Coach Gary DeCesare, Head Varsity Basketball Coach, and junior Evan Jackson are both newcomers to De La Salle Institute’s basketball program and have been preparing the team for not only a national schedule but a record-breaking year.
Coach DeCesare was appointed as the new head basketball coach in 2021. He has a very successful and honorable coaching history. He was named the coach of the McDonald’s High School All-American Basketball Game in 2017. He coached at St. Raymond High in Bronx, New York for 25 years. He also coached many years on the collegiate level; Coach DeCesare was the assistant coach at Richmond for three years and associate head coach at DePaul for four years. He was named New York State’s Coach of the Year three times (1987, 1991, and 2001). He has produced more than 50 Division I players and 18 pro players, including five athletes who reached the NBA. He previously coached at St. Rita High School from 2009 to 2019; he led the Mustangs to a 185-102 record, including five Chicago Catholic League titles and four regional championships.
Now, DeCesare is head coach at De La Salle and is ready for a new start; his mission is to start from scratch and find a new identity for the team. “We are trying to establish a new identity on the defensive end. My goal is for our team to be a very good defensive team and great rebounding team,” said Coach DeCesare.
Jackson is a class of 2023 transfer from St. Rita High School; he is an athletic forward and will be a key player for the Meteors. It is no secret that Coach DeCesare has led many athletes to success and paved the way for bright futures. Jackson is very excited to be under a coach with such a prominent history. “My favorite thing about Coach DeCesare is that he is trying to set us up for the future and is giving us a chance to build a name for ourselves; he puts the players first,” said Jackson.
The team looks forward to out-of-state tournaments on their schedule which is something very new for the basketball program. Scheduling these national tournaments will give the boys exposure and put the basketball program on the map. “I have always tried to get the guys on the road so they can play and witness various styles of basketball. I want to give them exposure in hopes of helping them get a scholarship and become a collegiate athlete,” said Coach DeCesare.
To start the 2021-2022 season, they have a 4-6 record. “So far, it has been an adventure; every day is something new, and it is changing a lot of habits. It is going to be an adjustment period for all of us,” said Coach DeCesare. The varsity basketball team is currently number two in the White Conference.
Changing the dynamic of a program can be hard, but Coach DeCesare has a plan for all of the athletes. “As long as they’re willing to progress every day, the team will progress even further,” said Coach DeCesare. The phrase “shock the world” was coined by Coach DeCesare and the boys since they were not ranked in the preseason due to their record last season. “We will shock the world and show everybody what we truly are capable of and change the basketball culture for De La Salle,” said Jackson.
The basketball program hopes to showcase their new abilities led by new coaching styles. De La Salle is looking forward to this 2021-22 season and will be supporting the program every step of the way!