Despite the boys basketball team’s excellent start to the season, Bearden fans have not yet seen the most complete version of this group as the Bulldogs have been challenged with left over injuries from the preseason.
Shamarcus Brown and UT signee Drew Pember, two starting seniors, have been unable to play or have had limited minutes due to injury. The Bulldogs (6-2, 3-0 District 4-AAA) will likely continue to need other players to step up when they host rival Farragut (2-6, 1-2) tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Pember hurt his ankle in the summer and is still recovering. He has been able to play in games this season, but with limited minutes.
“I came back and played in the first couple of games and overused it,” Pember said. “It caused a lot of swelling and irritation, so I have had to take a step back and continue more with therapy.”
Brown, who starred as a defensive end in his first year playing football for Bearden, sprained his MCL during football season and is also continuing to work his way back to being able to play basketball.
With two of Bearden’s starting players limited, it has provided the Bulldogs with the opportunity to play a wider range of players.
“Since Shamarcus and I are both out, it’s given a lot of guys opportunity to show what they can do,” Pember said. “There’s definitely more responsibility for the team now.”
Added Brown: “At first, I wasn’t sure how we would play. But they have come together more and been forced to rely on other people for success.”
Though Brown and Pember have been less present on the court, they have adjusted their roles as teammates to continue to support their team.
“If I’m on the bench, I’m still being a good teammate and trying to cheer everyone on,” Pember said. “And when I am on the court even though I am limited, I still have to do what coach needs me to do.”
The Bulldogs hope that overcoming these injuries will help build team chemistry.
“Trent (Stephney), Ques (Glover) and Kordell (Kah) have all three played 32 minutes which is an insane work load,” Pember said. “They’ve done an incredible job stepping up and filling in some of those gaps.”