Tuesday, August 03, 2010

SPORTS>>Alumnus taking on basketball at Beebe

Leader sports editor

While everyone is buzzing about the pending start of football, new Beebe coach Ryan Marshall is looking forward to next basketball season.

And many more seasons after that.

Marshall, a Beebe graduate, was named boys basketball coach this summer to replace departed coach Chris Parker, who left after one year to coach women at West Memphis’ Midsouth Community College.

“The facilities here are great and I know most of the teachers and administrators still and I feel like I’ll be working with some good people,” Marshall, 32, said.

Marshall graduated from Beebe in 1996. He was head boys coach at Mountainburg and moved to Clarksville, where for the past three years was head coach for Clarksville’s junior high girls and the assistant girls varsity coach.

“This is home for me,” Marshall said of Beebe. “I graduated here in ‘96 and my family is still located in this area. And obviously coaching senior high boys is what I wanted to do. I kind of got away from that for some family reasons to go to Clarksville.”

Beebe went 4-25 under Parker last year. Parker replaced Brian Martin, who left after two seasons to coach at his alma mater Greenwood.

Marshall said he wants to build a winning mindset and that starts with some continuity at the top after several years of coaching turnover.

“There’s been a lot of transition,” he said. “I just want to let them know ‘Hey, I’m here and this is where I plan on being for awhile,’ and also to let them know we plan on being successful.”

Marshall played at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville and assisted two years. Hesaid his Mountainburg teams were around .500 his two seasons while he won close to 70 games with the girls in Clarksville.

With Beebe moving into the 5A-East Conference from the 5A-Southeast, Marshall said he would try to tailor his offense to his available talent.

“At that level we wanted up-tempo, push, push,” he said of his college playing days at Ozarks. “But in high school you’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt.”

In getting to know his players this summer Marshall has stressed the basics.

“Right now we’re just focusing on fundamentals,” he said. “We’re going to be big on fundamentals, defense, rebounding and taking care of the ball.”

Marshall won’t be sure, until practice officially starts in the fall, exactly what his roster is going to look like. But since the summer athletic dead period ended, he said he has had a promising turnout of close to 25 potential players in the gym.

“We’ve got four seniors, I think maybe one, possibly two, returning starters,” he said. “We didn’t lose anybody. I think they only finished with seven or eight kids.”

Marshall said he is counting on offensive production from 6-0 senior Devonte Young, who scored 30 points in more than one game last year. Beebe’s tallest player is 6-5 senior Caleb Davidson.

“Hopefully we’ll have several kids show up that can step up and help us a little bit,” Marshall said. “We’re going to be very, very guard oriented.”

Marshall said he wants to convince Beebe, which last won a state basketball championship in 1941, that it can win again. It should help that he has ties to the area and hopes to stick around.

“It’s definitely a mindset thing and the main thing I want to do right now is let the kids know I’m there for them,” Marshall said.