WC student Carson takes turn as coach

Published 10:40 am Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dana II coach Darrick Carson talks to Jabari Judge, right, during a YMCA Junior Prep Boys league basketball game. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Dana II coach Darrick Carson talks to Jabari Judge, right, during a YMCA Junior Prep Boys league basketball game. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

This is the third and final story in a miniseries profiling volunteer coaches in the Vicksburg YMCA’s youth basketball program.

Like a lot of coaches, Darrick Carson developed his passion for basketball while playing in high school.

Unlike a lot of coaches, Carson could still go back and play high school ball.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The 18-year-old Warren Central senior is spending this season as a volunteer coach in the YMCA’s youth basketball program. Having someone on the bench who’s not much older than the grade school players he’s coaching is an unusual arrangement, but one that’s worked out well for all involved.

“I was very concerned. Then once I met him, he was an amenable young man. He’s got his pants pulled up, he’s polite. I was very pleased,” said Lionel Johnson, whose son Lionel Johnson Jr. plays for Carson’s Dana Road II team in the Junior Prep Boys league. “I don’t think anybody has a problem with him. Being he’s giving up his time and is knowledgeable, kudos to him. The way his temperament is, he seems built to be a coach.”

Although this is Carson’s first season in the YMCA program, it’s actually his second stint as a coach. He coached a sixth- and seventh-grade team in the Kings Community Center league two years ago.

Carson played basketball for Warren Central until his sophomore year, but quit because he said he and his coaches “didn’t get along.”

“I got a job at Waterways because I didn’t think basketball was my future. But I still wanted to be a part of it, so I came out here,” said Carson, who has a part-time job as a library assistant at Waterways Experiment Station.

Carson wasn’t just given a team at the YMCA, though. He first proved himself by running the clock during football games in the fall. Carson’s mother suggested he should ask for a coaching position during basketball season. He did, and was accepted.

YMCA program director Allison East said Carson’s maturity has been impressive.

“Every time I see him at a game, I’m shocked at the way he handles himself. He’s keeping his cool during all of that and does a great job,” East said. “He’s really self-sufficient, which is great. Some coaches, especially the young ones, don’t know how to run a practice or where to go. You just give him a time to be at the gym, and he’s there. He took the ball and ran with it.”

While he’s grown into the role, Carson admitted his first steps into the coaching profession were a little shaky. He’s used the internet to find pointers on how to run a practice and game strategies, and winning a few games has made everyone a bit more comfortable with him.

“I did it without knowing their positions or what to tell them at first,” he said. “It’s gotten easier as the days go on.”

Carson, who plans to attend Hinds Community College in the fall, added that working with the fourth- and fifth-graders on his team has been rewarding. He hopes he’s given them a base to draw from as they move up the ladder of organized basketball.

“I like knowing that I’m helping them with their future and getting them ready for junior high and high school,” he said. “I know how bad I wish I had someone to come help me when I was their age.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

email author More by Ernest