The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


January 15, 2014

Jon Gerardi's boys basketball column: Commitment fuels Lewisburg's success

Allen helps fill void from graduation

It was long before basketball season when Lewisburg boys basketball coach John Vaji attended a girls soccer game at Lewisburg Middle School. It was there that he mentioned how excited he was for the upcoming season to finally get underway and also mentioned a few players who came to open gym workouts.

After all, Lewisburg would need a handful of players to step up after losing three of its best scorers from the past year. Those players attending open gym would only be beneficial, and it was there that Vaji noticed the commitment and dedication of the players. Many of the players on his squad are multi-sport athletes, having played football or soccer in the fall, but that didn't mean they focused solely on their in-season sport.

"We have kids that play two and three other sports, so they're willing to make a commitment to not only their football team (or) baseball team, but their basketball team (and) they're willing to come in," Vaji said after Saturday's 50-29 win over Selinsgrove. "I know some of the guys who play football will come to my open gym here and then go over and get their lift in for football.

"I think a lot of it starts out with their commitment and love for the game, and we can give them some stuff to work on and they're willing to go out and work on it on their own as well."

That's part of the reason, in Vaji's eyes, that Lewisburg hasn't fallen off at all season after season.

Since 2000-01, the Green Dragons haven't had a losing season, their worst year being 2008-09 when the team went 12-10.

While Vaji's had to reload every few years due to graduation, like any program, this past year's graduation may have been one of the tougher ones to rebuild.

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