For Blue Collar Marlins - Key to success is beat the pressure

Tina Harbuck

It’s a new start for the Destin Marlin basketball team.

Not only do they have new players mixed in with returners, but they have a new coach as well.

Brian McDaniel, who has served as baseball coach for a number of years at Destin Middle School, is at the helm of the boys basketball team this year and is excited at the chance to work with the squad.

“It’s going to be fun, I like the guys and they play hard. So far they have shown me a lot,” McDaniel said as the team worked out Monday afternoon.

But there is still work to do and in a short amount of time.

The Marlins tip it off at home at 6 p.m. next Tuesday against the Emerald Coast Middle School Stingrays.

Some of the returners to the team are Kobe Babin, Jamison Brundidge and Jackson Smith.

“To be honest, I went into tryouts with a blind eye,” McDaniel said, not really knowing who the returners were.

“This is my first year too, so my motto is ‘It’s a new beginning, a new start’.”

“So we’re going to try and control what we can control, which is hustling, communicating and playing hard out there,” McDaniel said.

“We’re going to walk out on the floor and basically be overmatched every game,” he said. “Everybody is going to be little more athletic than us and we’re going to try and find a way to offset that.

“We’re going to have to be scrappy. We’re going to have to be very blue collar … going to have to work hard and get on the floor for loose balls and go back to the basics of boxing out and things like that,” he added.

Right now the Marlins are in the process of developing more guards.

“We’ve got one or two, but we need to be deeper on the guard side,” he said

Currently it looks as though Brundidge will be taking care of most of the point guard duties, McDaniel said.

“We’ll be OK length wise, but just trying to get into transition and trying to handle what every body is going to do — press Destin, and man-to-man us. We’ve got to find a way to overcome that.”

Plus the Marlins are a “little deficient” in ball skills.

“We’ve got to focus on protecting the basketball and doing things like that,” McDaniel said.

“But I do think, if we can beat the pressure and get down and into a half court game, we’ve got a shot to be pretty successful,” McDaniel said.

Size wise, the Marlins have pretty good height with about four or five in the 5-foot-10 to 6-foot range. Charles Pearson, Jackson Smith, Christian Ford and Kobe Babin all fit into that category.

“It’s going to be interesting to see what happens,” McDaniel said.

“If we can take away teams just getting to the rim and laying it up all day long and limit them to one shot on the goal, which means we have to rebound well, I think we’ll have a shot.

“The key is going to be handling the pressure,” he said.

“But you never know. If at the end of the year, if they label us as one of those groups that play hard and they’re scrappy and competitive — I’ll be happy.”

Nathan Payne

Charles Pearson

Kobe Babin

Christian Ford

Jamison Brundidge

Beck Holahan

Ian Bilger

Benton Henderson

C.J. McGowan

Will Rutland

Jackson Smith