Happy to be Back!
For Mario Delker, it has been a homecoming to remember.
The junior has not only enjoyed being back with his teammates he played with his youth, but he also has enjoyed the ride of the Northampton basketball team. He has developed his game and has been a steady and valuable contributor.
"It has really been an exciting year," said Delker. "This is really my first full year playing varsity and I couldn't ask for anything more. I played with most of these guys in the NAA and stuff. We also played together in middle school. It was great coming back here."
After eighth grade, Delker began his high school career playing in the Bethlehem Catholic basketball and football program. He tore his meniscus before his sophomore year, and his football and basketball seasons were limited in the process.
This year, Delker transferred back to where he began his sports roots.
"I felt very happy coming back," he said. "It is a whole new high school and everyone has been great. This is my first real varsity experience, and it has been all new to me. We're all gaining more confidence and we're showing everyone what we can do."
Delker also recognized he needed to work on some aspects of his game.
"Once I messed up my knee, I knew I had to work more on my ball handling and dribbling," said the forward. "But I really had to work on everything. I feel like I am getting my game back to where it used to be."
Head coach Coy Stampone welcomed Delker back into the program.
"We were very happy to have him (Delker) back," said Stampone. "He has helped us up front and he is a very savvy player. (Delker) has gotten the job done for us at both ends of the floor. His play has definitely been a big part of our success."
Delker has been grateful for Stampone's support as well as his father, Robert, who also has been instrumental in his development.
"Coach Stampone has been one of the best coaches I have ever had," said Delker. "My father has been guiding me since the third grade and has always been at my side. Both of them have played big roles in my life."
Delker would like to continue either his football or basketball career in college and would like to begin a career in law enforcement.
In the meantime, Delker believes the basketball season will be a long one.
"I feel like we are really playing well," said Delker. "We're helping each other and none of us are getting selfish. We all trust each other and we keep getting better."
In the process, his homecoming will continue to be a good one.