Coach Brim. Jacari says he likes to soak up all the information about the ways he can improve his game from his dad.

“After every game, when I ride home with him, we will talk about the pros and cons of what we did well as a team and what I did individually and what I need to work on,” Jacari said. “Things like staying low on my dribble, making free throws and making the right pass.”

Coach Brim said he likes to keep it as a player/coach relationship with Jacari during the game and afterwards they can return to being father and son.

“During the games it’s coach mode and after the game on the ride home it’s dad mode,” said Coach Brim. “In between the basketball lines, it’s Coach; when it’s ride home and at home, it’s dad. So we try to have that line to make sure things are coach/player and dad/son to make it work.”

Brim says he treats his son like any other player on the team, but admits he does have high expectations.

“I treat him like anybody else, but I am harder because I expect more,” Brim said about his relationship with his son as coach. “As being a coach’s son, people look at you differently, that things can be given to you or your skill set is not up to par to be playing on a varsity level as a ninth grader.”

Jacari exceeded the expectations that Coach Brim had for him to begin the season. With Jacari making the transition from middle school to high school, along with Atkins moving up to 3A, Brim assumed it would take longer for Jacari to find his groove.

“For him to average 13 points, lead the conference assists at 7, and was top 10 in the state in assists, and he led the team and the conference in steals; yeah, he kind of exceeded my expectations,” said Brim.

Jacari primarily played the shooting guard position growing up and he is now learning to become a true point guard. There is a lot still left to learn about being a point guard, but Jacari is off to a great start and his potential ceiling is very high.

This is the first time Brim has coached his son as a head coach. He was an assistant on one of Jacari’s AAU teams, but said he wanted Jacari to learn the game as a player and not turn to Brim for every direction. Brim says his son has been fortunate to play for some quality head coaches as he moved up in age.

“I really didn’t want to be his head coach growing up because I wanted him to develop as a player and not always look at me for directions,” Brim continued. “This year was my first true year of being his head coach, but we have always talked outside of AAU games and workouts about things he needs to work on.”

To become a better player, Brim feels Jacari needs to work on getting stronger, his midrange game and being an overall better player by doing the little things to get wins. He says they frequently have conversations about that so that he can continue to develop.  

As much as he would like to separate being dad and coach, sometimes Brim catches himself being a proud dad on the sidelines when Jacari does something well.

“Sometimes I smile after I watch film when he makes a good play or a nice pass,” said Brim. “I do see some things in him and I am a proud dad, but I am also coach, so we don’t talk about it until after the game or the ride home.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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