Keith Marin’s a blue-collar blue chip |

Keith Marin’s a blue-collar blue chip

Dan BurkhartBear River's Keith Marin works in heavy traffic Thursday.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Keith Marin is old school.

At least, those were the first two words Bear River head boys basketball coach Jack McCrory used to describe the play of his 6-foot, 3-inch junior wing.

“There’s no flash. He’s just a solid, all-around player. He says, ‘Whatever you want done, I’ll do it’,” McCrory said “He doesn’t question things. All he does is work hard. You don’t get a lot of those kids as a coach.”

Need more proof?

Check out what the second-year starter chose as his career highlight.

It wasn’t when he shut down Reno High School’s 6-10 Division I prospect David Padgett to the tune of no field goals in a holiday tournament earlier this season.

Or the time he blocked a potentially game-tying three-point shot with under a second on the clock to preserve a first-ever trip to the Kendall Arnett Tournament final in late December.

“I’ll be more than happy to just go out there and play as hard as I can, not (necessarily) scoring a lot of points,” Marin said. “I feel more personal pride holding the other team’s best player to four or five points than scoring 20 and being the star on offense.”

His moment came late in Bear River’s Sierra Foothill League opener at Placer of Auburn two Wednesdays ago. The score was tied with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter when Marin’s nose for the ball got bloodied.

“I remember there was a loose ball. They were about to grab it, so I dove on the floor, grabbed the ball and tossed it to Dylan (Mitzel). Then, when I was still on the floor, somebody slammed me in the face by accident. I had a bloody nose and everything,” he said. “We scored a three-point play off that (and ended up winning). So, that was pretty much my highlight because I just got a towel, wiped off the blood and kept playing.”

Marin – who started on the Bruins football team at outside linebacker in the fall – isn’t the beefiest player at 195 pounds, but isn’t shy about mixing it up down on the blocks.

“You can’t hurt him. He’ll fight through the picks, and he’ll get knocked to the floor. But it seems when he does get (flattened), it kicks his interest up,” McCrory said.

Marin can hit the three – he’s first on the team this year with 19 from beyond the arc – finish in transition and work both ends of the glass, but his main role is defensive stopper.

“I always put him on the other team’s best player,” McCrory said. “Last Friday at Granite Bay, their kid (Brian) Maynard had 13 points in the first quarter, then we went to man and I put Keith on him. He scored two points in the second and four in the third.”

As for personal or team goals during his next two seasons of high school ball, Marin isn’t too focused on league or section titles.

Big surprise.

“I remember when I was a little kid, I had tons of trophies and banners in my room, but they really didn’t mean anything to me. A real trophy for me is just being able to go out there and have some fun,” he said. “When I look back on my career, I just want to have positive experiences. Friends, basketball, whatever. You’re only in high school once, so you’ve got to make the most of it.”

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