By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Compiling more than 300 wins with multiple Sub-State appearances takes trust in your players.
From Millington to Southwind to Brighton, Stan Gatlin knows a good basketball team has good on-the-floor leadership. Entering the 2020-21 season, Gatlin’s Brighton Cardinals have an open invitation for all players to step up to be floor generals, film-study enthusiast and worthy of being a captain.
“It starts with leadership from me down to my coaches to my seniors to the younger kids leading,” Coach Gatlin said. “Actually to whoever has the mentality to lead. It could be a freshman. We need guys who are going to be leaders and digest it, take ownership. We have guys who can do it. We have guys who love film (session).
“Just working hard inspect of them of having a few things they haven’t covered in middle school or last year because they didn’t get much playing team,” he added. “We have some guys showing promise.”
Gatlin acknowledged finding those leaders this season will take a minute after a summer of coronavirus. The global pandemic eliminated summer camps, summer games and workouts. The time in the gym during November has been the introduction for several Cardinals like freshman Jay Dancey to varsity basketball.
“He’s going to be special,” Gatlin noted. “He reminds me of Taelyr (Gatlin). He’s a long guard, with developing explosiveness, His jump shot is better than Taelyr at that point.”
Taelyr Gatlin graduated from Brighton as the all-time leading scorer and assist man. Gatlin is now at the University of Denver. Dancey has that kind of talent and potential.
“He’s one of the kids I’m looking to be one of my captains this year,” Gatlin added. “He’s also a great student.
“I see two guys it could be right now (leaders), Jay Dancey or DeMaryo Gatlin,” he said. “Hold up there is one more guy Andrew Thompson. He’s a junior. He’s a smart guy from cross country. He’s a shooter.”
With a young roster, seniors DeMaryo Gatlin and Kejuan Dyson will be counted on to provide experience in the locker room, practice and during games. Coach Gatlin said Dyson has to be a lock down defender and dependable ball handler.
The senior duo is interchangeable and allows Coach Gatlin to throw various lineups and match ups against district opponents come January and February. Until then, the Cardinals will blend in football players and younger players through November and December.
“I think its going to be a much better year, much more fun,” Gatlin concluded. “We have some great guys to coach. They work hard and I love that. They’re just some good kids.”