Carencro's Jatrell Marks embracing new role in wake of injuries

Spencer Urquhart
Lafayette Daily Advertiser
Carencro's Jatrell Marks shoots a three-pointer as the Carencro High Bears take on the St. Thomas More Cougars at home on Feb. 12, 2019.

When the Carencro Bears lost starting point guard Traylon Prejean for the season, there was cause for concern as to who would fill that position.

Senior Jatrell Marks was up for the challenge.

However, the injury woes continued for the Bears when their top scorer, Joseph Charles, injured his knee mid-season, and the question became who would be able to step into a leadership role and keep the Bears afloat in a loaded district.

Marks continued to step up his game and not only took over as the Bears' starting point guard and primary ball-handler, he became a true leader on the floor.

"We had no point guard," Bears head coach Christopher Kovatch said. "Jatrell had to step in and become that person. He's always been the off guard, always been the shooter, he was so set in his role. In November we had several guys go down, and at one point Jatrell was the only senior guy out there with JV guys. It was hard on him, but he kept showing up."

Carencro High's Jatrell Marks takes a shot underneath the goal as the Carencro High Bears take on the Pearl River Rebels at home on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019.

Although Marks played a key role for the Bears last season as a scorer, he's done more than that this season and has evolved into a complete player.

"I've been stepping up more to help my teammates," Marks said. "It's been challenging, but I've stepping up in my last year to help the team more. ... It was challenging, but it's helped me get better and get ready for college since I've been handling the ball more."

The transition to point guard has forced Marks to become more of a distributor rather than just a scorer, and he's embraced the expanded role.

"I actually like the new role better," Marks said. "The ball's in my hands more to get the offense kicking. I have to find who's there in order to help us win. I'll score or pass. Anything coach asks me to do, I'll do it. On defense it's nothing I couldn't handle. It's been more of an adjustment on offense."

Marks has also become more of a vocal leader on the floor, especially since Charles went down, and he demonstrated that leadership ability in a key district victory over Westgate.

"He (Marks) usually doesn't have to be vocal," Kovatch said. "It's not naturally his forte, but he's been learning to use his voice better. He never really had to do it before. We were struggling against Westgate, and he did a really good job in the fourth quarter of becoming that guy and helped us seal the deal in that win."

While this season been a challenge for Marks at times, he's thrived in his new role and helped keep his team alive in the Class 4A playoff battle.

"He's had to add a lot to his game," Kovatch said. "Without him and our guys that stepped up, it would be scary to think where we would be. It wouldn't be fair to say just him, but his ability to stay the course and his model of sacrifice is important. He's a consummate team player. We wouldn't be where we are without that attitude."

Marks' older brother, Artrell, was the Bears' starting point guard last season, and Jatrell has gotten valuable tips from him.

"He gave me a lot of tips," Jatrell Marks said. "He told me stay calm and take what the defense gives you and just go from there. He also told me don't hesitate too much. He's definitely helped me elevate my game, I had a sit-down with him on how to cut down on turnovers. You have to throw the ball and and get teammates involved."

This Bears group, while short-handed, is battle-tested after playing a tough schedule, and a Charles return could put them back in state title contention.

"We've had to be locked in every single day," Marks said. "We can't do stupid things to jeopardize the team since we're already in a tough situation. It's been a tough season, but we've all stayed together and never quit. We've all got each other's back, and we all want to win. Joseph does everything for us, he would definitely help turn things around."

More: Injuries contribute to slow start for Carencro Bears

Spencer Urquhart covers high school sports for The Daily Advertiser. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @surquhart98.

Carencro's Jatrell Marks (20) goes for two points as the Carencro Bears take on the Westgate Tigers in a boys high school basketball game Tuesday Feb. 6, 2018.