Local basketball coach Mark Marino set to lead U.S. team in Greece

Saturday, June 18, 2022 | 8:48 PM

Mark Marino is no stranger to coaching basketball teams from the United States in overseas competition.

Marino, who coached the Plum varsity boys basketball team the past three seasons, will make his fourth trip to Europe this week as he helps coach a team of Division I, II and III college players, including Pitt forwards Will Jeffers and Nate Santos, in a series of games in Greece.

He said this coaching opportunity is a pretty unique experience.

“For me, I came from a town with a couple thousand people in it, and never in my wildest dreams would I think I would get a chance to one day coach in Europe,” said Marino, who coached at Lycoming College and also served as a WPIAL head coach at both Brownsville and Hempfield.

“It’s a testament to staying with the game. I’ve been so lucky being involved with basketball. It’s taken me to some pretty cool places.”

The team, under the direction of former NBA player and coach Darrell Walker, currently the head coach at Arkansas Little Rock, will take part in a two-day training camp at Columbia University in New York City before heading to Athens for its first game on Thursday.

The games, five or six in all, will be against some of Greece’s top professional teams.

“I am really excited to be working with coach Walker,” Marino said. “He’s been everywhere in this sport.”

Marino said on the teams from his previous three trips — games played in France, Switzerland and Estonia — at least a half dozen of the players, those such as Quinn Cook and Marshall Plumlee from Duke, went on to play in the NBA.

“Every kid growing up who is serious about basketball probably has a dream at one point of playing in the NBA,” he said.

“But for many of them, Europe is likely going to be their destination to play professionally. A big goal of (sponsoring organization) USA East Coast Basketball is taking guys over there to not only experience some high-level competition but to also get them acclimated to a culture they aren’t used to. It’s more than if they simply can play the game professionally over there. They are given a chance to make a decision on if they are ready to take this on.

“On previous trips, we’ve had scouts from all the European leagues watching us play. They are allowed to have conversations with our guys afterwards. It prepares them for when they get an agent and begin to look for the right fit.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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