“We’re in a rebuilding year,” said MLS head basketball coach John Della Marco, who took over the helm during the 2011-12 seasons as the team improved in total wins by four games. “No coach likes to admit that, but we have lost four seniors from last year and we compete against schools with double or triple the amount of enrollment.
“It is difficult at times to compete against these schools, but we are developing a program from the ground up and we are all excited about it,” he added.
The Cougars current roster is relatively inexperienced. Besides starting guard Patrick Kelly and center Lorenzo Lake, both seniors, the team will have several players from the junior varsity team try to make the squad this season.
“If we can get folks to come and watch our team this season, they will see young men that play hard and make efforts on every play,” said Della Marco. “We may not win all the time, but we will always hustle and play a brand of basketball that will impress many to keep coming out to support the team.”
The team has been running basketball clinics throughout the summer and the turnout has been very good. Della Marco has been impressed with the turnout from freshmen to seniors, and the talent is better than he expected.
“They are still inexperienced, but I like a few new players and it is not a question of if, but when they will be good this year,” said Della Marco.
In 2013, MLS will be hosting a basketball camp for boys and girls.
"The groundwork for success in our boys basketball program is being laid by Coach Della Marco,” said MLS Director Jim Regan. “Summer basketball clinics and constant communication with our student-athletes will help build a team that will focus on a renewed spirit for Martin Luther athletics."
The team recently received help from a local company, Academy Fire Protection, which donated new uniforms, practice jerseys and warm-ups for the upcoming season. Off the court, Della Marco is trying to instill the right attitude in his players.
"Our philosophy on everything is simplify, perfect, and build pride in our program," he said.