Marlon Beck II appears as a freshman on Binghamton’s roster, but head coach Tommy Dempsey hopes his rookie point guard resembles a senior on the hardwood.
“[Dempsey] texted me as soon as I committed, I’m going to have to come in here with a senior mindset,” Beck said. “Coming in as a freshman, even though I have a big role, it’s not something that every freshman gets to do. So coming off that, I’m just looking forward to playing and not proving them wrong.”
Beck, who averaged 12.3 points and seven assists last year to lead Maret School to its first-ever conference title, will share the responsibility of running the offense this season with Yosef Yacob. While Yacob is a versatile and composed option, Beck — with his speed, energy and leadership — will push the ball and force a fast tempo.
“We’re both fast, we look to get the ball up the court, we look to find others,” Beck said of himself and Yacob.
Redshirt junior guard Rob Mansell compared his team to the Philadelphia Eagles, citing both teams’ tendency to push the tempo as the common denominator.
And if Mansell had to compare one of his teammates to Michael Vick, one comes to mind.
“I’ll probably say Marlon,” he said. “He’s our fastest guy. He’s in control of the ball most of the time. I hope he doesn’t get hurt like Vick does, but he’s definitely our fast quarterback.”
Freshman forward Magnus Richards, who met Beck three years ago when they first suited up as AAU teammates, said the floor general has always shown leadership qualities.
“He’s a very vocal person, so I definitely think that plays into it,” Richards said. “For as long as I’ve been playing with him, he’s been a very good leader. He’s always in the huddles.”
With six freshmen donning the green and white, growing pains are expected throughout the season, especially in the early going. Dempsey admits that “teams that count on a lot of freshmen tend to struggle,” but is confident in his own team’s potential.
“I think it’s going to be hard with the amount of youth we have,” Dempsey said. “The fab five spoiled it for everybody I guess when they proved how good you could be with freshmen … We’re going to have to fight through that and hopefully develop these guys’ confidence along the way and get better as we go.”
While everyone expects the Bearcats’ youth and inexperience to keep them at a distance as a non-threat for at least a couple of more seasons, Beck sees this as an opportunity.
“We want to use that as our advantage,” he said. “Even though we have a lot of freshmen, we think a lot of teams are going to come into conference thinking, ‘Oh, we can get after them, they’re young.’ But no, we have the mindset where we can get after them.”