They shoot, they score, he coaches


Isabella Keaton

After their impressive win against the Tigers on January 13, senior Turner Markwalter ended the day with a powerful pep talk. He motivated the team and prepared them for the next practice. “I can’t wait to see how my team progresses and develops throughout this season,” Markwalter said.

Isabella Keaton, Reporter, Photographer

Magnet senior Turner Markwalter, also known as Coach T, spends his Saturdays coaching from the sidelines at hosting middle school’s basketball courts around the Acworth area. Markwalter orchestrates the esteemed Acworth Youth Basketball team, the Tarheels. With eight amazing players between 11 and 12 years old, the Tarheels worked together to crush their opponents, the Tigers, 45-11 in their recent game on January 13 at Barber middle school.

Markwalter’s interest in coaching the Tarheels arose when his younger brother, Garrison Markwalter, asked him to coach for his basketball team, the Tarheels, this year. Markwalter, also interested in possibly coaching as a potential future career, gladly volunteered to coach this season.

“I wanted to coach because my little brother, Garrison, plays in this league every year and he asked me if I wanted to coach his team this year, but I also wanted to coach because coaching is something I wanna look into later in life— maybe as a career,” Markwalter said.

Isabella Keaton
Twelve year-old Garrison Markwalter dribbles down the court with the ball, avoiding all opponents in sight. Making his way to the goal, he shoots for the basket and ends the game with an incredible score of 45-11.

With a familiar face on the court, Markwalter coached his team to the number one spot in the 11 and 12 year old boys division. Stunned by the raw talent and incredible skills his kids possess, he anticipates huge wins and potentially a chance to participate in the 11 and 12 aged Division Championship game on February 17 this season.

“This year, I’m hoping we will win the championship, that’s always my goal, and with the skill level and talent I have on my roster this year that is definitely possible,” Markwalter said.

In the beginning of the season, Markwalter spent practice time working out each player’s kinks by refreshing and retouching on the fundamentals of the sport. Taking note of the strengths and weaknesses in each athlete, he created a game plan that set the team up for a swish.

“One of the techniques I used on the first day of practice was to go over all the fundamentals with everyone—see what everybody’s strengths and weaknesses were— then I can tackle practice from there. Once we played games, I saw what we did well  and what we didn’t do well, then [I would] stress what we didn’t do well on at practice,” Markwalter said.

By connecting with the athletes and creating a positive image of himself, Markwalter becomes an inspiring mentor that his players look up to. Representing their team well, Markwalter sets an example through playing fairly and passionately. The athletes follow in Markwalter’s footsteps and play the game with respect for the other team and the referees.

“The number one way to be a good mentor is to be a good role model. You don’t want to be coaching your kids and get snarky or rude to them, and always make sure you’re putting out a good image of yourself,” Markwalter said.

With five games left before the playoffs, Markwalter continues to coach the kids to success basket after basket. After their recent game, it would not come as a surprise for the Tarheels to dribble their way into a victory in the upcoming championship game.