TENAHA, Tx - Former Carthage Bulldog basketball and football standout Marcus Bowman has always wondered what it would be like to be a coach on the sideline giving instruction instead of the athlete receiving it. The Panola College student who is studying to become a coach is getting an opportunity to get a glimpse of what's ahead as he works this summer as the coach of the CHS Lady Bulldog basketball team.
The Carthage Lady Dawgs are playing in the Tenaha Girls Basketball League each Tuesday night in June at the Special Events Center. They are playing other area athletes as teams work on the basic skills and try to sharpen those skills, instead of sitting in front of a television or a computer screen all summer.
"I told the girls that this is very valuable for them," Bowman said after Tuesday night's 30-25 win over a team made up of a combination of Center and San Augustine athletes. "To get better you've got to work every day in the summer.
"The great players aren't just home watching TV all summer. And when you talk to these girls, most of them want to play college ball. I told them it's a tough job in college; it's like going to work.
"I'm just trying to get them to understand that they might not want to come to practice because it's summer, but just getting them to understand that it's the extra work in the summer that enables them to get better."
Bowman said Carthage High School girls' basketball coach Peggy Stapleton approached him about coaching her club in the summer as University Interscholastic League rules prohibit high school coaches to work directly with their players. Bowman said he is excited to have the opportunity.
"Before they started playing this summer, Coach Stapleton asked me if I would work on fundamentals with them, like boxing out on the boards free throws and getting them to better understand the offense and defense," Bowman stated. "She told me to make sure they compete in each game and get better every day and every week."
Bowman, who was a four-year varsity basketball player at Carthage while playing three years of football and also running track, said the Lady Dawgs have listened to his instruction as the team works out three or four times a week.
"The girls show a lot of respect for me," he said. "I need them this summer just like they need me. This is a great experience for me and it's good for them if they want to continue their careers past high school."
Bowman said he's been trying to concentrate on the finer points of the game on the girls. He said the Lady Bulldogs are starting to understand what he is bringing before them and he's seen improvement each time they step on the floor.
"One of the things I'm trying to show them is how to box out on a rebound," he stated. "If you box out on a rebound, nine times out of 10 you're going to get the ball or their opponent is going to be called for an over-the-back foul. We did that better the last game and did it really began paying off for us. Tonight the girls did a great job with it."
The girls are learning lessons each game and Bowman is getting valuable time on the bench every time out.
"We're improving every day and every week," he admitted. "We had a couple of losses by three points because we didn't hit our free throws. Tonight we won and they hit their free throws. I told them that free throws are a very important part of the game. They're just what they are called - free.
"The first game we shot 1-for-10 (free throws) and lost by three points. The second game we shot 2-for-12 free throws and lost by three again. Tonight we hit our free throws and won."
It's a learning experience. They're hopefully learning things that will help them play the game better this season and I'm learning how to coach and what it feels like to be in game situations and trying to motivate them to get better and work hard so they'll have a good season coming up."
Carthage graduated three seniors off the 2011-12 team. Emilee McLin signed with McLennan Community College in Waco this spring to play basketball, C.K. Williams signed with Wiley College in Marshall to run track and Salena Robinson also graduated.
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