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One-on-one: D.J. Coles

JOHN C. COTEY
Published January 16, 2004

D.J. Coles (the D is for Darnell, the J for junior) is a 6-foot-3 guard turned center on Countryside's basketball team. The 16-year-old junior also is a pretty good baseball player, which figures since his father and namesake - Darnell Coles - played 13 seasons in the major leagues for eight different teams. D.J. Coles wouldn't mind following in dad's footsteps, but right now his game is hoops. John C. Cotey caught up with him to talk sports, life and those awful Philadelphia fans.

JC: What was it like growing up the son of major-leaguer? DC: Lots of traveling. We'd go to school (at Safety Harbor Middle) during the week and then fly out every Friday.

JC: Favorite city to visit?

DC: Toronto. They treated us the best there.

JC: Worst?

DC: (laughs) Philadelphia.

JC: That's a shocker. What's your most memorable Philly moment?

DC: We would travel on the team bus, and the opposing teams used to have a police escort. When we were at the games, each family had a body guard or someone that followed us around.

JC: Any incidents to report?

DC: No.

JC: Do you still feel pressure being Darnell Coles kid, or has it lessened since he's retired?

DC: There's not as much pressure anymore. He still gets noticed when we go to cities where he played. Especially Detroit.

JC: He's your coach at Countryside. You're telling me that isn't tough?

DC: It's good. He's a little harder on me than anyone else. I remember one game we lost and we had a practice afterwards. I missed a ground ball and he got mad and made me run five laps.

JC: So if it was another kid that blew the grounder, Dad doesn't make him run, that's what you're saying?

DC: Yeah.

JC: Who was your dad's favorite teammate?

DC: Ken Griffey Jr. in Seattle. He was a really nice guy.

JC: You are 6 feet, 3 inches tall and have to play center for the basketball team. That ain't right. Who's been the toughest center you've had to go against?

DC: North Broward Prep had a 6-10 guy that was tough.

JC: He packed you a few times?

DC: Two or three.

JC: Best movie you've seen lately.

DC: Bad Boys II. Good action.

JC: Countryside or Tyrone Square Mall?

DC: Countryside. That way I don't have to drive as far.

JC: Last book you read?

DC: Ethan Frome.

JC: Is that the author or the title of the book?

DC: Ummmm. I don't know.

JC: Hmmm. Me either.

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