New coach 'optimisticabout playoff chances
Last year, the team compiled a 7-22 record, ending the season by going 3-5 in district play and didn't make the play-offs.
But the team's new coach, Paul Patteson, said he is optimistic about the Marlins' chances of making the playoffs this year.
"We have a good amount of talent," Patteson said. "I'm not going to make any bones about it. We have physical talent. The question is, of course: How well will we be able to put that to use on the floor?"
Patteson replaces Mark Spencer, who coached the Marlins for only one year before moving on to become head coach of the Gregory-Portland High School's varsity boys team.
Patteson grew up in Rockport, graduating from Rockport-Fulton High School in 1992. He graduated from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) in 1997 with bachelors degrees in exercise sports science and political science. (He double majored.)
Since college, he has worked for school districts in Kenedy, Jourdanton, Needville, Somerville and Rockport. At Somerville, he was the head boys' basketball coach. Most recently, at Rockport-Fulton High School, he was assistant coach of the varsity basketball and football teams.
Patteson said he is changing up playing styles for the Marlins, who began practices on Oct. 24.
"My philosophy is more of a fastbreak, up-tempo style of basketball," he said. "There will be a lot more shots taken. There won't be as much slow-down to it. It will be a lot more fast-paced game. The last two years, it's been more of a half-court game that slowed down."
Patteson said he had a leg-up on the situation at PAHS before the first day of school. He knew some things about his players even before meeting them because he has known Spencer for years and spoke with him from time to time during the past year about the Marlin team. Patteson worked alongside Spencer for two years at Rockport-Fulton High School and also at Jourdanton.
While Patteson is introducing new strategies to the Marlins, some of his coaching style is similar to what the Marlins experienced under Spencer last year.
"I think the players here have been able to pick up on me and be able to adapt to what I want to do a lot faster" because of those similarities, Patteson said.
Patteson said he is pleased to be working with an experienced Marlins team. Seven of the nine players are returning from last year's team, and six are seniors.
"I feel real good about this group," Patteson said. "They've worked hard."
The players have good attitudes, he said.
"I think they've adapted very well even though I've been the fourth head coach in four years for this senior group," Pattesons said. "They could have easily just blown me off. They didn't have to believe a word I said. But, I tell you, these guys have bought into what I want to do. They have been completely dedicated to it, and they're having fun. As a result, I'm really proud of them."
The players are Zachary Merrill, Reid Copeland, Charley Walker, Cody Collins, Drake Sawyer, Dusty Foley, Matt White, Ryan Phillips and Jason Ardoin.
The Marlins varsity and JV are scheduled for scrimmages with West Oso High School's teams beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10. The games will be at the Brundrett Middle School gym.
The Marlins first real game will be at home against Highland Christian at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13.