|Junior Ashton Loring sets up the offense during the Maraudersí scrimmage with Camp Verde. VVN/Travis Guy|
|Senior Michael Harrison drives through a defender for the layup against Camp Verde. VVN/Travis Guy|
Depending on how well the Marauders boys' basketball team is able to adapt to new head coach Dave Beery's system, it could be an exciting season for the boys.
Beery, who is roughly two weeks into his tenure at Mingus Union, is not a traditional X's and O's kind of guy (this is something he said when he was first hired). Instead he likes to have his team play off the ball. This has led to the Marauders being much more open and receptive to his style of play, the opposite of what they ran under former head coach Mark Owens.
"He's a lot more laid back than the other coach, that's for sure," said senior Michael Harrison.
Junior Evan Snyder added that Beery "kind of lets us make more of our own decisions."
On June 10 the Marauders had a chance to put what they had learned so far into action when playing a few scrimmages with the Camp Verde Cowboys.
In the end the Marauders came out on top after both games, but the Cowboys put up a fight, knowing that their friends from Mingus would remind them of the wins whenever they got the chance.
"Basically, when the competition rises, so does the skill level," Harrison said. "Everyone wants to win, you don't want to lose out here because of bragging rights, definitely."
But the outcome of the game is not what mattered, not in the grand scheme of things. No, this is summer ball and while June is an important month for teams to improve, with a new coach it is even more crucial for the Marauders.
Beery's system could greatly benefit Mingus. They have snipers in the form of junior Ashton Loring and senior Michael Harrison and the offense they are learning moves the ball around to open them up. But, as Beery said, he believes they are rushing it a little bit as they learn the new plays.
"We don't have as much set offense, we just kind of go out there and do what we do," Snyder said.
One of the more obvious changes in coaching styles is the sideline demeanor. Owens was an intense coach. Whether it was a regular season game, scrimmage or summer practice, he expected a certain level of play from his former team. Beery brings a more laid back approach to the Marauders. After the Camp Verde scrimmage he said there was not much point in yelling, it is summer and he will save it for the regular season.
"When you're tired that's when you forget and start doing things wrong," Beery said. "I definitely want to reinforce that, but I think if you use up all your yelling and screaming at the kids, they start blocking you out. You have to pick and choose when to do that."
Just as they looked like they were rushing the offense a bit, the Marauders looked like they were in a hurry during their scrimmages. They were having fun being on the court again with their friends, but at times they were sloppy.
"We ran it (the offense) 20 minutes before the game started and even the ones that have been at every event have only had a couple practices," Beery said. "So in their defense, it's new to them, the timing is really off. They tried to run it, I told them to have faith in it and at first they were kind of reluctant. They tried it and ended up getting a few good things out of it, but yeah, they definitely rushed it, too many one-pass shots ... If they were a little more patient, add five or six passes, they would have had better possessions."
As the game progressed they put their game faces on and the mood on the court, while still having fun, changed to which team was going to come out on top and they did begin to clean up their game.
"I think during the summer they need to do some things wrong and learn some things through experience," Beery said. "I reminded them, like today, why are we closing out at people's knees? Close out high so they can actually contest the shot a little bit."
The Marauders will continue to scrimmage around the Verde Valley and beyond (Prescott and Flagstaff) before traveling to their summer team camp later in the month.
"I was happy," Beery said. "We shared the ball; I didn't think we were selfish. I thought the kids supported each other on the bench and there wasn't a whole lot of kids trying to show off, it was more they had each others backs and helped each other out, even the kids that were a little less talented. They supported them instead of pointing out what they were doing wrong every time."