Stillman basketball duo has long history on the court
By WVUA-23 Student Sports Reporter Kalen Brooks
Stillman College basketball players Daviyon Dennis and Marcus Bates Jr. have a connection that few teammates are ever able to achieve – one that, at times, can make it seem like one knows what the other is thinking.
“It’s like they can read each other’s minds,” Stillman Tigers Head Basketball Coach John Teasley said. “They know what they’re going to say before they say it. Things like that are special, and it comes in handy when you have a whole new team like we do this year.”
Dennis and Bates’ basketball journey has spanned four schools over 11 years. The duo first teamed up at Eastwood Middle School, helping the Stampede win the Tuscaloosa City/County Championship. That began a trend – Dennis and Bates were a part of championship teams at Paul W. Bryant High School (Class 6A State Championship in 2017) and Shelton State Community College (ACCC Championship in 2019, 2020).
When they are on the court, it’s hard to doubt the rhythm Dennis and Bates share.
“It’s definitely different with him on the court, just because I know how he plays (and) he knows how I play,” Bates said. “He knows what I am looking for. I know what he is looking for.”
Although Bates and Dennis’ history on the court is well documented, the duo has embraced the opportunity to rekindle their connection this season. Each player has missed a significant portion of the past two seasons due to different factors including the COVID-19 pandemic, eligibility and injury issues.
Now close to returning to the court, Dennis and Bates have unfinished business.
“Now that we can finally be on the court together again, we have to make up for the missed two years,” Dennis said. “It’s just fun to be back on the court with him, for real.”