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Gembes give Dad a Devil of a time

February 14, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

Editor's Note: The following is the second of a four-part series on sibling teammates who play basketball in the Tri-State area.

koelble@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - A coach with a son or daughter on a team is not uncommon in any sport. For a coach to have two, at the same time, is fairly unusual and the prospects for a third are in the future.

At Greencastle-Antrim, Gembe has been a familiar name for several years around town and in the school system. And, it will be a few more years before the boys are all gone, leaving boys basketball coach Geron Gembe to fend all for himself.

In his sixth year as coach of the Blue Devils, Gembe has the unusual pleasure of coaching two of his sons - Jaren and Jordan. Another son, Jerrick, is in the wings as an eighth-grader at Greencastle Middle School.

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"I can remember 1989 and I was sitting with (Jaren) for the first time in front of the TV watching March Madness at the time," said the coach.

Jaren, a 5-foot-11 junior, and Jordan, a 6-0 sophomore, are helping lead the Blue Devils to a successful season, which has already included a Mid-Penn Capital Division title, the first at the school since 1990.

The coach had the opportunity to first have Jaren and Jordan on the roster at the same time last year when Jordan was elevated from the junior varsity. With another year left for Jaren, it's not out of the possibility that all three could be under their dad's wing next year if Jerrick warrants a varsity position.

"All the boys have the understanding, as sons of a coach, the game of basketball," said the coach. "Growing up, they'd all come to practice, sit and watch and absorb a lot of stuff."

It wasn't going to take Jaren long to make the dive into basketball, growing up a Michael Jordan fan and playing around with a 4-foot hoop in their home. His first organized basketball came as a second-grader in the Youth Basketball Association in Greencastle.

"As a kid and your dad being a coach, I was always going to the gym with him," said Jaren, who is averaging nearly 14 points per game in his third year of varsity play. "He expects the most out of me, but I don't think we get any preferential treatment at all. If we're in the gym alone, he'll help."

The coach holds true to the philosophy any coach would have with a son or daughter on the same team.

"I think it's best to always separate the fact they're my sons," said the coach. "It's only fair to them and to the other players on the team. You can be proud to be coaching them, but I don't think they get any special treatment.

Garon Gembe said there's plenty of basketball talk at home, but not necessarily that of rehashing Greencastle games.

"At home a lot of the conversation comes from my wife (Julie)," said the coach. "She's very knowledgeable about the game."

The Atlantic Coast Conference is the favorite among the quartet with Jaren and Jerrick both fans of Duke, Jordan a follower of North Carolina and Garon, "if I'm a fan of anyone, it would be Maryland."

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