Inside the Program: Bearden basketball

Take a look inside the Bearden basketball program, a tight-knit brotherhood with a coach battling cancer and one of the best records in the state.

Bearden hasn't lost a game to a team from the state of Tennessee this season. The Bulldogs are 23-1, looking to build on last year's state tournament run and they're a tight-knit group.

"It's a band of brothers. Everything about it is just brotherhood. This is the closest group of guys you can find in Tennessee," said junior Drew Pember.

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"It's my home place. I love it. Everything about it. It's a blessing to be able to come here. I love everything about it - the coaches, the players, love the atmosphere, just everything is great."

"To me, it feels like I'm playing in The League with my players," said junior Trent Stephney. "Because we got players like 6'7", 6'8" out there dunking and shooting. You got bigs. It's hard, we got guards that can dribble, pass and score."

No one knows about brotherhood more than the Stephney's.

Trent and London are the type to give each other tough love on (and off) the court.

"I think it's fun playing with him on the court," said sophomore London Stephney. "He'll yell at me sometimes, but he's just being a leader. He's one of our captains, so you've got to listen to him. Even though sometimes I don't like listening to him 'cuz he's my brother."

The team also had to build a relationship with Coach Jeremy Parrott. He's in his second year at Bearden and has fought cancer since last year.

"You take it as it's given to you," Parrott said. "God has blessed me beyond measure. Just to be in this position and be coaching for so long and to have as few health issues as I had. There are times you question why things happen, but you take it one day at a time, just like a basketball season."

And just as Parrott shows strength in his fight, the team is strong for one another.

"We took our first loss up in Bristol and a teammate missed a shot and was really down and everyone went to his room and cheered him up," said London Stephney. "We were like, we're going to bring you back some food, we know you don't want to leave because you're upset. We brought him back some food. Everyone being around each other and there for each other. That's what we're about."

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That's what it's like to play on a team that genuinely loves one another.

"I can't describe it. It's just a blessing," said Pember. "Each one of these guys is my brother. That's how it's been. That's how it's going to be. That's how it'll be for the rest of my life."

"They already had the ability to play basketball," said Parrott. "Now we're able to apply the relationships we've developed into scheme and outcome and it's been such a great ride so far. Hey, good players make good coaches. Yeah, there's some things you do as a coach and work on as a coach and improve on as a coach, but it's not about the coach it's about the players. It's about the relationships you develop with them."